Wear all white

Photos by: Matt Barnes

Acceptable colors to wear at work are black, gray and navy blue. The professional staff will wear the occasional white or light blue business shirt under their dark suit jackets. Some sassy authority bucking interns will try red and other colors.

As the years have progressed my wardrobe slowly became more and more business and dark earth tones. It’s just easier to mix and match leisure or active wear with work shirts for example, if the color scheme is the same.

To be honest I’ve been sporting around my lightweight black hiking quick dry pants at work lately. I really like how versatile they are. I can be in a morning meeting at 9am and on a forest path by dinner without having to change them.

I remember buying and wearing my first formal business suit and how awkward it felt. Like a costume. It took a year or so before I wasn’t highly aware of it.

Fast forward to now, it’s part of the usual, like clockwork and not a second thought. So, one morning in the few moments of deciding what to go with for the day (on a day off of work) my desire for some balance lead me to a completely white monotone outfit.

I even had some white sports shoes in a back drawer. This was risky since I’m not that agile and for a bit I was wondering if I just shouldn’t even eat or drink in this experiment.

But as luck would have it I completed an errand day without incident. My Doc even dished and was telling me about his “retirement” wardrobe that consisted of clothes like my white outfit and khaki. Very beach friendly.

I thought he was on to a great idea. What better way to help tell your brain that it’s your time to relax? We wear specific clothes for events, why not have “day off” or “retirement” be as important as work and sports when it comes to clothes?

Yeah, sweats and a t-shirt kind of count. But I want something that I can go out in public wearing and feel good about it.

So began my habit of wearing all white sometimes.

Do you have a quirky style habit that is influenced by your career or industry? I’d be happy to hear about it.

An undertaker’s top hat: I like how in the UK Funeral Directors will wear top hats. ‘Paging’ (walking at the head of the cortege) at a funeral is also something that would be formal and add to the ceremony. I have yet to experience either as I haven’t seen them done in WA state (where I am) yet.

Or if there was, it was performed by military, police or other fraternities.

An older Funeral Director did bequeath a real top hat to me at work. I keep it on a shelf near my desk just in case. It inspires a smile when I look at it.

In the web: Death Over Dinner

In the web: Emergency Responder Funeral Directors

By: HollyBerry

You Are Not Alone

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.”

By: HollyBerry

Link to video of Holly of “Acts of Compassion

On the web: From another female funeral director

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.

By: HollyBerry