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Life and death Delgado’s Funeral Service program

By Alexis Miano

Connie Green-Daughterty teaches in the only funeral service program in the state, here at Delgado. With a major in biology and minor in psychology, Green-Daughterty has found the perfect fit for all of the different segments of science she had learned.  A mortician requires knowledge of anatomy pathology, chemistry, psychology, humanity and even accounting.  Connie says that the field requires a well-rounded person who enjoys a variety of tasks. Although the program covers all bases required to be a mortician, you can specialize in whatever segment is preferable to you; some people may be squeamish around dead bodies but  more suited for dealing with grieving families.  The class itself requires math, English and biology pre-requisites along with 40 hours of job shadowing. It is a two-year associate of applied science degree course in which students learn life science, physical science, social science and embalming labs.

Embalming may or may not be a deterrent in taking these courses. Embalming is the removal of blood and other bodily fluids which are replaced with embalming fluid in order to preserve the body.  In the funeral program, students are taught how to deal with the different reactions a deceased body may have to the preservatives added to the body. Connie says that today there is more of a trend for people to cremate their loved ones.

The students also take a dynamics of grief class, where they study the different philosophies of death and dying. This class teaches students to familiarize themselves with the different phases of before, during or after the grieving period.

The job is around the clock, requiring open availability being that a removal could occur at any moment.  You also have to be prepared at all times to speak with a family dealing with the death itself. Connie says the job is very physically demanding. On the bright side she says that a lot of companies have on call pay and are willing to pay overtime.

The students themselves seem to really thrive on the unusually versatile demands of the job. One of Green-Daughterty’s students, Cathline, says she chose this line of work because she felt it was compassionate for the living. She said “taking care of the dead and showing respect shows a lot of dedication.” Lisa, another student, says that she had gotten into the class because she wasn’t afraid of death. Lisa says that she believes that not being afraid of it will help her more in helping families to “guide them through it.”

Connie draws the parallel between a mortician and an event planner. The only exception she says is, unlike other events, “you only have one time to get it right.”

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