Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Snow . . .

Posted on February 18, 2021 by shackelford under Uncategorized
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I’m sitting in my office—which just happens to be in the garage (it’s a long story . . .)—and I hear the garage door as it begins its ascent, letting in the winter winds and sleet as it goes.  Outside I hear the crunching of the ice as our removal van approaches, the driver positioning it so he can back into the first bay of the garage.  After coming to a halt it begins to beep incessantly as the back hatch is raised.  The beeping stops when the door is fully opened but in its place is the sound of the cot being removed and taken into the building.  The door beeps again as it closes . . . and then I’m back to the silence that is bookkeeping on a snowy day with nothing more than tapping on the keyboard and the occasional ringing of the phone and the roaring of the garage heater to break the monotony.  Oh, and the sound of the ice chunks as the warmth allows them to fall from the wheel wells of the van.

Winter weather in the south tends to bring the world to a screeching halt—or in our case, a crunchy slide.  Halting isn’t always an option if you’re brave enough to get out in a vehicle and oblivious enough to end up on an unscraped, unsalted side road.  All the staples of life magically disappear from the grocery shelves and everyone closets themselves in the safety of their respective homes, except for those of us who delight in the snow (that would be me).  We will venture out to play or, if necessary, to work, with the knowledge we can return to the warmth of our house at any point.  In other words, if allowed we will basically cease to function until the thaw.

But you know what doesn’t stop for sleet and/or snow?  Births don’t.  If a child decides it’s time to enter the world, it really doesn’t matter if there’s a sheet of ice six feet thick on the roads.  And illness . . . illnesses and catastrophic health events like strokes or heart attacks will continue undeterred by horrid driving conditions.  As a matter of fact, emergencies of any kind will continue and sometimes even escalate compliments of the aforementioned oblivious people of the world.  You know what else doesn’t stop?  Death.

It would be nice if there was a button someone could push, a magical button that basically brought the world and all its horrible happenings to at least a temporary halt—a truce with Nature, so to speak—until such time as the weather cooperated and everyone could safely move about without freezing or landing in a ditch . . . or worse.  But until someone manages to invent such a magnificent button, doctors and nurses will still creep to work.  Police and firefighters will still respond to emergencies.  And funeral home staff?  We’ll still be going when we’re called.  We’ll still be here to assist the families confronting loss, because Death doesn’t take holidays. And he doesn’t check the weather before he comes.

 

 

About the author:  Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926.  She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there.  Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.

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