Imagine the soundtrack of your life. Focus on an artist who plays the acoustic guitar. Whether you love James Taylor, Bob Dylan or Joan Baez or favor newer musicians such as Dave Matthews, Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift, the sound of an acoustic guitar is unarguably magnificent. With a resonance ranging from dark, mellow and low to bright, warm and vibrant, the remarkably varied voice of a guitar is influenced by its age, tone wood and the player fretting the neck. Scratches, scrapes and splits, of different size and severity, are visible in the decades-old spruce top and rosewood back. While the outward scars compose the character of the instrument, the heart and soul lies within the richness of its tone and the nuances of the notes played – reverberating a lifetime filled with love, laughter, heartache and pain.
Compiling songs with each chapter, some welcome and others better forgotten, the soundtracks of our lives are distinctive, personal and important and so should the funeral service that will one day symbolize our deaths.
“If someone’s mother enjoyed Patsy Cline, we should play that at her funeral. I served high tea to over 1,500 people on fine china and once directed a funeral on a baseball diamond,” explained Jacquelyn Taylor, a leading proponent of providing funerals adapted to an individual’s specific interests or wishes, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
In an era marked by an enormous rise in cremation, many have decided to forgo the traditional funeral rite and instead opt for direct disposition, severely minimizing the role of the funeral director.
“Funeral service is facing an adaptive challenge which is closing the gap between stated values and current reality. We must continue to move the dial forward in hopes of changing the public’s perception regarding funeral directors and the importance of a funeral ceremony. Avoiding the ritual does a disservice to the life that has been lived and allows the survivors to deny what has really happened to them,” said Taylor.
Often, a funeral director claiming to have a presumption about the wishes of an individual can be a detriment to the family.
“Ignorance can lead to resistance. If a family is unaware of the variety of services provided by the funeral home, they may choose to arrange a ceremony themselves. Consequently, if a funeral director is unable to educate a family regarding their options or refuses to accommodate an unusual but reasonable request, this is also harmful to the funeral home’s reputation,” Taylor said.
“Despite what the anti-funeral lobby says, we should never be afraid to offer our professional services. Are we going to serve families or are we just going through the motions to get through the day? It is imperative to either lead, follow or get out of the way. Since the beginning of my career, I have held the very same beliefs and never forgotten -what a privilege it is to take care of the dead.”
The remainder of this article is reserved for subscribers only
In addition to receiving all of our quarterly magazines by mail, subscribers to Southern Calls have exclusive access to additional online articles, as well as ability to read all Southern Calls magazine articles as they come available.
Get your One Year or Two Year subscription today, or login here to continue viewing the rest of the article.
Order this issue
Southern Calls Issue 23
Articles Relating to Issue 23
Remembering Jacquelyn Taylor
In a career that came full-circle, the enduring and steadfast funeral service advocate was excited about the opportunity to continue her life’s work. But on August 10, 2018 Jacquelyn Taylor was diagnosed with breast cancer and on September 4, 2019 the cancer returned…
The Metzlers of Arlington National Cemetery
Imagine living in Arlington National Cemetery, where every street and lane is a veritable history lesson. Some are named for American presidents and others for military leaders from every war – all buttressed by row upon row of graves and their markers, constant…
Paradise, California Wildfire
Nestled at 1,700 feet in the northwest foothills of the Central Valley in the Sierras, Paradise, California, is 100 miles northeast of the capital city of Sacramento, 10 miles north of Oroville and eight miles east of the Chico metro area. Located in Butte County,…