8 Pieces of Amazing Funeral Content To Occupy Your Weekend

There is nothing we love more on a sunny summer afternoon than kicking back with an ice cold drink, propping up our feet, and losing ourselves in a great story.

Or, probably a more accurate picture if you’re in the funeral profession… sitting down after a long 14 hour work day, cocktail in hand, looking for a way to unwind and remind yourself of all of the invaluable reasons why you do what you do.

Whichever scenario best summarizes your upcoming weekend plans, there is always a benefit of adding a little funeral storytelling to your life.

For the days where you need to be inspired, there are articles of bravery and passion from service professionals around the world. For the days where you need help better supporting your families, there are meaningful, personal Q & A threads that offer up invaluable advice. And for days where you just need to lose yourself in a story in between house calls and errands, there are engaging podcasts that talk about the latest and greatest news in the funeral profession.

So no matter how you are spending your weekend, whether it’s at the funeral home, on call, or in the rare sanctity of your own backyard, we’ve collected some of our favorite pieces of funeral content — in written, spoken and conversation form — that will help inspire you, support you, or just tell you a great story. Enjoy!

ARTICLES

1. “Last Inspection: Precise Ritual of Dressing Nation’s War Dead” by James Dao

We always hear tragic statistics on the news in times of war… a fallen soldier, an unfriendly attack, a horrific accident. And in the funeral profession, we see the first-hand the honor and importance that goes into planning a military funeral. But what exactly happens in between? Who cares for these soldiers when they come off the battlefield, heading back to their family for the final time… this time without the warm welcome?

This article takes a close look into Dover Port Mortuary, where military soldiers slave painstakingly to ensure that every single soldier that comes through their doors exits them with much honor, prestige and respect as possible. It’s truly a moving look into this often looked over military career.

“About 6,700 American service members have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and almost every one of their remains have come through the Dover Port Mortuary. Yet only since 2009 have journalists been allowed to photograph coffins returning from the war zones, the most solemn of rites at this air base. The intimate details of the process have been kept from public view.

“But recently the Air Force, which oversees the mortuary, allowed a reporter and a photographer to observe the assembling of dress uniforms for those who have died. A small slice of the process, to be sure, but enough to appreciate the careful ritual that attends the war dead of the United States military.” Read more…

2. “At Mrs. Kennedy’s Side: My Memories of JFK’s Funeral” by Clint Hill

There was perhaps no one closer to the Kennedy family during their time in the White House than Secret Service Agent Clint Hill. He was there on the day when president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, and he was at Mrs. Kennedy’s side every step of the way as she planned one of the most watched funerals in American history. This article is Clint Hill’s recount of the days following President Kennedy’s death, and what goes into planning a president’s funeral.

“The president’s body will be moved from the Capitol to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and then on to Arlington National Cemetery for the interment. The entire leadership of the United States will be present, along with leaders from almost every country in the world, and they will be outdoors marching through the streets of Washington, D.C., exposed like never before. It is a security nightmare, all conceived by the person whom I am responsible to protect — Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy.” Read more…

PODCASTS

3. “Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End” by Aaron Freeman:

Every year, the families that funeral professionals service begin to place less and less value on having a religious service. Many will choose to speak to their loved one’s life themselves, while others hire professional funeral celebrants to share stories, memories and healing remarks. However, in this podcast, Aaron Freeman makes a beautifully poetic case as to why families should have physicists speak at their loved one’s funeral.

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed.” Read more…

4. “John McQueen and Todd Van Beck: Funeral Directors Are The Magic Bullet” by Funeral Gurus:

You can learn a lot about the state of the funeral profession by picking the brain of some of the best and the brightest in our industry. And that’s exactly what Robin Heppell did in his recent Funeral Gurus podcast when he brought on John McQueen of Anderson McQueen Funeral Homes and Todd Van Beck of John A. Gupton College. It’s an insightful chat worth checking out.

“John and Todd share their thoughts on the state of the Funeral Profession, challenges Funeral Homes may face for 2016 and share some strategies on how to make 2016 your best year yet.” Click here to listen…

5. “Mike Squires on ‘Southern Calls’, Southern Funeral Traditions and Grief” by Funeral Pro Chat:

One of our favorite aspects about funeral traditions and services is that many of them change from state to state and region to region. For example, a traditional funeral service in the south is going to be vastly different from one that happens in New York or Chicago. To help better educate the profession on some of the things that sets the south apart when it comes to funeral service, ASD sat down with Mike Squires, founder of “Southern Calls” magazine to learn more.

“Southern Calls features gorgeous new and vintage photography and stories of funeral service in the south. In this podcast interview, Mike is interviewed by Nancy Burban and ASD Public Relations Specialist, Jessica Fowler, about how the idea for Southern Calls was born, how funeral traditions in the south have changed and how he has been affected by his own personal experiences dealing with grief.” Click here to listen…

Q & As

6. “Will I ever be happy again after the loss of my only child?”

Sometimes families hit funeral professionals with questions that we simply don’t know how to answer, even years after being in this profession. For example, how to deal with the loss of a child, or how to begin attempting to heal after such a tragic event. While we may not have all the answers, we can share knowledge from those who have been there and have offered insights of their own. This Q&A on Quora is a great resource for anyone who is looking to better understand a parent’s grief after losing a child:

“These are such precious times that you must stop the car, step out of the meeting, withdraw and be with her.  No matter who sees you, you must wrap your arms around yourself, sink down and weep.  Remember your baby and say what you would say to her ‘My baby, my baby, Daddy is here, I’m here.’ These times may be the most precious and important times in your life and any intrusion of negative thought can just butt out.  Especially shame.” Click here to read more…

7. “What is one remarkable thing you’ve witnessed at a funeral?”

Due to the nature of the business that we are in, many people — both funeral professionals and the families that we serve — claim to witness remarkable things during the funeral planning process. Perhaps it’s a sign from something bigger than themselves, or a strange sight that they can’t otherwise explain. In this Quora Q&A thread, people share some of the most remarkable things that they have witnessed at a funeral.

“When we were taking her to the crematorium, every person on the street, walking, running, in their cars, on their scooters, motorbikes and even on crossroads at the traffic signal. They all stood still the moment they saw the hearse (Vehicle in which the deceased is carried). Utter silence on the road, people stopped talking.

“All of them stopped whatever they were doing, stopped their vehicles, stopped walking and stood still. Then they bowed down facing the vehicle in which she was carried, mumbled some holy verses and joined their hands in Namaste position and gave their respects to her and seeked her blessings.” Click here to read more…

8. “When does grief get easier?”

Last but not least is the exploration of a question that funeral professionals receive far too often, whether it is from someone who has recently suffered a loss, or from someone who has lost a loved one years ago. The truth is, grief comes in all shapes and sizes, and the length of the grieving process is unique for each person it touches. In this Quora Q&A, grief experts and everyday people come together to attempt to answer the question, “When does grief get easier?”

“All grief is different. When does it get easier? I don’t know. My grief now is not the constant, shattering, terror that it was during the first six months or so. Nor is it the surges of numbing, ghastly depression interspersed with bone-shaking sobbing that plagued me for the next eighteen months. At the moment I’m hoping that the last two-month episode of deep empty blackness that descended on me is really, truly gone. At least for a while. My grief seems to metamorphose continuously.” Click here to read more…

What is one of your all-time favorite pieces of funeral content to read or listen to? Be sure to share it with us in the comments below. We may just feature you in an upcoming funeralOne blog!

 

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments.

  1. Christine

    I love reading the stories and anecdotes from the funeral industry professionals……never morbid, always respectful and enlightening.

    I would be interested in any advise for offering my videography and photography services for creating visual tributes at memorial services at local funeral providers.

    I wish I done this for my own family members funeral services, I would have been comforted while feeling uncomfortable at their farewell.

    Many thanks in advance, I look forward to any suggestions or advise.

    Kindest regards

    Christine Ruksenas-Burton
    christine@contrivedbydezign.com