DOA -RIP

For a brief time, when I was a young funeral director, I had license plates on my car which read DOA-RIP. Admittedly, I thought they were clever and set me apart. The plates garnered mention in a few newspapers, and other funeral directors who read about --or saw--them were not amused. In fact, they chided…

NYSFDA, Spare Us the TikTok eClips

Lately, the weekly eClips, sent by the NYSFDA, have contained more and more links to embarrassing articles by so-called viral sensations on TiKTok. The most recent article, about a mortuary student who "has lifted the lid" (this expression is gag-inducing) about repairing "injuries on deceased people" with clay (which is not used in actual practice)…

A Dying Business

One upon a time, a young woman walked into a funeral home in Queens, New York. She needed an after-school job to earn some money, while she worked her way through college, and the funeral home was hiring. She had dreams of one day becoming a great writer. Well, if not a great one, at…

I Want to Watch

An essential component of our role as funeral directors is to maintain the sanctity of our work and protect the privacy of those in our care. Something that continues to trouble me is the prurient interest some have in the most private part of funeral service. “I want to watch? Can I?” It is an…

Five Things

Five Things I've learned in my long career as a funeral director I was pleased to share my view of funeral service with Life. Death. Whatever., gleaned from the work I’ve done, the experiences of my colleagues, and the perspective of the thousands of families I’ve served over the years. Despite what you may read…

Not New and Not a Novelty

There was a time when women were seldom seen working in funeral service. It's not that there weren't any licensed females --there were. But their numbers were not appreciable, and as in many male-dominated industries, they were often relegated to the background and more feminine duties such as cosmetizing of the deceased. By the time…