I saw this title or something like it on my daily Google death care alerts and thought. . “What of it”. The American Millennial generation started with births in 1980. . what is so strange about a 40-year old managing a mortuary. My goodness, we have people younger than that serving in the United States Congress.
I opened up the article, which you can find here, because I was pretty young when, because of my father’s death, I began running our small funeral operation. I was 19 when I started doing it part-time while going to college and 22 years of age when I started full time as a full-time funeral director and mortician.
The article, however, was inspiring. It tells the story of 28-year old Matthew Mott, an American veteran who served in Afghanistan, and his road to owning and operating his own funeral home in Loudon, Tennessee. Reading the story, even though I can not relate to his military service, did remind me a lot of why I enjoyed being a funeral director for over 35 years. It reminded me of the burning passion to help others — even when being just a wide-eyed kid.
It reminded me of being somewhat intimidated at first about helping people who were so much older and wiser than I. Husbands and wives who lost their spouses sat with me for arrangements and we were able to come together despite 50 year and more age gaps. Children, who had lost their parents, and were in their 50s were a good 30 years older than I.
However, reading the article on Mott, reminded me that regardless of my age and inexperience, I was there to help. Mott relates, and I can relate with him, how it is probably easier for a 28-year old funeral director to “hop” out of bed at 2 am for a death call. I was there — at 22 and at 55 — and I can tell you, Mott is correct for it being easier the younger you are. . . . .except for the older you get, the more you realize because of life experiences, how important it is, that you are there, to those you serve. . . . As funeral directors age, I believe we learn it is more about “them” than “us”. And, that is important to know, too.
Another thing I learned as a young funeral director who was always trying to help was that client families really appreciated you. Even when things didn’t go as perfect as I wanted them for a family. . . families were still very appreciative because they knew about the effort being expended to try to do the job. They seemed to care about you. . . if you showed you cared about them.
Another thing that is great about this article is that it is refreshing to see young people take the reins and move forward. It took me a while to learn, that as a boss, it was better to trust young employees and let them step up rather than just tell them what to do. I was always amazed that when I gave employees responsibilities, they did a better job.
My hat is off to Matthew Mott and all the young people in funeral service. You are not the next generation of funeral professionals. . . .You are the funeral professionals. Thank you for what you are doing.
Here is the link to the Matthew Mott owned Loundon Funeral Home