Renew your commitment
Funeral directors are interesting creatures. We live to serve. . . . that doesn’t happen in every profession.
I told my wife the other day as we live in this pandemic world every body seems to have all the answers. Politicians are acting as scientists, scientists are acting like politicians, parents know more than the teachers, teachers know more than the administrators, and every where you turn. . . . somebody has an answer . . and that answer always seems to be different from the last answer you heard.
I also told Angie that as the vaccines come that can help us all out of this pandemic the next big argument in America is who goes to the front of the line. . . . everybody will want to be first. . . . it is just human nature. No one wants to wait. . . I’m hoping this can be all orderly, but I’m expecting politics, fear, and greed to cause a huge argument in our society.
Earlier in the pandemic, death from COVID-19, in my opinion, was pretty much localized in what were termed hotspots. Those of us in rural areas thought maybe we would be immune, but that has proved wishful thinking because we have been hit now also.
I stopped by my old funeral home and visited with the staff the other day to learn about our COVID numbers and I received an e-mail from another rural funeral director who was a mortuary school classmate of mine who told me that his community has been hit hard too.
One of the things that hit home from both of these episodes for me was how professional and unselfishly these funeral directors are serving their communities. Yes, I understand that it is not easy to lose a loved one to COVID, but I also know that having a professional there to guide survivors through the next steps is a blessing for those survivors. . . . .and I’m so proud to be part of a the fraternity (or sorority) of men and women who are stepping up to that task every hour of every day since this pandemic hit our shores.
And, we are doing it without arguing and asking to step to the front of the line. As you can read from this article from the National Funeral Directors Association, the NFDA has advocated, in my opinion correctly, that funeral professionals are essential health care workers that need to be protected. Originally, while you could make a great argument that funeral professionals should be in the top tier, we were listed as Tier II out of 6 tiers in waiting.
While it appears that each state will make its own determination, it appears that the Center for Disease Control now puts funeral professionals in what it terms Phase 1a. I don’t know what that actually means, but what I have seen that is impressive to me, is that funeral professionals just keep doing their job, without seeming to worry about this. . . day after day after day.
I think that tells a lot about our profession and who we are.
I also think it gives cause to the humanity of our profession and would argue that now is the time to re-commit or re-dedicate your work to that of helping our fellow human beings . . . . whenever and wherever they need us.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Funeral homes adapted to the pandemic. The changes made grieving harder. The Washington Post
- Funeral homes and medical examiner weigh in on spike in COVID deaths. Video story and news article. KUTV and KJZZ.com (UT)
- Why Cemeteries are increasingly costing local governments big. Spectrum News (NY)
- Funeral homes struggling with increased deaths, stress. Lake Mills Leader (WI)
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Thank you. You are so right. We need to lead instead of react. If we keep doing the same things we have always done we will not get the same results we have always gotten. We need to redefine our purpose. We should not be focusing on closure. Closure is a misnomer, not an antidote for grief, and the concept has done great harm to our profession. We deliver comfort and confidence. People need our professional assistance and guidance to reach that point.
We must find options. One example is our Coasson, with which Covid-compliant wakes are easy to accomplish. Moreover, we can take the visitation to extended living facilities, nursing homes, etc. and fill the void that is created when someone dies and disappears because no visitation is held and if it were, we can not load a bus with people from a living facility and go to a visitation.
I appreciate you writing and again send my thanks.