You Don’t Look Like a Funeral Director

That’s the typical response I get, from the young and old alike. Younger people have a stereotype of what a funeral director should look like – thank you Netflix. They might expect Lurch Adams or perhaps a character from “Six Feet Under.”  The older folks walk into a funeral home looking for a middle-aged, church-going man. I don’t fall into any of the above-mentioned categories, but that is the change in our industry. Join me in my exploration. Continue reading

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Be Happy, Serve Well

Everyone wants to be happy when it comes to your career.  So with that being said, if you are unhappy with where you are employed, it’s time to have a conversation or potentially move on.

Now, I am not saying grab a box and start packing up your things.  I am simply stating that if you are unhappy, try and figure out why.  Make a list of the things at your current place of employment that you consider negative and then make a list of things that you would consider positive.  Take a deep hard look at this list and determine if the positive outweighs the negative.

In our line of work as funeral professionals we must be positive in every facet of what we do.  Continue reading

Getting Creative with Funeral Hospitality

I am currently traveling for an industry specific educational retreat. I have been attending the event for the past three years and have focused my studies on Funeral Home Management, Leadership, Sales, and Marketing. This is my graduation year (I’m excited and bummed at the same time) and I decided to try the newest class available: Hospitality and Event Management.

Arguably, no trend has seen such wide spread change in our profession as Catering, Hospitality, and Events.

In a trade not always known for embracing change, I’m astounded by how many funeral homes and cemeteries that are integrating services and facilities such as catering, reception rooms, event centers, and life events, into their general price lists. Continue reading

Journey to Columbus

My journey to Columbus actually began in Memphis in 2014. Stick with me on this one!

My plane had just landed and I stepped outside of the airport into the sweltering heat of a July day in Tennessee. I was already sweating as I crested the doors to the passenger pickup area only to discover that my shuttle was nowhere in sight.

It was my first time attending the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association University (ICCFAU) which is a week long educational retreat held every year on the campus of the University of Memphis. I was there to continue my academic growth as a funeral professional, but I did not know what to expect.

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Folks, Get Ready…

Get ready… and what I mean by that is get ready for all the criticism you will receive being in this profession.  If you were to take a poll of a 100 people I’m assuming most people would say they believe funerals are a rip-off and a funeral director is out to take advantage of someone at a tough time.

I have been in this profession for 14 years now and have heard this as many times as I have heard the phrase “People are dying to see me” which was not funny the first time or the millionth time.

Obviously I have dedicated my life to being in this profession and I take it very seriously and will defend it, so I am a tad biased.  People just have zero clue as to what they are truly paying for.

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Sorry For Your Loss

What can you say to someone who has experienced a death close to them? You may do your best to console them with well worn phrases such as, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

You may choose to liken their experience to something from your own past… “I know how you feel. When I lost my mom…”

Or you may even take the spiritual path to grief relief and exclaim, “They’re in a better place.”

Whatever your method of giving condolence, you may want to consider what is going through the mind of the mourning before digging up a clichéd and possibly offensive message.

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Aaaaaaaaand… We’re Back!

So this is what a hiatus looks like?

Two months is far too long to go without saying SOMETHING… anything. Thanks for your patience, unless you’re new here, in which case: Welcome!

A lot has changed since our last blog post. Zach and I went from being friends as competitors to being friends as coworkers! He now manages Lucas and Blessing Funeral Home in Burleson, Texas which is a sister location to Lucas Funeral Home in Grapevine, Texas where I am.

Soooo, with that exciting news out of the way, what’s new with you?

😉

The summer is finally behind us. I can shift my focus once again to writing…

…Wait.

You’re telling me that winter is the busy season for the funeral profession???

Well crap. Back to work.

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Embalming 101

Embalming… the opportunity for we professionals to create the perfect “memory picture” for a family.  When a family chooses to have their loved one embalmed, never take it lightly and always be aware of the sacred trust that is being placed in you.

It is smart to watch and learn from as many licensed embalmers as you can when serving an apprenticeship or starting your path in the funeral profession.  Continue reading

Train Up An Apprentice

**Forward from the Editor: Matthew Morian

“The focus of Millennial Directors has been to share Millennial viewpoints on the funeral profession. I feel that expanding that focus to allow other generations to share their viewpoints directly with Millennials is also incredibly beneficial to the growth of our profession. On that note, I introduce one of our Gen-X counterparts to share his perspective: Dylan Stopher.”

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You know what’s crazy? If I were to ask 100 funeral directors from different firms how to train a student or apprentice, they would give me 100 different answers. Those answers would vary greatly in scope and level of intensity. Some would be focused on arrangements and some focused on embalming; some looking into paperwork and some looking at professional demeanor.

The best part is that none of these are wrong. The worst part is that all of them are not given equal focus. So I’d like to propose a set of specific steps for standardized training within any facility for students, apprentices, or new funeral directors in your organization.

Please know, these are only suggestions.

Let’s begin with the obvious “Rule Number One” for all funeral professionals: the family is in charge. Continue reading

Yoga: A Funeral Director’s Coping Mechanism

For some of us in the funeral profession, we speak of our career choice as a sort of calling.

The first half of my career I just kind of muddled through. Let’s face it, mortuary school didn’t really prepare me for the situations and the families that would walk through the door. That kind of experience only comes with time.

There are some families that come to us with a sense of relief and peace, but there are those families that sit across from us that are broken and damaged. As a poised and strong funeral director, I carry them through the hardest days and weeks of their lives.

But as a human, I am broken with them.

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