Remember To Laugh

August 20, 2009
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On my first day as a funeral director it took me all of an hour to learn to laugh. Roger and Denise Winnicky, the couple who owned the funeral home I was working for, each possessed an incredible sense of humor and it was infectious. They taught me the value of putting a positive spin on as many of the daily situations I encountered as possible.

Some days the funeral homes we work in are not nice places to be. Places of sadness can wear on you after awhile.

On my first day as a funeral director it took me all of an hour to learn to laugh. Roger and Denise Winnicky, the couple who owned the funeral home I was working for, each possessed an incredible sense of humor and it was infectious. They taught me the value of putting a positive spin on as many of the daily situations I encountered as possible.

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I know we all have ?those moments? that allow us to smile, or roll our eyes or leave the room before we betray ourselves but I don?t think we need feel guilty about them. I know directors in funeral homes that actually LOOK INTO A MIRROR to make sure they have ?PUT ON A FUNERAL FACE?. Talk about anal.

Each of my staff over the years was simply asked to be themselves when meeting a family for the first time. If that meant offering a smile when introducing oneself to the widow, so be it. I preferred that to a dark ?funeral face? and clenched, ?wringing hands?. Don?t get me wrong. I am not suggesting for a moment that inappropriate joking or loud laughter is called for but there is nothing wrong with pleasantries shared in polite company.

Today our Funeral Home?s tradition is based upon being real rather than being put-on. People know in an instant if the smile is natural or not and my children are all gifted with personalities that allow then to be invited into any ?family circle? almost immediately. I think the reason is partly due to the fact that I never asked them to pause in front of a mirror and put on a funeral face.

I honestly hope that I am preaching to the choir here and that everyone functions within the parameters of their comfort zones in an inviting manner.I honestly hope that you do not deny yourself that moment of laughter even if you have to beat a hasty retreat to the washroom (make sure you are alone). It may be better saved for later in the coffee room but my point is this:

Allow yourself those moments because they will be your healing grace in the long run. Allow yourself to be real and the world will be real with you. Find the light in the darkness of your workday and focus on it. If we don?t laugh we might just cry.

I am guilty but thank God I journal and my ?guffaw-type-laughter? is captured on the page. If I didn?t I fear I would be in real trouble. I share this with you because I am sure you have had ?those days?. Give yourself a gift. Be kind to yourself.

Behind the Scenes

Is it a sin for me to laugh?

and laugh I must

if I am to survive…

Don?t catch me smiling

when some outrageous black-veiled hat

signs the memorial register …

Or some man,

conscious of his three-score years,

walks in…

resplendent in a coal black,ill-fitting

toupee

worn

just

alittle… crooked.

Don?t catch me smiling with my wife

about the look on the minister?s face

when the big,

black dogtook a dump in the rosebushes

during the final prayer…

Or the look on the grave-digger?s facewhen we discovered the pig

that had fallen into the grave overnight!

It wasn?t really funny

when the competition?s hearse had a flat tire

on the way to the cemetery…

(It was just the culmination of a day of crazy mishapsthat made me stop to offer him my spare…)

? my umbrella that turned inside-out in the wind…

to say nothing of what that same wind

did to

the

organist?s full pleated skirt!

Is it a sin for me to laugh?

and laugh I must

… if I am to survive

…For if it follows

…as the day the night,

if I don?t laugh,

I?ll cry.

Randy McCormick c1976

CDFuneralNews

CDFuneralNews

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