You Know It’s Bad When a Funeral Director Gets Involved

You know that amazing feeling you get when you stumble upon something that just absolutely makes your day? Like…finding cash in your pocket that you didn’t even know you had?  I had something like that happen to me today.

First, let me explain something that happened last Friday.

We had just walked into a restaurant when I decided to head for the restroom to wash my hands before we were seated. When I was standing at the sink, I listened to this lady talk to an infant girl while she changed her diaper. You could tell that she loved her by her tone and because of what she said. Sounded just like a grandma talking to her grand baby.  I finally turned to her and asked how old the baby was –  then added how much I miss my granddaughter.

What she said next just breaks my heart. She isn’t the baby’s grandmother–she is an ’emergency’ foster parent. The mom had died, and she didn’t have any other family to take care of her. I really wasn’t sure what to say. I couldn’t help but ask her if the mother died during delivery. No. She died because of heroin.

I seriously didn’t even know if I could eat after that. When is it going to stop? I always hesitate to bring this up because I am tired of the ridiculous reactions and comments I see on newsfeeds. I am so sick and tired of the hate. It’s frustrating not knowing what to do and so hard to understand – I get that, but people need to stop hating and start caring. There has to be an answer, but what?

These are the thoughts that have been haunting me. All weekend.

There is a positive point to this story. I promise.

I picked up a (new to me) newspaper this afternoon. It’s a local paper with several feature stories in it.  On the front page, I saw this headline: “Teens get pep talk from funeral director.”  This guy, Garrett Jacobs, owns a funeral home and cemetery in Florida. In the article, he talks about the opioid epidemic, alcohol poisoning, suicides, and texting while driving—and how all those things are contributing to the rise in the number of young people dying.

The best part of the article? He’s doing something to change it.

He recently started a program where he invites a few teens to his cemetery and explains some of the stories about the young people who are buried there. The tour also includes a visit to the  chapel that has  an empty casket in it. The goal is to create open conversation about how the thought of losing someone makes them feel and the importance of making good decisions.  He’s encouraging these kids/teens to talk to other teens about how devastating it would be to lose someone because of the above bad choices.  If you want to read the whole article, you can get the Florida Weekly on iTunes.

I hope and pray others will consider starting up a similar program. I pray there are more people out there like this guy – people who want to help make a change.

There is hope. 




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