The holidays are an interesting time for funeral professionals.
While everyone else taking time off of work and getting into the jolly cheer, you’re being asked to turn the volume of your willpower, focus and space holding abilities all the way up.
Yep, the holidays are when you, my dear funeral professional, are being asked to show up 100%.
And you know what? Even though it’s hard, I bet you wouldn’t have it any other way.
We appreciate the journey you go through during the holidays, and wanted to highlight the highs and lows of it.
With that being said, here are the top challenges and triumphs of being a funeral director during the holiday season:
#1: The (lack of) vacation
The challenge: Christmas vacation plans? Ha, that’s SO thirty years ago!
The triumph: On the upside, Christmas vacation won’t empty out your bank account.
#2: 24/7 availability
The challenge: You don’t shut your doors during the holidays. In other words, while others are relaxing with their families, you, dear funeral director, are busy at work.
The triumph: Your doors may stay open, but so, too, does your heart. While others are relaxing, you are offering a level of service that many cannot meet.
#3: The call
The challenge: Not only do your doors stay open, but you’re also on call… pretty much 24/7. And anything goes. You might be enjoying yourself with your family, or in bed at 3am, and no matter what… you’re there.
The triumph: This can be a surprise as much as it is a challenge, and this is what builds important character traits like adaptability, flexibility, detachment of expectations, and of course, the ability to hold space for those suffering, no matter what time of day it is.
#4: The surge
The challenge: There are more natural deaths on Christmas Day, the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day than on any other day of the year.
The triumph: Stepping up to the plate at a time when people need you is probably the most potent form of validation for choosing this profession.
#5: Death is all around
The challenge: Not only in the funeral home but also out, death is all around – the trees, flowers, and grass are replaced with barren lands and sheets of ice and snow.
The triumph: When the snow falls, some of the most beautiful winter plants make their way into your funeral home, including holly, ivy and poinsettias (all of which are symbolic of love, devotion and everlasting life).
#6: The gift of gifts
The challenge: You probably won’t get to see your loved one’s opening your gifts.
The triumph: Yet, the greatest gift you can give to your client families is the assurance that their loved one is being treated with dignity and respect.
#7: The melancholy
The challenge: There is a funeral director-specific melancholy that arises when the sun stops shining everyday, the business hours increase, and the holidays arrive. Where does it come from exactly? No one knows, but it’s there.
The triumph: This part of us that some would call the darkness, deserves a spot at the table. When we listen to the inner melancholy, we learn things about ourselves that we don’t have a chance to notice when the sun is shining. A slow and steady awareness arises when we listen to our melancholy, and it gives us the opportunity to grow and learn.
Which of these challenges and triumphs resonated most with you? Tell us in the comments below!