Mar 09, 2018
“Whereas these special men and women see their chosen
profession as a higher calling, a sacred trust, in serving every family
regardless of social standing, financial means, or time of day or day of the
year, whenever a death occurs; and whereas March 11 would be an appropriate day
to designate as National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day to pay
tribute to these funeral directors and morticians who, day in and day out,
assist our Nation’s families in their times of sadness and grief and help
families mourn a death and celebrate a life.”
– H. RES. 892, passed
by the 110th Congress of the United States.
On March 11, 2008, the 110th Congress of the United States
passed a resolution designating March 11 as National Funeral Director and Morticians Recognition Day. This is a day to acknowledge the important work of funeral
professionals and express support. Many people outside of the profession are
unaware of the different characteristics and personality traits one must
possess in order to be a funeral director.
In honor of National
Funeral Directors and Mortician’s Recognition Day, here are 10 distinct
qualities that make funeral directors extraordinary
Taking on the pain and sadness of another human being is not
something most people are capable of doing. It takes a remarkable sort of
person to willingly walk into the eye of a hurricane and withstand the
battering waves of another person’s grief. Funeral professionals give the
bereaved something to hold on to in the midst of that dark and unrelenting
Funeral directors believe ardently in the significance of
the work they do. While different faiths may observe different customs, the
importance of treating every deceased person with dignity and giving them a
respectful final disposition is central to the work of all funeral professionals.
These convictions inform every action directors take and demonstrate the
cultural value they offer to society.
It’s not just the unpredictable schedule or the willingness
to do physical labor at 3am that separates a funeral director from others –
it’s the emotional availability and attentiveness. Show us another profession
where a person is willing to wake from a deep sleep, night after night, in
order to provide empathy and reassurance to those grieving.
4. Emotional Fortitude
There isn’t a word that completely describes what a funeral
director must be, because there is no other vocation or job that requires such
self-sacrifice. To be both calm and collected in the face of sorrow, yet
compassionate and empathetic towards those grieving is like walking on an emotional
tightrope. Funeral professionals must always be in touch with their feelings
without ever letting them overpower their composure.
Profits. Awards. Promotions. Titles. Wealth. Praise.
For many, these aspirations are what drive their career. For
funeral directors, there is one motivation that supersedes all – a calling to
help those in need. The passion that funeral professionals have for bringing
comfort to those who are hurting is greater than any other measurement of
The philanthropic efforts of funeral directors have helped countless people to rebuild their lives after a tragedy. These acts of goodwill rarely get the recognition they deserve, so we at ASD wanted to shine a spotlight on a few of the many selfless funeral professionals out there that have gone above and beyond to help others.
What do these stories all have in common? The answer is simple
– when someone is hurting, you don’t have to look far to find a funeral
director stepping in to help.
Unlike other professions, funeral directors can’t simply put
an auto-responder on their email and check out for a few days. The constant,
24/7 demands of the funeral home require morticians to have a strong work ethic
and an enduring commitment to families in their community. There are a lot of
things in life that can be mechanized, but a personal connection is not one of
Being continually misunderstood by the public and
misrepresented by the media doesn’t stop funeral professional from doing
praise-worthy work every day. It is not pride or recognition that motivates
funeral directors, but rather a feeling of personal fulfillment after helping
someone in need. It is this important quality that keeps funeral directors
grounded and able to easily relate to others.
While others run away from horrific events and tragedies,
funeral directors bravely face what many cannot. From those tasked with
identifying remains at 9/11 to those who volunteered to come to Sandy Hook to
assist with burials, these courageous souls are often haunted by what they face
but that doesn’t stop them from stepping in to help.
There are countless incorrect and off-base stereotypes out
there about funeral directors that have been reinforced by misrepresentations
in movies and television. One of the worst offenders is the characterization of
morticians as creepy, morose, or gothic. This depiction could not be further
from the truth. If you’re trying to find a funeral director in a crowd, don’t
start looking in the shadows. The reality is, most funeral professionals have
very animated and spirited personalities. Their unpredictable schedule usually
has insanely long hours, so when they are outside of funeral home they are likely
to be having fun, laughing and living it up.
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Which one of these
qualities do you think is the most crucial for funeral directors to possess?
Are there any important character traits we left off our list? Share your
thoughts in the comments below.
About The Author
Jess Farren (Fowler)
Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess@myASD.com