Category: Personal Stories

Remote Inuit Village Really Picked a Black Panther as Their School Mascot

The childhood behavior that drove my mother nuts – besides the fire-setting – was probably my late-night roaming. I remember being five years old and creeping out of my bedroom window carrying nothing more than a little doll blanket and just…going for a walk. It was a chance for me to be alone and not…


Could I Do Funerals in Pakistan?

Ever since I flew to Pakistan by myself without telling my family and married a man I’d never met, the prevailing question has been “Could you be an embalmer in Pakistan?” Probably not. Burials in Muslim countries are nothing like the kind of services I typically arrange here. Embalming and viewing almost never happen in…


Be More Normal-Looking

I don’t know if I’m just lucky or if I got into the funeral industry at the right time, but I’ve never had real trouble finding work…other than that rather unfortunate three-year period when I became sort of confused and joined what turned out to be a couple of criminal organizations and bounced around between…


Happy Birthday Mom

No mother shall be harmed on account of her child, nor shall the father be harmed because of his child. – Quran 2:233 The best thing my mom ever did for me was throw me out of the house when I was seventeen years old. I wasn’t done with school; I wasn’t going. I didn’t…


Twenty Years

He has been gone longer than he was here. I have always been a sentimental person who recognizes the importance of ritual. It’s why I am a funeral director. So I decided, on the 20-year anniversary, I was overdue for a trip to our hometown and where he died. I hadn’t been there since I…


What A Depressing Job

For the first time since my brother’s memorial service, I cried at a funeral. I did a really nice job on my friend. He was positively glowing; guests were literally gasping over him and crowding around to take pictures and I came away from it feeling like I had done something nice for a fellow…


Burying Our Own

Once you are settled into your funeral service career, it occurs to you that you will most likely embalm, cremate or otherwise personally handle the remains of your closest family members. So you come to terms with it, maybe even discuss it with them. Yes mom, I will personally come to your house and drive…


It’s Not Stupid At All

I just broke a massive sweat doing a bodyweight workout in my room. I’m old enough to get injured in my sleep now, so I had to cancel my gym membership (temporarily) and swap it for physical therapy, resistance bands and wonderful, wonderful Prednisone. If you’re arranging a funeral, and you have a request that…


You’ll Find Something Else

It’s finally happened…I realize I say this a lot, and it’s always about something that was just waiting in the wings, something to which I am no longer immune. I’ve had a heart attack. It was “just a mild one,” according to my doctor. I didn’t even know what it was, didn’t seek help. I…


What It’s Like to Work For SCI

If you’re in mortuary school, or have been looking for a job for a while, you’ve probably been warned not to work for SCI. Nearly everyone in the industry works for SCI – the uninterestingly-named Service Corporation International – at some point. They’re the largest funeral service corporation in the world, so if you live…