I was with a friend the other day helping her work on some details for a family member’s funeral planning. We had to do this at a funeral home in a small town not far from here. I don’t know about you, but a funeral home is not exactly on my top 10 list of fun places to visit. We walked in with our paperwork, sat down with the funeral director and started what I thought would be a mundane and somewhat morbid process of planning. But, it turned out I was wrong. Really, really wrong.
The funeral director asked us a lot of questions about my friend’s mom. What did she like to eat? What did she do for fun? What is special about your mom? A lot of questions like that kept coming. My friend was answering the best she could, but was a little surprised at the questions. We thought we’d be talking about caskets, programs, and processions. I finally couldn’t stand it anymore – I was too curious. I had to ask him why he was asking these types of questions.
He looked at us and said, “Because I believe I am more of an event planner than a funeral planner. I believe that this day needs to be about celebrating the life lived. We want to serve the loved one’s favorite food after the service. If they are a drinker, and the family desires, we will serve their favorite drink. We’ve served Crown Royal, Bud Light, a fine Merlot and even DQ soft-serve!” Really . . . what else do you do? “We do anything and everything we can to make the day something that is memorable for generations and adds to the loved one’s legacy. We make it an event!”
Show Your Passion!
When we shared that my friend’s mom was also part Osage (American Indian) and the family would like to have some of the Osage traditions in the service, the event planner/funeral director went crazy! He is an expert on Osage and other American Indian traditions at “events/services”. And he was. I asked how he knows so much and he said he was working in another part of the country that serviced the Pottawatomi Osage reservation in that area and he was curious enough to learn about all of their traditions – in detail. I swear to you . . . the guy was on fire sharing what could be done to honor that heritage.
We were shown the chapel, of course, but then he showed us a room that is set aside for the celebration after the service where food, drink, and memories would be shared. He told us about the caterer. She would want one of my friend’s mom’s recipes for flouring the chicken before it was fried (yes, fried chicken is what her mom is known for). He wanted to know what type of sides she served. You get the idea! I must tell you, the next time I need to plan a service for a loved one, I will go to this fantastic event planner!
What I thought about as I left this place of business was that this man was passionately curious! I knew without a doubt he was curious about the life of every person his company cared for after their earthly life ended and cared deeply for the family to be able to celebrate who their loved one was to them.
I believe there are three things we can take from this man to nurture our curiosity:
He was strong – He listened to hear the thing he didn’t already know. “Tell me about your mom.”
He was courageous – He asked the question he wanted answered. “What was her favorite food or what food was she known for in your family?”
He was bold – he Dared to Dream – “I see myself more in the event planning business. We like to honor loved ones and make it an event that adds to legacy and memories.”
He got it right….even when his business isn’t on “fun places to visit” lists!
Check out our free tip sheet “5 Simple Steps to asking the question you want answered.”