I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid of
death which is perhaps an effect of being in the industry. You can see that once someone’s passed away I really do feel like they aren’t there. I think there is a lot to learn about life from death. The first day on the job I remember walking into the mortuary and seeing my first human body on the table. And I remember the feeling. I almost felt as if the room tipped to the side and I didn’t want anybody to know that I was feeling this. And she was covered with a towel but her feet were exposed. And I remember looking at her toes and they were curled backwards slightly, and I’d never seen that. So I just remember focusing on her toes because I wasn’t sure if I was confident enough to look around the room. Whatever condition they’re in, I just think how can I prepare them for their last hurrah. Often it’s just a case of, if I was going out on a Saturday night, I’d go in and I’d have a shower I’d get dressed, and then I’d do my make up. And that’s exactly what we do. We bring them in, we give them a shower, we get their clothes and make them look beautiful. We do their hair last, put their lippy on finally. That same procedure but just done on a mortuary table, as opposed to in your own bathroom. Honestly, probably the worst part of my
job is dealing with toe nails. Something really simple, I don’t like toe nails. Practically, I think that’s the worst part. I remember the names of say the first 10 people that I ever prepared. And it’s not like a sad memory, it’s quite a nice fond memory because I really enjoy my career. And specifically over the past couple of years I remember my favourite ones, as well. There might be something about their outfits, or the requests from the family that I really connected with. So I remember these people, it’s quite strange. Like philosophically lots of things drew me to the industry, but what keeps me here I think is the heart. It’s really about respect and dignity and all those things that we can actually do for these people. So at the end of the day, we go home and feel pretty good about ourselves as well. You know when people say, “Oh, no regrets”? I think that’s silly as well. I think you should regret some things because you should be doing everything that you can to have a good time and love people, that sort of thing. The biggest lesson that I’ve learnt about myself is not to have an argument with somebody and leave it. Tell people that you love them if you really love them. People just die, people leave at the age of two, the age of 10, to the age of 99. It just – you cannot dictate when your time is up.