Justin reflects on his job as a Dublin Funeral Director.
When you tell someone that you work for Jennings Funeral Directors, there are three questions that pop up a lot.
- What made you decide to apply for a job as an Undertaker?
- What’s it like to work as a Funeral Director?
- Is the coffin always used in the actual cremation?
Yes to that third funeral related question – the coffin is always used in the cremation. And in answer to the first question – Jennings Funeral Directors looked after my Dad when he passed away – and in a way, that inspired my career change.
This article describes how things happened: Training as Dublin Funeral Director
And what is it like to work as a Funeral Director? Well – take the job in hand – I think of my check-list earlier in Jennings Oscar Traynor Road car park, and why it really matters in terms of Jennings quality of service that I double checked it all:
Funeral Flowers – funeral decisions, options, and how your Funeral Director can guide you:
Emily’s funeral flowers for her sister Rose and what struck me as different. Rose was 86, and had died peacefully at home in the Edenmore area, which is between Coolock and Raheny. When her sister Emily called in to Jennings in Oscar Traynor Road to make the funeral arrangements, her shock was visible – Rose was so pleasant but fragile and I wondered would she be ok with the task in hand. She was. Rose had great dignity and courage – wished to give her dear sister a meaningful funeral tribute. Emily knew that Rose had a good life. And a long life. But her death was sudden. So Emily was shaky in the decisions – a removal to the church the night before? Or just a one-movement funeral to the church for the morning Funeral Mass and on then to the family grave in Glasnevin Cemetery? Should she put the death notice in the newspaper for one day or two days?
Reassurance when you are vulnerable – part of a Funeral Director’s job.
I think it helped when Jennings told Emily she could take her time on all decisions about how the funeral should proceed – and that Jennings could guide her. But from the word go, Emily was clear as a church bell about funeral flowers for Rose – and that’s what struck me as different in my role of Funeral Director in training – Emily was so sure about the flowers: Traditional funeral flowers. Nothing modern. No flower letters spelt out in names. Red and White flowers. Small floral cross for Rose to be placed on the coffin. Two circular funeral wreaths as well – one red – one white. Emily explained that this was the one aspect of funerals the sisters had discussed – that was when arranging their own mother’s removal and funeral Mass – that was in Jennings of the Five Lamps – and both sisters were in complete harmony about traditional funeral flowers. We didn’t discuss our funeral preference beyond that – Rose and myself were too busy having a good life!
I was involved in Emily’s funeral arrangements – in a training capacity of course, a senior Jennings Funeral Director supervised all the funeral arrangements, but I worked on many of the funeral details and had the privilege of working with Emily – and you could see the relief in her that Jennings gave as much guidance as she needed – such as choosing to put the death notice for Rose in RIP.IE as well as the newspapers – and other areas where she found it hard to decide.
Funeral cars, hearse, limousines, last minute concerns, reassurance:
The shock of bereavement in a family can carry stress and worry alongside the trauma of loss and the sadness. Pauline – great granddaughter of the deceased lady called May – was worried they’d left it too late to ask Jennings to organise an extra mourning car. Jennings of Coolock assured her this was no problem. As a Funeral Director in training, I was interested in how funerals arrangements change – and why an extra limousine was a bit of a last minute decision for the family. May – great grandmother – was the oldest member of the extended family and had passed away on Sunday.
The Cleggs had been into Jennings in Coolock on Monday – and the funeral was all arranged for tomorrow, Wednesday. They had ordered a hearse and one limousine for the immediate family. At 5.20 pm on the Tuesday, the family phoned me here at Jennings in Coolock to ask if it was ok to order a second mourning car and that this branch of the family cousins needed to be collected in the Blanchardstown area.They needed the extra Jennings limousine to take them from various parts of Dublin 15 to Jennings here in Oscar Traynor Road in Coolock for May’s reposal followed by the funeral.
Pauline explained that a lot of May’s hardy Dublin siblings were in great shape – some of them still well able for driving – but the younger family member that phoned to order the limousine felt that May’s passing is upsetting enough for the sisters and brothers – and driving across the M50 to go to a funeral – well – they could do without the stress.
Oh – and because I’m still in training as a Funeral Director – I suppose that explains the need in me to go back into work and treble-check I had the phones switched over. That’s because it’s set in Jennings ethos as firmly as a headstone that a family in distress will never phone up Jennings and find themselves talking to a voice mail message. Like most Dublin Funeral Directors, the 24/7 undertaking means that you will always be answered by a human voice on the other end of your call – whether you phone Jennings at the Five Lamps, Raheny, Oscar Traynor Road or Jennings of Blanchardstown – you’ll speak to an experienced Jennings Funeral Director – no matter how big or how small your query. A tradition of care and courtesy – I like working in a job which offers that kind of funeral service to a family suffering bereavement. To be continued…
Names have been changed.