Sunday 17 June 2018

Confessions of a Funeral Director

Finished June 15
Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life by Caleb Wilde

The author of this book started writing a blog about his experience as a sixth generation funeral director, and that led to this book. He is very open about his experiences, including his initial reluctance to join the family business, one that both of his parents grew up in. He discusses his crisis of faith, his ongoing uncertainty about his career, his moments of understanding and enlightenment, his respect for the people whose bodies he looks after, and their loved ones. He talks about his own family and the things he has learned from his father, both his grandfathers, and others. He includes deaths that affected him personally, as well as those for whom he only learned the stories as he carried out his services. Drawing on different experiences that he was part of, he showed how other people, other organizations, and religious bodies showed honour to those that died as well.
He took on graduate work on the subject of death, religion, and culture and thus was closely observing these experiences, thinking hard about them, and trying to learn more, and that all shows here.
One bit of writing that I shared with a friend going through her own loss touched me,
Nevertheless, death asks us to pause. It doesn't tell us what we need to do when we pause (there may be nothing to do at all), but it asks us to be in its presence. To site with it. Listen to it. To lay aside chronos and embrace kairos. [Kairos has to do with the quality of time, not with the passing of time] ... It's not a moment of weakness but of strength, and we need to be reminded to allow for these natural pauses in life. We will find that death sits at the heart of what it means to be human, and we mayjust find ourselves when we practice death Sabbath
I didn't always connect with everything he wrote, as much as did with this, but I always appreciated his thoughts and feelings around these issues.

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