And So Begins My New Life

Join me as I embark on a new life and new career in Funeral Services.

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Location: Southeast, United States

I'm a Funeral Services graduate embarking on a new career. I graduated high school in 1981, served honorably in the United States Navy from 1982-1986, been married since 1986, and have one son. I've relocated to a new state and have begun working in my chosen profession of Funeral Services, and I've never been happier.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh My Day, What A God

Wait. Strike that. Reverse it. It was a helluva day today. The new owner decided to take a week off. This leaves two directors to cover two funeral homes. Thankfully we haven't been that busy, but we still had a couple of calls last weekend. Today we had a funeral for one of those calls. Mass then the National Cemetery. I stayed behind while the other guys worked that service. Our secretary has been out with the flu all week so I was alone. I called the retired owner to tell him we were short and I was alone and what should I do if we get a call? He said to call him and he would come in and cover the phones while I went out. Sure enough, we got a call about an hour later. He came in and I made the removal. It is to be viewing/visitation, mass, then a local cemetery. The family wants all this as soon as possible, so we set visitation for Friday, with mass and burial on Saturday. I have never done a full burial arrangement before, so the retired owner decides I should do this one. He laid the groundwork and got most of the information over the phone. I set up the cemetery and the military honor guard, and he left it for me to have the family order flowers, pick out memorial cards and a casket. While we were embalming, the doorbell goes off, meaning someone has come in. I go up front only to find it's the mailman delivering. I return to the prep room to assist, and a few minutes later the doorbell goes off again. I go up front and it's a lady with two small children. She wanted information on prearrangements and cremation. I sit down with her for about 20 minutes trying to answer her questions, but her little crotch dumplings absolutely will not sit still for 2 seconds. Finally we finish up and I go get lunch for me and the retired owner. When I come back we eat, and he fills me in on what I need to do to finish this arrangement. They need to order flowers, pick cards, a casket, sign the paperwork, etc. The family shows up and we go over flowers, and they have a million questions about flowers. What kind can I get? How much is this? How much is that? Do you have some pictures I can look at? Can I get a Last Rosary? I want a Broken Heart arrangement. I want something from the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I want ribbons on every piece. This needs to say this. That needs to say that on it. Make sure the Last Rosary has tight, unopened buds. What's a video presentation? Can I get one? Will the priest come during the visitation for a vigil service?I spent about 45 minutes finalizing those arrangements. They spent over $600 on flowers. I get them taken care of, only to have someone come in a little while later. They want to talk about prearrangements and burial. I spent about 45 minutes or so with them showing them around and answering their questions. They leave with the information and I planned on getting the death certificate generated. I had confirmed that the doctor of record would sign, so I started that file, only to have more people come in. They are having a mass with cremated remains tomorrow, and needed some papers notarized, asked about death certificates and when the cremation was done and would mom fit in the container they gave us. I spent about 20 minutes with them, then I finally get the file finished and the death certificate entered and faxed to the doctor. Five minutes after I fax it I get a call. The doctor won't sign because the patient was on hospice. I said that I was told the doctor would. Well, they told me wrong. So I had to call hospice to confirm their doctor would sign. He will, so I get a new certificate with his name on it and fax it over. Then the granddaughter comes back with pictures for the video for visitation tomorrow. I go over a couple of things with her, including the fact that the social security number we were given doesn't match the Social Security Admin records. So we have to get that straightened out. I was so glad to see quitting time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Burned Out

I am so tired of some of the things that are happening at work. I still like my job and enjoy it so much more than anything I've ever done. However, no matter where you work or what you do, you will always find people who work hard, and people who just squeak by.  In my workplace, I'm in the former group, along with our secretary. Our other director (not the owner) and Returning Employee are in the latter. For example, yesterday I had a service at the National Cemetery. Saturday I had embalmed, but the body needed to be sutured and bathed. When I returned from the cemetery, not only had the other director not touched the body, but he hadn't bothered to empty the trash. So I immediately sutured and bathed the body, then emptied the trash, then cleaned out the chapel from the service on Saturday, then vacuumed the chapel and got things ready for our visitation this afternoon. In the meantime, Returning Employee, who is retiring soon and pretty much already checked out, went home at lunch and the other director spent his free time playing solitaire and checking his Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


This post is not related to work, but I feel compelled to put it down anyway. I have been feeling very nostalgic lately, and I'm not sure why. I find myself longing for things from my past. I found ELO's "Don't Walk Away" on Spotify. That took me back to my high school days when "Xanadu" was in the movie theater I worked at. I would be sure to step into the auditorium every time that sequence was onscreen. I actually ordered the movie from Amazon, and I watched it this past weekend. More recently I've been listening to The Cars "Drive." That takes me back to my Navy days. That was a big hit and would play frequently in the bars we would go to. Periodically I'll dream that I'm back in the Navy, either on my old ship or a different one, but with my old crewmates. I find myself missing my high school friends, but when I reconnect with them I find we don't have much to talk about it, and very quickly the Inbox is no longer receiving messages, so I stopped trying. I bought a book where you fill in answers to questions about your childhood and schooling and experiences and such, and I've started filling that in so my son will know more about me when it's finished.

What I don't understand is why I'm feeling this way. I love my life, my family, my job. Why do I feel the need to call up these memories and feelings from so many years ago?