A Not-So-Average Job: Life as a Funeral Director

Posted May 17, 2016

6 min read

On her blog, Little Miss Funeral, Lauren LeRoy shares everyday stories and reflections from her perspective as a female funeral director. Sharing the ups and downs - and all the emotions that come with her work - has made the blog quite popular with readers in the industry, and even among those not in funeral service. We spoke with LeRoy, who describes herself as “an average girl working at your not so average job,” about what her favorite thing is about being a funeral director, and what gave her the idea to start her blog.

Q: How did you come up with the idea and concept for your blog?

Lauren LeRoy: I started the blog in 2012. At the time I was already working for a funeral home for about a year or so. A lot of my family members and friends would ask me about my job and what I did on a day-to-day basis. So I actually started the blog just to keep my family and friends updated.

The more I wrote, the more it became like a diary for me. I find it very therapeutic. If I’m having a bad day or if I just had a bad funeral experience, it’s good for me to write about it. It really developed from that.

I work for my family’s funeral home. They’re very supportive of the blog. I worked for another funeral home when I started the blog and just carried it over as I started working for my family.

Q: Has it changed your perspective as a Funeral Director?

Lauren LeRoy: It definitely has not changed my perspective. I suppose it does make coping with the job easier, because it is a really difficult job to be around death all the time. The job in itself [involves] so much uncertainty. I never know what the next day holds. I never know what today holds!

My schedule can completely change within a matter of minutes…I definitely talk to my family and friends about it, but it can be difficult because they don’t fully understand what I go through day-to-day. The blog has actually helped me learn about and meet other funeral directors throughout the country, so it’s been a great resource to meet other people who go through the same things that I go through.

Q: Do you get much interaction with your readers?

Lauren LeRoy: I actually do get comments and people reaching out to me. There are a couple of funeral directors specifically who keep going back to it and we stay in touch via blogging.

Because I’m only 26, it’s nice when I think I’m having a very difficult day or I’m going through something, maybe a little depression because of the job – to have people who have been in the business for years tell me that’s totally normal. They often say ‘What you’re going through comes with the territory,’ and things like that. It is reassuring [to hear].

There are a couple of different funeral blogs out there, and each has its own mission or purpose. Some are just for the community, and others are about different trends or different [areas of interest].

My blog is more of an emotional blog…I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m just trying to talk about my day-to-day experiences. I feel people relate to it because it’s more of an emotional outlet – not that the others [are right or wrong], but my blog is [sharing] what I want to talk about, and my experience.

Q: To wrap up our interview: what’s one of your favorite things about being a funeral director?

Lauren LeRoy: I’ve been doing this for about 6 years now, which isn’t a long time, but in the funeral world it kind of is! My license in New York State is a dual license, so I can embalm and I can lead a funeral. And, in the 6 years that I’ve been practicing I have done it all! But within the last 3 years I’ve stepped away from the back room, the embalming and preparation, and I’ve focused more on meeting with the families.

I found that that’s my strongest point, working with the families. I can really make them feel comfortable. I think that’s just like my absolute favorite part of the funeral business. I think it was Thomas Lynch who said, ‘We take care of the living by taking care of the dead,’ or something to that effect. He’s one of my favorite Funeral Directors from Michigan. I totally believe it is true: the dead person is the most important part of the funeral because we’re doing the funeral for the one who’s deceased, but at the same time we can’t forget that we also have to help the family, and we have to help them get through this. I love what I do because I feel that I can really reach out to people, and help them through that difficult time.

Personalizing a funeral is my favorite thing to do. I had a funeral the other day, and I blew up a photo of a gentleman in front of his sports car for the family. The family gave me a bunch of photos, and they had said that his favorite thing was driving in his car, [so it was nice to do that for the family]. We had the photo for the visitation, and they absolutely loved that. Just finding out the little details and making something special for families, so when they come in, they can kind of smile or laugh or remember the person, because that’s something that was really near and dear to them. I love that aspect.

About Lauren LeRoy

Little Miss Funeral is actually Lauren LeRoy, a funeral director located in New York. Little Miss Funeral was started in March 2012 as a platform for LeRoy to share her thoughts and ideas on the funeral industry. Find the blog at littlemissfuneral.com

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