Why we do what we do

Written by Neil Fogarty

Many times, I get interesting looks when people ask what I do, and I tell them.  The idea of selling tombstones for a living is so foreign to most of the folks I encounter, but the reason they feel that way in our modern times is quite different from the past.  Modern society is placing less and less value on what I provide.  The idea of placing a headstone at a cemetery seems archaic at worst or old fashioned at best.  My contemporaries just do not understand why we do what we do.

Recently I had a couple walk into our Xenia office looking to purchase a memorial.  This is obviously common in my line of work, however why they were there and who the memorial was for shook me.  Last year they lost their daughter; mom was understandably struggling even being in our showroom.  We sat down and talked about her daughter discussing passions, likes, dislikes, and ideas to create their lasting vision of love for their daughter.  When I asked for her daughter’s birthday the experience changed, not for them but for me.

An unexpected connection

This couple’s daughter was born less than a month after my son.  This vibrant young woman in her early twenties left this world and left her parents to grieve her loss.  I could never imagine what these folks were enduring, but a part of me slipped into trying to put myself in their shoes.  What do you do and how do you cope with the loss of a child so young, just ready to spread their wings as an adult?  The conversation brought tears to my eyes, and I had to work to regain my ability to help navigate this devastated couple select a memorial. 

That moment reminded me of exactly why we do what we do.  In their grief this couple looked to me to provide something tangible by which they could go and remember their daughter. They were looking for some shred of meaning in the meaningless chasm of grief.  Helping people continue the journey of grief is exactly why we do what we do.  Earning income, the satisfaction of a sale, the contentment of helping other human beings is all secondary to the reason we exist as professionals; In a person’s worst time, we must help them cobble together fractured memories of a person whose void in life is so palpable and create a lasting memory. 

Appreciate your loved ones

The three of us made it through the process, in a much different way than I would normally because of an unexpected connection.  After the sale I texted my son one simple phrase, I love you.  That moment reminded me of how precious and delicate life is, and it reminded me why what we do is so important.  To my contemporaries contemplating why memorialization matters, this is why.

Schedule your consultation with Dodds today.

Shopping cart