When I got the acceptance letter, I was waking up in my grandmother’s bed. See at the time, I was her caregiver. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died 8 months after. I moved in with her because she was having spasms in her back and couldn’t be left alone anymore. She died a week later, and I was there for her last breath. I will never forget that moment and how it made me feel. Of course there was sadness, but there was also this calming feeling that washed over me; this is what I was meant to be doing with my life.
The at-home nurses and physical trainers that came over when she broke her leg the year before would tell me that I was a natural at being a caregiver and I should look into nursing. I sort of looked into it, but it was a quick search before I realized that it wasn’t for me. Something came over me and I don’t remember what exactly happened, but I decided to Google “funeral director” and it hit me. That corny “like a bolt of lightening” thing was actually true, that’s what it felt like. I knew this was the path for me.
I had been in school for close to a decade, getting my AA degree and then focusing on a photography certificate. It was becoming less and less like a possibility that this was gonna happen. I had such a drive for it when I was finishing my degree, and I applied to CSULB trying to get into their fine art program. Denied and devastated, I turned towards a certificate program at OCC. I tried semester after semester to get into more than one class, but they were so impacted and overrun with students (plus budget cuts on top of that), that it just kept taking longer and longer and it felt like everything was stacked against me. Like something didn’t want me to finish this path.
I completed a couple classes, but the more that I fought to get in the classes, the more I was realizing that I wasn’t passionate about it anymore. I was going through the motions trying to complete the certificate just to be done with it. I had said over and over that I was going to be a photographer, but the longer it took, the more I realized I didn’t want to do this anymore. It was a chore and a burden, not a chosen career path. I still love photography, but it’s not my career.
I finally had enough of being on waitlists. Waisting money on classes I wasn’t giving 100%. This 2 year certificate was getting stretched out farther and farther (it was about to be 5 years of trying), and I finally admitted to myself that I needed something new. I needed a career and a change of pace. That was the moment I was told about nursing, which led my search to funeral directing, which led to the light bulb going off.
I ended up taking an anatomy class (prerequisite) and feeling so confident and comfortable. It was the first time that I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I thought that I had felt it when I was taking photography classes, but once these things started falling into place, it just felt so right.
Life works in weird ways, fate or destiny or meant to be, what have you. This career path opened up to me and just makes sense. Sometimes people ask me why I chose this profession. I don’t have a solid answer other than to say it just feels right. It was wasn’t some lifelong destined thing that I’ve been working toward since I was little. It also isn’t some morbid, twisted feeling of “I’m so creepy and goth” that I need to fulfill (people think this!).
The best part of “I don’t know it just feels right” is that now that I’m in classes, they confirm that feeling. This is profession of a certain type. We are the ones that want to help. We’re natural caregivers and listeners. We like to keep busy and make sure things turn out how they’re supposed to. I read somewhere that the perfect personality for being a funeral director is someone that can multitask and also be detail oriented. They don’t like their days to be the same day in and day out. That is perfect for me, and I can’t wait for it to begin.