Tag Archives: mortician

It’s My Job

mortician

In “pretty” terms, I am a Funeral Director and no longer a mortician.  I no longer drive a hearse but a “coach.” I don’t perform funerals but “Celebrations of Life.” A vault is now an “outer burial container,” and I do more cremations than “traditional funerals.”

I’ve cremated cats, dogs, and bunnies. I’ve seen grandmas, grandpas, and baby brothers. This job is macabre. Let no one tell you it isn’t.

I do the work no one else wants to do  . . . or think about.

My wardrobe is black, and I must pay inflated prices for comfy dress shoes – black, of course.

People walk in off the street, sobbing, needing arrangements for a loved one who just passed. I gulp back the knot in my throat and proceed with paperwork at hand. Not allowed to show emotion, I stay composed and offer strength to the hurting person by my side. I can release later – when the mind and body reach exhaustion and fall into bed, dishes unwashed and laundry unwashed. Glad to have merely fed the cat. Headache keeps time with the pulse in my temples. I have no energy for tears, just a sad heart.

When I sleep, my mind works through day’s events – in nightmare form. Death and dying . . . it’s my job.      -by Lea Milford

Mortician, Undertaker, Funeral Director ~ Oh, my!

graves graveyard

As soon as my friends and family discovered I had enrolled in mortuary school, they began with the twisted faces, looks of disgust, and questions about WHY I would choose this as my profession.

I’m used to the looks and questions now. However, at times, I ask myself why HAVE I chosen the jobs I’ve had?

I’ve been a nursing assistant at an in-patient hospice facililty. It was a job full of mixed emotions; satisfaction, sadness, empathy, curiosity, and joy were all my companions.

I’ve been a Psych Tech at a mental health hospital, a lockdown facility. I worked with adults, children, but mainly teens. It was months of energy draining, emotionally charged, (yet oddly satisfying) torture.

Now, I pursue the death industry – casket and urn sales, other funeral planning, embalming, and the business end of death. It’s a career that will always be in demand, the salary is good, and I love working with people and in the field of science.

Come to think of it, when I was younger and my friends read Seventeen Magazine, I had a subscription to Psychology Today. When neighbor girls laid in the backyard sun to get tanned skin, I gathered items to view through my microscope. Yes, I also had a chemistry set and a telescope.

So, when I think of what “normal” is for the majority of people, I don’t seem to fall under that heading. I’m abnormal, I suppose. What a boring world it would be if we all were alike, though.

I see myself much like a trash collector in his stinky truck. I perform a necessary function that others don’t necessarily want to dwell on or watch. I just “take care of it.”

I’m thankful for our differences. Our diversity make the world a very interesting place!

Hildreth Deck Eggleston, 1903-1983

Hildreth Deck Eggleston, 1903-1983
“Back to the days of horse and hearse”
Sentinel-Tribune Newspaper
March 18, 1978

As a little girl. Hildreth Deck Eggleston helped her Papa get the horses into harness so they could pull the funeral hearse. She also would set up the black drapes, chairs and the rest of the funeral paraphernalia in the deceased person’s home before the service began.
“There wasn’t anyone else to help Papa,” smiled Mrs. Eggleston. “And it’s all I’ve ever known.”
Mrs. Eggleston, who was 75 on March 12, has held her embalmer’s license for 55 years. Her father, J.F. Deck, started the Deck Funeral Home on East Wooster Street in Bowling Green 66 years ago. Her daughter, Mercene Hanneman, and Mrs. Hanneman’s sons Kris and Kraig, and daughter Kathy, also are funeral directors associated with the funeral home. “The really dedicated funeral homes are the family businesses,” said Mrs. Eggleston. “Used to be when someone died, you practically lived with his family for two or three days. That’s all you could think about.” You never get used to death, not even after 55 years of service to grieving families and friends. “I’m the worst mourner,” said Mrs. Eggleston. “I know how hurt you are inside when you lose someone. I live every one,” she said through tears. Mrs. Eggleston wiped her eyes dry and jokingly called herself an “old-time undertaker.” The only woman in her class at Dr. Buck’s Mortuary School in Columbus , Mrs. Eggleston said she was often embarrassed by her instructor’s references to the anatomy. She got over that, however, and graduated second in her class.
“I entered a man’s world at a time when it was very unusual for a woman to become a licensed embalmer,” said Mrs. Eggleston. Her license reads “he, his, him.” “In those days, there wasn’t any ‘hers,’ smiled Mrs. Eggleston, “just ‘his’. They’ve always accepted me, though. Everyone’s been very kind.”
According to Kris, Mrs. Eggleston knows everybody. In the last couple of years, her health has kept her from working as much as she would like, but Mrs. Eggleston still greets everybody who comes to her funeral home personally. “People stop to see Grandma even before they go into the chapel,” Kris said proudly. “She has always gone out of her way to help people, and they remember her for it.”
“My life is one of helping people,” said Mrs. Eggleston as her eyes misted over. “I like to be here. It’s the people I serve that count to me.”