What is it, that draws us all to this work? If you speak to enough people in our community, you start to learn that just about everyone has an origin story. There is one moment, or one event, that cemented in their hearts that home funeral work was going to be part of their lives. In the three years that I have been actively engaged in the alternative death circle, I have heard a lot of those stories. They’re always inspiring, of course, but something that always sticks out to me is the background detail. People will often recall the crackle of candle wax, or the heady perfume of herbs and flowers that seems to cling in your nose and fill your brain with tingles.
Sometimes, people will describe the moments of peace and silence that pass over a family without warning. Those waves of calming love that fill a room busy with caring friends, children, spouses.
It’s those stories that drew me to this work – a strong need to collect them, catalog them, share them. Stories are the reward we carry forward from the work that we do. They are our lessons, our tearful goodbyes, our passionate triumphs. Stories are how we remember giving our loved ones the care they want and deserve. Stories are how we inform others that they too can be freed from the pain of having to say, “I guess this is the best we could do.” Our stories are our greatest assets, and it is my privilege to be responsible for the stories this wonderful community creates.
A long-time social advocate and writer, Tim has worked with the NHFA’s communications team since 2016. He brings a decade of marketing and public relations experience to the organization. Previously, Tim served as a volunteer and chair for the LGBT advocacy group, VISION, at Bowling Green State University. He researches and writes about the way American cultures and media discuss death, dying, and funerals. At the NHFA, he works to identify innovative ways to present death education and the realities of the end of life through multi-media, and to correct misinformation and inaccuracies in pop culture.