What story will we tell when we are dead?
“There’s all sorts of scenarios of death that can be embarrassing. […] It’s just very private and very intimate and they’re forced into almost having to expose themselves to someone.”
Upon entering adult life, most of us focus on being full of choices, full of life, and making the most out of it. If we are lucky, getting older, sicker, and eventually dying is not on our to-think-about list at this age.
So how come some young people choose to enter a profession that places death at the center of attention? What is it like dealing with loved ones in crisis, grieving and lost, all the time? And what happens to a body once handed over to the care of a funeral home?
Kari Northey, single mom and mortician from Michigan, USA, has answers.
Even though we generally like to push the thought of death away, we have so many questions and hope that if only we knew more about what’s coming it would make us better prepared and feel more in control, when a loved one dies or when we are confronted with our own looming deaths.
On her YouTube channel “Kari the Mortician”, it is Kari’s mission to make the processes of a funeral home transparent, tangible, and less frightening. Whether it is embalming, cremating, or talking financials, Kari answers the questions of her audience – and does so with lightness and charisma.
In short, we talk about this in the episode:
- What made Kari decide to become a mortician and what is it like to be in this job?
- How is caring for the living often more challenging than working with the dead?
- What questions about the dead is Kari being asked most?
- How does Kari handle the tension between living her life and expecting a distressed caller any minute?
- What did more than 25 years of caring for the dead teach her about living?
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Kari’s interview with “Hospice Nurse Julie”: you can watch it on Kari’s YouTube channel
- A tour of a crematory Kari captured for her channel
- A tour of an embalming room in which Kari explains the use of items like a “head block”
- “My Girl” – the movie in which a girl grows up in a house that also holds her father’s funeral home in the basement
Mortician & Embalmer
photo courtesy of Kari Northey