Heart2Soul isn’t a source of income for me. The little money it generates goes toward the cost to keep it going. I’ve had the most impressive people come forward to donate their time, talents and expertise. People support me however they can – especially my husband and children – they never complain about the time or money I spend on Heart2Soul.
My interest in opening up conversations about death started seven years ago when I was trying to find ways to support my friend after his daughter died. The people around him (including myself) found it was easier to stay away than face our own fear and insecurities about death. Then I read somewhere a person needs to talk about their grief at least a hundred times to begin moving through it – so when we avoid the people who are grieving, we prolong the grieving process.
What I came to realize was, by avoiding all conversations about death we (unintentionally) add to the pain of the people who are grieving. If we can’t be comfortable talking about death when there isn’t a body around, how can we possibly be comfortable talking about it when someone is grieving?
What made it even worse was there was no place to find the information I was looking for so I felt like there was no way to change my behavior. This is what keeps me going – knowing Heart2Soul might help someone feel less helpless. I’m surprised by my passion on the topic sometimes and wonder what people must think of me. People either support what I’m doing completely – or they dismiss it – there is no grey area.
I entered a contest to help with the expenses for Heart2Soul. I was a nag. I posted almost every day on my Facebook page, I sent emails to everyone in my address book, I tweeted, shared on LinkedIn and even snuck it into personal conversations. In the end, I didn’t have enough votes to be considered, but I was thankful for everyone who went out of their way to help.
One morning I decided to see how Heart2Soul compared to others in the contest and I made some interesting observations. There were only 3 businesses in the funeral & sympathy category – mine (425 votes), a custom casket company (0 votes) and a florist (775 votes) and there was just one category to “tag” a business in the funeral space.
But if you looked at businesses helping animals, there were five different ways to categorize their industry, even though they were very similar functions – animal shelter, abuse, cruelty, rescue and welfare – and there were pages of entrants with votes in the thousands.
I love my pets, I cry just thinking about those ASPCA ads on tv and I’m not discouraging support for these causes. I also think if you are a compassionate person your heart will break for the suffering whether it be an animal or human. The question it raised for me was, why are there so many more businesses and categories to help animals (and that many more people supporting them) than businesses in the death industry? Are we that afraid of death or just that much more compassionate about animals?
The business of death is more than just caskets and funerals.
Over the years I’ve realized there is so much more to the death space and we continue to plop everything into one bucket – grief, funerals, memorials, customs, traditions, burials, cremations, caskets (I can keep going, but I think you get my point). I don’t know anyone who has never been (or will not be) effected by death some time in their lives and I think we should start to open ourselves up to exploring the areas and possibilities when we aren’t grieving so when the time does come to face it, we are educated consumers.
Tweet me or email me your thoughts – I would love to hear them.