Funeral Industry: SECRET… Something You Tell to One Person at a Time
How easy it is to sit in the local coffee shop with another staff member and talk about the day. How easy it is to share a laugh, forgetting that you are in a public place BUT that lady pallbearer WAS a sight in those FOUR INCH spikes as she maneuvered the goose poop on the way to the graveside. How are you to know the person behind you is her next door neighbour? How easy it is to forget that the man at the next table could be the next person deciding which funeral home to use.
It is not easy to maintain confidences and still remain human within the parameters of the funeral profession. It is human nature to share experiences and if the listener is intent and you are in a corner at a party it is tempting to tell the story that you are being pressed to share. In the office setting, sidestepping leading questions it is even trickier ? especially when asked by peripheral family members that you may have served in other situations. ? ?Is Auntie going to be buried wearing that big diamond ring that actually belongs to our mother?? How easy it is to say ?yes? and ignite a powder keg rather than referring the question to the family member who asked you to put it on. Maybe not confidences, but sensitive situations lurk within most everything we are requested to do.
I can?t begin to list the confidences I have been party to as funeral professional, but I CAN list the number of times on one hand that I have ever broken one. For any who are surprised that I have broken a confidence, I must plead extenuating circumstances but I have never broken a confidence with anyone outside a family unit. I have permission to share the following story.
While dressing a lady entrusted to my care, I noticed something unusual about a very old ? but very elegant ? long skirt I was to use. The lady had set aside her burial clothes decades ago. Over the years the garment had become moth eaten and I detected large bulges in the material. Upon inspection the reason for the bulging was apparent. Without opening any seams, it was apparent that the slip contained large sums of cash. I felt duty bound to share with the executor. I made a decision and called the family ? breaking the confidence of a ?voice from the grave?. How thankful they were that I did. Upon inspection, we found over $180,000.00 in uncirculated 1947 to 1945 bills of all denominations including over ninety-seven one thousand dollar bills. They had wondered for years about the proceeds from the cash sale of a property in the fifties? they suspected a gambling problem. An eccentric streak had allowed the lady to live ? and die ? in devastating poverty. The family was thankful for my call. My decision to break that ?confidence from the grave? was the right one under the circumstances.
Remember to honor the secrets you are entrusted to keep. Strive to maintain that confidences that you are party to. Your reputation ? and your own peace of mind is at stake.