I’m a Funeral Director… and all my friends are dead.*
Come along on my journey of passion, sadness, incredulousness, inquisition, imposition, exhaustion, overworked, overstressed, depression, exhilaration, dedication, laughter, and love. In other words, the life of a Funeral Director. On these pages you will see reality.
These are things I promise you:
-I will always be honest with you.
-I will answer every question you have, though not always publicly.
-If there is something I post that is unclear, insulting, triggering, or harmful, it is not intentional and I’m willing to hear you out and have a conversation about it. (Education and a willingness to change is important.)
-I fully acknowledge that I am not always right and am ready and willing to hear more information and another’s position.
Why are all my friends dead?
When searching for a title of this site, I cast a wide social media net. I had many great responses, a version of this being one of them. Within that time at the funeral home, I met with two families in a row who both happen to say something I’ve heard time and time again. The first was a daughter making funeral arrangements for her elderly mother who died at home on hospice. “We aren’t going to have a service because all her friends are dead.” The second was an 80 year old man making funeral arrangements for his wife who died at the hospital of Covid. “No point in a service now, all our friends are dead.” We hear this a lot in our arrangements.
It produces two reactions in me. One, okay, I understand it. Death can feel very lonely and personal and our thoughts are on the immediate. We think of ourselves and what we are going through. As you should! This is part of our trauma response. If I’m the only one suffering I don’t want anyone else to suffer so I’ll just keep it all to myself. I can’t let people see my grief. My second follow-up reaction is mild frustration and a need to educate. Most people who are in the midst of experiencing loss don’t have the emotional clarity to see outside themselves and their own grief. This is totally normal! Again, it’s a self-saving coping mechanism. But how often have you read the obituaries and saw that someone you know had died. Now think about how often you’ve heard about a friend or coworker who has experienced a death of a close loved one? Which one of those scenarios is more common? Statistically the latter is more common. Most people don’t go to funerals for the dead person. Most people go to funerals for the family, or the friends, to support the people still living. We send flowers to funerals for the living, not the dead. We write condolence cards (or we used to) to the the remaining family to let them know we are there. It is for the living because they are still here.
Recently I was reading the obituaries in my small hometown paper, as one often does when you’re from a small town. I saw that the little brother of one of my high school friends had died. I didn’t know how. I didn’t even know him. It had been over twenty years since I’d seen my friend so probably longer since I’d seen him. I remember playing at her house and her little brother would be in the peripheral parts of my memory. I remember when he almost bit his tongue off and what that was like for my friend. I remember my friend absolutely loved her brother. In twenty years a lot could have changed. Who knows what kind of lives they’ve had up to now. But she was my friend when I was young. So for the funeral, I sent her and her parents a peace lily plant with a note of condolence. It wasn’t for him. He was dead.
So all of their friends may be dead, but you are still living. You are still here.
Let’s talk about it.
Within these pages you will find a traditional blog that takes on a more personal look at the life and thoughts of a very tired Funeral Director. There is a dumping site for to research and educational resources that I discover along my own research endeavors. And then every now and then, I’ll find someone who I think has a cooler job than I do, or is doing something worth talking about, and I’ll take them out to dinner and get them trashed and talk about it. But most likely I’ll try to get them to say inappropriate things on camera. Because that’s what friends do.
*all my friends are not really dead, I mean, some are, but not all, you get where I’m going here