Image from Dippy Designs
What happens to the minds of those who deal with death every day? How do they cope with the endless procession of grieving people and dead bodies? Is it emotionally healthy to specialise in death? Isn’t undertaking something best combined with a therapeutic something else – a little landscape gardening or, in the case of Jeremy Clutterbuck, undertaker to the good folk of Cam in Gloucestershire, ironmongery? It is difficult to see, on his website, any affiliation to any of the funeral industry trade bodies, but he is proud to proclaim his membership of the British Hardware Federation.
- Exhaustion and loss of energy
- Irritability and impatience
- Cynicism and detachment
- Feelings of omnipotence and indispensability
I wonder if any funeral director out there has any comment on this? How do you look after your emotional health?
Funeral directors apart, what happens to those at a less exalted level – the trade embalmers, those who work in mortuaries, especially hospital mortuaries? What coping skills are they taught? Anecdotally, we are aware that mortuary practice in some of Britain’s funeral homes is not always what it should be and can be deplorable.
Here are two recent stories which illustrate what I’m getting at. See what happened to these people:
Staff at a historic cemetery in Genoa are being investigated for allegedly stripping gold fillings, jewels and artificial limbs from corpses for resale.
Seven employees at the wooded Staglieno cemetery, built in 1851, are suspected of having secretly amassed their booty in a workroom where buyers purchased materials by the pound.
Zinc stripped from coffins, as well as wooden coffins themselves, stolen seconds before cremations, were also up for sale, reported Genoa daily Il Secolo XIX. Artificial limbs were prized for their titanium content.
Read it all here. Hat-tip to Tony Piper.
Questions about staff turnover, working relationships with funeral homes and the treatment of bodies at the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office merit a review by an independent, third party, County Council Chairman Dave Gossett said … The scrutiny comes after an anonymous, online complaint the county received in August 2009.
The writer claimed to help run one of the county’s largest funeral homes and said bodies the funeral home received from the medical examiner’s office were “in vile condition.”
Read it all here.