Well straightaway the answer to that question is a resounding “yes” in every manner of the word, in every language on the globe! Yes Yes Yes we care! So here are my reason’s why I care! (I’ve wrote this about a time before the pandemic)
If I asked you to close your eyes and paint a picture in your mind, of what a funeral director/Undertaker looks like? I’m sure something similar to the two gentleman in the pictures might spring to mind, old men, pale complexion, stone cold glare, no emotion, Victorian style mustache etc. Several years ago I’d of agreed 100% because that is exactly how I thought, but that all changed when I actually became one, oh how my perception was blown out the water, now I cannot speak for all funeral directors across the globe, but can speak for those I’ve met and luckily worked with.
In stark reality we certainly aren’t all men that’s for sure, some of the very best funeral directors around are ladies, I know because I’ve worked and still work with them now, we are actually really normal people from many walks of life, doing a job like no other, we are all shapes and sizes, young and old, each of us have a slightly different approach to what we do, a funeral director is actually more like a calling to be honest, it certainly is not a simple Monday to Friday run of the mill role, it is so much more than that, now I’m not going to delve into the corporate side of the funeral sector, yes it has to be there for structure and guidance, but I’d like to think the the real work is done right at ground level, the level a family experiences.
For a funeral director like me no two days are the same, every family coming through the door is different, each one is feeling something unique and going through one of the stages of grief, when I started my journey I had a core set of values that I needed to to learn and understand, but to be a good funeral director you have to step outside the box, to be an amazing funeral director you have to be yourself and inject empathy, these things cannot be taught in a classroom they are natural you’ve either got it or your haven’t! Really is that simple!
Now I can’t and won’t discuss individual funerals (as much as I’d like to) or even mention things that could remotely correlate to a family, data protection is very important, so all are fully respected and will remain private and confidential, I’ve learned over the years that being myself, relaxed and offering the family the complete confidence to say what they feel, and and act in the manner they need to in order to understand and manage their grief, has been the key to my direction within this role.
I try to remember each and every funeral I do, connecting with families at a time when they need guidance and support, when they are at the lowest ebb, and helping them makes sense of what is going on, letting them know they are not alone, far from it, is so rewarding, to see a family grieving a loss start to smile with reassurance, knowing that the protective arms are tight around them, that’s why we do it, that’s we all care so much, when a family first speaks to me with so much anguish, hurt and sorrow, then once I have spoken to them they are smiling and thanking me for taking the weight off them, that is a satisfying moment.
When I conduct a funeral I’m there as a professional first and foremost, to ensure that the funeral goes exactly to plan, that I fulfill every expectation that the family has placed on my shoulders, to do everything within my realms to carry out the funerals to the highest possible standard, but more than that I’m a human being sharing a very personal time with a family who have placed their upmost trust in me, they have done this because I care! I have done a great many funerals over the years, and met a plethora of amazing, inspiring, caring and thoughtful families, that just want me to be myself, I laughed at funerals when I’ve heard the terribly funny eulogies, which allows me a moment into the persons life I’m caring for, I’ve cried at funerals finding myself sometimes overwhelmed with the sadness that I see before me, this happens because I’m a human being, not devoid of emotion, not uncaring, I’m not there because its simply a job to me, we funerals directors care more than you could ever imagine.
Every funeral is a journey and as funeral directors we take the journey with our families, we walk with them, feel their pain, understand the confusion and anguish they are going through, and I know I do everything in my power to do the very best for each and every person I meet and look after, it is a privilege to do so, and when a family member perhaps a grieving husband or wife, brother or sister, son or daughter or whoever it maybe, come up to me at the end of a burial or cremation, holds your hands or embraces you with a hug and says “thank you so much” only then, you know everything you’ve set out to achieve, has worked out just right, you know your family will be okay from there.
So in the title I put “Do Funeral Directors Really Care?” well I hope through this blog, it answers that question? unequivocally we care more than you can ever imagine, we go above and beyond to make sure, we’ve done everything possible for our families and the person who has sadly passed away, so next time you see a funeral director, remember we are people just like everybody else, we feel the same emotions as everybody else does, we just stay very strong for you.
“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay, but acknowledging that it is not.”-Sheryl Sandberg