A Funeral Director’s Christmas
I’ve entitled this article “A Funeral Director’s Christmas“. But, I will tell you, I’m not so sure that I would know a funeral director’s Christmas if I saw one.
For me, I’ve been licensed 42 years now as a funeral director. So, in a couple of days I’ll be going on my 42nd Christmas as a funeral director. No doubt, some are more memorable than others.
We’ve had some, even by Minnesota standards, tough weather lately. . . Snow and extreme cold temperatures. Schools have been called off or had late starts three days last week. On Christmas Day we usually make the trek to my in-laws home sixty some miles from us. The weather we’ve been having made me think back to past years. . .at least 28 of them since we have had children. There was one year where winter weather kept us from that trip.
I always have a good time and enjoy my extended in-law family. However, I have really fond memories of the time we were stuck at home. . . . our boys were probably about 10 and 6 years of age at the time and I can remember watching the movie, The Nativity, with them in a movie like setting on our big screen in our theatre room (which, by the way, my wife calls my football room).
It was just fun to be with our own little family. . .just the four of us and also being able to relate to our boys the non-arguable humanity of the Christ child being born and why we celebrate. The Savior was brought into the world on that blessed day to begin His life that would pave the way for eternal life for us. . . .Of course, this has nothing to do with being a funeral director . . .or does it?
A couple of other Christmas holidays stand out to me also. Since, we are home with my extended family on Christmas eve, it was on Christmas eve that I remember feeling like I was doing God’s work at times.
One of those times we had a new young funeral director on duty at the funeral home spending his first Christmas in our community. He and his young wife were new to town and on call. That situation allowed Angie and I to invite them to spend Christmas eve at our home with our family. Sure enough a death call came. . . .an automobile accident with a fatality.
He left his bride and I left my family and the two of us trekked out to the scene of the accident. I remember well, because the temperature was about 20 degrees below zero and when we would pull the bag out to place the body in it. . . the plastic was so cold that it would just crack rendering it virtually useless. Needless to say the resulting delivery of the body to the medical examiner’s office and the ensuing visit to the family, who now had a whole lot more difficult Christmas than they expected, took the evening away from us. . . . In the meantime, a couple of funeral directors’ wives made the most of it with two young boys who couldn’t wait to see what Santa Claus had brought them.
Another Christmas eve automobile fatality on the freeway outside of town is another memorable time for me. I remember spending most of that day with a Minnesota State Patrol officer helping him to make sure that he got identifications of the three fatalities correct. That was a day when a father and two young sons returning from a hockey game were on their way home to spend Christmas eve and Christmas with a wife and mother who was busy preparing for the occasion. The highway patrol officer wanted to make real sure that he had the right identities before he phoned a colleague in another community to give that wife and mother the worst news she ever would hear. . . on that Christmas eve.
Christmas is a great time for me. . . I love seeing family. . . . I love the holiday music. . . . I have warm feelings and great recollections of many Christmases at my church as we turn out the lights, light candles, and sing Silent Night. I can say that I simply love receiving all of those emotions that are brought to me by these happenings.
But when I really think about Christmas, I think of the times that I got called in to work. I think that is where the real spirit of Jesus Christ is. . . .especially for funeral directors. You see, the spirit of Jesus Christ is more about giving than receiving. . .as He came and gave His life for us. . . . as funeral directors, know that the giving you do for families is important, incredibly important. . .and Christ-like in its unselfishness in caring for others in a fallen world.
May the blessings of our Savior be with each and every one of you this Christmas weekend.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Kickstart: Hillenbrand leaving the funeral business behind. Plastics News
- “Mortuary waste” fluids disposal to river on city-council whenua agenda. Stuff (New Zealand)
- 1 in 3 adults fear they won’t be able to pay for their loved one’s funeral – due to rising living costs. The Scotsman.com (Scotland)
- A Labrador named Pearl is helping grieving families in St. Clair County. Times-Herald (MI)
- “Holding pattern” as Army considers eligibility changes at Arlington National Cemetery. 4- NBC TV – Washington, DC
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Thanks Tom. We’re fortunate not to have that kind of weather and the MEs have a removal service for their calls. God bless all FDs and Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Great story! Thanks for sharing.
Well done Tom!
Merry Christmas Tom
Thank you for reminding your readers of the real meaning of this special time of the year.
We need more stories like this and less of those about man’s inhumanity to man that seem to be the focal point of print and electronic media these days.