The Special Day in the Funeral Home
While working for a temp agency, my boss asked me if I would work in a funeral home. “Absolutely Not!” I told him. “There’s no way! That would just be too weird.”
He pleaded; I really need someone to take this job. They need someone full time, and I know you need the hours. You can go in first thing in the morning, and have the entire afternoon off. It’s exactly what you asked me for.”
He was right. But working in a funeral home gave me the creeps. I accepted the position.
It was weird at first, but the guys who worked there had a very special passion for life. It didn’t take me long to adapt that same attitude.
Working for the funeral home, I was responsible for turning the lights on every morning. I cleaned up flower petals that had fallen over night, made coffee, provided tissues for crying clients, placed flowers, touched up the deceased, and even assisted with some embalming. It was a quiet job and it made me appreciate every day, for I knew it could be my last.
I didn’t hear celebrations very often. There was one, however, that caught me completely off-guard. Clients started coming in the front door, and filing into one of our observation rooms. They brought cake, plates, champagne, utensils, and cups. The celebratory laughter was almost deafening at times.
I felt anger well up inside myself. I remember thinking, “How could anyone celebrate a child’s death?” Having been in the room earlier, I knew the deceased was only seven years old! It was such a young life, to be cut so short. How sad his parents must feel!
I tried to hide my anger, but I wasn’t very successful. My boss told me to take more tissues into the client’s room. I remember thinking “Why, they aren’t going to use them.”
I did as I was told, picking up a box of tissues and taking them inside. One of the men in the room read me like a book. Knowing I was unable to understand the reason for the celebration, he pulled me aside to talk.
He began, “Steven had Brittle bone disease, which is very rare, and it caused his bones to break very easily due to a low production of collagen. There are six different types of brittle bone disease. The type of brittle bone disease he had severely affected the quality of life little Steven had.” He said.
He went on to say, “His bones broke so easily that everything he did broke them. He also, because of his disease he also had poor muscle tone, he had some loss of hearing, and his eyes were discolored. His joints were loose, causing a great lack of coordination, resulting in even easier broken bones. His was Type II Brittle bone disease, which is extremely severe. His bones were severely deformed and his lung development was not normal. Respiratory infections are the primary cause of death in his type. Brittle bone disease has no cure, so treatment aims toward reducing breakages and deformation.”
He continued, “In his case, having just gone thru a growth spurt, his bones were even more vulnerable to breakage occur with even the simplest of movements. His days were filled with painful breaks and injuries. The condition was so difficult for us, that it is truly a blessing that he doesn’t hurt anymore.”
The man was Steven’s father.
I walked away feeling kind-of stupid and judgmental. Who am I to say what kind of funeral anyone should have? The lesson I got that day changed my outlook on life, and death. I’m a happier person today because of it. I try not to ever judge things I don’t fully understand. I have a respect for life that I never had before.
I hope reading this helps you to have a better understanding, and hopefully even love your life. Enjoy today, you may not have tomorrow.