11. Mar, 2016

A 24 hour business.

You've heard if the phrase 'No rest for the wicked'. Well there is no rest for the funeral trade. The funeral industry operates 24/7. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year! Funeral homes open Monday to Friday 9-5 like most other businesses. But when the doors close the staff carry on working, taking on the burden of grief into the early hours of the morning. It works like this:

You have a team of two who will go on call from 5pm in the evening until 9am the following mornings no or whenever the funeral homes hours of business begin. On call basically means that you are quite literally sitting by a phone waiting for it to ring so that you and your on call colleague can go and retrieve the body and take it to the funeral home. That call can come at anytime during the night. It is the one aspect of the job that most funeral service workers like the least as it does interfere with their social lives. I will admit there is nothing worse than falling into a deep sleep, nice and warm in bed only to be woken at 3am by Meat Loafs Bat out of Hell ringing out from the side cabinet and the dog running to the door to see what the racket Is. To then get dressed and go out into the freezing cold winter night and descend into the unknown. I say the unknown because you never know where you will be called to and what will greet you when you get there. 

The one misconception people have about our industry is that we mainly deal with old people who have passed peacefully away  their sleep surrounded by their family. The reality is much different. From the old lady in the care home to the suicide victim hanging from a tree in the woods and everything else in between, funeral directors deal with a whole range of different situations met by a whole range of different emotions by a whole lot of different people. From police officers to priests giving the last rites we see it all after hours. Grief effects people in different ways. I recall once I was called out on Christmas Day at lunch time. When I arrived at the house I was shown into a room where a man lay dead on the floor. His family where in the next room tucking into roast turkey with all the trimmings why we carried the gentlemen out in a body bag. The only comment that the family made to me was 'He wouldn't have wanted us to go hungry!'