I Actually DO Make A Difference!
WARNING: This post is the longest one I’ve written in a very long time.
I hope it’s worth it…
For so many years I floundered on the shore of existence. I would say 39, but I guess technically my first 5 years (on this subject) didn’t count; only because it wasn’t before then that I have a memory of anyone asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. So let’s call it 33 years (because 34 is an even number, and those things make me uncomfortable – ([*different story for a different time*]).
What I do remember when I was first asked that question, is my response … “I want to be famous.” And then I was told by that adult, “That’s not a realistic answer.” [Solid truth 20/20.]
So then I went with, “I want to be happy.” The adult’s response was a scoff.
That noise. That damn dismissive scoff noise.
And then there were the times when my little black soul tripped over my little macabre tongue. I told people they were gonna die. Not like I was in control of it, or like they deserved it, but like, it was life; they were old, and they were going to die. We all do.
(Shhhh, don’t say that, little one.)
Then I got quiet and started to observe. Silently minded people’s business. Paid attention to body language and words being chosen. Words being omitted.
People being there one week and not the next.
And without realizing it, I learned from all of it.
I learned a lot from everything. Yada yada yada. (Don’t worry, I’ll share more about more at some point.)
But right here, right now, I need to share this. I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. A Deathcare Professional. It’s beautiful and ugly, soul fulfilling and heart crushing. It’s all the things and everything in between. It is my calling. It is me.
I did not write what you’ll read below, but I feel it deeply.
“Be a Funeral Director, you’ll make a difference they said…
I’m well aware you are in a place you don’t want to be, talking to someone you don’t want to be talking to, about something you don’t want to be talking about. Trust me, I know. I wish you didn’t have to do any of those things either. But then there’s reality.
Sometimes I’m a referee because someone got grandpa’s pocket knife or grandma’s cookbook. Or maybe he was married to you first but had kids with his second wife…. either way, now’s not the time or place. Let me give them a dignified service, afterwards you can do whatever… but until we’re done, be adults.
Sometimes we’re nothing short of an artist. Some people have a gift for certain things. I know what mine is. Humbly. Sometimes we spend soooo many hours getting someone ready for a viewing because that accident was a bad one… and you just want to see them one last time. I would too. And in one or two cases, I’ve failed… it just wasn’t there. And for that, I’m so sorry.
Sometimes we’re looked at as the money hungry undertaker. Trust me, the overhead is astronomical. A complete professional staff readily available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is taxing. It’d scare you. Literally.
Sometimes you’re angry at me, I get it… and it’s okay, I understand. When I’m walking out of the hospital with a baby in hand and two security guards I don’t like me much either. I’ve learned that the smaller the casket, the heavier it is. If you don’t speak to me when I see you around town it’s okay… again, I understand.
Sometimes there’s dark circles under our eyes because we’ve been up for a couple days. So if we just say “hi” and move on, we’re trying to get home for a little sleep. Please understand.
And sometimes we are left taking care of our own. Our own family, our own friends, and our own brotherhood… with honor, and with the utmost dignity and respect, as always.
So yeah, be a Funeral Director… some days we make a difference.”
I make a difference.