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Navigating the Holidays: A Tale of Tears and Laughter by Lisa Baue

As we are in the middle of this year’s Holiday Season, please remember to take some time for “self-care”. The Death Care profession is traditionally busy this time of year and facing an even busier first quarter. This was my experience when I owned our funeral homes, cemetery, and cremation companies. It always seemed that we were so busy this time of year I barely had time to prepare for our family holiday activities. No matter how far ahead I was for all the personal things I needed to do, there just never seemed to be enough time to get everything done. One year, I thought I was ahead of schedule and then the phone rang—it was a friend whose family member had just died. It did not matter if it was Christmas or New Year’s; they called us because they needed us.

I remember many holidays, staying up late on the night before Christmas Eve, frantically wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and setting the dining room table to make sure everything was ready. The year I was pregnant with my first child, I somehow thought it was a good idea to make homemade gingerbread cookies and decorate them to put on family gifts. I also decided to hang a few on our tree. I soon came to realize that was a bad idea. The phone rang in the middle of the night, and my husband had to leave for a death call transfer. Our golden retriever decided to follow him downstairs as he left. I am sure you can imagine what happened next. All the presents adorned with gingerbread décor nestled under the tree were just too much for this puppy. He helped himself to not just the cookies on the presents, but on the tree as well. A few of the ornaments and gifts might have looked tasty too. What a mess I found.

As my husband left to go on the transfer, he watched me, his very pregnant wife & funeral director with a tear-stained face, clean up all the ripped-up gifts and ornaments. Simultaneously, I cradled the phone between my head and shoulder, extending heartfelt condolences to the grieving family. Frankly, I will never forget that Christmas. It was full of tears and later laughter. We do have to find levity in these moments, or it can become overwhelming. We also know that tears and laughter will release endorphins and help us, so in hindsight, it’s a good thing I did both. 

As a funeral director, I realized that the most important thing I needed to do at the moment was to connect with the family, as they needed guidance and reassurance. Sometimes, in the moment of helping others, we realize this is what we are all here to do. It’s not about the cookies. It’s about finding time to help a family who is going to spend their first Christmas without their loved one.

I never recall making Gingerbread cookies again, as the job of being a wife, mother, and funeral director took precedence over the years, most especially as I became an owner after my dad died. As the years passed, I came to the realization that our holidays needed to be simpler, prioritizing time for ourselves and our family rather than cookie baking. This shift became imperative because you never know when the phone will ring, and you will be needed.

PS, I still enjoy baking, but only when there is time, and there is a wonderful Italian bakery just down the street that helps too.

As you navigate the final stretch of this year and plan for 2024, take a moment to reflect on your ideal holiday experience. Embrace simplicity and infuse it with personal touches. Consider jotting down your aspirations for the upcoming year—a process made even more delightful with the aid of a wonderful journal I offer to prospective clients. This journal, complete with insightful tips, is designed to capture and preserve your thoughts as you embark on this introspective journey.

Unlock the extraordinary benefits of personalized coaching! Reach out via email to delve into the incredible ways coaching can elevate your life. As a special treat, receive a complimentary journal, a catalyst for your journey, and exclusive journaling tips crafted by one of our Collaborative Network Partners, Marguerite Ham. Elevate your personal and professional growth—let’s embark on this empowering adventure together! Receive your journaling tips by clicking here.

In this month’s issue, I’ve asked one of my Collaborative Network Partners to share some of their top tips for 2024. I will share more of their tips in January as well, so watch for it in your inbox. 

I extend my heartfelt appreciation to our Collaborative Network Partners for their unwavering support and invaluable wisdom.

To all our readers, your engagement is truly cherished. Thank you for being a part of this journey—following, tuning in to my podcast, and embracing fresh ideas for your professional growth. Your presence makes this community flourish, and I’m genuinely grateful for each one of you.

Many blessings to you all this holiday season and may the new year bring you peace and fulfillment in your life always.

Your Funeral Coach