The Caregiver's Soapbox

Volume 17    www. thedead-beat.com    Issue 5

Mortuary Muse*     Mortuary Muse

*to think or consider deeply; meditate By Lowell

Death care….. Is it a calling, an obligation or just a job???

You have often heard it said of someone really competent that his dedicated profession is a calling.  It’s sort of a divinely inspired mission.  In our circles it is usually referring a funeral director or clergy.  I’m sure many people feel, and rightly so, is about themselves fulfilling a calling.  For some it could be a family tradition/obligation with varying degrees of proficiency.  It is, however difficult to believe anyone works in death care as just a job attitude even though they might be proficient at what they are doing.

Twenty-two years ago at the National Foundation of Funeral Service counseling week of seminars, I was surprised at the number of attendees who were turning to death care for their second or even third career.

Perhaps all careers are merely stations along a pathway with many branch intersections or forks.  Turn right or left at an intersection and travel on it a ways.  A new interest might become a new career or enhance the current one.  Oh, you drew a blank on that one—well go back to the old path but keep your eyes on the alert for a new interest that may lead to another career.

If you have read my column, “The Prairie Post,” which started this year, you know it is about my passion for preserving native grasslands and my work with the Missouri Prairie Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups.

In August of 2015 I gave a brief presentation to about 100 prairie enthusiasts from seven states who attended the 40th anniversary of MPF’s Golden Prairie being designated as a National Natural Landmark.  I remarked that I had never had a single hour of formal environmental education, but had learned from several great mentors and personal observation (the core 320 acres of Golden Prairie was owned by my family).  Instead of any formal environmental training I had a 64-year career as a funeral director.  That brought a nervous titter from the audience.

I went on to explain that I felt working with grieving people for 60 plus years was one reason that I have such a good relationship with people who are grieving the loss of our native habitat either through economic necessity or wanton greed.

This week I was pleased to learn that my remarks three years ago have a new degree of validity.  Mental health professionals have felt that many people, especially younger people, are suffering from environment or climate change anxiety and are offering therapy to help with this.

If there is a point to this space filler it may be—It’s not just a job—it is a pathway but watch for the fork in the path.

About the Author:  Lowell Pugh has had funeral director and embalmer licenses in Missouri and Texas.  He is publisher of The Dead Beat which began in 1999.  He can be contacted at The Dead Beat address. 

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