Do you know a Funeral Director? Have you ever met one? Until I researched and obtained my internship in the mortuary industry I didn’t know anything about Funeral Directors.
I didn’t know that a Funeral Director could cry. Sometimes your Funeral Director cries with you.
Similar to First Responders, Funeral Directors are the pillar of strength in the midst of chaos. Remembering that tears are healthy too, is a balanced way to navigate.
The first time I witnessed this was during my internship. I was assisting a Funeral Director with an open casket church service that was to be followed by a burial at a local cemetery not far away, Woodlawn Cemetery.
Of note: Woodlawn is one of the private cemeteries that allows Green Burials as of this post.
Slavic funerals I have worked generally include embalming, an open casket church service, MANY extra large floral easels, family photos with the casketed deceased and burial services the same day. The funeral songs are amazing to me and, “go straight to your bones” as my coworker said that day.
You can here what I heard here: (audio file link) Google Drive
I was looking forward to the outdoors of the cemetery and the breeze. It was sunny and dandelion fluff was floating like snow. When I walked by an Andromeda bush the small flowers smelled like honey.
After the church service the Funeral Director waited for a cue from the family. In a couple minutes she was instructed to close the casket. This was a metal sealing casket. It was the middle of a hot Seattle summer and I was sweating in my suit, trying to remember to flex my legs and not lock my knees. I melt over 80*s F.
The way I was taught to close a casket when part of the ceremony can be described as formal, respectful, slow, and deliberate. Take time to carefully fold the overlay and extendover.
The sister of the deceased burst out in sobs and rushed up to the pulpit area where the casket was being closed. She was not ready to see the lid close over her sister. She clung a bit to the Funeral Director and the Funeral Director hugged her back.
The Funeral Director, my coworker kindly opened the casket and re-adjusted the extendover. As she walked over to where I was standing at-the-ready her head was bowed. Once she met me and raised her head to wait with me until the family was ready, I saw tears running down her cheeks.
She said, “I try not to cry but she really reminded me of my sister and I. That got through.”
Link to video of Holly of “Acts of Compassion”
Grief support group: http://www.griefanonymous.comhttp://www.griefanonymous.com
About the location photographed: Palm Royale Cemetery is one of Collier County’s cemeteries. It was established in the spring of 2001 on 25 acres in the North Naples area, Florida. Palm Royale offers a variety of options including ground burial with traditional upright granite memorial, above ground entombment, and options for cremated remains.