Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Post One Hundred and Forty Three: For Reals.

This guy knows where it's at.

WHY IS HE SO HAPPY? How the sh*t do I get so convivial? How do I get there, during the course of my humble life trajectory?

I have questions today. Serious questions, because I had a very serious day.

I answered my first "Hello ma'am, my mum just died. Help me?..." phone call today. It was the worst Jerry, the worst.

I've been perfectly trained in what to say and how to say it, but when you pick up the phone and you can hear the pain in the callers voice as they whisper over the line from the room beside the one that their mothers/fathers/lovers body is going cold and stiff in, that transaction f*cking sucks.  Attention is aggressively pulled away from the clear view of the hot dudes punching the boxing bag in the gym across the street. The fax machine noises that have pissed you off all day vanish. Everything disappears as you try to dive into the phone receiver, twisting through the wire to come out the other side and into the person's mind-space. If only.

I desperately want the words to flow out of my face naturally during the conversation so that I can actually HEAR what the other people are saying (as opposed to what is going on in my own head whilst I kick myself for stuttering/whimpering/pitching my voice too high because I'm stifling tears).

And then I have to muster up the balls to talk to these grieving people face to face, mano to mano. In this arrangement procedure we talk about family history to register the death legally. We make choices like whether they require a cremation or a burial, a coffin or a casket, a religious or non religious ceremony; and the list extends to all the madcap things that you can do to celebrate the life of someone who has died. I have only just now begun to comprehend how much of a multi-tasking genius I have to be, how trusted I need to be by my folk, and how responsible I will be if I stuff sh*t up.

Funerals are pretty crazy. Ladies cry. Men cry. Kids cry because the grown ups are crying. Today even a priest looked like he wanted to cry. The lass that had died had lived very very short life. She left a small, scared child behind. Did that lady know a happiness? If so, does her child know that she did? Will her child remember the funeral in 20 years time?

Gosh, will that child remember me? If so, I hope I said the right thing.



  1. "Will her child remember the funeral in 20 years time?" That's why I do what I do, as a Funeral Photographer. hugs x

  2. I didn't mind when the Funeral Director's staff cried with me. It helped me feel it was ok to be a little teary that my husband had just died unexpectedly. All I wanted was for people to be patient if I started crying. I knew I'd be able to speak again soon, I just needed them to give me 30 seconds and not rush me.

    The child is likely to remember feelings associated with the funeral rather than all the details. If the child feels their feelings are being accepted and understood, I think they'll remember the feeling of that knowledge.


  3. are you ok sarah? i (we) haven't heard from you in a while - i know moving to a new city can be a bit hard and it all seems a little daunting at first (having done it about 6 times in my life - several to other parts of the planet), but :) is worth it (in terms of personal growth alone), and where = melbourne well we really are nice friendly people.

  4. Interesting stuff. My favorite is my autobiographical "No Crying at My Funeral." I just started my other one entitled, "No Tears at my Funeral"
    I'm glad to find someone who can talk about it and not get worn down.

  5. Convivial, Late Latin "convivialis" meaning to feast! 1660CE