May 24, 2016
Guest Blogger: Jill Johnson-Young
ASD is pleased to share this month’s guest blog post in our new blog series from Jill Johnson-Young. The blog series is focused on aftercare, self care, and helping families with grief recovery. Jill Johnson-Young, LCSW, is a clinical therapist in private practice in Riverside, California. She is the co-owner of Central Counseling Services, where she specializes in grief and loss for adults and children, as well as individual and family therapy. Jill is certified as a Grief Recovery Specialist through the Grief Recovery Institute and has more than a decade of experience as a medical social worker in hospice both in California and Florida. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Florida and is licensed in California. Jill is a member of the Orange Belt Funeral Director’s Association. Her passion is seeing people work through the losses they experience and finding a new path where they can thrive in a life they choose. In this post, Jill explains why funeral directors need to make time for their own families and provides some practical tips on how to restore balance to your life.
A Message To Funeral Directors: Your Family Matters Most
We’re in the midst of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, graduation season and the high time for weddings. You are busy at work. Your marketing plans and websites are really working. You have excellent support staff keeping your families well served and feeling like they really matter to you.
They do. I know and believe they do. My funeral director spent more than 12 hours this month trying to make a final memory for a family less traumatic than it would have been after the damage done by an accident that killed their young one. Twelve hours, Mother’s Day weekend.
So what’s the lesson in self-care for all of you from that story? Your families come first, but your families really come first. You do so much to make difficult times better for families in crisis. You try so hard to make all of their wishes happen and their needs met. But you still need to go home. If you can’t be there for the important events, is it worth it to be everything for someone else’s family?
Hear me correctly- I am not suggesting you shirk any responsibility to anyone after a loss. I know you won’t, and I respect that. But there is a fine line between simply not being able to be there and finding a way to be there while getting it all done. The stress of not being there is far worse for you than doing it all at work and not getting home for that special dinner, or baseball game, or Mother’s Day.
So how do you do it, you ask in frustration. It sounds so simple… and I know it’s not. It’s flexibility and compromise that make it work. That admittedly takes some doing. Scheduling can be an issue, and so can emergencies. That’s why we all need our tribe or village to make it work. That’s where setting reasonable limits helps. You can be everything for your families without scheduling an appointment at 4 pm on Christmas Eve.
In our case, Mother’s Day weekend was divide and conquer time. One took care of one parent, one the other, and then family time was separate and for a set time. That allowed for the time and care needed for the young one who passed unexpectedly while still ensuring we could take a family bowling trip in the middle of the day (And we didn’t have to cook or clean- the bowling alley had a Groupon special with food and drinks included. Score!)
On the plus side, my funeral director escaped from a tea party they had zero interest in attending, but my mom had her tea time and dress up day. My funeral director had time to take a dad to breakfast, and that cleared the day for the rest of the work to be done while I had my tea hat on. We were flexible, we worked it out, and family time happened as a priority. The funeral also happened without a hitch in preparation. Nobody was slighted.
As professionals in your industry there are so many tugs at your time, your professional ethics, and your heart. It can seem impossible to pull the puzzle pieces apart to make the various parts fit. But it’s possible if you:
- Keep the communication open at home so you are aware of the expectations
- Keep communication open at work so you are not overbooked on special days
- Keep an eye on your calendar to be sure you are planning ahead so special days, or even dinner at home, can happen for your family.
Your family is proud of the work you do. But they want to see you so they can tell you how they feel.
Have a good month!
Check back next month for another guest post from Jill Johnson-Young.
<strong>Be sure to read Jill’s Other ASD Guest Blog Posts:</strong> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/2788470-guest-blog-post-providing-grief-support"><strong>Guest Blog Post #1: Providing Grief Support to Families</strong></a> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/2836758-guest-blog-post-self-care-moments-for"><strong>Guest Blog Post #2: Self-Care Moments for the Funeral Profession</strong></a> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/2885005-guest-blog-post-tips-for-handling"><strong>Guest Blog Post #3: Tips for Handling Funeral Home Stress</strong></a> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/2919924-guest-blog-post-supporting-the-children"><strong>Guest Blog Post #4: Supporting the Children of Funeral Directors</strong></a> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/3035409-guest-blog-post-hearts-with-ears"><strong>Guest Blog Post #5: Hearts with Ears for the New Year</strong></a> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/3035409-guest-blog-post-hearts-with-ears"><strong>Guest Blog Post #6: When a Funeral Director Buries Family</strong></a> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/3119204-guest-blog-post-challenging-careers-create"><strong>Guest Blog Post #7: Challenging Careers Create Their Own Humor, Funeral Directors Included</strong></a> <a href="https://www.myasd.com/post/3145398-guest-blog-post-demystifying-the-funeral"><strong>Guest Blog Post #8: Demystifying the Funeral Profession <br type="_moz" /></strong><br type="_moz" /></a>
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