Finding Life in Death Care

Woman sitting on cliffside.

Being a funeral director means caring for the dead. But that’s really a small, albeit extremely significant, part of it. Being a funeral director is about caring for the living. And after a time, it means better caring for yourself.

Most funeral directors, if asked, would tell you that they did not become a funeral director to embalm the dead, dress them in their best suit, or drive the hearse at the front of the funeral procession. Those are parts of our job that we feel honored to do, but it’s not what called us into the profession. It’s the living whom we are drawn to helping.

No one will live forever, and that means everyone will one day experience the loss of someone they love deeply. To grieve is part of what it means to be human. But as universal as it is, loss is never easy, and it is the husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children and best friends of those lost whom we show up to work every day for. To make a widow’s worst day a little easier. To help arrange the opportunity for a community to share their love and stories together. To make a mother’s goodbye one that will help bring her peace.

Being a funeral director means taking care of all the things a family needs to make final arrangements for their loved one and helping them navigate through the first few days of acute grief. For us, there’s no greater service we could provide.

One would think our days are filled with sadness. And sometimes they are. But most of the time we find great joy in what we do. Funerals are filled with love and stories and belly laughs. Funerals are filled with life. They’re also family reunions and toasts with old college buddies and gatherings in which traditions and rituals are passed on to the next generation.

Our days are also filled with the people we work with. Caring for the dead and their bereaved can create a family-like bond with your peers at the funeral home. The friendships you make as funeral directors tend to last the rest of your life. There’s no one else that quite gets it like they do.

What many funeral directors don’t expect to find in their career is how it can change who you are as a person. Working with grief and loss every day gives you a perspective on life and the world around you that you might not have otherwise. Your compassion for others grows deeper. You realize every person you cross paths with is deserving of respect, dignity and empathy, and has loved ones who care about them. Your patience will grow after listening to family members tell intensely personal stories while you provide them the space to share and grieve. You’ll develop a deeper appreciation for different cultures and the unique rituals they perform to honor their dead, and truly realize how similar you are to others who seem so different.

What many funeral directors don’t expect to find in their career is how it can change who you are as a person. Working with grief and loss every day gives you a perspective on life and the world around you that you might not have otherwise. Your compassion for others grows deeper. You realize every person you cross paths with is deserving of respect, dignity and empathy, and has loved ones who care about them. Your patience will grow after listening to family members tell intensely personal stories while you provide them the space to share and grieve. You’ll develop a deeper appreciation for different cultures and the unique rituals they perform to honor their dead, and truly realize how similar you are to others who seem so different.

What you might also find after working so closely with death, is that life becomes much richer. As a funeral director, you will help families say goodbye to loved ones in all walks of life, of all ages, who pass away for a myriad of reasons. The reality and the naturalness of death gives one a different perspective on the things in life that truly matter.

Things like human connections, checking off items on your bucket list, living authentically, exploring the world…Working closely with death and grief has a way of reminding you of what’s truly valuable in life. Eulogies are never about the material possessions a person had, or how diversified their portfolio was, or how many hours a week they put in at the office. Loved ones speak about the impact a person had on their lives, and the passions they pursued. To be a funeral director is to see the world in a whole new light.

Things like human connections, checking off items on your bucket list, living authentically, exploring the world…Working closely with death and grief has a way of reminding you of what’s truly valuable in life. Eulogies are never about the material possessions a person had, or how diversified their portfolio was, or how many hours a week they put in at the office. Loved ones speak about the impact a person had on their lives, and the passions they pursued.
To be a funeral director is to see the world in a whole new light.

If you’d like to learn more about a career as a funeral director, call us at 505-842-7184.

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