Dimond And Sons, Silver Bell Chapel

Your Questions

 

Hello. This may be a wierd question (and NO, I have no interest in watching the embalming process or looking at pictures), but need to ask you a question related to my master's thesis (Humor as an healthy aid in the grieving process). I ask this question not to be heartless, and I know that you and your colleagues are caring, benevolent people who take their job very seriously; I applaud and commend you for your professionalism. However, as I have interviewed doctors, nurses, paramedics and even people form the local M.E. office, there must be some way that funeral service personnel deal (in a healthy manner) with the fact that they are constantly surrounded by death. Death is natural, but I would imagine that it could begin to gnaw on someone, particularly a neophyte. How do you deal with it, and what do you do for peace of mind when dealing with, for example, a small child's needless death? Please appreaciate the fact that, while this process is second nature to you, those of us not in the funeral industry may find it extremely difficult to fathom. (Side note: I know a funeral director, who also happens to be one of the funniest people I know. I asked him if his sense of humor is helpful, when dealing with certain aspects of his job. His answer? It helps... It helps a lot. Thank you very much for your time.
Sorry for the delay. I've been away again and have trouble answering email from the "road". I did give a lot of thought to your question so I could answer it fairly. First, it is not a wierd question and I've never had much interest in the embalming process either, which may explain why I am not a very good embalmer. Fortunately, both of my sons are. Second, working with the dead does not take up quite the time that people outside the industry think it does. I very large mortuaries the staff is divided into funeral director or technical (embalmer) duties. In mid- size to small firms, everyone does a little bit of everything. It is my opinion that this approach creates the healthiest funeral person. In spite of my comments, the technical end of our business IS important, but the continuing balance of dealing with living people, not just dead ones is the best way to ensure that no one on the staff ever loses that vital connection between the two. Now, as to a sense of humour; the trick is to also understand that the family may think something is very funny. Unless they are close personal friends, we have to remember that we are "servants", professionals engaged to help grieving families through a difficult time. My dad taught me that they are not paying us to cry with them, they need us to take care of too many things. Besides it's phony. They are also not paying us to laugh with them because what creates the laughter is the inner connection THEY had with someone who died. That can be, and often is, intensely personal and a funeral director who enters into that situation could actually be offensive. Personally, I see humour in almost everything I encounter in daily life. What we do gives us an unusual opportunity to see the foibles of life for what they really are, nothing. I often say, "I take what I do very seriously, I try not to take myself very seriously." Life is way too precious not to see the laughter everywhere in our lives. One of the greatest things to hear is the occasional laughter which filters out of the chapel as friends and family remember the joy of someone's life. Hope I answered your question.

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Copyright©1998 by Donald C. Dimond II