By Coleen Ellis
I just read a very profound story from a colleague in the human death care industry. As a funeral director, Caleb Wilde has been to countless hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities to assist with deceased bodies. And, as he tells the story, with every one of his removals, he’s pulled up to the back door, and then gone in to find the location of the deceased person so he can take them into his care. Furthermore, in each of these countless situations, doors to other resident’s rooms have been closed, nurses have cleared the hallways, as he puts the dead body on his stretcher and wheels them out through the silent, deserted hallways.
On one particular day, he tells the story, he’s on his way to a nursing home he’s never been to before. So as his protocols state, he calls ahead to determine where the back door was that they’d want him to use. With this, the story gets fabulous and the answer is still rocking my world.
I’m paraphrasing a bit for her response. “We don’t do back door with death, Caleb. We’re front door about it. When you get here, we’ll assist you with getting Mrs. So And So ready, and we’ll all line the hallways to pay tribute and our respects to her as you take her into your care. Death happens at our place, and we embrace it. We don’t hide it.”
That story is still rocking my world. I think about the veterinary clinics we work with, and I can’t wait to share this in what we do. Yes, we do death. It happens and we can do all we can to “hide” it, but it WILL still happen. Our North American culture is death adverse. We don’t like it, we hide it.
So, how about this? How about we don’t hide it, the one thing that will happen to all of us. Let’s do front door with death. Let’s honor it. Let’s pay tribute to it.
Death is not the opposite of life. Birth is the opposite of death. A life was still lived. A life was loved. A life was shared. THAT needs to be honored.
Let’s do death, and let’s do front door with it.