6 Myths about Morticians

Being a Funeral Director Isn’t What You Think

Woman holding pink and purple flowers at a funeral service.

Most children don’t announce that they want to be a funeral director when they grow up (although some certainly do). The idea of being around dead bodies, seeing people on their worst days, and arranging dark, somber events doesn’t exactly sound like a thrilling career. However, that idea of what a mortician does isn’t the whole, or entirely true, picture.

Being a funeral director is deeply fulfilling, and actually full of joy and laughter. Here are some other misconceptions about funeral home careers:

1. Being a funeral director means being surrounded by sadness.

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult and emotional experiences a person can go through. But although helping families when they’re in the middle of intense grief can be emotionally difficult as well, funeral directors are rarely personally connected to the death. Sadness is also not the only emotion you’ll witness as a funeral director. One reason is that grief contains a myriad of emotions, and saying goodbye to a loved one can also include joyful memories, peaceful reflection, reconnections with family and community, and laughter. So many of the funerals we have helped with are gatherings of people who are there to celebrate a life.

Your day-to-day tasks vary greatly as well. Being a funeral director is more than being at funerals and comforting families. It requires paperwork, phone calls, event planning, running errands, and providing care for people who were loved and respected. At French Funerals & Cremations, we are proud to have a great team of people on our staff who are compassionate, supportive, and have a great sense of humor.

There are times where even our most experienced funeral directors get emotional. We are human, and are often touched by the love and loss a family experiences. But being around death and grief every day provides an unexpected gift, and that is a deep and genuine appreciation for the beauty of life.

2. Dealing with death is a monotonous job.

Every family is unique. And so is every funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life a family plans for the individual they love. One week in the life of a funeral director can include planning a traditional church service and cemetery burial, learning about Tibetan death rituals, arranging for a 7 gun military salute, or planning a celebration of life that involves food trucks and live rock bands.

What doesn’t change is a family’s need for guidance, empathy and support as they say goodbye to their loved one.

3. Funeral directors are…different.

Yes, we are. But not in the way you might think. We’re pretty much like anyone else you know. We eat at the same local restaurants, shop at the same grocery stores, worship at local churches, synagogues, and mosques. Our children go to school with your children. We like to golf, hike, fish, read, watch funny movies, and volunteer at community events. What makes us different is our drive to make a family’s worst day a little easier, and to be there when the people of our community need us most. Funeral directors are people who find joy in helping others.

4. Being around dead people all day is creepy.

Funeral directors aren’t actually in the presence of the deceased most of the time. While we do help transport the deceased into our care, wash and dress the body, and perform embalming, most of our job is spent doing other things, like talking to the family, making funeral arrangements, and administrative duties.

When we are caring for the deceased, it really isn’t “creepy” at all. Since care and preparation of the dead are no longer handled by most families (that’s why funeral directors exist), people have little to no experience with death. It’s natural to be fearful of or uncomfortable with the unknown. In reality, a deceased body is a normal and natural part of life, and to care for the deceased is an act of kindness and respect.

When we are caring for the deceased, it really isn’t “creepy” at all. Since care and preparation of the dead are no longer handled by most families (that’s why funeral directors exist), people have little to no experience with death. It’s natural to be fearful of or uncomfortable with the unknown. In reality, a deceased body is a normal and natural part of life, and to care for the deceased is an act of kindness and respect.

5. We’re pushy salesmen.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. A funeral home is a business, and at the end of the day we need to keep our doors open and our lights on. But we want to keep our doors open for the families who need us. We exist to help them plan a goodbye for their loved one that meets their needs – emotional, financial, and cultural – and one that reflects the personality of the individual they love.

For many, this career is a calling, and for some, one that has been passed down in their families for generations. French Funerals & Cremations is still family-owned after 115 years of serving families in Albuquerque, NM, and the Rio Rancho area. A lot has changed since 1907, but the drive to help families lay their loved ones to rest and give them the best goodbye possible is unwavering.

6. It’s a thankless job.

In fact, most of the families we serve come up to our funeral directors after services and express their deep gratitude for the help, compassion, professionalism, and support we have provided them. For us, serving families is something we are honored and grateful to do, and no thanks is ever necessary. But when our dedication and work is acknowledged, it feels rewarding to know that we’ve made a positive impact on families during such a difficult time.

A career in funeral care isn’t for everyone. But it might be more for you than you thought. All it takes is someone with heart. If you’d like to learn more about a career in funeral care with French Funerals & Cremations, reach out to us at 505-842-7184. We’d love to tell you more about the job we love.

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