You may think I spend most of my life immersed in dead bodies. Living in some sort of beautiful Nightmare Before Christmas type world. Sadly-for both of us-you are mistaken. What this job really is, is an average of 43 emails exchanged per family I serve, massive amounts of paperwork, and begging-I’m not kidding-begging the Death Certificate office to find orders that I’ve submitted by mail that the Post Office may or may not have delivered. Add in a healthy dash of, everybody is insurmountably sad, because of course! And you have yourself a pretty average day in the life of a mortician.
It’s not all bad. And when I’m asked why I still do this job it’s actually pretty simple. Because any job comes with a mass of emails, “Jerry” yelling at you about why something in Arizona isn’t working and you’re like “Jerry. IDK what the fuck you’re talking about.” and the feeling of being underappreciated. But at least I know that when I go to bed at night all of that stress I take on, mitigate, and release feels like it stems from something real. And that is how I carry on. And stop myself from buying a one way ticket to Jamaica and peacing out on society as a whole.
But back to the sad stuff. I would be lying if I told you that my job didn’t make me cry. In fact, I cried last week when I got yelled at at 1AM. I hung up the phone. Told myself I wasn’t going to cry. Fixed myself a bath. Poured myself some wine. Thought, “I’m too sad to drink.” Drank anyways. Wiped away the few tears that managed to escape. And then submerged beneath a mountain of bubbles like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
A couple days later I made it my mission to take a holiday. No matter how short it may be. I am a huuuuuuge beer geek so I thought it would be fun to hop in the car and finally drive down to Stone Brewery in Escondido. Car trips are a great way to have some alone time, catch up on new music, and most importantly to remember that you are still in control of your life. Well, sort of. A couple hours later I was pulling into the parking lot. And I was reminded that life was still kinda beautiful. The smell of rich heavy malt filled my nostrils and the ghostly long, lean, willowy trees of the seaside were everywhere.
Now, my phone blows up constantly for all the normal mortuary reasons and so much more. Which is why it’s hard to have good boundaries during this. As, many a Daycation has been put on pause because someone died, someone has a question, the crematory needs updated paperwork, a film studio is calling, someone is asking us about a reality show, someone is hoping that Caitlin will answer and is sooooo disappointed it’s me that it’s actually quite comical etc. Here is a great example. I tried to go shopping at the Beverly Center and whilst sipping on a Tom Collins as I’m want to do, I get a message from my Answering Service that reads “Jillian called says it’s urgent.” When I call Jillian in the noisy mall while I’m trying to relax-dear God I need to relax- it is just to tell me that she wanted to talk to us about a reality show. Not an emergency! I know that sounds like I’m being a snob, but we are not doing a reality show and I really just want to get hammered and scorned for being too poor to enter Dolce and Gabbana in peace. Why is that so much to ask? P.S. again, super flattered you want to do a reality show. But it’s NOT an emergency. Send an email.
So here I was again. Daycation attempt 378. Sitting at the bar I have been dying-no pun intended-to come to for the last three or four years. Unable to wrench my phone from my hand because I gotta Snapchat this moment to Caitlin and Sarah. However, I do make a deal that I do not answer the phone. We have an Answering Service. That is what they are paid to do. And so, I drink-responsibly-and I just enjoy being alive. I remind myself that life never stops. But that does not mean I am responsible for everyone and everything at every moment of the day. And right now I’m just going to enjoy the crap outta this 09′ Stone Imperial Russian Stout. And I did. Then I grabbed a glass of Prosecco and walked around the garden area. I looked at the Super Moon. I sat under the heaters. Mmmmmm warm goodness. And I just took a deep breath. Because in that moment I am not a mortician. I am not a writer. I am just Amber. Slow. Steady. Encompassing. It is simply “the amber of the moment”. Because this it it. This is all there is. Late night calls. Bubble baths and beer. And one day I’ll look back, and know that all of this made up the greatest stories of my life. Even if they are only broken up into my silly little blogs…