October is miscarriage and infant loss month. Today let us take time to remember the women and men who have lost little ones – sometimes before they got a chance to meet them. The grief of those who have lost so very young ones often takes place silently and sometimes behind closed doors. Those of us who have lost very young ones know that we remember them when those around us either do not know of the loss we carry or have forgotten the loss. Today, pause and remember that we live closely with those who have lost pregnancies and very young children not long born. If we allow ourselves a moment to feel what it might be like to anticipate, carry a child only to lose the child before or soon after birth, maybe then perhaps we can begin feel with them – even a little bit- how devastating it might feel. If we can do this, perhaps we can in a small way understand why it might take time to even begin to heal from the loss.
In 2016 82% of people walked into only one funeral home before they chose who would perform the final care of their loved one’s body. A year later the statistic lowers to 74%. While the numbers look better, the number of people who do not bother checking local death care resources one boggles the mind. Funeral planning for someone who we love can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, so we can understand why people do not want to shop around for their end of life needs. When we take into consideration the amount of money at stake, we really should take more care and check out a few local funeral homes before we sit down, make a plan and hand over our hard earned money. Funeral directors know that if you walk through their door you are most likely going to purchase goods and services from them, and not research the local market. For those in the industry, the game is getting people in door in the first place. They need to establish and maintain relationships of their customers because they know that those customers will refer their family and friends to them, and thus their business grows.
Through my training and funeral shopping, I have come across the attitude time and time again that if the service provider would show the consumer the value in the services or goods, then price will not matter to clients. They really believe this. They believe that if they can tell a good story about how lovely the funeral will be you will hire them. They believe that making a sale is all in the way they frame the experience they hope you will buy into. What they do not know is that price does matter to those who have done their research. Researching provides us with the best defense against the sales techniques the death care industry uses, and the public’s tendency to not shop around. We can decide what kind of end of life rite we each want. We can frame our own idea of the funeral we want for ourselves, and find a provider who will work with our idea, and not a worn out idea of the past. To achieve this, we must look into the local market and shop around. We must take a different approach if we intend to achieve a different outcome.
With the hard work of those in the alternative death care industry the numbers of those who do not research local funeral providers have dropped. Our culture is shifting when it comes to death care. People are now more open about the topic of death and are more willing to learn what they can. We are beginning to take back the death rituals from the funeral homes. Sometimes we can follow our tradition. Sometimes we can make up our own. Sometimes we can to do both. Once we start to change the way we do business with the death care industry, they will have to change the way they deal with the consumer. We can do it. We have already begun.
Nine minutes of shooting continued after they received the first 911 call in Las Vegas Sunday night. This does not take into consideration the length of time before the calls were made. It could have been as long as ten minutes. Ten minutes is a long time. Ten minutes of people screaming and running for their lives – trapped in the open – being shot like fish in a barrel. If you doubt that sit in silence for ten minutes. Feel the magnitude. How have we come to such a place where someone like him lives in our society and no one thinks anything is wrong until he begins to calculate and bring to fruition an act of such brutality and destruction? People say gun control. Perhaps, but gun control does not change the heart of a human. It only hinders the manner in which he or she can destroy another human being. We have created a society in which this can happen. If each of us cannot look at ourselves individually and say how can I change the world in which I live, we will continue to see loss of lives on a similar scale. Until we value human life, deaths like this will happen. Until we teach our children that we are all the same, and that we are all valuable, we will wake up to another morning of weeping and terror.