Teaching Paint Night at the Funeral Home

As a Funeral Director I’ve grown accustomed to odd and entertaining reactions from people when asked simple conversation starters like, “So what do you do for work?”

One of the challenges we face is connecting with the living before they need mortuary help. It’s not a topic most around me easily enter. It’s not a topic that seems, “normal.”

In my world view it is normal. Not only is it normal, it’s part of my weekly work life. Coordinating the details and working as a liaison for the deceased and their Next-Of-Kin is the essence of my function.

When I was younger I definitely didn’t meet the customer’s expectation of what a Funeral Director looks like. Some customers still assume they will be meeting with a thin, tall, gaunt old man and seem a bit confused until introductions are complete. It all adds to the unique experience.

Connecting with the living can be a challenge in my industry. One way I’ve been bringing the gap in this arena is by hosting events at the Funeral Home.

With Paint Night I was able to take my background in visual arts and lead a class during a paint-and-sip social. The whole event took about 2 hours for the guests and everyone had so much fun, at a funeral home even.

Several of the guests were comfortable enough to venture into the topic of death and ask questions without a direct need for a Funeral Director. In this stress free zone a real connection can be made sans the sorrow.

Such a positive first exposure to this experience left me encouraged and happy to facilitate more Paint Night events. Public requests are welcomed.

By: HollyBerry

In the news: human composting

Road trip to Wilhelm Portland Memorial


This might be a great place to start our origin story.




September 23rd, 2017. A road trip to Portland, Oregon from Seattle, Washington. 


Just us girls in Michelle’s little Fiat, precious escape from work and any excuse to get out of town for my birthday. Dry and sunny weather made for easy traveling outside the cities



Michelle describes herself as a, “gypsy punk, exploring quite places.” I have been lucky to be her exploring buddy on many a trip.




Her talent of remembering history and stories of the places and people has long been something I admire about her.



We arrived at Wilhelm Portland Memorial in the early afternoon and proceeded to explore the historic building.






Founded in 1901, Wilhelm Portland Memorial is the “largest and oldest indoor cemetery west of the Mississippi.” There is a population of 90,000 people laid to rest within the 10 floors at Wilhelm.



The mausoleum used to be open to the public, but became private in the ‘00s after a rash of copper thefts. Thieves were stealing name placards, flower sconces and other items off the property.




Not only is this indoor cemetery the biggest mausoleum I have seen, in person to date, it is also where Michelle has a relative interred and thus our visit. The 70s couches, copper flower trash cans and hand painted (1000s of square feet! HUGE!) mural are weaved together with polished marble, beautiful fountains and spiral staircases.




We ended our self guided exploratory tour at her relatives marker. This felt like the perfect place to leave my birthday rose that I had with me from the second date with Matt…. that I had been toting around with me for 2 days, across 2 states and giddily sniffing it’s soft fragrance while road tripping.



FUN FACT: Wilhelm Portland Memorial houses one of two true marble replicas of Michelangelo’s Pieta weighing 9000 pounds. The marble comes from the same quarry as the original!



Post by: HollyBerry and M