I love having conversations with death care professionals and people in general who are not afraid to show up naked and be 1,000% authentically who they are. In this installment of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast with The Grave Woman; I have the honor of exploring this and so much more with Eileen Hollis of Hollis Funeral Home. Eileen known worldwide as @HollisFuneralHome is a licensed funeral director and embalmer who operates her family-owned funeral home with her father in Syracuse, NY. Eileen grew up in the funeral home the will someday own and has gained a tremendous social media following through sharing her day-to-day experiences, funny stories, struggles and professional experience.
During our time together Eileen and I share laughs, tears and discuss so much and realized that we have more than we could imagine in common. Vulnerability, fear, anticipatory grief, and paralyzing anxiety are not words that you expect to hear your local funeral director use to describe their day-to-day experience but believe it or not; many funeral and death care professionals struggle with these emotions and so much more. The problem is that we don’t feel safe talking about them because “this is what we’re supposed to be able to handle”. Society has convinced us that sacrificing our humanity is required to be enabled to serve but this could not be further from the truth.
We share paranormal experiences, talk about the pressure of living up to the tremendous and beautiful familial legacies that are actively being created for us, creating work life balance, address the pressures of maintain a social media presence and balancing online “fame” with integrity while not allowing the ego to become inflated, and connect deeply through the desire to embody and commit to the disciplines of consistency and compassion.
We also spend time exploring the importance of death care professionals understanding their natural limitation and the importance of seeking our additional resources to better serve our communities. Much of this involves the importance being culturally competent. Eileen discusses what she has gained from taking my course Cultural Competency: Black Hair, Skin and Cosmetic Care for Death Care Professionals.
It simultaneously fills and fuels me when I can share in candid moments like those I shared with Eileen. Moments drenched full of true expression and sharing with from the heart about shared challenges and successes. Speaking openly about fears creates freedom. Learning to lean into vulnerability dissolves the callus of isolation. Embracing grief allows for love to ebb and flow authentically. Addressing and honoring the existence of an anxiety allows intention to lead. Our intention in sharing our stories and experiences is to hopefully encourage and empower you to live authentically and make room for vulnerability, mental health support, intention, and community to hold space in yours. Thank you.
Ways to listen on the go:
Anchor FM https://anchor.fm/deathandgrieftalk
To Learn more about Eileen Hollis please use these links:
Tell her @thegravewoman sent you!
Joél Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman,’ is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straight forward discussion about death. You can submit your comments, questions and requests to email@example.com or by using our contact page.