Why did I become a funeral director by Jamie

Questions I get a lot are “How did you become a funeral director?” Or “I just don’t know how you do what you do?”

Let’s start with how I became a funeral director.  Most of the time family is the reason for becoming funeral director but not me.  It started my sophomore year in high school in a small town of Ness City and my first job.  The gentleman the hired me, Joel, owned many businesses, well, one of course was a funeral home.  I kept the yard mowed and cars cleaned and polished.  I worked at all of Joel’s businesses and worked with the public a lot.  I would help with moving caskets and just slowly worked my way up in the funeral home by doing every little thing I could do.

Before I knew it, I was graduating high school and had no clue what I wanted to do.  Joel had taken out a certain amount of money out of every pay check to save for college.  Heck, I never thought about going to college.  But, with Joel’s help he got me to Fort Hays State University, it was a awesome experience.  I figure I would take art class.  I like to draw with pencils and other “artsy fartsy” things.  But, after a year, I did not like art because the classes would make you draw things I was not interested in drawing.  I could draw anything but I need to have interest in what I was doing.  My grades to began to fail plus playing to much basketball, which I really wanted to be my major.

Summer break started from college and I went back to work for Joel.  I became more involved in the funeral home and doing more with funeral directors.  One day, Joel asked me, “Jamie, would you be interested in going to mortuary school. I think you would be good at it”.  I said, “Sure”, so then I was signed up for the mortuary program Kansas City Kansas Community College.

As soon as classes started I knew this was I wanted to do.  I loved to help people and it also had a art side.  Restorative art was a very hard class but I liked it.  The art side of me had to get creative and interested.

Over the years, art is very important when it comes to embalming and restoration of a individual.  When completed and family comes to view their loved one and says, “They look wonderful, Thank you”, that bring me joy to help a family move forward in the grieving process.  When it comes to restoration of a individual, there is nothing I won’t do to get a family to be able to say their, goodbyes.  I strive for the best results, but, there is only so much we can do.

Now, over 20 years later, I have done many things in funeral service.  Many of them, have worked out for the best possible results for the family.    Some people, just don’t even know how many hours we have spent to making their loved one look the best we possibly can and to organize a personalized service.  That is part of service that no one sees.

Now to the directing part of being a funeral director, this is where you learn to listen and take in all the information you get from the family.  In usually 3 days time, provide a personalized, one of a kind service for the family.  Over the years, I have done many personalized things for the family and public during a service.  It is when you doing something that is not the norm that makes a service for a loved one, memorable.  Sometimes, the public don’t like it but it is what the family wants and to get them moving forward with dealing with the loss.  Trying to personalize a service with all the stories and information a family gives you, is challenging but when the service is over and they family say, “Dad, would have liked that”.

With all aspects of a funeral director, I grieve also with family.  It is human nature to care and help, when it comes to a death.  Of course over the years, the emotions of this career is never easy and it takes a toll on you.  But, still to this day if a family calls and asks for help with death, I still care and do all I can for them like it was my first day out of mortuary school.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s