I’ve been asked many times “how do you do what you do every day?”
I only wish knew.
I took a five year sabbatical from funeral directing from 2007-2012.
It started out as the best feeling in the world.
It wound up being the wildest five-year roller coaster of my career.
But here I be, back in the dismal trade, as writer Thomas Lynch puts it.
And I face another day, with absolutely no clue as to what may await me.
Death. Tragedy. Murder.
All in a day’s work for a select few of us that choose to work on that shadowy border between life and death.
At least medical professionals occasionally get to savor the victory of pulling someone back from the beyond, someone who will hopefully heal and spend their remaining days giving thanks for the good fortune that the Universe bestowed on them.
Me, however, and the others in the trade, don’t get that luxury.
Nope. We are the ones who are called upon when the last glimmer of hope for life and survival has faded and winked out.
Many of us drink too much, smoke too much, act out sexually and a host of other destructive behaviors to cope with that feeling… that indescribable feeling that you get when you tenderly lay the body of an 8 year old to rest who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Or when you see the empty stare in the eyes of one of the countless bodies that you encounter.
You try to find hope in faith. Perhaps the gaze of the spirit of that person has fallen upon the beauty and serenity of Heaven, and the joyous reunion that they are having with their loved ones who have gone on before them.
But some days, those words in the holy books ring quite hollow, and faith and hope are scarce to come by.
I’m not feeling particularly maudlin today. It’s just another Monday to me.
But I felt compelled to write. To share with you the words that ride the cerebral rapids in this mind of mine.
Today could be a good day. I just don’t know. But in about 45 minutes, I’ll be showered and shaved with my funeral game face on. Ready to serve, comfort and assist.
It’s what I do.
It’s the work that I believe that God and the Universe have designed for me.
Happy Monday to all of you that have far more normal jobs than I.