Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I am unable to stop crying and i don't know why. It's noon. I'm at work. I have a lot of work to do. I don't know what the heck is going on. Two families were waiting for me when I got here. One young man to pick up his mom's urn, she was only 54, cancer. His dad died earlier in the year, also cancer. I don't know how old the son is, but he seems to be late 20s. I can not fathom how hard this year has been for him.
Another lady was here to choose a marker for her mother. She was a JERK when she was here before for the arrangement conference. The new FD and I analyzed her after she left, did she love her mother at all or was she overwrought? We judged and found her lacking. Today she was humble and appreciative, just a daughter who lost her mother and for a little while has lost her own way. She gave me a hug when she left.
A viewing for a veteran, his family was here all morning. Also a young-ish guy, 62, very handsome. His wife is so kind and so very gentle. His children are in their 20s and also obviously well-bred, that sounds odd, i don't know how to say it. I stand at the door to my office as they wheel his flag-draped casket to the front door. I always stand as they go by, how could I not. The pall bearers take him off the church truck (new word of the day for you, it's what the rolling stand is called under caskets) and place him into the coach (remember, we don't say hearse). His family is gathered around. It's the saddest part for me, the placing of the casket into the coach. It gets me everytime.
Then I have to hurry in and fill three necklace pendants with remains for a woman who'll be here soon. I hate those darn things. I still need a sieve. I don't have one. The ash is all over me and i can't wash it off. It's in the curves of my fingerprints, even though I've scrubbed. I can look down and see it. I can smell it. It clings to me, super glued to my fingertips. I used the metal polish to buff the pendants. The company sent the polish with them. It etched them and now they look horrible. I've tried to buff them back to a shine. I can't. I got a little glue on the top of one and i try to scrape it off with my fingertip. It seems that the ash is stuck in the grooves of the pendant and it won't come out of there either. I know I'm freaking out and i can't stop. Realistically the ash is gone but i can see it and smell it and I really need it to go away right now.

Skip just got here. With the baby. Her parents will be back anytime, they've gone over to the big funeral home but are coming back here. The baby is tiny on the prep room table. The mom wanted to bring her here from the hospital. She couldn't bear to part with her precious little girl. The mom and the grandma both are beside themselves. I cried with them yesterday. Today, I will try not to. Although i don't know how i won't as i can't stop already. I must look a fright, as Skip just stared at me with his silent appraisal. Did I say yesterday was his first day back? He had a heart attack two weeks ago. He's not supposed to be embalming, cuz he shouldn't be lifting anyone, but he's stubborn and he refuses to stand around "just doing services". It's probably less stressful to be in the prep room anyway. Although I don't think it's the stress his doctor's worried about, but the healing incision where they went into his femoral artery to give him a stint in a heart artery, how's that for technical? I'm glad he's back. I missed him more than i'd realized.

Dang, the baby's family just walked in. What in the world am I doing here?


Sheri said...

heartbreaking. I don't know how you do it. I'd be bawling all the time working where you do.

Sayre said...

It sounds like your job is very demanding on your emotions. And you've stuck it out for a year! If it's any comfort at all, you sound like the kind of person I wouldn't mind entrusting my family to should the need arise. You are obviously a very caring person. In this line of work, make sure you take care of yourself too.

Patience said...

When you stop crying with people who have lost loved ones, when you stop grieving with them, when you stop caring . . . then your heart will have hardened to the pain of others and it will be time to leave.

Catch said...

I would be crying over the baby too....how can you not? I would probably cry with most of the people...especially when they have lost someone at a young age...I think you do a very good job and this blog should be made into a book! It is very interesting and I love the way you express things...