Career Features

Why Funeral Directors?

                Funeral based occupations basically revolve around the dead. The four letter word, D-E-A-D, is the cause of the living of people who works at a funeral background. Ironic isn’t it? One of the most significant funeral works is the Funeral Director. On the whole, the Funeral Director is like a film director. It is a weird comparison, but that is the easiest way to describe it. So why is it like a film director? It is because in movie productions, the film director organizes the visualization of the film. They decide on how the movie should go. Same goes with a funeral director. Funeral director makes sure that the funeral of the dead person will be “perfect”. However, how can we really understand a funeral director’s role? Well, a funeral director organizes the funeral, manages the obituary notices, and embalms the body of the dead person.

                Since funeral is the kind of event that makes the organizing really hard for the family, the funeral director handles all the planning. A funeral director serves as the programs and logistic head of the event. He makes sure that the funeral will go the way it should be. He establishes the date, place, and time of the wake, memorial services, and burial. They make sure that the dead will be brought to the funeral house in the right step. Imagine how it will be if these funeral directors do not exist, the grieving family will be given twice the weight besides on how they are feeling. This just means, funeral directors exist to make funeral preparation easier for the relatives of the dead person. Also, the connections a funeral director has makes it convenient for the family to get funeral services, instead of still going through phonebooks to search for funeral materials.

                Obituary notices are those notices written on newspapers – Obituary Section. The section is solely for dead people. In addition, it serves as a section for you to notify your friends, relatives or anyone who knows the person who just died. Also, besides the notifying part, a funeral director needs to look for pallbearers, people who carry the casket, and clergy. In relation to notifications, he should arrange the schedule of the opening and the closing of the grave with a representative from the cemetery. With regards to the notifications, a funeral director should be organized enough to handle situations like this. They should be aware of the time and be as updated as possible.

                Lastly, a funeral director has the authority to embalm a dead body. It is somewhat odd to relate organizing a funeral with removing internal organs of a dead body, but it is true. Embalming is a sanitary, cosmetic, and preservative process that sets up the body for burial. Essentially, funeral directors are license embalmers. They get trained on how they should embalm the body. They are taught to put the body in the refrigerator when it has been a week already; this is to preserve the body in the same way it was brought to the embalming clinic. As embalmers, they are allowed to “reshape” the body. They can fix some parts of it. For instance, the ear has gone missing; an embalmer can make a synthetic ear to put on to the dead body. This just shows that they are the people responsible for the image of the dead person.

                These are just some of the works a funeral director does. Regarding the paperwork, the funeral director is also the person responsible to do that. He fixes the death certificate of the dead person. Also, he can work for those people who want to plan ahead for their death. It is the same with an event’s planner. Some traits that are present in a funeral direction are good negotiations, for them to be able to get more clients; also, a funeral director should be organized with his activities. Moreover, he should have enough courage to work with the dead, because that will be his source of living. The salary that a funeral director earns depends on the years of his experience. In the US, the starting annual income of a funeral director ranges at $30,000. The highest, on the other hand, is at around $93,000 per year, but that depends on the country you are working at. Since for other countries, these kinds of job earn more than the mentally associated job, they are high paying jobs. Funeral directors are as important as any other jobs. We look down on these kinds of job because of the idea that they work for the dead, but without them, especially these funeral directors. To judge them as a low, degrading type of word is not right, since these types of job are worth every penny and without them, we, other people, will be a mess.

Obituary Section

Obituary, from the Latin word “obit” meaning death and “arius” for –ary, is defined on dictionary.com as “a notice of the death of a dead person, often with a biographical sketch, as in a newspaper”. The origin of the word itself is obvious, “obit”. When asked of what and where obituary is seen, one will say that it is seen on a newspaper. Newspaper publishers earn money from having an obituary section. The said section used to have a minimum of two pages; however, at present, the obituary section can be as short as half a page only.  Newspapers earn from obituary section through the payments they get from newspaper readers who want to publicize the death of a person whom they know.

Publishing the dead person’s name started from the American on the 16th century, however, it took them three hundred more years for them to learn the more detailed kind of obituary printing from the British. Obituary, back then, was usually for public servants, soldiers, celebrities, adventurers and other prominent people, because the newspaper company goes for their readers’ interests.

In the Philippines, the obituary section is not given that much attention anymore. Obituaries are mostly seen printed on the broad sheet type of newspapers and rarely on tabloid newspapers. The newspaper publisher has some requirements for one to be able o have the name of the dead person to be printed. For Manila Bulletin, they ask for the death certificate of the dead person and also an identification card of both the dead person and the person who is asking for the name to be printed. After that, the newspaper company needs to be paid by the measurement of the name. For instance, you want it to be half the page, they will measure it by inches, and there is a certain amount per inch. According to Rolando Bolisay, who had the name of his uncle printed on the obituary section back then, the newspaper company ask for the desired measurement. For them, they had their uncle’s name printed on a half page broad sheet. He also added that it was per inch measurement, and that it was really expensive.

Obituary writing also has a certain frame work. One cannot just write an essay or an article about someone who just died. Most obituary writers focus on the reason for the death of the person. Also, they explain the value of life through their article. In our country, Obituary writing is not much of a big deal, since the obituary section only needs to have the frame and the name of the dead inside, almost similar to a tomb stone. In addition, some get to have a poetry added for the dead person. Obituary used to be for the newspaper only. Nowadays, some online obituaries can already be searched. Nonetheless, online obituaries are only prominent in America.

Obituary is basically a record or reference. But, how can one be an obituary writer? Obituaryguide.com gives us some tips on how to make an obituary. First, of course, look for the newspaper you are writing for, to know the kind of news writing the newspaper does. You need to understand how their frame work goes, etc. Second, you need to be aware of identity theft. One can just give you a random person’s name and reason of death without you knowing that the person you are writing for is not the even dead at all. Third, balance the essence of life with death. Everyone knows you are writing for the dead, but why not add some ideas regarding the value of life. This can make your reader understand life in relation to the dead person. Fourth, make your mind up on how many relatives you are going to put in your article. In addition, be careful with choosing and forgetting to list down other relatives. Fifth, “show, rather than tell”. This means, cite examples and situations instead of just saying “the person is generous to the poor” say “the person once gave his money to a charity called…” to show accuracy in your writing. Sixth, think of three words to put in the end of your article. These three words should be related to the dead person and his events in life. Seventh, think about making several versions of the obituary. This will give you a variety of options, in case you would want to have a better or maybe shorter version. Eighth, add the rest of the dead person’s profile after. If you are going for a longer obituary, then include it anyway. Ninth, revise and edit. This is a must for all kinds of article, not just obituary. This is in cases where you forget to put in the name, or other important highlights of the person. Last but not the least, proofread. Try checking if there are grammatical errors wrong information, etc.

As what was said before, obituary writing is not given that much importance in the Philippines. As the new phase of technology comes, print media die, and if print media die, obituary will also be gone. And yes, you earn money in writing obituary, since you will need to have money for the printing, and service charge, for the writing of the obituary.

Behind the Gravediggers

Gravedigger

“A person whose occupation is digging graves,” that is how dictionary.com defines a gravedigger. We see gravediggers everywhere in a cemetery, literally digging graves. In our country, the occupation is treated as a very low kind of job. Furthermore, they do not get a stable earning, because it is not everyday that they get a client. Although in other countries, gravediggers get a fixed salary. For instance, in US, gravediggers get 10$ to 20$ per hour, and they usually work from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. That means that a typical gravedigger there earns 80$ o 160$ a day. They also get sick time and vacation pay; besides those, they also get other perks. But, what does it take to be a gravedigger? Some people may think that it is easy to be a gravedigger. Nevertheless, gravediggers are required to be discreet, physically fit and knowledgeable about gardening.

                A gravedigger should be discreet. Discreet in the sense that he should be cautious on how he decides to approach a client. The client being pertained to is a grieving client. Since the gravedigger is responsible for preparing the grave of the dead person, he will be encountering lamenting people. In relation to this, he should know how to treat them with respect. Furthermore, he will need to do some negotiation for the dead person’s grave, for instance where the hole should be made. This just shows that a gravedigger should have a lot of patience, because he will not be able to get clients if he does not have huge amount of patience. Just think how the client will feel if the gravedigger shows how annoying the grieving of the client is. Short patience is equivalent to fewer clients.

                A gravedigger should be physically fit. Physically fit because digging for graves is not an easy work. One should have upper body strength, for the reason that he will be carrying heavy equipments or maybe a heavy shovel. This is why mostly in the cemeteries we go to here, in the Philippines, gravediggers or what we all call as sepulturero are mostly male. There are females, but they carry the less strenuous job. For instance, cleaning the grave is what women gravediggers usually do. The idea of gender inequality is present though, but that is the idea of looking for a gravedigger. He should be prepared to handle heavy machineries and materials. Also, digging a 6 feet 5 inch hole is not easy. He will need all the upper arm strength he can gather from his body to be able to dig a hole that deep.

                A gravedigger should be knowledgeable about gardening. This is because in cemeteries, grass is present, and since people cannot just go to the cemetery everyday just so that they can preserve the green dewy grass of the dead relative. They give this kind of job to gravediggers. The gravedigger will be paid monthly by their client. Their job is to keep the grass in perfect shape. In some cases, since trees are also present in cemeteries, they get extra earning in trying to avoid getting the roots of the tree to destroy the grave. For example, in our family’s case, our spot in our cemetery has this old huge tree standing near my great grandmother’s grave. Since we did not expect for the roots of the tree to actually destroy the lower grave of my great grandmothers lifted grave, the roots of the tree just cracked the cement and caused the grave to have an opening. With that, my uncle hired a gravedigger to fix the situation. The gravedigger chopped the tree off and fixed the grave. This is an additional earning on their side.

                Gravediggers should not just be discreet, physically fit and knowledgeable in gardening. Other factors also determine how a gravedigger should be. There is the trait of being a good negotiator. For me, they should be able to “sales-talk” their client. They will not earn if they do not smooth talk their client. Another factor is their ability to be approachable. This means that it will be better if the client will see the gravediggers as friendly and approachable workers. It is what customers look for, workers that are friendly-looking. In addition to the factors, there is the factor that the gravediggers should know how they will manage their time. This comes into a benefit in the peak of their job, especially during the months of October and November, where gravediggers are in huge demand. They should be able to keep track of their time to be able to get more and more clients. Nonetheless, gravedigger is an occupation in which people should look up to. It is not an easy job, and keeping up with the factors is highly needed to be able to earn more.


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