Monday, 21 November 2016

The Undertaker's Wife

Finished November 17
The Undertaker's Wife: a Memoir: a True Story of Love, Loss, and Laughter in the Unlikeliest of Places by Dee Oliver

This memoir begins with the sudden and unexpected death of Dee's husband Johnnie and moves forward from there, but also takes a look back at how she met and married Johnnie, and how they had their three daughters. It was obviously a strong relationship and the loss was devastating for her.
Dee's children are still young as she loses her husband, and while she had worked at Johnnie's side for years in his family's business, a funeral home in Virginia, she had never taken the courses or done the paperwork to become a funeral director. Determined to carry on what she knew she was good at, she worked, looked after the kids, and took classes. When it came time to do her internship, she naturally went to Johnnie's brother who was now running the funeral home, but he told her he didn't want her working there anymore. While shocked and hurt, Dee was not deterred, and she found another funeral home who would take her on. It was one that was operated by African Americans and largely catered to that demographic. Dee tells us of her experiences in a way that shows her openness and humour.
This memoir is personal, but also portrays an industry that we don't often see.

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