This time a few years ago, I would’ve been into the double-digits of my reading. I’d be zipping through books left and right. So far, in the first 27 days of 2020 I’ve read one book (all the way through), and I might even start it over again.
Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life, by Caleb Wilde, could not be more firmly in my wheelhouse. I’ve always been fascinated with books about death…from cadavers to crematories and death practices around the world, from wondering if the cat will eat my eyeballs to good ole fashioned horror stories.
I’m not super focused on death, but I was perusing morbid books when I settled on this one. What I discovered was a lot more than what I’d bargained for. I expected morticians’ secrets about embalming and eye caps, and while there was some of that, there was also a great deal of humility, real talk about the death-negative narrative Americans carry around with them, and the hope and emotional resurrection we can find within our families and communities–something that makes a death-positive narrative possible.
The challenge of being a career funeral director, for Caleb Wilde, is not letting all that sadness, tragedy, and loss weigh him down or hollow him out. It’s his family, faith, and community that help him realize that death can be lifegiving.