Category Archives: Funeral

Just Another Day With Death – A Poem

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They call at two

They call at three

Makes no real difference to me.

The dead . . .

They care not what time I am forced to rise

They care for nothing

About nothing.

Where are my scrub pants

Dirty from the last prep

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Come, the dead urge me

They insist

I answer, after finding new pants

I’m coming.

Soon you will be

Lovely as can be

And all because of me.

Just another day with death.

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She Went From Fine to Dead in Three Weeks

friends

My sweet friend, Ann, a long time survivor of ovarian cancer was a published author of a nonfiction book on the subject of her ordeal and survival of that cancer. Her book was organized to help the cancer patient, her caregivers, and family. It was a fantastic compilation of biblical scriptures and uplifting advice from someone who had lived the disease and come out on the other side healthy!

She lived over a decade with much energy, fervor for life, a generous nature, helping others, and caring for her ailing parents and disabled husband.She gave me inspiration.

We, both, being writers, would set regular coffee dates and sit in out of the way booths with our laptops, paper, pens, books, and espresso-filled coffee concoctions. We laughed, shared the happenings in our lives, then we’d write for a bit and read the resulting masterpieces to each other for a quick critique or kudos. It was fun.

Then, I moved to Dallas to attend mortuary school and lost touch with Ann. When I finally moved back home, Ann and I didn’t get back in touch again. Our lives were full and changing. However, we “knew” the other was “there,” and that was somehow enough.

On November 4th, 2015, a fellow writer friend told me that Ann had suddenly passed away from cancer that had gone undiagnosed until it was too severe to treat. She was diagnosed, went into hospice care, and died within three short weeks. I didn’t know about it until she was gone.

I realize that true friendship doesn’t have to mean you see each other often or talk every day. You just have to know the other is nearby and just a call away. I knew that about Ann. I loved her, and I knew she loved me.

I wish I had taken the time to see her just for a coffee date, though. It would have been such a blessing to me now. I’m going to pay more attention to the people I love. I’m going to make it a point to tell them I love them. Life is too unstable, uncertain, and fleeting to assume anything.

Thank you, Rebecca Ann, for teaching me that lesson. God bless you my dear.

 

5-Year Plan?

thinking

Someone recently asked me, “So, what is your 5-year plan?”

I remember just staring at him, not having an answer that pleased me. I shrugged my shoulders and half-smiled. We parted ways but his question stayed with me. What WAS my 5-year plan?”

I suppose I have plans but just don’t think that far ahead because I’ve been in the last year of college and working like a dog to finish. If I look up for long, I tend to lose my place and have to take extra time to find it again. So, I keep my head down and plug away at the homework, classes,  and tests. I’ll get there. I graduate in 2 1/2 months. That’s all – about 10 weeks. I can do this. I keep telling myself that. All the while, I’ve dropped back into depression, gotten back on a mood med, and quit my new job. I’m keeping my head down, though, and only looking up long enough to watch where I’m heading.

I take the first of two portions of the National Board Exam (I’m in mortuary school) in about a week. I don’t think I’ll ever feel “ready,” though. It’s expensive if I have to retake it, too – like hundreds of dollars per section. 😦  Pressure, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and worry have been my companions for a couple of months now. I’m ready for it to be over. I want to enjoy life again. I want to read for pleasure again. But, yuck, I’ll have to get a job. Job should be a four-letter word! I want to travel instead.

So, what is my 5-year plan? To finish school, pass the exams, serve my year’s apprenticeship and become fully licensed as a funeral director and embalmer. Then, the other 3 1/2 years? I suppose my goal is to get very good at my job – knowledgeable and well-paid for it. Ha!

I try to take things a day at a time these days. Later I’ll consider what my future might look like.

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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