Have you ever wondered how funeral service workers feel escorting, dressing, treating and cleaning dead bodies? Here is an exclusive interview with Peter (not real name) on what it means being a funeral service worker.
I was a teacher before joining the funeral service, it was more fun in class. You never thought of death there, children were fun to be with and all we did was sing, dance eat, study and play day in day out.
One of my friends lured me into joining a funeral service company which I did because the pay was quiet good. The first days were tough, we had to through training on how to treat, dress and generally take care of dead bodies.
Life was different here, I was subjected to death reality on a daily handling bodies of the young, old beautiful or rich, I even turned to smoking just to erase the bad odour I would encounter sometimes.
What it means
It’s extremely disturbing at first but you get used as time goes on. In the first days I would even cry and get disturbed the entire day but that has changed, I can even juzz with friends and laugh as we are escorting the body.
Death is death though, you always feel sorry for the person who has died but it’s not something I can do all the time otherwise I will be miserable for the rest of my life as that is my job.
Working at funeral service is a blessing, it keeps remaining you to be thankful to God for keeping you alive and also teaches you to be righteous and prepared as life is short.
There are so many worst moments especially on cleaning the bodies, as a person dies, they excrete some fluids and waste from the different body parts which are in most cases too smelly.
I will never forget the day we had to break a lame man’s legs to fit in the coffin, it took me days to erase the memory from my head, every time I sat alone, the pictures kept coming back.
There is also a time we had to attend to an accident body, the head was smashed and you could see the brain flowing. You literary had nowhere to touch as almost the whole body was smashed, but we still had to find a way. We sometimes go back home but can never sleep because of what we go through during the day.
We sometimes meet harsh family members who look at us as slaves, they will order you around without any respect or sympathy at all.
We make extra money when we attend to rich people, they will tip you for dressing their relative well and for also being with them the entire time, we get a chance to attend with big personalities in the country that we wouldn’t have met.
What he thinks about the changing face of funerals
I think funerals have become more of parties, political grounds than mourning for the dead. I get surprised to see funeral services pampering the dead body more than the owners. The golden old times when people slept with the deceased, cried over them have changed.
This whole thing of we are celebrating so and so’s life has made people lose the attachment to their people. Some people won’t mind seeing how you treat and hand their person yet I feel like a relative should be present when the cleaning and dressing is taking place.
Unfortunately most of them run to make t shirts and buy flowers at that time, they paid someone to take care of their relative’s body anyway.