A funeral director-turned-raconteur reveals the touching stories and hidden conflicts he has observed over the course of more than one-thousand funerals, while also dishing the dirt on the delicate balance between profit and service his industry must eternally negotiate.
Due to its associations with death, the profession of funeral director is often wreathed in mystery, and for some, even borders on the macabre. In this tell-all book, author Chiang Cha Long lifts the veil on the funeral business, telling stories gathered from two decades as a funeral director. Having organized over 1,000 funerals and visitations, he has had ample opportunity to witness the heartache and grief of mourners, while also developing insight into delicate considerations and tight competition that define the funerary services industry.
In his privileged position as an observer of the bereft, Chiang Cha Long has recorded a range of moving and revealing stories about death, from the elderly veteran who didn’t know his wife had passed until he received her parting gift, to the optimistic and courageous young girl who struggles with an incurable disease, to the widows and widowers who die of loneliness and heartache after the passing of their life partners.
Turning his attention closer to home, Chiang Cha Long provides an insider account of the workings of the funerary services industry. It’s all laid bare, from pulling in customers, to sales techniques, to the competition between small family-run businesses and large corporate service providers, and the ongoing clash between religious tradition and modern taste. Perhaps most importantly, the author reflects on the delicate balance between commercial considerations and the obligation to faithfully serve the deceased that is part and parcel of the business.
In easy-to-read prose, veteran funeral director Chiang Cha Long alternates between third-person observation and first-person revelation. Readers will be treated to moving stories and a unique perspective on a pervasive yet often invisible industry. Along the way they will be invited to contemplate the nature of mortality, and how to best prepare for their own final farewells.