Life working at a Funeral Home


Some days really put things into perspective. We have been slow lately. Usually when we are slow for an extended period of time it means only one thing….that we are about to get slammed! How or why this happens is beyond me. There is no rhyme or reason to it..
But I think as of yesterday or busy time has arrived. We got a new call in the morning. They came in early afternoon to make arrangements. During that arrangement someone else came to the door. Since there was inly 2 of us there and one was with the family, I got the door. It was a young man with his father. He said he wanted to make arrangements…..you all know how much I just love a walkin. So I go and get some paperwork and sit with them. As I started to ask questions I learn that the oerson they are making arrangements for has not passed yet. I ask if they wanted to pre pay or just get pricing and just get everything down on paper. The young man says he just wants to get the cist down on paper and pick out a casket and visitation times and funeral times. I learn that his wife is terminal. She has cancer. They have 3 young children. She is at home in the care of hospice. They are a little younger than I am, but not by much. I feel bad for him, he just seems to be lost. He was trying to keep his spirit up, joking around and talking about a few things that his family likes to do. I on the other hand cant quit help but feel sad for him and winder just how his wife feels, knowing that she is leaving her husband and kids. I cant help but think..what if that were happen to me and my spouse? I dont know how i wiuld manage wirh a spouse that is young and we pretty much have the second half of our lives to live together. Wether those years have bad times or not, we would still be together. Reminds me of a movie I saw once, cannot remember the movie, but the woman, an older woman said ‘marriage is like a roller coaster, you have your ups and downs’. Its true. And just a side note I hate roller coasters, I dont hate marriage, i dislike the ‘downs’. So hearing him have to plan his young wifes funeral makes one appreciate not only their spouse more but appreciate your health and life. The backache I woke up with somehow didnt seem so bad. And the little annoying things your spouse does, well, let it slide this time. I hate when when mine puts the garbage bag in the trash can, he never puts it in right, according to ‘my’ standards. But who cares, its just a teash bag, right.

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4 Responses to “Life working at a Funeral Home”

  1. Admin Asst Says:

    That is very sad. We had 2 similar cases within the same week, last year. They were both young women with young families who were under hospice care. It was really heartbreaking to meet with the families. They were both in their 30’s and both husband’s were devastated.

    It’s cases like that, that really pluck at the heart strings. I’d say the worse are young people and children are hard to take in the funeral business. That and elderly men get to me, when their spouses die. You know the ones who have been married for 45-50 years. You know they come from a generation where the wife took care of the home and so forth and sometimes the elderly men seem so helpless without their wives. Sometimes it seems like elderly women are stronger when their spouses pass away.

    But, no matter what, the funeral business is a hard business to be in and it takes a special group of people to work in that industry.

    • I hate the older couples too…I think for me those are the ones that break my heart. They have been married for so long and one passes away and the other is lost, just Dont know how to live without the other. And the even worse part is knowing that within a couple of months we will unfortunately be meeting that family again because the surviving spouse has passed away…I have had several couples that have went that way. I have one man who lost his wife a few years ago and he was so distraught (still is) that we thought for sure it wouldn’t be long before we heard from his family that he had passed. But he is hanging in, thank God! He stops by the funeral home on occasion to visit us, the conversation always turns to how much he misses his wife, and he starts to cry every time…I start to cry. He has said how they did everything together, they were never apart, they were best friends. Had another man who lost his wife a few months ago, he took care of her night and day for the last ten years. Fed her, bathed her, dressed her. He slept in a chair next to her bed every night because she needed to be watched in case she started choking. He said he did not have another bed he could put in the room to sleep on and could not afford one so he slept in that chair. They had no children and very little family, who most were older as well. The only help they ever had was a neighbor who would come over while he showered or had an appt. He did not have any funeral for her. They had only wanted a direct cremation, for both of them. The only thing he asked is if he could come see her before we took her to crematory. She was bathed and we brushed her hair and made it look nice and put the pajamas he wanted her in on her. She was only on the stretcher and covered partially with a blanket he brought to us. We put her in the chapel so he could be alone for a few. I could hear him talking to her and crying….its making me tear up now… when he was done, I went to walk him out and he said he had placed a letter on her and to please leave it with her where he layed it, over her heart. So sad….

      • Admin Asst Says:

        Those are very sad stories. It is heart wrenching. Many years ago we had an elderly man whose wife passed away. It was a second marriage for both of them. Long story short, her children came in with him to make the arrangements and picked out an expensive casket, floral arrangements, limo ect…Well the poor man didn’t have the means to pay for all of that and they said they would help him pay for it. Well when the time came, the kids didn’t give him a dime for the funeral bill. He couldn’t afford a $9,000 funeral bill. In addition to being heart broken about his wife’s death (he was devastated) he had this huge bill looming over his head. In the end, my boss told him he could make payments. He was so grateful he cried. After about a year my boss felt so bad for the old fella he told him not to pay anymore, we’d eat the rest of the bill. The old guy never missed a payment. Well when we sent him the letter saying not to pay anymore he called and got so choked up he could barely talk on the phone to thank us. That broke my heart. Sadly, he died about six months later but he wanted us to handle the arrangements and guess what? This time his kids skipped out on the bill. So we never got paid for his service. It’s too bad because he was such a good, decent man who had to suffer the loss of his wife and being stuck with a bill the kids promised to help with. But I’ll never forget him. He was kind and honest and he really deserved better.

      • Doesnt that just tick you off! Just pisses me off. People know how much theu can afford…I also believe that many times some people come in with the intention of never paying. I have actually had a man come in once a few years ago…he wanted state aid and we gave him the paperwork for it and explained how much they would pay ‘if’ approved. He came right out and said he didnt plan on paying anything after the state paid! If that would have been my boss doin the arrangement, he would have told him that payment is due before we continue. But it was the other director who did arrangement and pretty much said nothing to him about having to psy. He in fact still owes us the amount the state did not pay.
        that was pretty awesome what your boss did for that old man. When people show an effort that they want to pay the bill, we have no problems waiting each month for them to make paymentn i had a family, two younger people, paid faithfully each month. Came to the funeral home around the same day each and every month.. As of last week, they are paid in full. Took them just about 3 years but they dif it. And since they showed an effort, ee gladly waited for payment. I try to explain that to other families that have a balance they need to pay on, but most never pay.

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