So you wanna see dead people?

No actually.

But what has always fascinated me is knowing how things work. How electricity works. How they get power to cities. And how, the one thing we all have to do, is die. But it is largely a mystery on how the logistics of being buried or cremated happens. it’s during a stressful time of high emotions, and financial decisions and huge shifts in family dynamics.

I first thought about the funeral industry in 2009/2010 when I did a term on funerals in my one day a week floristry course. When we did the funeral unit, we had an excursion to a family owned and run funeral home. The purpose was to learn more about the terminology and how the floral arrangements were constrained by the coffins and the hearses.

No one had many questions, that I recall, on that excursion. I had a ton. (This is likely genetic, both my parents always know where a cab or Uber driver is from and how many kids they have etc etc). I thought it was a great opportunity to lift the curtain in a time when I wasn’t grieving and find out how it all worked.

Then, in 2017, my paternal grandfather and my material grandmother died. They were both the ‘last’ on each side. So I was with my parents and aunts and uncles at both their homes, clearing them out. I was the personal who was in charge of talking to the nursing home staff about when to empty grandma’s room. I had the terse conversations with one funeral company who could not shift out crematorium time an hour or two, and so also engaged with a new funeral company (not surprisingly, the one I did that excursion to in 2010!). I was calm under pressure, I was rational. I didn’t ‘do it all’, but I was a help.

So in 2018, I arranged two informational phone calls with funeral companies. I sent some emails or online inquiries, and two places got back to me. In my work lunch breaks and one weekend, I chatted to different people and worked out more of what the job entailed. And how little it paid :/

I realised: I don’t come to work for the pay. It’s a bonus. As in, it’s not cause i get ‘really huge number’ that I come to work with any more pep in my step. I resent being paid a lot and being bored, or not challenged. I’ve come to be paid exceptionally well and most of it is honestly, a bonus. I have easily met my needs and wants and still I saved money. Perhaps a high salary is great, but it’s not NEEDED. I’m still not sure how this will play out in time. I’ll be sure to blog about it when I know more. In the mean time, I have done 18 months of expense tracking, and wrote a 2019 budget. Neither of these were previous habits, so they’ve set me in good stead.

Death is one thing we all have to go through. But I want to understand how that works. How can it be done well? I don’t fear it, but I do want to understand and be ready for it.

Today, I got a verbal offer!

4 Replies to “So you wanna see dead people?”

  1. Wow! That’s a different and exciting and interesting (potential) move! Congratulations on the offer…it must feel so great to have something tangible in such a different career swap area!

    Have you had time to think yet about whether you will accept? I always get so indecisive with such predicaments. I sense that you will be more definite though in your thoughts!

    Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Hi Sarah, I get the feeling you are ready for this! You are an ideal candidate with your “churched” background and modern sensibilities. With your organizational and management experience (let alone floristry), you will wow them!

    I think the funeral industry is at a crossroads. There are still people who want to honour their loved ones with elegance and opulence ($$) but more people want a celebration of life that reflects the individual’s passions. Plus, there are more concerns about costs and the environment. I could see you as a leader who helps the firm create a new balance. Even if you are not a director (especially since there are so many family-owned funeral businesses), you will have influence. And you would strike a good balance between being sympathetic to families and taking care of business.

    Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming adventures!

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