I’ve always known I wanted to be of service to others, but I never really fit with the roles that offered themselves. What attracted me to funeral services was its unconventionality, and I was curious about a sector that the general public knew so little about.
I received my Class 1 Funeral Director license in 2016 and after working in several different funeral homes, it was not long before I realized how inadequate the industry was. I would listen to families in arrangements tell me how overwhelmed and powerless they felt in the face of navigating the death of their loved one, and as my heart went out to them, I would feel confined and restricted in the way that I could help them.
I started questioning the necessity of my role as a funeral director, and I wondered how much healthier society’s view on death could be if, instead of outsourcing this task to strangers, we began to reclaim caring for our dead. Over the last century, the role of the funeral director had somehow transformed from guide to gate-keeper, and the public was vastly unaware of the rights they held.
When I discussed these ideas with my colleagues, I found that they became defensive and paternalistic, as if death was a domain that could only be handled appropriately by people in suits with licenses. The sanctimonious attitudes of those I encountered only encouraged my desire to further advocate for the public.
After some research I discovered the home deathcare movement, where I learned about people and organizations around the continent working together to empower families to care for their own deceased. Through the Beyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring, I met Sarah Hines and Cheeba Cole, and we three created the Life in Death Collective, which aims to serve the public through education and connection.
With a lens to work through, I’ve never felt more strongly like I am on my life’s path. Building community is my passion, my skill, and my purpose. I’m grateful to be in a position where I’m finally able to provide meaningful service in a way that feels right and true.