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. =