Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life

Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life

by Caleb Wilde


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062465245
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/26/2017
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 137,617
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Caleb Wilde is a partner at his family’s business, Wilde Funeral Home, in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. He writes the popular blog Confessions of a Funeral Director and recently completed postgraduate work at Winchester University, England, in the program, “Death, Religion and Culture.” He has been featured in top media outlets, including The Huntington Post, The Atlantic, and TIME magazine, and on NPR, NBC, and ABC’s 20/20.

Table of Contents

Author's Note vii

1 Death Negative 1

2 Playtime in the Casket Room 11

3 Broken Open 19

4 Death Sabbath 29

5 Searching for the Divine in the Dark 39

6 Sacred Dirt 45

7 The Myth of the Death-Care Amateur 55

8 Front-Door Policy 67

9 Listening to the Voice of Silence 75

10 Grief as Worship 83

11 Sara's Mosaic 97

12 Heaven on Earth 107

13 Sam McKinney's Mysticism 121

14 Active Remembering 129

15 Finding My Words 143

16 Yin and Yang 155

Ten Confessions: An Epilogue 171

Acknowledgments 175

Notes 177

Discussion Questions 181

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Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Cindy Henning More than 1 year ago
This was a thought provoking book that will touch the core of those who read it. Caleb Wilde was able to touch on the same fears and thoughts that most people have about death and what happens afterwards. His book is easy to read and hard to put down, as he describes his own struggles with death and working in the funeral industry. You will laugh at some of his humorous moments and cry as you relate to some of the more personal stories. This book taught me to look at death in a whole new light I never thought possible. We, as a society, need to take a hard look at the way we view death and make it a positive experience. Just as there is a beauty in birth, there can also be a beauty in death, not just for the dying, but for those left behind. Thank you Caleb, for sharing your journey with us. I hope it touches others as it has touched and taught me.
LeighKramer More than 1 year ago
For honest reflections about death and grief, I often turn to Caleb Wilde. In his memoir Confessions Of A Funeral Director, Caleb’s honesty about his doubts and anxiety makes his insights that much more compelling. He suggests (and I agree) we adopt a death positive narrative and shows how society’s death negative narrative and the church’s heaven narrative actually hurt us and our ability to mourn. Through examples from his professional experience, as well as his own personal losses, Caleb illustrates the importance of grieving well, as well as a healthier perspective about death and dying. One of my favorite stories was about Sam, an LGBTQ woman who attended a church where she was not allowed to become a member. Even though her sexuality meant she could not fully be a part of her church, she expressed wishes for her funeral to be there. The way the pastor and Sam's family, many of whom were not affirming, responded to this wish was incredibly moving. Caleb muses that death is the common denominator that helps us connect, even when we don't see eye to eye. It can bring us together or it can tear us apart. But when we allow it, death helps bridge our differences and reminds us that love is the reason for all things. This chapter might be the reason to read this book. We need to have more conversations like this. We need to talk about what really matters. We need to talk not only about the kind of life we want to have but the kind of death we want to have. This book is a great step in helping us have that conversation. I appreciated how Caleb covered many different kinds of loss, including infertility and adoption. He also emphasizes the importance of proximity and presence in times of loss, which might be the best takeaway anyone could receive. It's never about having the right thing to say but simply showing up and being there for one another. I can no longer remember how I first came across Caleb's blog several years ago but I do remember thinking two things: 1) this guy needs to write a book and 2) we need to be friends. While Caleb and I have yet to meet in person, we did become internet friends and so it was especially thrilling to finally read his book. I commend it to you. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from HarperOne.