Nobody knows like an undertaker that despite amazing advances in medicine and technology, the mortality rate for human beings still remains 100%. It’s a fact: all of us are going to die someday. I am reminded of it every day as I go about my work burying the dead.
Per the CDC, we are unmasking on the honor system and it’s a very divisive issue. Fabric on my face has worked well for my chosen profession. Here are my reasons why:
-People don’t like to see funeral directors. We reflect pain, the bearers of bereavement. Most people attempt to place mortality out of their minds as much as possible.
-Masks provides cover for the sad reality of death work. When a funeral or burial moves me, I can emote without anyone questioning why the seasoned funeral professional is losing it in the corner.
-Self-talking isn’t socially acceptable. I work all day in a funeral home by myself. You better believe I have full conversations, all the time. This includes moving my lips.
-Morticians are sleep deprived. I’m on call 24 hours per day and look worn out. The dark circles under my eyes announce I never get those magical 8 hours of sleep I desperately need.
-No more colds. Being around such an influx of people in my parlor chapel, at churches, and at family homes, I normally am sick a multitude of times throughout the year and it prevents me from doing the job I love.
-Gifted masks are precious. It feels really lovely to wear a handmade present from a family I’ve served. And it’s an extra bonus if I happen to run into them someplace on the streets of Boring, Oregon wearing the mask they created for me.
-Families need an invisible hand holding theirs. I move through my days with my eyes wide open to help mourners, but not with other’s eyes necessarily on me. A cloak of invisibility allows me to focus on the tasks at hand.
-Healthy skin is made from the shade. Even cool and cloudy days at the cemetery cause those hazardous rays to penetrate the layers of skin. The mask is yet another form of protection from what I know to be another form of death.
-Unfortunately, morticians are considered last responders that work in a high risk field. I’m aware people are already nervous coming in my parlor door as it is. I want them to see right away that I care about their health.
I’m a mortician, not a magician. I don’t know the future, but I do know my experiences this past year and a half have made me mask-positive. And that every day above ground is a good one.