Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Microstory 297: Perspective Seventy-Three

Perspective Seventy-Two

Did you know that there is not a single civilization in history that has not found a way to lay their dead to rest? It make sense, of course; you never hear about a culture that just throws the bodies to the side and moves on with their lives. Some deceased are buried, others are entombed, and some are even placed in coffins to be hung over the side of a mountain. To become a funeral director, I didn’t need all that much schooling, but I did need some. I first became fascinated with the process in college when I began to study anthropology. My school let me develop my own curriculum so that I could focus on death. I know that sounds morbid...literally, but I just really wanted to know how people dealt with death, so that I could help them through it. Being there for the loved ones of a deceased person is so incredibly rewarding. It’s my job to send someone off to their final resting place, to make sure their family and friends feel that they’ll be moving on to a better place. I don’t claim to know what happens to a person after they die, but I have a lot of experience with what happens to everyone else. And I can tell you that a caring, calm, but unbiased professional is something nearly everyone needs. They don’t need me to sell them a package, or tell them how to feel, they just need me to tell them what’s going to happen. They need to feel like their loved ones are being cared for, so that when they inevitably come my way, they’ll be shown the same respect. Humans are not the only species with the instinct to bury dead. We’re just the only ones with fancy tools for it. Chimpanzees do it as well, which is not entirely surprising since we both originate from a common ancestor. The most interesting case, however, is elephants. They are known to throw leaves and dirt over their dead, and will even return to the site later. They are also thought to go through some kind of mourning process. I see a lot of death, and I do not enjoy it, but my work is important, and I’m proud to do it.

Perspective Seventy-Four

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