Time for a Top Ten list from your local funeral professionals! Now I am by no means a “Miss Manners” of funeral etiquette, but some things should be non-negotiable when attending a funeral service:
One. Silence your phone. Seriously that means you.
Two. Silence your insatiable curiosity. If the cause of death is common knowledge, then you will already know about it. Please don’t badger the family for “gory details” at the funeral. Likewise, don’t expect the funeral home staff to let you in on the family dirt. We will not be the source for #NOTTHEBABYDADDY on your Twitter feed.
Three. If you call the funeral home and explain that you were unable to attend the visitation, the service and the committal, but would still like to know where the luncheon is being held? “I’m sorry sir; I don’t know where the family has made those accommodations but thank you for your call.”
Four. Don’t bring a date. By all means, if your longtime partner knew and loved your Aunt Matilda they should be included, but if you met someone yesterday at Subway and they seem real nice, a family funeral is not a great second date.
Five. Don’t NOT have a funeral. This sounds like funeral home marketing gobbledygook but it’s not. I’ve worked with a number of families who have abided by the “He never wanted a funeral” reasoning. It is very difficult for these families to move to the next level of their grief without the closure of a memorial service of some sort. I would never suggest that someone go expressly against the wishes of their loved one, but a brief moment of remembrance and sharing privately with your pastor or even at a family meal can go a long way toward starting the healing process.
Six. Did I mention silence your phone? Think about other sounds your phone makes also. If you plan to take a photo of Grandma’s headstone during the committal service, maybe disable the cute voice on your cell phone that squeaks “Say CHEESE!” as a photo is snapped.
Seven. Don’t overdress. I know it is black, but the dress you wore to your BFF’s bachelorette party, the one that all your friends agreed that “Oh My Gawd!” made you look “So Freakin’ Hawt!!!” may not be the right dress for the Catholic Mass part of Uncle Dick’s funeral. Bring a sweater. And some pants.
Eight. Don’t underdress. Now I don’t think I’m going very far out onto the limb when I say that most families don’t give a hoot about what you wear when. They are just touched that you took the time to come. That being said, if you are attending the funeral for a person who is part of a large inter-racial and diverse family, it might be a good day NOT to wear the T-shirt that says “I Had a Swig at Nig’s!”
Nine. Don’t think you will come up with the perfect thing to say. One of the epiphanies I had when I first started officiating at funeral and memorial services in 2001, was that there was NOTHING I could say that would make this family not be sad. I realized all I could do was to be present and non-anxious with people who were grieving. Sometimes the best that you can do for someone who has endured a loss, is to look them in the eye and let them see that you care.
- Ten. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! Recently, we had a committal service at the Southeastern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove. While I was speaking, a lovely older woman’s phone rang. I continued speaking while all in attendance gave her the “death stares of contempt” while she loudly explained to her friend that she couldn’t talk because she was at a funeral. A few minutes later, while the Marines were folding the flag in silent respect for their fallen brother, her cell phone rang again, and again she chattered loudly. There was nothing that could be done to rescue this moment for the family that day, but I make a vow personally that if your cell phone rings at a funeral, I will kick your butt from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. Semper Fi.
Today’s guest post is written by Patti Fitchett. This from Patti: I am an apprentice funeral director who started performing funeral ceremonies in 2001 when I was hired to sell pre-need burial insurance. That was a bust,( no sales chops!) but the funeral business grew on me. My first degree is in Theatre Arts and I have two adult sons.
by Shane R. Toogood
Above my television, ten years after Mrs. Connelly had given it to me, is a poster of Edgar Allan Poe: “In the Mind of Edgar Allan Poe.” It’s a portrait of the Master of the Macabre with images of his greatest pieces bursting from his cerebellum and into the world: the nevermore raven, the black cat Pluto with his one eye, the gold bug crawling over his monstrous forehead…
She and her husband, Chris, had visited the Poe Museum in Philly and, as a graduation gift, she gave me the poster. (“I hope you didn’t already have one–I couldn’t remember if you said you had been to the Poe House or not.”) That following fall Sandy would be starting her new teaching job at Delaware County Community College, the same school I was heading. Knowing I’d have a friend in the halls made going to college easier.
The usher pointed to a parking spot as I rolled up to the funeral home in my friend’s car. He let me borrow it so I could properly pay respects to the family. In person. It was important for me to tell them that their loved one was mine, too, but I didn’t want to intrude, only having met Chris once in high school. Didn’t he have a beard and glasses? Wore flannel? I thought about her two sons. They wouldn’t be there, would they? I imagined telling them, four and six, who their mommy was to me.
Should I just keep driving?
When you work in the funeral industry, even if it is just answering their phone calls, you get a bit desensitized. Just to cope. And before March of this year, I hadn’t cried in almost ten years. Not even at my grandmother’s funeral four years ago. For awhile I thought I had a steel heart or was border-line sociopathic.
Stepping into the parlor, alone, I blended with the others, now knowing what it was like to be the person on the other end of the phone. A female usher handed me the program: smiling Sandy on the front, opening a present at a school desk, presumably Upper Darby High School.
I smiled back.
Whether you believe in a diety or fate or some collective, cosmic consciousness, I was meant to see Sandy a few months ago at Bertucci’s. I was there with friends, waiting to be seated. First I saw Gina with her infant son, leaving. She and I became friends before I even took her creative writing classes at the community college. We caught up before she pointed beyond the wall: “Sandy and Bonnie are here.” Bonnie mentored me on the school paper at DCCC. “They’re in the back.” Bonnie, Gina and I kept in touch via Facebook, but Sandy, I hadn’t seen her in a while.
Later, as my friends and I ate, I noticed Bonnie, their colleague Denise, and, finally, Sandy walking out of the dining room. She placed her hands in prayer position over her mouth and then put out her arms. I couldn’t get to her fast enough. She seemed to be fighting back tears, friends-never-forgotten.
Her hair was cut short, not her usual shoulder-length bob, and her once Snow White skin was now rouged–but that could’ve been the lighting. The soft down of her new cut brushed across my cheek. It’s great to see you, I told her. I’ve been meaning to write. I finally graduated college!
“Ooo, that’s good,” she cooed, still smiling. I debriefed her on the past few years and told her I’d write. She told me, “I’d like that.” We said goodbye.
“She has been quite ill in the last year and a half and has taken a turn for the worse in the last couple of weeks…” Gina’s Facebook message wasn’t a shock so much as it was thirty-nine lashes across the face. When I saw Sandy at Bertucci’s I thought she looked different, but she was fine. I was being silly to think she was sick. She would have told me, right? “Though she is not able to read emails, her family can read letters to her.” Do it now, I told myself. Easter Sunday, 2013, I lost another friend and mentor, the New Hampshire Poet Laureate Walter Butts. The letter I started for him still stays folded in my Trapper Keeper, unfinished. It was too late. By the time I started the letter, only a few days after learning he was ill, he was gone.
The guest book. A phrase I hear so often at work–is the guest book provided by the funeral home or is it included in the price? I’m not sure, but I can have the director call you right back–would now bear more meaning. My heart was beating so hard my body shook as I attempted to sign my name in a straight line in the guest book. For Sandy, once more…
Once, in the middle of a class assignment my freshman year in high school, Sandy walked over to me with a pen in one hand and the school’s purple lit mag in the other, beaming. My short story had just been published.
Kneeling down, she placed the open magazine next to my composition book and asked for my autograph. Some of my peers looked up from their papers, making me a bit self-conscious at first, but when she told me she couldn’t wait to tell people she knew me once (something any writer wants to hear), I proudly scrawled my name. I knew it then, and I know it now, had I never had the privilege of knowing Sandy, becoming friends with her, I might not have known what to do with my life. She was more than a dear friend and mentor: Sandy is an integral part of who I am; she prodded the “me” out of myself. For that, I will be forever grateful.
We essentially followed each other to DCCC where, between classes, she and I would talk in her office. Told me to call her Sandy because she hadn’t been my teacher in quite some time. When I graduated from DCCC, a few of her colleagues would joke with her: “You following Shane to Goddard, too?” She’d laugh. Say she was looking for a position. And of course I wouldn’t have minded; at least I’d always have an office to visit.
Time was eternal idling in that line. Watching the slideshow on the flatscreen, I immediately suppressed even the slightest inkling of a lip-quiver. Not here, Shane. Not in public. The Pina Colada Song and Brown Eyed Girl played…played…played…until I was forced to burrow my own earworm with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeores’ “Two.”
I practiced what I’d say in case I got choked up when introducing myself to the family. At work we’re prompted to offer condolences, but it never gets any easier. Chris, my name is Shane Toogood. Sandy taught me in high school. She really encouraged my writing, and through that we became friends. I could see him standing next to the casket: no beard and light hair. Where did I conjure up this remembrance of a hipster with dark-rimmed glasses and a bushy beard?
The funeral home was very comforting with framed pictures of Sandy and her family on the tables making it feel more like we were in her own home. Typically I don’t view bodies. Not up close. And I realize now that it’s not being around the dead that made me feel so uncomfortable for so long, it was not knowing what to tell the family. My name’s Shane and I was a friend of Sandy. I’m so sorry for your loss. I kept a watchful eye, hoping to see at least one familiar face. Bonnie and Gina said they’d be there. A few of Sandy’s colleagues trickled in, but they were too far or too distraught to notice me. (Remember me?) Before I left the house I thought about texting Gina that I was on my way, hoping it would entice her to wait for me. We could go in together, and then maybe she could explain to the family who this tall stranger is.
I was around the corner now, the casket twenty feet from me. A stuffed Super Grover was propped at the bottom, waiting to take flight over the the purple casket spray draped over the top.
Aside from some chattering and the skipping songs, the funeral home was quiet, somber. Then I heard a burst of crying up front. I looked towards the family. First I saw Bonnie talking to Chris’ parents. Then Denise. And there was Gina, wearing sunglasses, rocking with Sandy’s mother. Sandy lay in the casket.
Bonnie made her way over, her arms waiting to catch me. Sandy had urged me to introduce myself to Bonnie, knowing she could help me with my writing. Plus, “Bonnie has had a few publications,” she said. My chest sputtered like a car engine trying to turn over. I turned away, suddenly not sure if I wanted her to see me or maybe I knew that if I saw her, this pressure building inside of me would burst and I’d leak all over.
Bonnie wrote: “Shane, I have very sad news.” This was last Thursday. “Sandy Connelly passed away last night…This is truly heartbreaking.” Heartbreaking. I never knew the impact, the density of the word, until it crushed me breathless. A word tossed so loosely, like dirt off a shovel, now gained meaning.
We didn’t say anything, just cried in each other’s arms.
Bonnie expressed her love for my online condolences. She asked Denise, putting an arm around her shoulder, if she had read it. She hadn’t, so Bonnie recapped the story of the autograph. We all fought back tears, using bunched up tissues to stop the flow.
I folded over to hug Gina and we whispered how deeply sad we both were. Finally, I could let go, grieve with the ones who knew my pain. The ones who cried on their beds, too, hoping their sobs would rock them to sleep. The ones who turned up the music to drown out their crying, but just the same hated that the songs were playing.
My dry mouth, I could tell, smelled like decay. I needed a mint. There were bowls of them everywhere, wrapped in mute silver plastic. A mint could help coax out some H2O. Another one of my past professor’s joined the huddle. “Oh, Shane.” She looked at me over her glasses, telling me how much Sandy loved me. They all told me.
The mint wrapper crackled in my fumbling hands. I hoped it was spearmint. But instead of a Golden Ticket I found a lone chocolate. Better than nothing. I bit down. A dry dinner mint crumbled like ash beneath the chocolate coating.
I needed a mint!
Writing Advice. “Of all the things you’ve written…I think that horror is the best,” Sandy once wrote to me. This was her polite way of telling me that the modern tale of unrequited love I wrote for a girl I was courting in high school was complete shit. I heeded her advice.
My heart was pounding. I stood beside the open casket, admiring how beautiful Sandy looked, holding her purple rosary beads. Just the way I remember her. The first time without a visible smile. Two people away. But her presence was still warm.
Chris, I’m so sorry for your loss. My name is Shane. Sandy and I were friends from Delaware County Community College. Chris’ eyes met mine. Or so I thought they did. I gave him a sad smile, to both acknowledge I saw him and that I was sorry for his loss. Next. My body stopped producing saliva after I drained every ounce of water from my body onto Bonnie’s shoulder.
Chris, my name is Shane. Toogood? Sandy taught me at Upper Darby and we remained friends since…I opened my mouth to speak.
Chris put out his hand. “Shane, right?” I shook my head, walked a few inches. He was taller than me which, in that moment, seemed so appropriate. “Sandy told us so much about you.” He told me about how much she and the family loved the letter I sent a few months ago. How much Sandy loved it. I was on auto-pilot, trying to think of things to say. To respond. Bonnie and Gina’s voices lingered in the back of my head. Are you by yourself? Are you going to be okay? I hope so, I kept saying. “And you didn’t know she was sick?”
“I did. Gina reached out to me,” I told him, immediately wanting to offer a retraction. Should I have lied? Told them I didn’t know? If not to protect the family’s privacy, but to protect Gina’s confidence? “But I didn’t know it was this bad.” Chris said Sandy didn’t think I knew, and I was glad. After Walter’s death, I wanted to reassure her how much she means to me anyway; it’s better that she rest in peace thinking I was ignorant. Sandy’s mom nearly jumped up and dangled from my neck when Chris introduced us. She told me she loved the letter. Sandy loved it. “We all love that letter! We’re going to put it up in a frame.”
Her father reminded me that we had met when the U.S. Poet Laureate visited the college. “Kay Ryan! That’s right!” He was glad I came. They made me feel at ease and I could sense Sandy’s love through them. And when I tried to offer my condolences, each family member would instead tell me how I affected Sandy. “Just know that you meant a lot to Sandy,” her sister said. I do, I said, feeling that I know Sandy so much better.
Above my television, ten years after Sandy had given it to me, is a poster of Edgar Allan Poe: “In the Mind of Edgar Allan Poe.” It’s a portrait of the Master of the Macabre with images of his greatest pieces bursting from his cerebellum and into the world: the nevermore raven, the black cat Pluto with his one eye, the gold bug crawling over his monstrous forehead…and stuck between the frame is a funeral program boasting the picture of a friend opening a present, melting ice cream cake beside her, and an effervescent smile that will never fade.
Shane earned his BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. His fiction and articles have been published in various newspapers, blogs, and lit mags including the Philadelphia Inquirer and, most recently, the inaugural issue of the Philly Anthology, Vol. 1.
I was recently asked this question by one of my followers:
Will grief hide itself and come back later?
And, while I was thinking about my answer, this picture showed up in my life to confirm what I was already thinking.
We live in a culture that doesn’t always honour the grieving process and usually much sooner than is good for us we are thrown back into work and our other roles.
We are forced to develop coping mechanisms so we can get through the day in a socially acceptable way. ie. not crying in front of a table you are serving (I did that once )
“Life is a spiral. Not a Circle.”
This means that even though we may push our feelings of grief away (as a very intelligent coping mechanism) Yes. it will resurface to be healed (sometimes at the most inopportune moment )
This is a blessing
in disguise. Life/the universe/whatever you want to call it has your best interest at heart. It wants you to heal and will continue to give you the opportunity to heal until the work is done.
I know, perhaps not what you wanted to hear, but once the work is done I’m living proof that grief actually can improve your life.
So what do you do about it?
1. Remember to breathe.I would choose Ujayi breath which is calming to the nervous system. (You can watch this video for 3 calming breaths). Bonus points if you do your breathing in Child’s pose which will further the relaxing effect.
2. Give yourself permission to grieve. Feel your feelings as they come up without any judgement. Let go of resistance and allow yourself the space and time you need to process. Let the feelings (whatever they are) bubble up so they can be released. Cry. Scream. Journal. Trust your instincts and do what feels right for you.
3. Get support. People really do want to help; but, you may have to ask for it. A
simple available, “Can I have a hug” can work wonders. (Remember: I’m always here for you)
Be gentle on yourself. Be Kind. Healing is a process you are doing a beautiful job.
Big Love + Hugs,
Today’s guest post is written by Samantha Allington.
On Thursday 8th September 2011 I was 19 weeks and 3 days pregnant when my waters broke at home. I knew in that instant that my baby wouldn’t survive but I still wanted to hang on to the little bit of hope that some miracle would happen and my pregnancy would proceed safely against the odds.
I was rushed in to hospital by my birth Doula where I was checked over by the doctor who confirmed I had lost amniotic fluid. After a scan to measure the fluid levels I was told there was not enough water to support my baby’s lung development and that due to diabetes I was at high risk of death too.
I had to face the hardest decision of my life and after spending from then till the Monday following refusing outright to terminate my pregnancy, I finally conceded to allow the medical team to induce labour at just 20 weeks gestation. There would be no intervention to save my baby as I was under 24 weeks pregnant and hospital policy didn’t permit resuscitation at that age.
I was in an abusive relationship with a violent partner and I chose to go through labour and birth with only my Doula present. It was a harrowing experience to say the least but I was still determined to make my baby’s birth as natural and beautiful as I could. I wanted it to be special and memorable, for my last moments with my baby to be precious.
We had a candle lit room (LED tea lights and colour changing lotus flowers), aromatherapy, crystals and the Obstetrician permitted me to have a natural birth without any electronic monitoring (no wires or drips) so that I could move around freely. The midwives allowed us the space we desired and only came in to check once in a while how contractions were developing.
Finally it was time to give birth and despite holding on for as long as I could refusing to push, my daughter finally entered the world at 5:28am on 14th September 2011 at just 20 weeks and 2 days gestation as the sun was rising.
She was about the size of a Barbie doll at just 20cm length and weighing a tiny 10.5 ounces. Despite her tiny size she was perfect in every way, with ten fingers, ten toes, perfectly formed ears and a little pink nose, I even noticed in the right light she had the fairest eyelashes I’d ever seen.
I spent 2 days alone with her in the hospital, holding her, kissing her and trying to take in every little feature so that it would be burnt to memory forever. I didn’t want to let her go or say goodbye, I wanted those days to go on and never end, but of course they did end and I had to leave the hospital.
Arriving home it was time to start planning her funeral, she’d never get a birthday, Christmas, Easter or a wedding day, her funeral was the only special occasion she would ever have, and the only thing I could do for her to make it as important and special as I could. I contacted the charity Children Are Butterflies who work alongside B Hollowell and Sons funeral directors. They fund children’s funerals and the lady that runs it was lovely.
Due to the abusive relationship I was in, I was again alone in planning my daughter’s funeral but Ann made everything go easier and smoother. She was so kind and supportive towards me and I know I will be eternally grateful to her for all she did.
The funeral was beautiful. We had a Hearse that was made from an old London black cab to take Poppy-Rose to her last resting place and a beautiful white woollen coffin with an embroidered name plate. The funeral was white, pink and butterfly themed. Poppy’s coffin looked so tiny at the front of the chapel resting on a Moses basket stand that was far too big. We read poems and I gave her Eulogy before moving to the graveside for her internment. Each guest was given an incense stick to light and place in the ground around her grave and a paper butterfly to write a message on for her. As we said goodbye a beautiful red butterfly flew across her grave, unusual for the time of year here in England.
I wanted to share my story because often talking about baby loss is considered taboo but especially in cases of termination for medical reasons. This leaves so many women (and families) feeling isolated and alone in their grief. I wanted a chance to give my side of the story, to show you how much we all need that little bit of help, compassion and love. We don’t all have family to stand by us; some of us feel so alone in our grief. We go through all the usual feelings such as sadness, despair, anger but often we also feel guilt and self-blame and this can only be made worse when we are silenced by others negative judgements , we need to be allowed to speak out and to share our stories, our personal journeys with others.
Today’s guest post is written by Jessica Fowler.
The funeral home was filled with young people. While I waited in the viewing line on a ramp that lead into the chapel, I looked around at the men and women, mostly in their 20s, dressed to impress. If you cropped out our bodies with a Photoshop tool and pasted it on to a picture of the outside of a nightclub it would make a perfect billboard. Instead, we were on our way to say goodbye to another person we knew who died because of substance abuse.
Most of us had been in that line before or would be again soon. If you put all of the people between the ages of 18 and 30 from my county in a room together, you could spend days trying to find a single person whose life hasn’t been fractured by substance abuse. There is a different feeling in the air when you attend a funeral for someone who overdosed, a chilly undertone that no one wants to directly address. The unspoken fact that nearly everyone around you has grieved for this person already before, in their own way, because losing someone to addiction is like losing them twice.
When my father overdosed in 2006, there was no trace of the man who brought me roses when I was sick. There was nothing left of the person who built pinewood derby cars with my brother for the church youth group. There was no sign of the husband who gave my mother a gift every day for the 12 Days of Christmas. He was gone long before that needle stuck into his veins, before he left his house, his job and his church. He was gone the second a distracted doctor wrote him a prescription for Adderall, scribbling away a decade of sobriety without a second thought.
I mourned the man my father was long before he took his last breath. I grieved for his convictions, the principals that he traded for a poison. It doesn’t happen fast—years go by where you feel as though every time you answer the phone, it’s going to be the news you have been dreading. When you find yourself on the bottom of another person’s downward spiral, it suddenly becomes so clear how you arrived there. That unstoppable force consumed the person you loved long ago.
It’s not hard to find a scapegoat to blame. If it’s not the doctors, it’s the dealers. The shadowy figures who lace heroin with Fentanyl. The coroner’s exact words were, “John died from a bad batch of heroin”…as if there were any good kind of heroin. A dozen others died that same weekend from the same “bad batch.” More than 16,000 people a year die from opioids, but somewhere in some shadowy corner of this world, someone who wanted to make some extra money decided that that was not deadly enough. The drug baggies the police found were stamped with smiley faces.
I remember a brief “before” time when my father was still alive when I didn’t think a drug as monstrous as heroin could affect my life. Then, a few months after my high school graduation I heard that a girl I went to school with had overdosed. She was, in my memory, one of the most gorgeous girls I had ever known and the type of girl a person would say had “everything going for her.” Less than a year later, the same drug took my father.
Now, when I look around at the tear-streaked faces, my mind instinctively wonders, who’s next?’ That may sound like a cynical thought, so I should mention that we were waiting in line to view the body of a man who stood in this same funeral parlor, flesh and blood, only four months ago when his brother died from a heroin overdose. To even try to imagine the grief of his parents who lost both of their sons to this demon substance is impossible. Your mind just shuts down because even the thought is too much to bear.
While we’re waiting, I watch as a young guy ahead of us, dressed in a long white T-shirt and shorts, trips and stumbles while moving up the ramp. His voice travels down the long passageway, angry words I can’t make sense of. I don’t have to know what he is saying to know that he is on something. Even from far away, I can see a wild, unsteady look in his eyes. There are others here too who have that same spaced-out look. I want to shake them and force them to wake up to the reality around us.
We walk through a room with photo display boards and a memorial video. I can hear a familiar piano melody and I know the song immediately. “How to Save a Life” by the Fray, the unofficial anthem for those left behind because of substance abuse. My throat catches when I see a video of the two brothers standing together in their Baseball uniforms. Children in a world that hasn’t started to sink beneath them yet. When I kneel at the casket and see someone so young, it’s hard to believe my own eyes.
I hug his dazed parents and express my condolences. In truth, it is hard to look into their faces for longer then a few seconds. To see the exhaustion that I have seen in my own face and in the face of my family reflected back feels like opening an old wound. Reliving that pain is something I can bear, but my fear of standing where they stood again was something I could not.
I remember when my mother first told me that my father was an addict and that an addictive gene ran through our blood. She told me I was old enough to know why my dad didn’t drink and had to go to therapy, and why we were sent to live with my grandmother when he went to rehab. It was during the blissful clean years, when I only knew a loving father and the word addiction was like a bee buzzing by my ear, keeping me from the outside world where I could play. I couldn’t know that the words she was telling me would echo back later. That I would be fighting with her in a struggle to save my brother from his dependency on alcohol. That the cycle of addiction would continue to repeat throughout my life.
When my brother and I were watching my dad unravel, we swore we’d never end up like him. We swore our lives would be different. I imagine those parents said the same thing after they lost their son—that they would do anything to save the other. But words and vows are worthless against the power of addiction. Before it claims your life, it claims your personality, your beliefs, even parts of your soul.
I don’t deny the culpability of the addict. I know it’s a disease of choice. I’ve known others who have crashed on the rockiest of rock bottoms and are now living wonderful lives, fully in control of their own destiny. But no matter how hard you try to stop making excuses for the addict, it’s the only way you can justify loving someone who is already gone in every way that matters. It’s like loving someone who is possessed.
It’s one thing to lose someone. It’s another to lose someone again and again and again, to that same unstoppable force. I feel like I am losing my brother against something that I can’t fight. I’ve tried before and lost, and I’m terrified of losing again.
Jessica Fowler is a fiction writer and poet from the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her short story, “Anchored” was recently published in The Philly Anthology (Vol. 1). Jessica studied journalism at Temple University and when she is not working on fiction and poetry, she is busy writing articles and blogs for funeral directors as the Public Relations Specialist at ASD – Answering Service for Directors. Jessica is also an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, camping, biking and swimming. To read more of Jessica’s writing, visit her blog at characterisfate.wordpress.com.