I have no idea why but I’ve been to an inordinate number of funerals. Nobody in my immediate family has died, thankfully, but still a lot of people close to me: all of my grandparents, some aunts and uncles and even a couple of friends. I’ve seen a lot of death and grief and been to a few funeral homes in Perth. Throughout this time I’ve had dealings with some really great funeral directors and learnt a thing or two about funeral services and how the whole process works.
What I’ve noticed is that different funeral directors have different ways of organising everything and handling the grieving, sometimes stressed, relatives. Some take the cool and calm approach, while others take the compassionate, caring approach. Each has their unique personality, or perhaps they change their personality to accommodate the grieving family and their special needs.
People sometimes don’t realise how busy directors get at funerals. Perth has a lot of great funeral homes and directors but they’re only human and there’s only so much they can do. As a result, I’ve found myself in the position of having to take charge of some things and help grieving relatives. It was weird that I kept finding myself in that role, perhaps because I cope well during difficult emotional times, and perhaps also because people recognise this strength in me. I found people turning to me not just for practical assistance but also for a shoulder to cry on. I also get a deep sense of satisfaction out of helping people out in this way. Funeral services are a really difficult time and it makes me feel like I’m doing some positive work in the world, kind of like a social worker or philanthropist I guess. Now I’m even considering a career in funeral homes and funeral direction. It’s satisfying work, and with the aging population of Perth, sadly we’ll be having a few funerals in the coming years. It’s a strange vocation in life, but oddly satisfying despite the sadness.