Late nights and Eulogies.

IMG_7135  I am currently in my odd socks and trackies with a cup of hot tea steaming by one side of my computer and the work phone on the other.

At any time, right up until eight in the morning tomorrow, this little red device can ring indicating the end of another life.

I am on call, and this can mean late nights but I don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night, quickly brewing a coffee for the road and taking off into the darkness. If I am called upon by a grief stricken family, nothing else matters except the quickest route to their home or location. Tomorrow I am conducting a funeral in the city, and there is a fat chance I will need extra concealer and plenty of caffeine to get me through, but that’s okay.

Today, I buried an old man named Allen. It was pouring rain and the cemetery was a mud bath. Allen’s small family had flown from England to pay their respects. I’m sure they felt right at home! I stood by the casket, the Orders of Service in my hands,  listening to the conversations between siblings. I learnt they had not seen each other in years, their words were short, empty and cold like strangers in line at a supermarket. But I could not help but notice the longing in their eyes for a hug. A touch. Each of them wanted to pull their brother or sister in and squeeze the guts out of them, but their adult ego taller than the six foot grave dug in the cemetery for their father, they stood awkwardly and discussed how warm the Australian Winter was even when it was raining.

During the Eulogy, the children shared stories of the snowy English nights when the children would fight over who would go and drop a coin into the gas/electricity metre to keep the heater going, or dob one another in to brave the sleet to grab some firewood from the woodshed. Allen was a gentle and kind man, who loved to cook and go to the theatre. Their eyes glazed over as they peered over at the shiny casket, trembling and sniffling. I wondered if these beautiful words had been spoken to Allen in recent times.

So many people wait until a loved one’s Eulogy to share their thoughts, their feelings and wishes…too many times at a funeral I hear: ‘If only I could have Dad here for one more day…’ 

Don’t wait until the funeral to show you care. Tell everybody you love right now that they are special to you. There is nothing wrong with expressing your love and admiration to another person. Just finished an argument with your spouse and fuming? Take a breath, pour some tea (or a whisky) then go and hug them.

My work phone is ringing which means somebody just took their last breath. Life is too short and your family and friends are far too important; don’t let them die not knowing how awesome they truly are and how much they are loved.


The Paradox of Our Time

By George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge but less judgement, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much and pray seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

Theses are the times of fast food and slow digestion, big men and smaller character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses but broken homes.

These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show room window and nothing in the stockroom. A time where technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight or hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember to say “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all, mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Beauty in the casket






Beauty Queens die too. And while I know everyone dies, when you see a  beautiful young woman lying in her coffin it hits home. Death will take anyone and everyone, no matter colour, age or social status.

Buried with her pageant sashes and heels, I peered down at her name plate nailed on the lid of her casket as it lowered into the Earth.

Her age reads 31 years old.

My age.

The coffin reached the bottom of the grave and mourners turned towards their cars with heads hung. Another curtain closed. I sighed and stared up at the clouds moving swiftly across the sky. I was granted more time and we never know why. Why are some lives cut short when they are in their prime, just like the Beauty Queen?

Just last week she was on a stage with bouquets of flowers being thrown at her as she took the crown. Now her dainty body was laid to rest, slightly wounded by the car, but I managed to camouflage the cuts and grazes with make up.

I said my final farewell to the beauty and headed back towards the hearse. It didn’t like leaving her on her own in the ground. I wanted to stay and spend some more time with her. But I couldn’t. I had other clients waiting for me on the mortuary table.

Death doesn’t wait And life goes on.