Are you Serious? Me?

It was a dark stormy night, the feel of death was present. Two women were approaching me. I wanted to hide and go another direction.  They saw me, I was stuck!

That’s not how the story went. It was daylight and I was in the middle of a grocery store parking lot, on my way into the store. The two women  exiting the store were friends that I had lost contact with.

So that just proves my point, death is not just a dark, hidden, isolated event. Nope! It is an equal opportunity offender. It has a mind of it’s own. Broad daylight or the middle of the night it doesn’t care.

And the rest of the story goes like this; Three women talking all at once trying to cram years of life into a brief chat. To sum it up without getting carried away, I was offered a job selling cremations.

I asked her: ” You want me to replace you?”

She said: “Yes you, I’m moving out of the area. I’m trying to replace myself,  you would be perfect.”

I said: “What do I have to do?”

She said: “Just help people plan their final arrangements. you go into their homes and sit with them.”

After exchanging information and realizing what an unusual job it was, I was hooked. I would of regretted bypassing the opportunity.

Of course, there was lots to learn. If you read a book about swimming, you only learn to swim by being in the water. And I’m going to sell cremations without having had one myself?

Was there a way to prepare for this line of work, other than trial by fire? I had doubts about my abilities. How could I be an expert on death, if I haven’t died yet? Who’s going to take my advice on death while I’m alive. No, I’m not going to die and hire a ghostwriter to prove a point!

The only education I needed was life experience. Helping others dealing with their mortality. My view is simple, the words in a sentence make sense when there are spaces between them.

The words represent mortality and the spaces represent immortality. Known and unknown. Often we reach for the unknown to give us strength, hope and courage to face the known.

I found a way to connect and be true to myself while I was employed. Honesty I had no idea what I was doing when I started. It was later, that I realized I was a human bridge connecting the known with the unknown. You gotta love a good mystery!

I was helping people get through “This” whatever “This” was at the time. It was amazing how many people just wanted to get their affairs in order after the recommendation of their financial planner or attorney.

There were also the ones that had been given their death sentence.

Exhibit A: About 2 to 3 months time to live.

Exhibit B: Burial?

Exhibit C: Cremation?

Exhibit D: Death

Did this work affect me? You bet it did! If it didn’t I would of quit. That would mean I was immune to the nature of human suffering.

It was ham and eggs. The chicken participated, but the pig was fully committed. You can’t fake it, be there 100% or move on to another job.

I was committed like the pig, I had never heard of a pre arrangement counselor, then I became one.  I believe in advanced planning. It provides the map, your survivors  can rely on at the time of your death.

Questions, questions, and more questions. What to do with the body? Cremation or burial? Who do they call? Did anyone know your final wishes?

In the mobster movies Guido answers the phone and the caller asks him to make the body disappear. Guido represents the funeral home that has your plans on file. People do not always die between office hours of 9:00 to 5:00.

Your survivors will know who to call. No plans on file, no problem. Guido always answers the phone. The question for them is not if, but when will we need Guido?









Home Visits

Another part of my job was to visit people in their homes to help them make prearrangement plans for their anticipated deaths and disposition.

If you can imagine sitting down and discussing a one-way trip which they could never talk about or share details of their adventure, this was it.

Often, I referred to myself as a one-way trip travel agent…TO BE CONTINUED (this blog is still brand new and under construction).