(220 comments, 914 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
Pre-orders are super important for newbie authors like me. If you’ve been on the fence about pre-ordering my new book, here’s an incentive: if you pre-order between now and next Monday, you’ll be entitled to FREE STUFF. No, I’m not offering a free funeral, but I am offering a free 10 part video series on Death Spirituality (promo video below). The entire series is about 50 minutes long and covers ten ways that death inspires us to be more human.
So, preorder by clicking this link: http://amzn.to/2wETnHL
Take your order number and paste it here: http://bit.ly/2xcVA1p
(If you’ve already pre-ordered, enter your order number and you’ll get the video series too.)
If you do those things, you’ll be entitled to 50 minutes of me talking about how death and mortality inspire us to a more authentic, generous and empathetic self.
When you’re a funeral director, your primary concern is people: both the dead kind and the living. And when you serve people, you do some weird things to meet that end. Death is all wrapped up in life, in the mundane, the messy, the maddening parts of living. Since, death is wrapped in life, it’d only make sense that those of us in death care do a bunch of things. Here are 101 things I’ve done.
- Helped change a random baby’s diaper at a viewing.
- Removed a dead person’s adult diaper.
- Warmed up a bottle of baby formula.
- Wiped a deceased’s person’s ass.
- Cleaned the funeral home’s toilets
- Cleaned the morgue floor.
- Cleaned the blood of the deceased off of his bathroom floor.
- Shoveled snow at the funeral home
- Shoveled a path through the snow back to the deceased’s trailer.
- Gave the deceased’s German Shepherd some water while it sat in the visitation line at the funeral home.
- Comforted a dog as we carted his friend/owner out of the house.
- Comforted a family with some coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
- Made a McDonald’s run for a family during a funeral.
- Parked cars in a funeral procession line.
- Fixed a car’s door while it sat in a procession line.
- Washed a car in the procession line.
- Washed the hearse a thousand times.
- Washed vomit out the back of the removal van.
- Washed blood out the back of the removal van.
- Carried a dead person down multiple flights of steps.
- Carried a dead person up from a basement.
- Carried a dead body in rigor mortis fireman-style off of a toilet.
- Embalmed old people
- Embalmed young people.
- Embalmed my grandfather.
- Embalmed a motorcycle accident victim.
- A burn victim.
- Suicides of all varieties.
- A person run over by a train.
- Drove the deceased’s family to a train station.
- Drove the deceased’s family to the airport.
- Chauffeured the deceased’s family to a cemetery.
- Chauffeured the deceased’s family to a bar.
- Pushed people in wheelchairs into the funeral home, through cemeteries, and out of the way at nursing homes.
- Helped carry crying people’s purses.
- Helped carry crying people’s water.
- Helped carry crying people.
- Once used smelling salts on someone who fainted at a graveside (wouldn’t do that again).
- Once fall into a grave.
- Once helped someone out of a grave.
- Helped lower numerous caskets into graves.
- Helped clean up the tent and lowering devices at the grave.
- Got cemetery dirt on my suit.
- Got blood on my suit.
- Got vomit from a dead body on my suit.
- Got vomit from a baby I was holding at a viewing on my suit.
- Ripped my suit so far that my underwear was showing.
- Sweated in my suit.
- Nearly froze in my suit.
- Dressed many a man in their suits.
- Dressed many a woman in their burial clothing.
- Put a teddy bear in the casket with the deceased.
- Helped kids put cards in the deceased’s casket
- Watched people put whiskey in a deceased’s casket.
- Watched people put a dime bag of pot in a deceased’s casket.
- Watched people jump into a deceased’s casket.
- Helped pull them out of the deceased’s casket.
- I’ve closed the lid of a casket.
- I’ve closed the mouth of many a deceased.
- I’ve closed the eyes of the deceased.
- I’ve closed autopsy Y incisions.
- Embalmed autopsied bodies.
- Seen all the insides of an autopsied body.
- I’ve held a brain.
- Held a heart.
- I’ve held the hand of a grieving mother.
- Listened to the cries of a grieving mother.
- Listened to the laughter of children at funerals.
- Performed magic tricks for children at viewings.
- Played hide-and-go seek with children at viewings.
- Played hide-and-go seek as a kid in the casket showroom
- Worked night viewings.
- Gone on death calls in the middle of the night.
- Gone on death calls in the middle of a snow storm.
- Used my Subaru Forester for a death call during a snow storm (the stretcher just fits).
- Used an old Land Rover for a death call during a snow storm.
- Negotiated with Insurance companies on behalf of families.
- Negotiated with doctors on behalf of families.
- Negotiated between family factions during funeral arrangements.
- Stopped fights at funerals.
- Played bouncer at funerals when families don’t want a certain person to attend.
- Removed people from funerals.
- Removed catheters.
- Removed pacemakers.
- Forgot to remove pacemakers that consequently exploded in the crematory.
- Taken pictures of tattoos before the person was cremated.
- Made picture slideshows for families.
- Restored and photoshopped photos for obituary notices.
- Wrote thousands of obituaries.
- Filled in as a makeshift altar boy.
- Helped fold a flag at a graveside service.
- Said a prayer at a graveside service when the pastor didn’t show.
- I’ve been the soundman at churches.
- Been the DJ at viewings.
- Helped men at viewings tie their ties.
- Joked about tying dead people’s shoe strings.
- Joked with families to help relieve the tension.
- Hugged thousands of people to help relieve the tension.
- Listened to people to help relieve their grief.
- Allowed death to shape my story.
- Wrote a book about it all.
Join My Book Launch Team
Authors and their books are similar to Tinkerbell. We can’t just survive on our own power. We’ve got to have people who believe in us in order to survive. Without that belief, without people buying our words, we enter the dark hole of oblivion.
I’m about a month away from the official release of my book, and I need advocates to join my Launch Team who will help me believe my words into existence. Here’s how the Launch Team works. If you sign up for my Launch Team, you’ll get:
1. Inclusion in an exclusive and secret Facebook group where I’ll be doing regular Q&As about the book (the Facebook group link will be sent to you when you sign up for the launch team). I WILL ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS!
2. You’ll receive early access to my entire book. We can talk about what you liked, loved and didn’t like about my book in the Facebook group.
3. A free fanny pack with my face on it.
4. The satisfaction of believing me and my book into existence.
HERE’S WHAT I’M ASKING IN RETURN:
1.) If you join the Launch Team and haven’t pre-ordered the book, please do (because pre-orders ignite excitement in the publishing world).
2.) Once I give you access to the advanced reader, read the book.
3. Leave a review on Amazon on the release date of September 26, 2017.
4. If you like the book, share the love on Instagram, Facebook or wherever else you find yourself on social media.
So, that’s the deal. It’s not a huge commitment, I’m just asking for your soul! Bwahahahah. No, seriously. I do need your help and would appreciate any help you can give me.
UPDATE: The launch team is full. Thanks for your interest!
No worries, friends, I didn’t solicit a random corpse to *play* the dead person in this video. The esteemed actress was none other than my wife, who willingly agreed to play the part because she really, really, really loves me (and I promised her infinite back rubs for the next calendar year).
With that aside, here’s the promo video for my book. It captures the heart of my words.
Love you all and thanks helping me launch this book and its message into the world.
This post is collected from the Confessions of a Funeral Director Facebook community:
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine.Ten
Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen Fifteen. Sixteen. Seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen. Twenty.
If you’re interested in the life of a funeral director, here’s my story, told with humor, spirituality, and transparency.