Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thoughts of the Funeral Intern

2:00 in the AM driving north on I-15, not an entirely odd thing for two men in the funeral industry to be doing. This morning as I drove and Jared slept in the passenger seat my mind was taken back to a morning approximately 12 years ago in Modesto, CA.   

Grandma Williams woke me with the news that Grandma Bebe had passed away and mom and dad had already gone to her apartment in Modesto. I was given the task of driving myself and my two younger brothers to grandma's place to be with the family. At the age of 17 the biggest city I had ever driven in was St. George and I had only been to grandma bebe's place once before. By the grace of God we found our way to our destination. (this was the days before cell phones and gps). 
I had also never lost anyone close to me. This was a whole new strange experience for me. Death was one of those things that happens in the movies, or in story books. I was taken over by what was happening around me. It was surreal and yet the emotion in the room was so tangible. Everyone around me was crying. I didn't feel the need to cry. Mom came to me hugged me and told me that it was ok to cry. But, I just couldn't. It wasn't so much that I couldn't cry as I didn't need to cry. Those tears would come many years later. But that is another story for another time. 
I thought at the time that this lack of tears meant that I was broken, that I just couldn't feel. It must have been true, Braden Williams Dunbar was heartless. (Some may still believe this to be true.) I was just absorbing it all. I absorb, I like to take everything in. While I am absorbing I often don't show much emotion. One of the things that I was absorbing unbeknownst to me was the role that the two men in dark suits. These two men played a much bigger role in my life than I would have ever imagined. Even though I don't recall the faces, names or any specific detail of these men, I recall the dignity they showed to my grandma, and the respect they showed my family. I remember them placing the sheet over Grandma and mentioning that we may not want to watch because that part is tough for most people to watch. I couldn't look away. To this day I still feel a great love and respect for those two men. They set the first paver in the path to where I am today. And that is awesome!!!!
Now today as I drove down I-15 I realized that I have become one of those two men. And that is awesome. So often we find someone we want to be like, once we get there we forget what it was like to be the one looking up. Now I am not saying I am one to be looked up to. I am just saying I realized this morning that I am doing for others what those two men did for me. And I love that. The terrible hours are all made worth it when I allow myself to step back to that day 12 years ago. And realize what impact they had on me. I just hope that I can be making a similar impact on those I serve. No better feeling then realizing you are doing something so great. Somedays it gets really difficult to remember why I get up in the middle of the night to throw on my shirt and tie and drive to the outskirts of civilization some nights. (sugarhouse) But then I see the looks on the faces of those sitting in the house with their loved one who just passed. And I see that I am doing something for them that they can't do for themselves. 
Now I am not saying how amazing I am. I am saying how lucky I am to be doing something so awesome. I may complain about lack of sleep or food or time. But I know it is for good reason, most of the time. Thank you to those I work with, those I get to serve, those who are understanding when plans change or get canceled, and those who can show respect to what I do. Anyway…
I hope this makes sense. Now that it is 4:11 AM I am going to sleep…unless the phone rings again. =

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Days before blogging...

So remember those days before there was Blogging, and before the days when people posted their lives on facebook? Those days when we would write our thoughts and experiences down on paper, with a pen or some sort of non-electronic writing utensil? Well I did just that last night!!!!! =)

A long long time ago (December 1st 2005), this book was given to me by a very dear friend, Shannon. It has been one of the greatest gifts I have been given. It was given to me at a time when I needed an outlet and couldn't get it out. So It has some of my deepest(darkest) feelings in it. I have only filled up about half the pages. But quantity is not what this book is about. 

It has things in it from very personal thoughts to conference notes, to odd drawings because I couldn't put what I was feeling into words. 

The other night I was having one of those deeps nights and I needed to write those feelings down. Not to advertise them to the world but to write them down where they will always be. The emotions were high (in a very good way) and I wanted to get them out in a very healthy productive way. I had forgotten what it was like to just write. And to write things down that you know no one will ever read (not even you Mr. Scrust). Unless for some reason someone were to steal it and betray my far too, easily given trust. Just write and write until the feelings are out there, and you can think without them clogging in your brain and heart. Or until you can no longer stand to hold the pen any longer.  I even wrote it all legibly, well at least more legibly than I usually write. 
It was nice to write, actually put pen to paper and write. I am not an author, I barely passed my English 1010 class, but I like to think that what I write is congressional library quality. Even though I will not let anyone read it or judge it in a way like that. It is great writing just like I am a phenomenal singer when no one else is around to tell me other wise. 
Anyway...Love my journal, I love having the ability to read and write. I love having friends who know what is needed. And I just love great friends. Friends make the world go round. Thank you world, Thanks you friends, Thank you mom and dad, thank you teachers who taught me how to read and write, thank you God for giving me emotion and everything else in this world!!!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Dad

My dad the christmas Weirdo!!!
The other day I was assisting a family with graveside services for their father. As they took to the microphone to tell some stories and remember their father, it made me think of the man I call dad. 
His name is Wayne Douglas Dunbar. He was born in the latter half of the 20th Century! He is Canadian born to American parents. I don't know if it is the Canadian in him but he is one of the funniest people I know. 
If you know him well you will know that he can make anyone laugh. Being a Nursing home administrator he can come off as stuffy and serious. But as you get to know him you find out that that is just a shell. He does some of the weirdest things.  For instance, one of our favorite stupid human things dad is requested to do at functions and family gatherings is his fly impression. Not like flying, but like the fly that flies around your head. Next time you find yourself at a place where something like this is appropriate ask him about it. You may need to ask him in front of mom so that she can help persuade him to do it. It is quite good and quite hilarious. 

I don't know anyone who doesn't like my dad! He is a very likable person. It is so great to know that when I run into someone who knows him that it will always be a good impression that they have had of him. I visited one of our homes from back in our Hurricane, Utah days. I visited with one of the ladies who worked with him while he as there! She listed him as one of her top three Administrators from the 25 years she has worked there. That is saying a lot. That place goes through administrators like my dad's V10 goes through gas!!! (that is a lot)

One of the greatest things about my dad that I learned through this past two years is how unconditional love truly works. When I came out to my parents they took it fairly well. I mean I think I took it harder because I feared for the worst. My dad was not pleased with the decision I made to live my life as a gay man. But since that day he has never made me feel less loved, cared about, or neglected. We have never been incredibly close. I mean I was never the athletic type or anything like that. But I have always known that he loved me and that he was going to do all that he could to provide for me. 

And lastly, growing up we never went without the necessities! That is saying a lot I think. We never had the newest or besets of anything. But as children we never had to worry about not having food, not having a roof over our heads. We always had adequate clothing. I am sure he stressed it a lot but he never made us fear for those things. 

There are so many stories and so many memories of my incredible Dad. I feel very fortunate to have a father with such high caliber of character and love!!! If you haven't had the pleasure of getting to know him, take the chance, you won't regret it. 

Thank you Dad for always being entertaining and loving!!! 

Love your Favorite Middle Child

Monday, June 18, 2012


I am stuck
As I was driving home today one of my favorite movies came to mind. "Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium" I love this movie dearly! 
There is a moment near the beginning of the movie that is what triggered the memory. Molley Mahoney, who helps run the Emporium simply states to Mr Magorium, I am stuck…
Molly Mahoney: I'm stuck! 
Mr. Edward Magorium: Oh, to my floor? 
Molly Mahoney: No, sir. 
Mr. Edward Magorium: Then what? 
Molly Mahoney: Like a person. You remember when I was a little girl and I could play Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto and everyone was talking about my potential? 
Mr. Edward Magorium: Mhm. 
Molly Mahoney: Well, I am 23 now and everyone's still talking about my potential but if you ask me to play the song I know best... I'll still play Rachmaninov's Second. 
Mr. Edward Magorium: May I suggest you stun the world with Molly Mahoney's First? 

Sometimes I feel stuck as well. Not that I am a child prodigy or anything but I sometimes feel like I have so much potential I just have no idea how to release it. I feel like I am running up a hill in the rain composed of our lovely slippery Utah clay mixed with motor oil. Descriptive enough? 
I mean I see good things in my life. I just always thought I would be in a much different place than I am now and a much different person. I do know that I am growing and learning everyday. I just feel stuck. I want nothing more than to stun the world with Braden Dunbar's First~~

Now change of temp, I came across this blog as I was looking for the quote from the movie. I think it is an incredible description of the movie and great insight into life/death. =) Zach Helm's Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Starring Dustin Hoffman

Monday, May 28, 2012

Out Running Depression

So many of you know I struggle with depression a little. I can usually control it myself. There have been occasions when I would have loved something to combat it with that was more than just me and my mind. Like for instance a trax train or something like that. Harrison one of my best friends made me so mad one night because he wouldn't throw me under. I guess I can forgive him for that. He is a pretty great guy sometimes ;-). He has dealt with his fair share of my depressive episodes, as has Eric. Both super troopers. Anyway, I digress…

So yesterday, or the evening before I guess, I started down a dark road. I had just gotten home from an amazing evening with an amazing guy. We had gone on a hike and had such great conversation while we were hiking and after. Well, when I got home I got on line and started thinking, I allowed Braden in my mind, never a good idea, I mean NEVER!!!. Braden gets all sorts of crazy when he gets in there. But anyway I allowed myself to start comparing myself to others. And I started to find all the things that I was not good at, or had failed at, or quit because they were hard. Like difficulties in school, which if I don't graduate I can't be a funeral director, which means I am a bad intern, which means I suck at life, which means I hate myself. And there is always the fitness things, and the financial things, and the relationship things. Just life in general, if you allow yourself to get yourself down life is just misery.

Well, I woke up yesterday morning with this depression really trying to set in. It was the beginning of a long weekend. I could not let this depression waste my weekend. I had to do something and I had to do it fast. So the first thing I did was to get Braden out of my head. The Second was to get out of bed. I know that should have been the first but, Braden gets cranky if he is ousted too early. Then I started thinking of the things that I could do to conquer this depression before it got rooted in and ruined my week. So I looked at my life and I looked at the feelings that I have been feeling. I have been doing a lot of self reflection as of late, checking my moods and feelings when they change and why they change. It is a good thing to do. Sometimes it can make you crazy. 

The Eric Perry Project
Well, when I feel myself getting depressed, and have caught it soon enough, there are a few things that I can do to lessen the depression or totally kick it. The first I get super productive and try to catch up on all the things that I have let slide. I want to make up for all the things that I have not accomplished or completed. I try to make up for the failures of the past month, week, or day in one day. For example my room, and The Eric Perry Project, and my car, and school stuff. So I started out the day filling out an application for a new school. Then I cleaned my room and made my bed (Not much is better than a nicely made bed to climb in after a good day). And a few other things that I needed to get done, I even made a shopping list. I don't make shopping lists unless I am serious about it.

Another thing I do when I am depressed is run. I just started running so it is all new to me. But, Running to me is very productive. It is cleansing, it is healthy, it is mindless, it is just great. So I decided to run. Best decision I made. I wanted to run 6.2 miles, because that is two miles more than I had ever run before in my life. So I plotted my run on my handy dandy macbook with my handy dandy google maps. I figured I would run down 3rd east to 2100, up to 4050 north, and back to my apt. 6.1 miles actually. So I started and I ran the first three miles, and kept telling myself I can do the 6 miles. Well, I got done with the 6 miles and I told myself I could do 9 miles, and I did it. I almost stopped a few times but I didn't. It turned out to only be 8.7 miles but Close enough, right? While I was running I just kept telling myself you can do it. I followed the two rules of running that KC, informed me of…Rule #1 Start running. Rule # 2 keep running. I did it. I ran 8.7 miles. I got home and had to tell people. I told KC and my Boss and then of course had to post it on Facebook. It felt so great. And that was the start to the self confidence rebuild. I accomplished something that until I did it I didn't think I could, an incredible feeling indeed. Accomplishing things makes one feel that much better about who they are. 

So the moral of the story is… When I feel the depression I try to out run the depression with other stuff, don't let it catch up. It works for me for the most part. I am proud to say I have never been medicated for my depression. Not that medication is bad, some people need it. I am not there. I just need to keep my mind in the up and up and remember I am a great person and I have accomplished things and I have a lot more to accomplish. i am awaiting my next accomplishment. It may be getting this posted before it goes another page or two. 

Thanks to those who read my posts. Makes me feel special. =) And thanks for not judging the writing skills. Especially since I used the word Well a lot!!! Love you and hope you the best in your days!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What made you choose this?

Why did I decide to become a funeral Director?

That is a question that I am asked pretty much every time someone hears that that is what I am doing with my life. I have yet to come up with a great short response to that. I mean I say it just seemed right, or i was drawn to it. But what does that mean?
There are three main points in my life that I believe brought me to where I am now.

Care Center in Hurricane
So, going back in time. Are you ready for this? I believe we are back in 1997-2000, which would have made me 14-17 years old, somewhere in there. I was living with my family in Hurricane, Utah. My father was the administrator of the Zion rehab or something like that. The name evades me at this moment. The home that we lived in from 1996 to 1999/2000, which was an old polygamist home, was connected to the care center. Like literally we had a door that separated our living quarters from the care center. Odd? yes!! Part of my life that will never be forgotten where great memories were made? Most Definitely!!!!!!!! So what does this have to do with my current career choice? Well Where our house was situated when the funeral personnel would come to the care center they would park in front of our house. So growing up those years there I would see them go in and then  I would see them leave. I never thought anything of it. Other than the fact that they drove really cool cars and that I wanted to drive one of them someday. I am weird I know. 
Also while living there one of the local funeral home owners would take my dad and his employees and their families to his cabin ontop of Kolob Mountain. We would have a great time. So you know it makes you think, "Ok these guys have a great life; they drive cool cars, they have cabins in the woods, they have lots of money, they can do whatever they want really. I mean people aren't dying every hour of everyday." Well, I didn't really think THAT much about it as a kid. But it definitely left and impression.

The next point in time that I was indirectly directed to the funeral industry was when I was seventeen. One of my grandma's (my father's mother) was very sick. So we went to California so that we could visit her. I am so glad we were able to. She was in the hospital the first couple of days we were there. Then she was placed on hospice care and they brought her to her home so she could pass away in a more comfortable setting. She wasn't conscious her last few days of her life. It was a weird feeling seeing my father saying goodbye to his mother. (as I sit here my emotions are coming up, which is weird for me.) At that time in my life I wasn't a very emotional person. I never cried those days. I remember the night grandma bebe passed away. I was woken up by my grandma Williams and was told that grandma Bebe had passed away and that mom and dad had already gone to her home. I was told to gather my younger siblings and drive to grandma's place. Mind you this was before gps was big and we were in modesto california, I had been to grandma bebe's once earlier that day. But we made it with no problems. I remember sitting in the room and we had a family prayer and then the suits came in and started their thing. My mom told me that I could cry it was ok. I didn't say much but I knew I didn't need to cry. I knew she was in a better place and she was no longer in pain. Her mortal body was holding her back at that point. When the funeral home covered her face with the sheet almost everyone in the room had to look away. I remember thinking it was odd that no of this was bothering me. I was ok with death. I was ok with the knowledge I had of what happens after this life. I knew Grandma would be watching down on us and she loved us very much. (maybe one day I will tell of the day that her death finally did catch up to me and I hurt bad, but that is another story). So my grandma dying brought me to the realization that death was not something that effected me the same way it does others.

The third major indirect directer was when I was serving in Lewiston, Idaho on my LDS mission. There was a gentleman in one of the wards that I was serving in who was a funeral director. We maybe had one conversation about his work, but nothing significant. But meeting him helped me realized that being a Funeral Director was something that anyone really could get into if they had it in them. It isn't something only royalty can be entitled to. I didn't have to be born into the elite family that ruled the funeral industry. Yes, it makes it harder but it is not a requirement. I believe this gentleman's mother stood up in Church one day and said something about it as well. I remember being in shock that she said something nice. She was always the mean lady we tried to avoid.

So there is my "short" summary as to where the direction for my career choice came from. Taking all of this into account I also thought about what I wanted in my life. Being in the funeral industry I am enlightened by a spirit that not many have the privilege to experience regularly. (We all know I need all the spiritual experiences I can get) ;)
Maybe if I remember I will tell of my experience so far in the funeral industry. I have been an intern for almost 3 years now.
Until then, You now know more about the man behind the shadow, Right?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Part of the man behind the Shadow growing up!

Not to make everyone panic. I am not suicidal. I really do love my life and am excited to see where it will take me. I love my family and my friends.

Suicide IS something that I have thought a lot about in the past and recent past. (Again, I am not suicidal. I have no plans to kill myself.) But it is something that I have taken quite a bit of thought about.

I am guessing I have minor depression issues (according to some of my friends I am clinically insane, but they call me friend so you know they can't be all that sane either) ;)

Growing up I have always been one to keep things to myself. (Even if you don't think I do, you would be amazed at what I don't say out loud). One of my families favorite things to tell about me is about my ability to hold something in until it is most everyone else has forgotten about it, and then let it out. My mom tells of the time that we were living in Y mount terrace at BYU and us kids a long with the neighbor kids were playing outside and one of the other kids did something to me and I just let it go, until their back was turned and they had forgotten about it, I went up and BIT them. I am still that way to some degree. I bottle things up until I can no longer handle it and just let it out. 

In school I can only think of two people who really picked on me. One was JB (for the sake of privacy I guess), and the other was JS. JB picked on me in middle school. JS didn't really join in until high school. I recall one moment in Hurricane Middle school walking down the hall toward the Commons Area (lunch area) just minding my own business and all of the sudden I was on the floor. JB had come up behind me and kicked me in the back. That was 14 years ago. I still remember it very well. Later, in high school he and JS would make fun of me for being gay. I wasn't out. I wasn't even out to myself back then. They would make fun of me about my relationship with my best friend. I don't know if my best friend at the time ever got any flack for it. But I did. I remember that so well because JS was my bishops son. And we had had some really amazing conversations before. Like the kind you don't easily forget. Like you really connect and can feel what the other is feeling and such. And here he was making fun of me and calling me gay. It killed me. I bottled that up inside me.
I would bottle it up inside so much that I had become numb to emotion. I don't think I cried from high school until while on my mission and then some time after. I was emotionally numb  to life. 

In high school I remember first having the thought…"I could so easily drive my car off the road right now and roll down that hill into that raven and everything will be over." "I mean one flick of the wheel and this can all end." 

I don't know what it was that kept me from doing that. I don't know if it was the thought of my family or what friends I did have. Or maybe it was the thought of wrecking my beloved car. (good ol' gev. may he rest in peace.)But I am here today so obviously I didn't do it…. TO BE CONTINUED!!!