Caleb Wilde

Caleb Wilde

(220 comments, 839 posts)

I'm a sixth generation funeral director. I have a grad degree in Missional Theology and a Certification in Thanatology.

And I like to read and write.

Connect with my writing and book plans by "liking" me on facebook. And keep tabs with my blog via subscription or twitter.

Posts by Caleb Wilde

Listening to the screams of a bereaved mother

I write this as I’m listening to a mother frantically scream, “That’s my baby!!!” as she views the body of her deceased 24 year old son for the first time since his death.  She’s kicking




I write this as my own therapy … it’s hard to listen to.  It must be harder to be her.  I can’t imagine.

A Jewish couple who met in school, they were unable to have any kids of their own so they adopted what became their only son, now snatched away from an overdose.





My dad comes over to me.  We stare at each other for about 30 seconds in silence before he says, “Any mother would do that…”  It’s hard to listen to.  There’s nothing to say at these times, yet everything wants to be said.

*As with all my posts, circumstances, dates and details have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

When “I’m Sorry” isn’t enough. An apology for the misdeeds of the funeral profession.

A scene from the  Tri-State Crematory

A scene from the Tri-State Crematory

We’ve screwed up.

Committed sacrilege.

Tri- State crematory. 

334 uncremated bodies left to the elements and the animals making us look like monsters.

Two mummified babies found in the ceiling tiles of a funeral home.

Jessica Mitford.

The FTC. The Funeral Rule.

The price gouging. The emotional exploitation.

“I’m sorry” isn’t enough.

Even we can’t bury these dead bones.

One bad apple … but it hasn’t been just one.

A corporate guilt we must all eat.

I’ve been honest.  Most of us have been honest.

Compassionate to a fault.

Honorable. Transparent.

But the guilt is stitched on our chest like Hester Prynne.

We cover the letter with suits and ties

and fear and over-blown self-importance and self loathing and defensiveness.

“I’m sorry” isn’t enough.

When we earn your trust.

When we treat you fair.

When we act with compassion

When you see us, not as funeral directors

but as family.

Our service offers hope for redemption.

because “I’m sorry” isn’t enough.


Digging up Grandma’s remains so you can sell her grave

Grave plots are property.

When cemeteries become full, that property’s value can skyrocket.  Supply and demand.

And when you’re hurting for money, and your grandmother’s remains are buried in said property, YOU DON’T SELLOUT GRANDMA!

That is, unless you’re the guy who just dug up grandma so he could sell her grave.

A Darwin, Australia man has dug up his buried grandmother and cremated her body so he could sell off her burial plot for spare cash.

This was revealed by NT News with further reports that Darwin City Council have been discussing whether to review the Cemetery Act, alderman Gary Haslett said.

Mr Haslett said a ‘black market’ has emerged as there are locals who were ‘dying to be buried’ at the city’s general cemetery.

It is unknown which cemetery the Darwin man sold his grandmother’s burial plot, however Darwin General Cemetery is at capacity with the exception of grave sites which were bought in advance.

You can read more HERE.


The Trauma of Closing the Lid of the Casket

This is it.

The casket lid begins to quietly close

Your insides open and yell.

Your memories are now all you have.

There will be nothing new.

Your last look, your last touch

The beginning of your tears.

This is it.

Beliefs attempt to comfort

You cling to thoughts of a future hope

You will see them again.


Is this it?

The lid shuts.

You grab for something stable

You find an arm,

A hand

A hug.

A family member

A friend.

Two broken trees fall into each other

And hold up the other.

“Control it”, you tell yourself.

Forces beyond you like seismic shifts

Destroy what was once normal

Landscape rendered

Buildings destroyed

Death is creating the new normal

Tears wiped with waiting tissue

The lid is closed.

This is it.

Brown Box Paradox

FullSizeRender (1)

I remember the first time I used the brown, one foot wide by two feet long, wood, velvet lined box.

No need for the pomp of a hearse.  I used my own car to drive to the hospital.

It looks like an inconspicuous tool box, with dings and dents and stains.

No one knows what I’m doing when I carry the box into the hospital.  Nobody is supposed to know.

Nobody wants to know.

On my way back from the hospital I thought about that little brown box.

I thought about how it contained all the greatest hopes and fears of humanity.

I thought how it contained the heights of humanity’s passions,

the height of our joys,

the hope of our future,

and the very miracle of God.

At the same time, this brown box contained the impetus to the deepest questions our soul can ask,

the hardest tears we can cry and the profoundest pain we can feel.

All in this little box.

Usually, when we go to the hospital to pick up a body we bring a stretcher to carry the dead weight of a deceased adult, but on these occasions we bring the brown box to pick up the dead infants.

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