Of Grave Concern: The common denominator of All Hallow’s Eve festivities, much like funerals, is remembering

Photo by jose carlos macouzet espinosa/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

FEATURE — Halloween greetings! Please let me introduce myself. I am a mortician. Yes, you read that right. Please keep reading.

I attended mortuary college and am a licensed mortician and funeral director right here in St. George. In fact, over my professional life, I have handled the funerals or cremations of thousands of people, from funeral home’s located in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California, to my own funeral home, which I recently sold in Washington state.

My family and I have now made the beautiful St. George area our home. We could not be more pleased. I have joined the professional team at the highly respected Spilsbury Mortuary in St. George and Hurricane.

When I was asked to write an article for Halloween, I wondered what I could possibly share as a mortician that would be of interest to those about to greet ghosts and goblins at their front doors or conversely take their excited children out to enjoy trick or treating. Does one wish to hear from a mortician on Halloween? Ugh.

After pondering the request, I decided there is an interesting connection as we once again welcome Halloween, or what is more properly known as “All Hallows Eve.” In addition to the costumes, treats and perhaps tricks, it’s in fact a night to also remember those who have passed on before us. To acknowledge their lives and how they touched us.

All Hallows Eve is celebrated in various forms and religious traditions across the world. However, the common denominator is “remembering.”

As a funeral director and mortician, I have taken care of the rich and famous, the needy and everyone in between. I quickly learned that departing this life is the great equalizer for all.

As I reflect back, I have experienced things in my life that few ever will. I have seen a side to mortality that most would rather ignore.

I have sat with family after family over the years assisting them as they make funeral or memorial arrangements to mourn, celebrate and remember their loved one. They key word being “remember.”

It is important for us to remember that funerals and memorials are for the living, not the dead. It is crucially important to share, laugh and cry at such services or celebrations of life. It has been said that “Grief shared is grief diminished.” To remember one who has “graduated” forward allows for healthy healing during the grieving process.

I once worked with a family who refused to hold any type of service at the request of their loved one years before. When the death occurred, they followed that directive. However, they were back at the funeral home six months later to arrange a memorial service so they could have closure for both family and friends. They took time to remember. They were able to move forward.

Remembering is a healing balm that helps us hold to our past, present and future. What a precious gift it is and one that can never be taken away from us.

It is an honor to help a family do what they truly cannot do by themselves as we plan for the final disposition of a loved one and honor and remember that life. My focus is to respectfully care for the remains of the loved one and even more importantly, for the family left behind – to help them pick up life’s pieces from where they are and find a way to move forward.

I love the words of Winnie the Pooh: “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

In future “Of Grave Concern” articles, I will be addressing questions I get asked in church, family gatherings and almost all social settings. Morticians tend to become the center of attention at parties and events, and crowds gather to listen and learn. They ask questions that most internalize but would like to ask.

For tonight, I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween as you enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. In the midst of all the fun, parties, candy and costumes, take a moment to pause to remember why it is we celebrate life and those who have gone before us. Keeping our loved ones in our hearts where they will stay forever.

Written by DAVID JOHN COOK, public relations and funeral director for Spilsbury Mortuary.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T  •


  • Spilsbury Mortuary | Address: 110 S. Bluff St., St. George |  Telephone: 435-673-2454 | Website.
    • Hurricane location | Address: 25 N. 2000 West, Hurricane | Telephone: 435-635-2212.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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