In the time that I worked for a Catholic church as a personal assistant to the priest, I went to my fair share of funerals. I got to where I knew, based on the person, their age, their manner of death where he was going to head to in the bible.
I also got to categorize mourners. It was in working with the grief community that I saw that those who worked with death must sometimes have challenges with life.
One hot sunny Texas day, the heat was pouring down on us. We had left the chapel at the funeral home and headed for the cemetery. We were only waiting on 3 sons. The tent that was above the casket did little to provide comfort for any of us. Sweat dripped down into our suits. I rocked back and forth on my high heels, a pair of ballerina flats stowed in my purse for the walk back to the car.
Where were they!?! We asked one another, knowing that no one had the answer. 5 minutes turned to 10, then 20, and finally, at the 45 minute mark, they showed up. A car wreck had cut them away from the final part of the funeral. One of the sons, a paramedic stopped to render aid. The second, a firefighter there locally had stopped to call for help. The final son, a policeman stayed to direct traffic. Their final act of compassion on the way to bury their father was noted by all of us.
As we left one another's company, I did not think about the funeral director again until I saw him at another funeral. I never wondered where he laid his head at night, or if he came from a long line of funeral directors. He was just "the funeral director" to me.
Caleb Wilde's book, Confessions of a Funeral Director will give you pause. You will gain insight of what it is like to be a part of the death business here in the United States. You will learn of the spiritual journey that it has taken Caleb Wilde on. You will learn of his family, his wife, and his child. You will learn about the humanity of acknowledging the act of death and dying in a very up close and personal way.
The descriptions are heart felt. His thoughts, fears, faith and humanness are all there, raw and unpolished. Comparisons are made and lessons shared that are gleaned from many of the world's religions.
Wilde's book shares with you the process that brought him into being a funeral director. He didn't want to do it at first. His spiritual struggles are very real, you can feel the pain of his internal debates on those pages.
He shares what it is like when there are problems in death with those that are still living. When there are problems of getting the deceased out of a building, or past family that is not ready to let go yet. You will read of what it is like to attend the final acts of love for a family member by the grieving, by allowing them to be a part of it. You will also learn what it is like to have those final arrangements to make when it is your own family member, too.
I really enjoyed reading this, and I did so in one evening. I know that you will like it, too, which is why I am sharing the link.
Thank you for reading, please let me know what you think in the comments below.
I have been fascinated with genealogy. The stories that my grandmother, great aunts and great grandmother would tell me were ones that I could recite at least in part by the time that I was a young teen.
As time went by, I would get copies of documents. Carefully, I would copy them and slide them into a page protector. In a time long before the internet, each piece of paper represented someone either sending off for a form, going to the library and making a copy, or sharing a page from a document that someone in the family held.
A distant relative that I met online, Rachel, offered to send me her box of research. I was thrilled. She was advanced in years. She was afraid that the family trees that she had taken years to compile would be lost forever since no one in her immediate family was even remotely interested.
I took her up on the offer and within a few weeks, a large cardboard box came to me. It was filled with all sorts of family trees. Connections that I had never seen. It was very excited. I called Rachel on the phone and asked her where she got all of her information from. She explained that the items she had included, birth certificates and what not were from research. Then she told me the sentence that would break my heart.
"The rest I filled in or made up. I even edited some of the birth certificates and stuff with correction fluid to make them match."
I couldn't believe my ears. The box that I had now had no value to me. I put everything back in it and taped it up. I have never opened it again. She had even created false relationships to famous people because she thought that it would make the tree more interesting.
When you are doing research and adding to your family tree, always cite your source. NEVER make up information.
All eyes are on the United States with all of the weather events that we have been facing right now. Flooding, fires, hurricanes, devastating losses. It is hard to comprehend that this is all happening in the US right now at the same time. Texas coastal cities are still dealing with the devastation that has occurred with Hurricane Harvey. Now, Irma is bearing down on the Atlantic Ocean.
Before I go into saving these things, save lives first. The most important things to save are the lives of your family and animals. This should never come before saving lives. Never choose stuff over lives.
That being said, if you have prepared for evacuation with family and animals and you have time, prepare your stuff. If you have not backed up all of the data, do it now. If you don't have a backup hard drive and can get one, get one and backup your hard drive.
For books and papers, place them in a heavy duty sealed bag. *I used the zip top bags that came in one gallon and 5 gallon sizes. After they are in bags, place them in contractor's trash bags. Three bags per box. Now, place the bags in a plastic tub. Not a cardboard box. Now, a contractor's trash bag over the plastic tub. At the top where the bag closes, make a handle of duct tape and write on there what is in each tub.
There is a popular meme going around right now that is stating to place your things in a dishwasher. Dishwashers are NOT waterproof. They have a drain. What can go out can go in. I have had a dishwasher flood the entire kitchen once. Not waterproof. For a better seal if I were desperate, I would use the refrigerator as it is designed to keep a seal using gaskets. If you DO decide to use this, realize that unless you seal the papers and photos with plastic zip top bags and contractor's bags, the moisture in the refrigerator could cause a lot of problems with mold and bacteria if power is lost in the home and the food goes bad. I seriously would not be using home appliances to store things that were of great value to me.
Mail it ahead. If you are headed to a friend or family member outside of the disaster area, mail your things ahead of you if space is a premium in the transportation that you are using. I am serious. Insure it, and mail it ahead. When I went to England the last time, I mailed my luggage. It was cheaper than airline fees, and it was very freeing to not have to worry about my bags.
I would do the same right now with something as important as my genealogy research and family photos.
Please be safe.
This has been a very hard time for those in the Texas coastal area that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.
For those who are safe and dry, please do what you can for those who are affected by Hurricane Harvey. Although the news seems to be covering mostly Houston, Texas, Houston was not the only city hit, nor was it the worst.
Our thoughts and prayers go to our fellow Texas residents who have been affected.
Additionally, a large consumer testing agency, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) is based in Houston. However, they have been assuring their customers that all DNA is safe, and that they are in an upper floor at their location. Some of their employees have lost everything and FTDNA is doing what they can for those employees. If you would like to follow FTDNA on Facebook, here is their link: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyTreeDNA/ . Thank you for reading this and being a part of the genetic genealogy community!
I write a lot about genetic genealogy, family trees, DNA, and home life as well as the occasional product review. Comments? Email me at CocktailsAndSwagger@Hotmail.com