The Friendly Funeralista

My Funeral Brooch

Posted on: February 3, 2010

My Funeral Brooch

 Thought I would show you my funeral brooch.  This was a gift, given to me by a father and his two young children who had lost their wife/mother to cancer.  She was in her late forties and had undergone a lengthy illness.  Her portrait showed a beautiful, elegant woman and even at the end, that beauty was still present despite the best efforts of the cancer that took her life.  She knew that she was dying and had taken the time (despite her illness) to pack up her own burial clothing and photograph in preparation for the end.  The family told me this when we were making the arrangements for her funeral and burial.  I think of that woman often, that woman who would have been about the same age as I am right now … what kind of person is so selfless to pack her own funeral bag in order to ease the burden of her family?  How much energy did it take for her to accept her fate and to get out of bed to do this sad task?   How many nights did she sit up worrying about her children growing up without a Mother? How much worry for her husband who must raise these children alone?  

I remember this man and his children bouncing into the funeral home a few weeks after burying their wife and mother.  They greeted me with smiles and hugs and presented me with this brooch, in a beautifully wrapped box with a wonderful card, thanking me for helping them organize the funeral arrangements.   I was stunned that they had set aside their grief and sadness to pick out such a personal gift … a gift that I would wear to remember them when serving other bereaved families.  I didn’t know the wife and mom this family mourned, but I know that she was a fine person to have instilled such gratitude and generosity in those she left behind.  Like most funeral directors, I take a lot of  teasing about my choice of profession but all of us have a story to tell like this one, in fact, most of us have dozens of stories to tell like this one.   My funeral brooch reminds me that what I do is a privilege, that I made a difference for this family … what a wonderful gift.

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7 Responses to "My Funeral Brooch"

You must feel very honored! Believe it or not, I always wanted to go to school and become a funeral director but life has taken me elsewhere. I have a great respect for your profession and you must be a very special person. Take care.

You are too kind! Funeral service is a great profession and it is a great privilege to serve bereaved families. If you are a reader, I would recommend picking up the books written by Thomas Lynch. He is a funeral director, author and poet. He really speaks to the “heart” of the profession. Here is a good example of how he describes funerals …
“A good funeral is one that gets the dead where they need to go and the living where they need to be.” I think that says it all, don’t you?

What a wonderful heart-warming story!

I am 59 and had been in the eldercare business for 8 years and fell in love with many of “my people”. I am now a full-time caregiver to my Mom who is 87.

I’ve often thought of working in the funeral business. It seems like the next logical step to taking care of the people you love. I’m sure, at my age, this will never happen but it is a nice thought! :)

Thanks for your kind response! In regard to joining the funeral profession, never say never! You may not want to go back to school for your funeral director’s license but might enjoy serving families as an aftercare consultant or receptionist. Frankly, the ladies who looked after reception in the funeral homes where I worked were the glue that held the place together! You are so fortunate to have your Mom. My Mom is 81 and going strong — I hope I am as spry at 80! Thanks again for reading. Best, Kate

Thanks, Kate, for the heads up on aftercare consultants and receptionists! That would really interest me!

That is just beautiful. What a beautiful present.

It’s a differet kind of job but someone has to do it, and better to be someone like you who cares for people.

Beautiful post! It’s amazing how someone you’ve never met could touch your life in such an amazing way. Obviously, you touched her loved one’s lives as well :)
I’ve learned from the best, I see……..♥

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