I'm a 20something funeral directors apprentice too. Also currently working full time at a crematorium with two retorts. What kind of equipment do you run? We have a B&L N-20 and a Matthews Power Pak 2. I'm partial to the Matthews. Also, do you have a CANA certification?

lol is this in french / our units were built in the early 70s / they don’t have “model numbers” / they’re really simple brick chambers with two giant blowers inside / no whimpy automatic anything / i just woke up because a bunch of cats were screaming outside / I was having a really disgusting dream / back to bed


When I was working for corporate and my blog was “discovered” by my co-workers - not exactly a Sherlockian feat, considering I never kept it hidden -  I’d been absent because of my jaw surgery for a week. I found out that this discovery led to multiple roundtable discussions regarding how out-of-line and inappropriate it was for me to write about what I do on a daily basis. (Mind you, none of this was ever discussed with me. It was all simply done behind my back. That seemed to be par for the course in this funeral home, but that’s another story.)

After the fact, I was cleaning the prep room with my supervising embalmer as we discussed the blog. He’d been the one to tell me about my co-workers fury, and he couldn’t seem to wrap his brain around why I wanted to tell the stories of my daily experiences. I was scrubbing blood off of the floor behind the pink porcelain table while he tried to explain.

"It’s just that…" He took a deep breath. "Okay, let’s put it this way. I was listening to this interview on NPR with some soldiers who had been deployed to Afghanistan, right?"

I nodded, wondering exactly how much elbow grease it was going to take to get the floor clean. We often working through the afternoons with NPR on the stereo, but I’d missed this set of interviews.

"And they were talking about being out in the field and experiencing these crazy, sometimes horrible things. Explosions, death, dying, bodily injury, mutilation. I mean, they were seeing awful things on the daily."

"Right. That’s war. That’s what they signed up for." I let out an inner crow as a chunk of the stain lifted.

"Sure, absolutely. But the thing was that when they tried to write home or talk to their families about it, they found that there was absolutely no way the people they loved could relate. The soldiers’ experiences were just way too outside the realm of what’s considered normal. So when the conversation would come up, when their Mom or Dad or whoever would ask, ‘What’d you do today?,’ they’d just shrug and give this totally noncommittal response."

I paused, letting that percolate for a minute. “Okay. The point?”

"The point is that don’t you sometimes feel like that, doing what we do? Sometimes I get home and instead of delving into the nitty-gritty of all the crazy shit I saw today, it’s easier to just shrug it off and not get into something most people wouldn’t even understand anyways. Knowing I feel like that must mean you do, too, so why bother with the blog?"

I’ve replayed that conversation in my head over and over since it first happened, almost a year ago. Last week, I had one of those weeks. A week where all I could do at the end of the day was collapse into bed, curl around the fuzzy warmth of my dogs, and watch a ton of trashy television. (The hot redhead just showed up on Grey’s Anatomy.) A week where trying to tell the stories of what I had gone through would be impossible, because there aren’t enough words or punctuation to describe the experiences. A week where working in the death care industry is sometimes exhausting and it makes you want to throw your hands up in the air because the only people who would get it were working it there with you and they don’t want to rehash it with you again and again and again.

Sometimes when I disappear, it’s just because I’ve had a week like that. A week without words for the experiences. Don’t take it personally when I don’t write home, okay? Like Slug says, I’m always comin’ back home to you.

for those of you wondering yes i am in the winter olympics this year competing in the “dragging a 165 pound dog on a cart with four broken wheels through six inches of snow” event


Siegrist Cemetery, Ronks PA, alongside the sign for the “Quiet Haven” Motel
Photo credit: Julie Sterner


Siegrist Cemetery, Ronks PA, alongside the sign for the “Quiet Haven” Motel

Photo credit: Julie Sterner

Hi! I'm a mortuary college student in Southern Indiana and I was wondering what states don't require a degree. I'm going to stay in school but I'm just curious because I know some states, like Ohio, require a bachelors.

don’t know. check with the local boards of states you’d be interested in practicing at. every state has wildly different requirements.

New to your blog, decided it was time to get a recent graduates opinion. Mind me if these have been asked; did you have any prior experience within the funeral services before? I have been aspiring to work in the funeral service for awhile and I am ready to switch my major to mortuary science, but I have never had real experience and I feel as though many people in this field are far more experienced than me. I have been visiting homes in search of some, I wonder if I have waited to long?

hi no i didn’t have any experience in a funeral home until i started working at one part time. if you go to mortuary school (check with your local state board to see if you even have to go, or if you can just serve an apprenticeship to get a funeral director’s license, unless you’re really dead-set on embalming), you’re going to find a mix of people who come from a family business and have some experience, and a lot of people who have no experience. more and more of the latter than ever before.

does anybody ship me

does anybody ship me



It's good to see you back on my dash. I have always found your posts to be enlightening. You have an occupation that incites curiosity, and it's a rare thing indeed for the layperson to have the ability to hear about that occupation first hand. Thank you for being so open and frank with your fandom. Best of luck to you in your new position (and new digs).

aww thx bby

omg lol do i have a fandom? what do you call yourselves?

i have a buddy licensed in funeral directing and embalming. He too, is now only working for a crematorium... im in school to be licensed at the moment and had the privilege to spend the day at the crematorium. I agree, its a much easier and peaceful job than being at the funeral home. Aren't you going to miss the embalming experience, aren't you afraid that youre gonna forget everything... well knowledge wise? Also, i just might plan on doing the same... hows your pay?

im not an embalmer lol is my blog going to revert back to the days when everyone thought i was a girl for the longest time

it is a harder job than my job at the funeral home, but it is less complicated. meaning, i’m no longer managing a whole facility and half of a second. i wear far fewer hats. but the work is, if anything, more difficult, especially physically. but far less complicated; especially because i no longer have to deal with the personalities at my last job and keeping all that in line.

as far as forgetting everything, i don’t think theres really anything i could forget…i learned a ton at the funeral home about the industry, how it works, who to know, how people relate to each other in it…it’s not really techniques, it’s just a way of being that you don’t really forget

i make more money than i imagined i ever would at this point in my life at “only” the crematorium. i’m not rich by any means, but i’m very happy with my pay for a 26-year-old only out of college for 3 years (with a BA in English). i know a lot of people who still can’t get a job, flounder from job to job, or aren’t happy with their pay. i feel very lucky.

Do most funeral homes do animal cremations as well? I remember my family had our dog cremated, but I just assumed we went to an animal specific place, because you know, dog.

most funeral homes don’t have crematories, period. but some crematories run a pet business as well as human cremations. most often, though, veterinary offices have a local crematory that they deal with that comes to pick up the animals, so when you take your pet to the vet to be put to sleep (or it dies from injuries at the vet), you pay the vet office for the cremation, who then calls a crematory who will perform the cremation, then deliver the ashes back to the vet office where you pick them up. although some, like ours, services vet offices as well as takes animals in directly.

wait, if you don't work at a funeral home, where do you work?
what is your average day like

right now, we’re insanely busy, so literally all i do is cremate. load a body, burn it up, scrape it out, load again. if i’m left alone to do what i have to do, i can get around 8 done in an 11-hour work day (we have two units). but other times my day is cremations, animal and human pickups, delivery of ashes, checking in bodies. my job is a lot less complicated than it was when i was at the funeral home, and that’s nice.

i listen to fast car at least twice a day on youtube so youtube only recommends tracy chapman videos to me

is anyone else listening to the howard stern birthday show friday