As usual for this time of year, the normal post-on-Wednesday-night, find-it-on-Thursday-morning blog comes a day early, ‘cause Thanksgiving wishes rule the regular blog day. And, as usual, I feel like I should really focus on being thankful for something. The trouble is, for what? That isn’t to say I’m not grateful, because goodness knows, I realize how truly blessed I am. My problem is where to start? As I pondered the direction of my focus, the usual suspects came to mind . . . family (especially the grandkids and future grandkid), friends, decent health—the list could be endless. But then one particular blessing came to mind, one that is often overlooked but is so important that when it sprang into my thoughts I immediately knew. I just knew that was the one.
I’m grateful for the people with whom I work—for those folks who have dedicated their lives to serving the families who walk through our doors. It doesn’t matter if you come to Savannah, Selmer, Bolivar, Waynesboro, or Henderson, you’re going to find compassionate, caring people who routinely put their lives on hold to help someone else through theirs.
Day by day—and night after night—our folks walk with families as they struggle with loss and make plans to honor someone they love. For the directors and funeral staff, it may be a day of arrangement conferences and funeral services that follows a night of little sleep because the calls have kept them up and out . . . or the previous day’s events made sleep difficult to come by. I don’t know anyone who works with us who has perfected the art of “dropping it at the door” when they get home; there are too many times that Death and its repercussions touches everyone who works here in ways that are not easily set aside. The directors and assistants must routinely serve as counselors, comforters, and referees—they must gently guide those who are trying to find their way through the haze of fresh grief.
It’s not just the funeral directors and staff that make what we do possible. Believe me, you’d definitely notice if the housekeepers weren’t quietly working in the background. We rarely ever take note when something is clean and in good order, but we most assuredly do when it is not, and I know there are days they go home exhausted because of the number of people we’ve asked them to clean up after.
Without the secretaries and bookkeepers, our records and paperwork would be a disaster and family members would find themselves responsible for a great deal more at a time when more is the last thing they need. The office personnel are generally the first ones with whom they come in contact, and many families grow to rely on them as they try to navigate the piles of paper that accompany Death. So often I have walked into our foyer or office only to find a distraught family member pouring their heart out to one of our secretaries, because that secretary willingly takes the time to listen, to understand their grief, and to respond to their pain. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the amount of work we ask of them once the directors finish meeting with a family.
And the grave crew? They wade through snow and sleet and rain and mud and muck and unbearable heat or cold so families can bury their loved ones. They routinely come back from cemeteries frozen or melting, soggy or coated in mud, but they willingly come back the next day, knowing the same is waiting for them.
What it all boils down to is this . . . we can’t do what we do for the families who call on us without every single one of the folks I just named. They all have their job. They all understand the importance of the role they play. And they are all dedicated to doing the best they can for those we serve. We are blessed that they have chosen to work with us and today, as we prepare to give thanks for so much in life, I want them to know that they’re on my list.