Despite Our Differences, Funeral Directors Are Everyday, Normal People Too

Yeah, I’m different. You’re different. We’re all different. We as humans are different in our cultures, in our beliefs, in our race and in our lives. And yet, we’re one in the same. We all have one life to live. We are all given the same world, the same breaths. Maybe our circumstances are different, and we certainly deal with said circumstances differently; but we’re still human. We still bleed, we still cry, we still feel. We still lead the life that we lead on our own accord.

It’s up to each one of us to lead the life that we want and choose. Again, I understand each circumstance is different, but if you’re willing to lead the life you choose, you have to be willing to die the same. Being a funeral director, I see every death you can imagine. Car accidents? They happen. Suicide? Seen it. Murder? Been there. Old age? Most likely. Covid? It was everywhere.

But what about the families left behind? The friendships? The loved ones? Everyone is missed by someone, and everyone needs to be taken care of in the best possible way as far as funeral wishes. That’s where I come in. I take care of your mother. Your grandfather. Your sister. Your son. Your everything. It’s not the easiest position to be in, but I am CHOOSING to do so. This is the life I am leading.

I am leading with my heart and my hands. I am taking your hand and listening to your heart.

Empathy is almost always mentioned when talking about funeral service as a whole. I certainly agree on that, but would go even further and mention a strong mind. Death can take a toll on anyone. A family or loved one who loses, well, a loved one, has it worse than I ever do. It’s always just assumed that dealing with death and running funeral after funeral leaves directors like zombies. It’s quite the opposite.

In a given week, I may meet with one or two or three or four families, that lost a loved one in a multitude of ways. I am here for each one, too. I give each family my full respect and attention. My full heart and care. That’s what each decedent deserves after all. I do so at a clip that isn’t like a normal 9–5 job, as I have “on call” after hours and am always available for a call back or question or in case a death occurs in the middle of the night. I’m available 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week. 365 days a year. You get the picture.

I’m not advocating that I have it hard, because I don’t. I am living out my dream profession and would give my own life for someone else to have a better one. I have shown that I am willing to spend holidays, my own family’s birthdays or even cancel my own vacation for a funeral or to be there in a stranger’s time of need.

Being a funeral director comes with a cost though. The cost is time management. Being able to sleep at night (every night) is rare. Work runs through your mind. When a family I have met with and have heard their stories and shared in their grief, I cannot switch my personal life on and off as such. I carry it with me. I still have a life to lead, on my own, regardless.

The grass still needs to be cut. The garden still needs mending. My relationships (friends, family, GF when I was there) still need to feel my presence. My family still needs to hear from me. My friends still need to see me. My own sanity still needs to be healed. My personal life still needs to be lead. On my own terms.

Your local funeral director still needs to be human. This article is to show you that while I am there for you and your family to care for your loved one until the very end and even further, I am just like you. I’m one in the same, only different.

I, too, need to escape. I, too, want to go see a movie on a random week night. I, too, want to go out for beers with the guys. I, too, want to wear exfoliating face masks with my sisters while I pretend to know what’s going on in the world of gossip. I, too, want to be the best boyfriend I could ever be. I, too, want to be someone everyone can count on. I want to play football in the backyard. I want to skateboard. I also still needed to take the dog out (when I had one). I needed to get the yardwork done. I lead the same life as you.

I haven’t always. I still will have those lapses. I do have my own self-destructive behavior to watch at times. I’m nowhere near perfect. Very far from it. But I try. I absolutely try to be there for you and for myself. Really, that’s what I’m getting at: I want to be the very best in everything I do, while still maintaining a “simple, normal, life.”

After all, I’m just like you. Now go long. On one, on two, set hike!