Life Among the Dead

It is really hard to believe that I graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science 20 years ago this year! (Yes, there is a college for my profession.)  It has been 15 years since I started our own business which means all of our children have grown up in the death care world.  With many professions the work can be left behind at the office at the end of the day with the kids rarely being exposed or gaining an understanding of what dad or mom really do.  Not the case with owning a mortuary.  It is a lifestyle the whole family is exposed to and participates in.  Two of the four kids actually lived in funeral homes while I was going to school and working on my internship.  Death is a part of their everyday life including the physical, emotional and even business side to dying.  I was reminded this most recently with my phone ringing and our youngest immediately going silent.  How many four year olds out there silence themselves at the sound of the phone all because they know a new grieving family may be on the other end.  What’s interesting is that it is nothing we have really ever taught.  Sure, we sometimes have to remind her, but the majority of the time she stops talking, singing or playing on the iPad until I’m off the phone and then simply asks, “Daddy, did someone die?”  It’s not to brag about a cool trick the kid does.  It’s just the reminder to me of how much death has influenced all of our lives.  Phone calls in the middle of the night, dinners interrupted, vacations limited or cancelled, and the awkward answer to, “what does your daddy do?” has all been a part of everyone’s life.  Death often takes center stage in our family, so we make it fit into everything else we do.  The kids often joke that work always gets busier when we go to Disneyland.  Heck, I even have specific places in the park I know are quiet enough to take and return phone calls.  “It’s a Small World” is not always the best background music when taking a death call.  But then again, I think families we serve appreciate that we are still a family doing regular family things, all while living life among the dead.

-lifeasus

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  5 comments for “Life Among the Dead

  1. Ashley
    December 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Just somehow stumbled upon this via BuzzFeed. My two children from a previous relationship, and myself, just moved in with the love of my life, who happens to be a mortician. The way you describe the phone calls that are so unpredictable, and having to hush the children when that phone rings, is so real. It’s something that I’ve definitely gotten used to… But it’s still difficult sometimes to hush that screaming one year old when you know he’s taking a work call. It’s a life I never expected to find myself in… But one I wouldn’t change for anything. It’s exciting, different, sometimes lonely but always, always so worth it to spend your life with someone so wonderful.

    • lifeasus@gmail.com
      December 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Hi ASHley!

      Thanks for finding Us and your comment! Even love can be found among the dead! Celebrate every moment of your life together!!

  2. Katherine K
    January 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I just found your blog via the Buzzfeed article about your fabulous fashion! My husband is a funeral director (fourth generation family business). Over the years, it’s been fascinating for me to realize over how different life can be for those in the funeral industry: how the concepts of “day off”, “unplugged”, or “sorry I can’t make it out in 17 inches of snow” simply can’t be in our lexicon, or how uncomfortable it can make folks when for our family, recognizing death is a part of life. It also helps for people to realize that we’re not the Addams Family :)

    We have two kids, ages two and under … Thanks for a glimpse into how life might look in a few yearss!

    Off to follow you on IG … happy New Year!

    • lifeasus@gmail.com
      January 10, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Hi Katherine! Thanks for stopping by. Always great to connect with another “funeral family.” It is certainly a sacrifice to work in our profession and only a few are “built” to do it. We think it works best within the service of a family and, as hard as it is sometimes, hope you find many rewards raising your family in the profession as well! Happy New Year and keep in touch!

  3. Katherine K
    January 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I just found your blog via the Buzzfeed article about your fabulous fashion! My husband is a funeral director (fourth generation family business). Over the years, it’s been fascinating for me to realize over how different life can be for those in the funeral industry: how the concepts of “day off”, “unplugged”, or “sorry I can’t make it out in 17 inches of snow” simply can’t be in our lexicon, or how uncomfortable it can make folks when for our family, recognizing death is a part of life. It also helps for people to realize that we’re not the Addams Family :)

    We have two kids, ages two and under … Thanks for a glimpse into how life might look in a few years!

    Off to follow you on IG … happy New Year!

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