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This e-mail might come off as a little strange, so please bear with me. The last time we saw each other was fourteen years ago. You were with Castle Funeral Homes (Kings Chapel -- near Sobeys in Quispamsis and next door to the Our Lady of Pepetual Help Cemetery). My brother was born with an extremely rare terminal condition called Cockayne Syndrome. It is characterized by premature aging and photo-sensitivity to sunlight. Due to the nature of his condition, he never grew any taller than just a shade over three feet tall.
Though most children with this condition didn't generally live past the age of twelve at that time, God Blessed our family and Scott was with us for twenty-five wonderful years, though doctors claimed he possessed the body of a seventy-seven year old man. He was also an Elvis Presley fan. During his funeral, at which time you were the funeral director, we asked that he be laid out in his custom made Elvis Presley jumpsuit and that Elvis Presley gospel music be playing during the viewing. I remember at one point you said to me "I wish I could have met him."
I was going through my brothers' things this evening and was looking through his guestbook, wondering what ever happened to you. It didn't take much of a google search to locate you. For what its worth, my family and I still speak of you and what you did for my brother during the end of his life here on earth. All the while I'm sure he was taking his first few steps in the Kingdom.
Still ever thankful,
Kristopher Gordon and Family.
I just wanted to say thanks again for your gracious welcome to your funeral home. Over the weekend, the students wrote reflection papers on their time there regarding their emotional experience and the thoughts it prompted on the professional role in caring for the bereaved. It was quite clear that everyone was very appreciative of your approach and your introduction to your services. I thought you might be interested in seeing a small tasted of the kinds of responses that were generated from the visit:
"I was surprised by how comfortable I was at the funeral home. The director (David) definitely had the ability to turn a place where mourning takes place into a place of comfort and joy. David was very gracious during our visit and was willing to do whatever necessary to make it a relaxed atmosphere. He was very sensitive to the needs of our group as he could tell that everyone had a different comfort level with death."
"His focus on helping the community, making people comfortable and assisting people through their grief made me want to have my friends and family under his care while dealing with a death."
"As soon as I entered the doors to the funeral parlor, it felt like home. It sounds weird to say, but it was warm and inviting. Which I think is a crucial thing to have when you are grieving. When you're saying goodbye to a loved one you want to be in a safe place, a warm space, because if we have that, I think we are more comfortable to grieve freely."
"Humphreys' Funeral Home, however, really did feel quite welcoming and I could see how David himself had made that a real focus of his business. I think that David's personality and charm really stole the show and that would be a big help to any family that was grieving or unsure about how to make the arrangements surrounding the death of their loved ones. I appreciated that he intentionally tried to be unlike the stoic and sometimes scary stereotype of funeral directors, while maintaining professionalism and empathy for the family."
Of course, many others referred specifically to some of the particular aspects that they felt were important or personal responses that they were enabled to work through by being present. It certainly was a great experience for the class and I'm both glad and grateful that you made it possible.
David and all:
I am back in Georgia and able to reflect on the passing of my father and the services provided by Humphreys. I wanted to let you know that my brothers and I were very impressed by your professionalism and the respect you gave to my father and our entire family. We are so grateful.
When I was on faculty and Wayne State University in Detroit, I was in a College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions and it included 10 programs; one was Mortuary Science. I always felt uncomfortable with that discipline being included because I felt it wasn't a Health Profession. I see now that I was wrong. David, you took care of us for several days while we were grieving and made everything easy for us. You made it possible for us to celebrate my father's life appropriately. I definitely think you are a fellow Health Professional.