I Would Do it All Over Again

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsIn a previous blog, I explained to all of you how I became a funeral director.

I won’t repeat all of that information, except to say I was 10 years old and held a funeral service for my Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll that my parents bought me for Christmas.

I am not sure what it was.  It was just in my blood from a very early age.  This is the profession that I chose.  This is what I do.

When I was 18 years old, and getting ready to graduate high school, my father took me to breakfast one Saturday morning to meet the town’s local funeral home owner, Mr. Donald B. Jarka of Lawn Funeral Home.

My dad pastored a local church in the community, and most of the funerals of members in the congregation were held at Lawn Funeral Home.

My father had a great respect for Mr. Jarka.  Knowing I wanted to get in the funeral business after high school, he wanted me to work for Lawn Funeral Home.

Great decision, Dad!

However, I was asked this past week, “What if your father had taken you to breakfast that morning with a local banker?”  Or… “What if your father had taken you to breakfast with a local attorney?”

Great question.  It has certainly had me thinking.

I guess my life would be completely different today.  I am not sure I would have ended up moving to Cleveland, Tennessee in 1988.  I have no idea where I would be today.

But things did not turn out that way!

Have you ever just sat and wondered, what would my life be like today if I had chosen a different occupation?

After working over 30 years in the funeral home profession, I am more than qualified to tell you it is very rewarding…but very difficult business.

You work seven days a week.  You are on call 24 hours a day.  Death does not take a holiday.  Death does not stop at 5:00 p.m. during the weekday.  You miss most holiday events with your family.  You end up cancelling many dinner engagements.  You do not always get to attend church on Sunday.

It takes a lot to make the commitment to become a funeral director and embalmer.

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But then I get to thinking about what my father did for a living.

My dad was an ordained bishop in the Church of God.  He served in ministry for over 40 years.

My dad’s life was not his own.  He made the decision early on that he was dedicating and devoting his life and his working career to people.

In my most honest and humble opinion, and not because he is my father, there has never been ANYONE that was a better pastor than my dad, Tom Grissom.

My mother and father gave their entire lives to “serve” others.

Nights.  Weekends.  Holidays.   There was no such thing as a “day off.”

They were always a phone call away from dropping everything…and serving the members of the church.

I am sure there are many other professions and careers that are just the same.  You never really “leave” work.

Oh sure, you may lock up the front door at 5:00 p.m.  But you are always just a phone call away from going back and serving your customers and taking care of your business.

I love what I do for a living.

Since that day at breakfast with my dad and Mr. Jarka, I have never one time looked back and said I wished I had done something else in life.  NEVER!

Oh sure, I am human and I wonder what it would have been like to be a police officer or a doctor or an attorney.  But I absolutely thank God that I am in the funeral home business.

I am proud to serve families and I am proud to minister to loved ones of a deceased individual and help them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

Are the hours long?  Yes!

Do I work most weekends?  Yes!

Do I miss a lot of appointments to take care of things at work?  Yes!

Would I do it all over again if given the chance?  YOU BETTER BELIEVE I WOULD!

Thank you, dad, for instilling in me the work ethic that you did.  You were the greatest dad and role model anyone could ever ask for.

And besides, if I had been a cop, I doubt they would have let me actually carry a gun with real bullets!!

Until next time….  GO CUBS!

About Mark Grissom

Mark was born on the north side of Chicago in 1964. Raised a Cubs fan by his dad, he never had a chance in life. He moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, in 1988. While he lives closer to Atlanta now, he will never be able to leave the religion of "Cubbie Nation." Baptized as a Cubs fan at the age of five, he has no choice but to live the remainder of his life here on earth in mediocrity at its best!

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