Becoming A New Mom — And A New Kind Of Funeral Director

Death changes everything.

It takes the familiar and shakes it up.

It takes our everyday and makes it messy.

And this is how I’ve chosen to live my life as a funeral director: in symmetry with those who have to walk with death and grief.

It’s a path that I’ve grown familiar with over the last decade. I’ve found a comfort in working in grief and honestly, it’s given my life a lot of purpose. There is this satisfaction in being able to do this job that I’ve never been able to replicate. And frankly, I’ve found over time that I’m really good at it.

But then, birth changed everything, too.

In August of 2018, I gave birth to my daughter, Daisy. All of a sudden my life was filled with light, and possibilities. I was nervous, and scared. I didn’t know what this new life meant for my current life. All I knew was that her eyes were the biggest I’ve ever seen and if given the chance I’d look into them forever. I’ve never been helpless before. But I was when I held her – helplessly in love.

The next four months were the hardest and best of my life. We lived our lives around one other. My body would warm and feed her, and in return her body energized me. Now don’t get me wrong, I was exhausted, but this journey gave me a lot of insight into my next steps as a funeral director and a mom

My journey as a funeral director

My entire life, I always struggled with being able to identify myself with a skill or trade that I was good at. In school, I played instruments and sports. Good enough to make the team, but never good enough to be a star.

But when I went into mortuary school at eighteen all I really wanted to do was graduate so I could start working. And when I started working, I found out that I was actually good at it. And more so, I found that I was really good at connecting with people.

At twenty years old I finally “had it all figured out”. I was meant to be a funeral director and this was my calling. I’d spend the next nine years submerging myself in my work. I’d make changes here and there but the funeral home was always my constant. It was always my purpose… until it wasn’t.

What happened? This little baby changed all of that. Ten little fingers surrounded my heart along with the cutest button nose you ever did see.

The space between funeral director and mamma

When I went back to work at the funeral home, I expected things to go back to normal. I tried to conduct the funerals, and meet the families, and go to the crematory like I’d done in the past. But this time all I could think of was Daisy back home. So I took a step back.

“Funeral director” might be my occupation, but when I die, I do not want that to be the only thing people comment about me. If people just say I was a good funeral director and brush over my compassion, then was I really a good funeral director?

And if people say I was a good funeral director, because I was always serving families, but missing out on my daughters dance recitals and soccer games, then where do my priorities lie? Because if people don’t first and foremost say that I was a great mom, then in my eyes, I had done everything in my life wrong.

So what could I do? I sat down with my husband and pondered what I could do. No matter what, I really, truly do love what I do for a living. And by not being a funeral director, I feel like I’d be wasting talents that God has blessed me with to serve others. I just needed to figure this out.

Re-defining my work in the world

I used to give this presentation about Compassion Fatigue. It’s something that funeral professionals often suffer from, even if they don’t know the name for it. It’s something that I’ve suffered from early on in my career.

Compassion Fatigue happens when funeral directors become so submersed in their careers and the grief of the families that they serve that they neglect their own health.

And after internalizing the realization of compassion fatigue, I chatted with a good friend of mine, Kari Northey, who works as a freelance funeral consultant. And then it hit me. I could nurture myself, my daughter, and my dreams by becoming freelance funeral director.

The adventure of a freelance funeral director

It’s been about a month and the adjustment couldn’t have been better. Local funeral directors in my area have been reaching out to me for vacation coverage (so they can finally get away). They’re also asking for extra hands on services to relieve some stress from their everyday lives.

And then there are the quiet days. The days I’m home with Daisy, just being her mama. My transition from being a full time funeral director couldn’t have gone easier.

And once again, I’m thankful. I’m thankful that I work in a field that has allowed me the resources to understand how fleeting this life is and to be present in the moments that really matter.

I’ve walked down a lot of paths. I think I just may have finally found one that allows me to become the best version of myself, watering my garden and flower. Who says you can’t have it all? If you take care of yourself, you can take care of others. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go kiss my baby girl.

What do you think about freelance funeral directing? How are you exploring the balance between your dreams, yourself and your family? Tell me in the comments below!


About Little Miss Funeral:

Little Miss Funeral is actually Lauren LeRoy, a twenty-something year old licensed funeral director in New York State. Little Miss Funeral was started in March 2012 as a platform for Lauren to share her thoughts and ideas on the funeral industry. To learn more about her, check out her website at

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