Revelations of a Funeral Home Employee

By: Andrea Ruggieri
Friday, October 28, 2016

I was struggling to find a job after a layoff. After many months of job searching, of all places I received a call to interview at a funeral home! First thoughts… “I’ll get back to you!” “Do I want to work with weird funeral directors (because, of course… they ARE weird, why else would they be a funeral director?) “It’s going to be creepy!”  My lack of employment coerced me to think, “Is it possible I could make a go of this?”

I’d like to share my perspective first hand, as someone who works at a funeral home, and is not a funeral director. I think this is a very important perspective, as I too, carried the negative funeral home “stigma” in my back pocket. I formerly worked in a long-term care organization taking care, in my own way (Marketing), of the people who lived in assisted or long-term care communities. It brought me such gratification to know that regardless of my professional part in this organization, I was helping someone.

When I began working at the funeral home I admittedly struggled, feeling out of sorts, thinking “Is this where I should be?!” In fact, I spent the first month shouting this question in my mind! I’m not sure when it happened, or how it happened, but one day I was enlightened. I am working in an organization that helps people! I don’t know why that simple fact eluded me in the beginning. I suddenly reveled in the fact that there was a place that you were taken care of as you transitioned from life to death, and more importantly, families and friends were being cared for too. My work was directed to a new form of care, a very important form of care. People who work in funeral care are coming to the aid of people when they are in the most need of support and comfort.

As I got to know the funeral directors that I work with, I realized with each day, how crucial their job is. I don’t think you just “want to be a funeral director.” It is a calling, a life commitment, comparable to being a doctor or clergy who are on call, at all hours. These guys and gals drop everything and often leave their own families in order to take care of someone else’s family.

So next time you have feelings of unease when you think of funeral homes, remember these are havens where family and friends surround and comfort you. The funeral directors that work in them are incredible and real people, and are there to guide and help you through one of life’s most difficult times with great care.

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