Jennings Funeral Director – In The Wake Of A Busy Day
Training as a Dublin Funeral Director. Justin reflects on his new job with one of Ireland’s leading Funeral Directors.
Jennings Funeral Directors Coolock.
The end of a busy day in north Dublin. As I settle into a job I didn’t know I’d like so much, it helps me now to have the quiet of my car for a mental check-list.
Did I order the funeral wreath that Emily Byrne needs for her departed sister Rose?
Does the Funeral Operations team know that there’s an extra mourning car now needed for the Clegg family?
Sorted. One of the younger family members based here in North Dublin were concerned about elderly siblings who might not be up to the drive from their home in Blanchardstown to Jennings in Coolock to attend their sister May’s funeral. The request for an extra limousine came late in the day, but this was no problem for Jennings to organise.
Did I switch over the phones to Jennings after-hours Funeral Service?
Yes. Every evening, all branches of Jennings Funeral Directors – Raheny, Coolock, Blanchardstown and the city centre Five Lamps Funeral Home – all transfer the phones to Jennings north Dublin city head office so that the overnight service can be taken up by our permanently employed evening staff, ensuring that the recently bereaved Dublin families who need us will have access to a Funeral Director day or night.
And that reminds me of how my late father had a saying whenever his beloved hurling team and most of the county came thundering up to north Dublin for an all-Ireland match. Last one in Tipperary switch out the lights. Now – here in Jennings of Coolock – my concern is more along the lines of last one out turn over the phones.
I don’t mind being here a few minutes longer – even before my training as a Funeral Director, I wasn’t a 9-to-5 person. Mind you, I wasn’t born with a burning desire to be a Funeral Director either.
Dublin Funeral Director – Right job for the right person.
Funny how matters of life and death can proceed in such a way that a career path can become as clear as a cemetery sign-post – and a fella ends up in the right job even though an Undertaker’s office was the last place I’d imagined. And there’s balance in my life now – tonight I’m helping my kid brother’s team with junior GAA training and it’ll be a good work out for me as well time outside in the air of North Dublin.
I was working in a bank, but knowing that number-crunching was not for me. My Dad had a terminal illness though – Dad was only in his mid 50’s when he was diagnosed. Anyway, there was neither space nor inclination for any job upheavals. It was all we could do as a family to keep going.
Hospice care and compassion.
My Dad was in St Francis Hospice in Raheny – the trauma for the family was so shattering. But that hospice space, as many Dublin people would know, brings a lot of solace to grieving families because the ethos of patient care is great. So for all of us, my mother included, we had precious time with my father towards the end of his life. Dad was alert up to his death – unlike other terminally ill patients who slip into coma – so we were blest in that way.
Anyway, the conversations we had with our beloved Dad were deeply precious and meaningful. My Dad knew I was a bit unsettled in my job. You’ve always been a people-person, Justin, your job should reflect that. He was dead right. And in the bank, I worked in the Computer Lab – not a living soul around – as quiet as a coroner’s morgue.
After that, life became very painful – my father passed away that October – and it must have been six months after the funeral before I even gave another thought to finding a new job. For all of us in the family – those early days of trauma and grief went by in a blur of awfulness.
And yet it was a memory from the funeral itself that reminded me that there was a life outside a job you didn’t enjoy. Jennings Funeral Directors in Coolock had arranged my father’s funeral. Months later I bumped into Sean, one of the Jennings team who had been so helpful. Later I told my mother that Sean sent his regards and that he remembered a lot of the detail from those days of arranging Dad’s funeral – including my name and my three sisters.
Jennings Funeral Directors – part of the Coolock community.
My Mam wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t just our own Dad’s funeral – but anytime she attended funerals that were arranged by Jennings of Coolock – local funerals of old neighbours or friends – Mam said you could see that the family in mourning were looked after in all kinds of caring ways.
That same week after I met Sean, I saw the position advertised – the chance for top class training with one of Ireland’s leading Funeral Directors. Jennings. My Dad’s words came back to me, and yet I’d never before made the link between people-skills and working in an Undertakers. Or the fact that yes, my personality would suit a job where meeting people was core to the work.
Before my Dad died, I suppose like many people, I would have seen a Funeral Director’s job as almost too difficult to take on – that maybe it was ok you had been raised in a family undertakers and that you were more prepared for the work around bereavement and making funeral arrangements. I’m so glad I persevered and applied for the job as Funeral Director in Jennings.
To be continued…
Names have been changed.