I've often said that the nicest part of being a Funeral Director is the contact with people. Sometimes just having a chat, whatever the subject, is just what a client needs. It might be the case sometimes that within an hours visit, we'll talk ten minutes "business" and fifty minutes of whatever-it-may-be... weather, dogs, holidays, football, politics, gardens, food, technology, family connections, praising folk, bemoaning folk...
Whilst the conversations can be varied, so can the result of them: it's not uncommon for me to have a go at fixing a laptop, or a sky tv box, or be given a tour of a garden, or sampling a home-made cake!
Even though I'm there to offer my professional service, I find it's often the extra time and care taken which can make people most at ease.
A conversation that often comes up is along the lines of "I couldn't do your job" or "I don't know how you cope". My response is usually to point out that there are many many people with 'unenviable' jobs, and whilst yes, my job involves incredible hard work, long hours and often difficult situations, I think it gets balanced out with the pride and satisfaction of helping someone in their time of need.
Many of my clients have been surprised if I mention what I consider to be the hardest part of the job... meeting a family for the first time. When you're stood on a doorstep and knock on the door or ring the bell, you generally have no idea what you'll be faced with on the other side: one person alone or a house-full, free-flowing conversation or bottled-up emotions, sadness or laughter. What happens though, is that we soon find common-ground and we can build a relationship of trust and mutual respect.
I love Whitehaven and West Cumbria, I genuinely think that West Cumbrian folk are some of the friendliest around and it's often easy to find that we have something or someone in common. The meeting and contact with people is truly the nicest part of being a Funeral Director, and I feel incredibly proud and privileged to serve my home community this way.