Adventure America

Near death experiences

01:56Meg Cowan

This week just gone, as I sat between life and death, I mused on the trade of sitting in the middle.
4 days attending a funeral directors trade show, surrounded by monuments and fluid, tools and cremation jewels has a way of making you do that.
We set up, attempting to cover our 3 x 3 of rather difficult blue and white booth drapery. My fabulous set designer had it looking splendid in no time, however we forgot to snap a picture of the finished product so a setup one shall have to suffice!.



We peddled our wares and took some orders, reacquainted ourselves with new friends from the last expo, attended a texan 'boot scootin bash' and began discussions with some men of note.
All the while, one of my very best friends faces the loss of her dear dad and it pains me, even from afar, to see her aching so. This sharp reality of death reminds me that we do what we do in the somewhat strange and unfamiliar industry we have entered because at the end of the day, our product touches a grieving family and helps them contain records and memories of the love shared for the one that has left them.

The collection of funeral industry personnel I've come to know are also some of the most genuine people I have ever met. Every new interaction I have with various members of this trade gives me great respect for the roles they play in helping our communities manage times of loss. It is a rare breed that can face what many people fear, day after day and make it manageable for the families they serve.

As a result of one of these kind hearted souls, I have begun reading a book entitled 'The Good Funeral' and aside from the industry gems I am unearthing I am swallowed up by the language of the authors. With work and adventuring all consuming as it has been, reading hasn't hit the top of the to do list until now, so picking up the book is like literary water for this word parched soul. Although I shouldn't be surprised I find that the pure pleasure of being wrapped up in words, having them swilling in my mind and on the tip of my tongue is like finding a little pocket of heaven. With reverence and intrigue I pick it up again late at night, for a short sip which becomes a long drink.

Old words from school spelling bees and phrasing from creative essays bubble again. Creative words, family words, industry words, biblical words and phrases. And the word became flesh.  This one intrigues me. The thought that what is spoken or written could somehow be embodied. While that statement is wrapped in theological depth I don't pretend to understand fully, I am moved again to consider the creative power of words. Might I truly sculpt a new way of thinking for myself and my family by the power of what I say? Might I produce products that sit like salve on wounds and bring healing merely by the presence of the captured words and memories within?

While others may fall asleep at a passage full of complexities I am becoming more fully alive to the lilt and movement of words, and the task of managing them. This is the true challenge. To tame the tongue and use it as a tool for good instead of letting in roam free and wild. Imagine what could be. 

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