The Biz Dojo

S3E11 - "Where Loss Lives, Grief Will Follow" ~Jeremy Allen

October 19, 2021 Jeremy Allen Season 3 Episode 11
The Biz Dojo
S3E11 - "Where Loss Lives, Grief Will Follow" ~Jeremy Allen
Show Notes Transcript

This week in The Biz Dojo, we're joined by Jeremy Allen, Funeral Director and owner of Gregory Funeral Home. Jeremy also speaks to schools, businesses, groups and individuals about the experience of grief and loss through Death Ed

In this conversation, we talk about all types of loss and grief. Jeremy shares how to connect to yourself in these moments, as well as how to support and be available for others when they experience their own loss. We talk about the importance of grief education from an early age, and how the loss of a loved one is far from the only part of our lives where loss and grief exist.

We will discuss how to be a supportive leader or friend, how to open a conversation, and what to expect after someone experiences loss and the grief that follows.

So pour yourself a Biz Dojo Coffee (Masters Medium - OR - Dojo Dark) and take in this deep conversation.

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JP Gaston:

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Seth Anderson:

So it's come to my attention, JP that everything ends.

JP Gaston:

Eventually. I mean, even the sun's gonna burn out one day.

Seth Anderson:

I wasn't expecting to go that deep. That is the thing lingering over humanity at this point. Yeah, it's a little ways away, hopefully, hopefully.

JP Gaston:

You started out at the edge of the pool. And I started out in the Oh, coming in the water is warm, we're good.

Seth Anderson:

Reminds me of the time that my wife, we used to have a kitten and was not expected to tell this story. But

JP Gaston:

we're in the beach. Now let's do it.

Seth Anderson:

His name was sparked, and her family had a pool. And she comes home one day, she's like, Oh, I took Spartan swimming, and he loved it. And I'm like, Oh, that's cool. And so the next time we went out there, I took spark and I'm like, Oh, so he likes lemonade. And I just checked him into the game to find out we had different definitions of the cat went swimming.

JP Gaston:

Emergency dive into the pool,

Seth Anderson:

she had just like, dipped him in the pool. shallow and I just read off the deep end. He didn't like me much after that moment. Funny enough.

JP Gaston:

That's a great story.

Seth Anderson:

It was a great story. But is, you know, back to the matter at hand, which is that everything ends. And I think, you know, we're gonna get into it in this episode with Jeremy. But I've come to appreciate the ending of things to some degree. And sort of celebrating it. And I know even just within The Biz Dojo kind of taken on a life of its own in terms of the podcast component. But we have tried, and I don't want to say failed, because I don't feel like it's failure is the right word. But we have, we've ended quite a few different components of the show, you know, for multitude of reasons. And I think there's, there's kind of a beauty to it. I don't know.

JP Gaston:

Yeah, I mean, for a little, I guess a little context for the listeners, like we are going to talk about loss and grief. In this episode, Jeremy is a funeral director. But is someone who talks about loss and grief in all aspects of life. And as Seth and I were getting ready for the show, we were talking about some of the loss that we have had, and grief that we have had with even just this show, like it happens everywhere in life. And it's, it is beautiful, when you when you have the opportunity to look at it as a as a positive thing sometimes, you know, depending on the level of loss and whatnot, it can be a little too much to take that way at the start, I think

Seth Anderson:

process though, right? Like Yeah, I'm just thinking through, you know, chopping it up as an example or even you know, maybe the blog that I was doing I did you know blog all summer on LinkedIn every Friday morning, and I would get excited. Oh, it's Friday morning. I'm gonna do my blog and you know, put it out there and and i know

JP Gaston:

you got excited because I would get text messages Friday morning, I'm going to do

Seth Anderson:

Yeah, and I would be just vibing on different topics and stuff. And then it just reached a point where I was like, You know what, this is over. This is done. And it was great. And I learned a lot. And I'm glad I did it. But it was time to reinvest that energy elsewhere. And what was born out of that is now my daily podcast, which I've learned says consuming slightly more. I think he said the same for chopping it up. That's another part of the show that we've loved and we curated and created we talk

JP Gaston:

about it still like all the time we're like yeah, you know, we We cut it from the show so that we could provide

Seth Anderson:

and the podium even Yeah.

JP Gaston:

Because we originally in season one, we had a chopping it up kind of kind of as a part of the show. And we cut it and we had the podium and we cut it. And we talked about it finally, like all the time we remember it. But I remember when we first said we were taking it out, I was like, oh man, like, I like that, I realize that like that's some of the some of the funnest times that I've had some of the most ridiculous rankings, I have things I would never normally rank.

Seth Anderson:

And it doesn't have to be done forever, I guess in this instance, at least. And it's not to compare, you know, our silly little show with losing a human being per se, they are very, very different. But when you can recognize the process, and you see it playing out sort of all the time, does that help you when you do get to that situation where you do lose someone that's close to you, or you do go through a traumatic event, and you've built up those coping mechanisms, and you recognize that as you're going through

JP Gaston:

it. I had never thought about that whole cycle happening at work until we talked to Jeremy in this episode. And it's really opened my mind up to some new thoughts about what am I actually experiencing when something does happen to me, like, if I'm working on something that, you know, gets handed off to somebody else, or that doesn't go well, but I was really hoping it went well. I experienced all those same emotions, again, probably to a lesser degree in most instances. But I would say it's, it's very similar. And you know, before I experienced my first loss of a human in my life, I did actually lose a puppy. And that experience helped me prepare in the same way that I think now understanding these many experiences is helping me prepare for when they happen and, and how to deal with it.

Seth Anderson:

And I think that's the key. And we talk about that all the time. It's the awareness when it's happening, so that you know, you can replicate it in the future, when you do need it. And, you know, maybe something to ponder heading into this episode is, you know, can you think of maybe we'll call it a micro loss or you know, a moment in the last couple of weeks where you know, something ended or you moved on from something, and it was okay, and you got through it, and what you learned. Welcome to The Biz Dojo with Seth and JP. This week, we are joined by Jeremy Allen. Jeremy, welcome to the dojo.

Jeremy Allen:

Well, thank you for having me.

Seth Anderson:

So Jeremy, you and I go way, way, way back 20 years or so to when I moved to Wainwright and our paths crossed. And we were just talking about a funny, I don't know if it's not that funny, actually. But I used to live all the way across town from you. And for those of you who don't know, Wayne, it's a pretty small town. And you used to drive all the way across town, but both blocks away, yeah, both blocks away. And he would drive over and pick me up for school until the day that you crashed your car. And then I had to walk Henceforth, that from that moment,

Jeremy Allen:

yeah, it was a real pivotal moment in our friendship. But Seth and I ended up getting connected late, and you know, in our

Seth Anderson:

grade 12

Unknown:

that's when I moved. Yeah, yeah. And so, you know, it wasn't this lifelong experience. But we seemingly really made up for that in a short amount of time. And, you know, I'll, I'll take a step back. So for those of you that don't know who I am, my name is Jeremy Allen. And that, you know, the role that I guess I play in, in this world that we're all trying to live in is I'm a funeral director and embalmer, and along with my wife, Bailey, we own a funeral home in a small town called Provost, Alberta. And so, for me, I'm the same age as South I'm just turned 36 this year, and have really ultimately been a funeral director for the entirety of my adult life. And it's, it's the unusual part of that story is that I'm a first generation funeral director, which just simply means this wasn't a family business. It wasn't something I grew up thinking I was going to do, just through some experiences, circumstances and failures is what ended up actually leading me to this opportunity. Because if you knew me growing up, probably very unlikely you would have guessed, this is the world that I would have maybe found my calling and I remember being 1617 years old in grade 11 and 12 and being handed these sheets and PNC you know, like you check off all the marks and they try to give you an idea of maybe what a good fit for you would be career wise in the world. And ultimately what it came down to for me was like, possibly, you know, like an educator or stroking about how I hate school. So because In a teacher didn't make a lot of sense. And I drink and swear too much to be a youth pastor. So that wasn't a really viable outcome either. But what's really unique now and what I really love about whatever higher power people choose to believe in, you know, like, whether it's the universe, whether it's God, whatever, it doesn't matter to me what people call it. So when I think of like, just the way that the universe takes care of us, if we, if we believe in the process, what's really neat is, I landed in this space, I'm teaching people on one of the biggest demographics that I spend time with and teacher gets me. So it's Yeah, it's just like this really incredible space that I don't think I ever could have imagined being a part of, and becoming as meaningful as it did, because it's serving to things that I desire to do. 20 years ago, when I was being asked what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, it's just happening in such a different way, you know, then could be plotted out on a chart,

JP Gaston:

it's like the universe aligned for you. And it brought together all the things. But how did you get there? Like, was it just you woke up one morning? And you're like, versus a line? I know what I'm gonna do, or what was the path?

Unknown:

Yeah, I'm glad you asked. So this is one of the neat parts and actually like, what I really love about being able to share this, share the story here with you. And with Seth is, Seth is actually a really big part of why I ended up where I did. So circling back to grade 12. And at the root of this, you heard me talk about my discomfort or dislike for school settings. I actually got caught cheating on my social 30 diploma off of South.

Seth Anderson:

I would highly, highly advise to cheat off someone, let's try.

Unknown:

So there's actually a few funny parts to this. So the first, you know, like, yeah, I mean, the cheating itself. Listen, if there's any younger people that are tuned into this broadcast, I would not recommend, you know, taking

Seth Anderson:

that path and beating on a diploma exam. Yeah,

Unknown:

you're on a test that's worth 50% of your mark. And and later, I found out like, worst case scenario that was going to be like wiping all of my courses from my grade quality or not being able to restart until the following year, which would have meant like not graduating kill Oh, five instead of all three. So turns out it, you know, risk versus reward, it wasn't a great choice. But hey, so I remember going through that. And I remember, like, the moment of being caught didn't get caught during the test. It was a after thing I remember. I don't know if you remember this at all, but it was like, a couple days after I do. And honestly, I feel like one of my superpowers is I do, I've done an incredible amount of stupid in my life, but I'm actually really good at being held accountable to mess up, I'm willing to do dumb, but if I get caught, I'm also willing to like to own it, right? Looking back at that experience, I remember, you know, it'd been presented to me that they thought you and I had had cheated together on this thing. And and I just remember, my initial reaction was denial. Like, no, we didn't do anything. And then it was like, I folded like a cheap suit about two minutes into the conversation. No, this was me. Like, this was my decision and which was true like this wasn't a manipulation of the story. I was completely responsible for what had happened. And so I feel like there wouldn't have been long term issues for you without was there like did you get in big over that?

Seth Anderson:

I don't think so. You know, at moment I remember things. I remember meeting you somewhere, and it was like a sunny day, and then it started raining. And it was like raining in the sun. And I don't know why but I was listening to Bubba sparks like the deliverance and I could just like picture you I feel like you're crying and it's raining but it's still sunny. Anyway, it's a moment that's like permanently etched in my brain.

Unknown:

Yeah. So with a lovely like, letter of apology, took my ownership right away was was offered the opportunity to rewrite the test and have to do that in Edmonton. So this is summer 2003. And this does all tie back to your question JP, I promise. So it's like now we're in Edmonton summer 2003 I rewrite this social test, which which is funny. I ended up doing way better on and we're driving home from that test. And my mom and dad were just like, so your aunt works at a funeral home in Calgary and they're looking for help we think you should apply. It's like I've absolutely not like I've no desire to move to Calgary or work at a funeral home and they're just like, no like, actually like we're going to Calgary you're going to go and interview for this job because we've already applied a change of scenery right? And and so like that was like how I ended up in funeral service like basically not like it wasn't like went from the test to Calgary but ended up in Calgary interviewing with the owner. If you're at home there and like this was like a big funeral home it still is like they take you around they serve I would say approximately 3500 families a year so like you big big time and I remember excuse me sitting down with with the owner of this and like basically just turned 18 he's he has like he has my high school transcript at this point in time. He has my driver's abstract like I mean those two things were not working in my

Seth Anderson:

favor. Just a quick question on that were you wearing your puka shells to the interview?

Unknown:

I definitely I don't know I think I probably had those off but definitely I my highlights were still the highlights.

Seth Anderson:

Okay, guaranteed. And

Unknown:

I looked like a knockoff of the lead singer of Rascal Flatts is what it looks like.

Seth Anderson:

And I was thinking more like those guys from before for whatever that boy band

Unknown:

so that was like this is summer 2003 and I ended up working at the funeral home there for about a year and after about a year just kind of mostly honestly got homesick like I hadn't you know, I hadn't been the one to make the decision to do that. So I you know, I remember giving my resignation to Ernie hagos this guy's name really wonderful guy. Like I have an incredible amount of respect for the opportunity he gave me because I don't know back at that thinking now it's like if an 18 year old sitting at my desk with the paperwork that I was able to provide him with. He definitely took a chance on me and but I remember sitting with him and just saying you know what, Ernie, like thank you for this opportunity but I don't think this is for me. I'm going to I'm going to move home and and try out some stuff and go down a different path but I just know this isn't for me anymore. And he's like well I will accept your resignation but he said i i don't agree with you. He said I think this is for you. Maybe you don't see it yet and that's okay but I do think you're going to be back one day and I'll never forget that moment because I you know, I was 18 and play app what do you what do you know greats like what do you know this guy that's been in the business forever and really was in tune with it, but so laughed that ultimately tried to condense it based on time, but that ultimately led to me like moving back to Wainwright pursuing the Wainwright dream, which was bartending at was ease. So bartending I was these for a little while, went back to Edmonton too, because it you know, every time I ended up in these, like stagnant parts of my life, again, remember, I'm only 19 at this point. It's not like I'm 47 years old, but every time I ended up at a stagnant time of my life, my parents were just a part of a generation where what are you going to do for the rest of your life? Right? Like you're like we can't just have you bartending for three months and having life experiences like let's like what are you going to do so I remember it was like within about four weeks of being home I was signed up to take my Bachelor of garment commerce at McEwen. So bartended from that in between time from then until school started so September of that year, went to McEwen. Going back to my story about not liking school, so I dropped out of four classes failed my fifth first semester then just dropped right out of the program. Back away and right rejoined another Wainwright dream, which was the oilfield The thing is, is like I'm not built for physical labor. I bruise like a peach. I hate being cold. Like there's a lot more buddy. Yeah. Yeah, like, I've got these little hobbit hands, like, you know, like, it just it was it wasn't a good fit. And, and which became obvious, because I ended up having an oilfield accident and broke my leg really badly. Like a 1200 pound piece of pipe, kind of roll off the rack and just won't crush me ended up, bouncing off my chest and pinching my leg and breaking my right leg literally in half. And this is up by GP and this would have been, this would have been 2000 2005. Summer 2005. And because, remember, the reason I remember this is, so I had the surgery up and GP, my parents came to my rescue, they had to get me back to waiting right after I had this wreck. And this is like august of 2005. And it's like so now we have this eight hour drive back home literally right after I broke my leg to talk about what was I going to do for the rest of my life? And so it's just like, well, I don't like school. I think we think we figured that out. We've established this at this point. Yeah, it would make an incredible amount of sense to re enter the oil field because like, that was a terrible experience. And so the only other thing I'd really done up until that point in time was work at a funeral home. And that was like, it was absolutely the thing that I had enjoyed the most out of the spaces that I had at working. And so it was just like that was basically shortly after getting home quickly got a hold of the Canadian College of funeral services, which is where I went to school and and was able to enroll and they made an exception for me to do my first semester online which in 2005 was quite a bit bigger deal than it is now. Yeah, kids these days, they have no idea what. So yeah, I did my first six months on online until I was recovered from that accident, then move back into Edmonton and started, you know, physically working back in the space of funeral service again, and, and I've been with it ever since. And what I'm learning, you know, even now, even after, you know, earlier, I think it was the recording wasn't quite going yet, but we were just talking about the spectrum of time, right, you know, and how time is a commodity. And I've looked at the commodity of time, and how much time I've invested into, into becoming the funeral director that I desired to become, there is an incredible amount of knowledge to be gained in grief. Grief is a environment that every, like, it's such an even playing field. Because until you experience loss at a very high level, it's impossible to know what it feels like. And so I've spent my entire adult life very in tune with that I didn't use to have the words for it when I was younger. And, you know, ultimately sounds like going back to your question about like, this being a good space for me to have landed, you know, based on my skill set, the words that I have now to be able to answer that with such confidence is what I've learned. And even I think going back to like, when you and I became friends, and then why was he you know why I'm able to have such meaningful relationship in such a short period of time, is because I believe I'm extremely emotionally intelligent. And so having that emotional intelligence and being able to move into this space of of grief and loss and walking alongside families, during arguably the hardest experiences of loss. I think it's just served me really well. And it's actually put me in a position to serve people very well. Because empathy for me is something that I understand at a very high level. And I've practiced practicing that I know that sounds funny, but I've practiced practicing empathy for my entire adult life. And a lot of people will never have that opportunity to do that. Right. So it's, yeah, it's just such a meaningful space to be have had the opportunity to become a part of, and I love that it's not like this Cinderella story, right? Like, I mean, it is at the very root of this was literally me getting caught cheating on a social diploma and my grade 12 year, like that was the catalyst for change. That ended up you know, starting me down a path that eventually stuck to me finding the thing that I believe I was meant to do in this world. It is a

Seth Anderson:

it's a trip because as you were walking through that story, I can think of like, several points where our paths crossed up in Edmonton. You know, I didn't like school, either my experience of going to McEwen, we're not going to get into the details, but I would have been better off just taking a pile of money and lighting it on fire on the lawn than than what occurred in in that year. But I mean, well, you know, we're getting into it here on the topic of death. And, you know, I guess you were only a couple years into it, it seems weird now, because even at the time, it seemed like you were already so in tune with this space. But like when my dad died, hands down the worst day of my life worse year, like you said, like, you don't know how to deal with that until you deal with that. But I just remember, one of the first people to reach out the day it happened was you and just how like warm and compassionate and caring you were, and like, it's made an impact, like I can still I can still feel it. 15 years later,

Unknown:

I think grief is just such a have the opportunity to show up very intentionally. And again, like these are words I'm learning from being involved in, in the settings that I'm in over the course of my lifetime. But like going back to when Chris died, and it's just, it's for me. Like he talked First of all, I want to address the that feeling like that, you know, like how when you end up in those settings and oftentimes you remember the people that you know, and Maya Angelou talks about, you know, people I'm gonna probably do a terrible job of quoting her but it's along the lines of, you know, very seldomly do people remember what you said, but always they remember how you made them feel. And my thing is, is in those moments, and I can talk about this much more clearly now than I could have when we were kids when when your dad died but the reality is, is It doesn't matter what you see, the or, like, I'm an emotional guy, this is not new to you. But you know, I think the only thing that mattered in that moment was I just needed you to know how sorry I was that your dad. And even though it's 18 years later, I'm still sorry, your dad. And I think, you know, the thing that I'm so passionate about now and wanting to have these conversations, really like get on the mountaintops and tell the world about is like, I'm not apologetic about the emotion I have attached to grief. Because it's a very meaningful space, it's a very, you know, it's a it's like this really elusive space that very few people will probably ever properly experience. And the thing is, is like, you know, when you talk about your dad, and I go back to thinking about what it just got like to be your friend in those moments, those are the parts of grief I want to forget about. Like, that's not the thing I'm trying to rush through. And so the thing that I'm learning and the more articulated we've come about talking about grief and talking about loss, it doesn't remove the emotion from the experience, but it removes the fear, the thing that I want people to know is like, you're going to be extremely intimidated about the idea of calling, you care about whose dad's died. Because there's nothing natural about that conversation. But I can guarantee you, the worst thing that can happen is if you say nothing at all. And what I've learned and such a high level is just that like even now again, like you know, thinking, however, many years later, since since Chris passed away, even Howard Howard, this conversation is going like I'm saying his name purposefully, I want to talk about your dad, I want to say his name, I want to enter into that space. Because what I want you to know is just that, like, his presence continues in such a different way than it was supposed to your dad is extremely present in this conversation. And you know, it's incredible to me that how we could reverse engineer this, and be able to figure out how much a part of this he is. The thing that I'm a big fan of is saying their name, you know, and oftentimes, what I've learned again, is is people really hesitate, you know, to talk about it, they hesitate to say their name, they hesitate to bring it up, because they think well, what if I say that person's name, and you get emotional now I've just reminded you that, that your dad died. And and again, like whether this is within the first week, month, year, 15 years, you know, timeline almost doesn't matter to me when it comes to that. Because what I've learned again about that is when we talk about your dad, when I say his name, there is nobody more aware of his missing presence than you and your siblings. Not once Am I able to remind you that your dad died because there's nobody more aware of that than you. But when we talk about him, it reminds you that he lived. And I think it creates a safety for you to have way more confidence, bringing your dad up in conversation, that this is a safe place. And you know, like, the thing about grief is Yeah, of course, sadness is a huge part of the emotion of grief, but so is joy. And it doesn't take long for me to transition this sad emotion in these tears into laughter. When I think about how inappropriate your dad was making jokes and drinking beer and watching football and doing these things. And you know, in the presence of the 17 year old kids, and I loved it, because he just treated us like people that rock, right. And so, and I am in love with grief, because it is one of the most meaningful spaces I have found in the world. And the thing that I would learn and understand is that what's so neat about this and I think this conversation is a wonderful example of it is grief is one of the very few spaces that two emotions can live simultaneously and that you don't have to pick a winner. And what I mean by that is, you know that we can talk about your dad, and there can still be incredible sadness attached to his death. And joy can live simultaneously to that. When we think of all these wonderful things that that, you know, that made him Chris Rock, right? Or not Chris Rock, rock.

Seth Anderson:

Those vibrate Yeah. I mean, for those of you who have never seen a picture of my dad, he literally I mean, he was like a doppelganger, kid.

Unknown:

Yeah, oh god, it was it was one of the most incredible things in the world. And you know, and again, like reapplying that that last sentiment of two motions living simultaneously or like, you know trying to think of other people that you know have walked through loss you know where I you know, I'll use my own grandma as an example, my grandma for the last few years of her life, like ended up with dementia and Alzheimer's. So we, we experienced something called anticipatory grief where we've lost her over a period of time. And, and in those anticipatory grief settings, often what happens is we get ourselves to a place of preparing for loss, the thing that I've learned is even even in those opportunities that you can prepare for loss doesn't mean that you're ready for it, you don't like it's still your grandma, it's still your mom, it's still your dad, whoever the relationship is. But the simultaneous emotion again, I remember getting the call and one of the unique parts about being a funeral director and living in rural communities, I ended up caring for three out of four of my grandparents, I remember going to the hospital when my grandma died. And I remember walking into the room. And I remember, you know, like, in that moment, kind of, like, just re revisiting the experience of those last years of her dementia and her Alzheimer's. And you know, like, in so many ways, we had lost her completely. I remember seeing her. And I remember being sad, because it is sad to see people that we love after they've died. And also feeling completely relieved that part of her life was over. those emotions are not just a part of the same environment, they're a part of the exact same moment, and both hold equal weight as a part of that experience. Like I don't have to pick which one I am, am I relieved? Or am I sad? No, I'm both. I don't know if there's very, I have yet to find another setting outside of grief outside of loss, that two emotions can live so close to one another. And both be so validated.

JP Gaston:

I know you do. A lot of work with families, of course, I mean, absolutely. Funeral Director, you're predominantly dealing with families through through grief. But I also know that you talk about, like you do conferences, and you talk to people about helping others through grief when you're not related. And I think specifically and you know, through our podcast, we have a lot of entrepreneurs, we have a lot of leaders who listen. And they likely have some people in their lives that they're connected through work to that experience grief. Honey, how do you navigate? Or how would you recommend that people navigate that conversation? Because it can, it can certainly feel almost disingenuous when you say things like, I'm sorry for your loss, like it just, it doesn't feel like you're doing enough. It feels like the canned statement like what what would you say people should do in those moments?

Unknown:

So first of all, like, the other part of this conversation, why I'm really happy to be in this environment today is, is I also really love business. I like I like educating I'd like being in leadership roles. I'd like you know, there's a I think a lot of parts about your podcast that I completely aligned with. And so the biggest thing that I would say, for people in leadership roles and is that the first thing we need to do is we need to better understand the definition of grief and grief is our emotional and behavioral response to loss not specifically to death. Okay, so the first thing that we need to recognize as leaders is how much opportunity we have to practice identifying and acknowledging grief in other settings. Right. So thinking about, you know, when we have coworkers that, you know, like, and these are simple statistics, you know, 40% of marriages in Canada and in divorce, right, so almost every second person we work with, will, you know, that that has entered into a marriage is likely to have the experience of a divorce at some point in time in their life, significant loss attached to when people get divorced, you know, not just with a couple, but like the, you know, the children that end up losing the loss of a relationship to a parent as a result of that, like, you know, like changed relationship, like changed social networks, right? Like, I mean, I think of like, the the relationship I have with my wife, most of our friends are a part of the same circle. Well, if we aren't together anymore, that some of those friendships, right, so I and again, I'm bringing this back together, because I think these are really the opportunities, we're going to have a much I guess, I get much higher opportunity to start to better identify and acknowledge for the people that we work alongside and seeing how, you know, I'd like to, but one of the things that I say is, is where loss lives, grief will follow. So if you are walking through loss in any part of your life, you know, like there's certainly going to be grief attached to that. And I think when we start to enter into those conversations with higher levels of emotional intelligence, introducing grief as a part of that experience, baby able to better understand the different emotions attached to that. I think ultimately then JP, what that does is that teaches us and it builds trust, it does a lot of different things. You know that when we enter into a period of grief, specifically, when somebody dies, it becomes much more genuine. I'm not just all of a sudden trying to be emotionally intelligent, because something very obvious has happened in your life, I've been paying attention along the way, communicating with you about that. And now when you walk through this very significant experience of grief, we're going to have a pre existing relationship attached to this, that's going to make it much more comfortable and much more safe for me to be able to say, you know, and I think it's, I think it's extremely appropriate in that moment, then to be able to say, I know words are going to fall short in this moment, but I just need you to know how sorry, I was that your dad died, or your mom died? Are you whoever? And I think the only thing I need you to hear from this conversation is, please, can you let me know what it looks like to be helpful to you don't assume what it looks like to be helpful, they probably don't need another frozen lasagna, for their freezer, they, you know, they probably don't need a 10th arrangement of flowers for their house. Right? So what does it look like to be helpful to you. And I think the great big thing to do, again, is just especially trying to specifically attach this to say those leadership type roles, and especially in workplaces, things like that, I think asking for permission is extremely important when we when we want to walk alongside somebody during their loss. And that is just as simple as saying, is it okay, if I send you a text in a few days just to check in with you, you know, like, Are you alright, if I give you a call, like, you know, I mean, like just very little intentional steps. And I think the biggest piece of advice that I would have, for anybody that's trying to walk alongside someone else during their loss is, it is very important for you to recognize, you cannot fix this for them. We grew up in environments of wanting to fix people that are going through hard things, right? You know, it's just an, the simple reality of this is there's no end game, you're playing the long game. And it's, it's again, what I love about the circle of these conversations is just literally rewind 30 minutes and hear the emotion in my voice talking to my friend about his dad that died, I will probably have that level of emotion when we talk about, about Kid Rock, in certain environments for the rest of my life. And then I exponentially add on to that when I consider what it's actually like to be, you know, you his son, or your sisters or you know, like, so it's just really important for us to not think that there's an end game to it, and to be able to consciously re enter that space of grief, for as long as we're going to be in relationship with these people, whether that's a working relationship, whether that's a personal relationship, you know, and gaining that confidence again of saying their name, and being intentional about making sure that it nobody else in their life, I am going to be the person that continues to create space for you to talk about this person. It's time for a coffee break. If you want some delicious masters medium or dojo, dark roast coffee, just send us a message for more info. While you're here, why not also take a moment to leave us a rating and review in your favorite podcast app or on our Facebook page. Every rating helps the show. Now back to Seth and JP

Seth Anderson:

think a good opportunity to throw in this week's question from Mama Seth, who you you know very well. So her question this week was Jeremy living in a small town and doing the job that you do and sort of having to interact with these people on a day to day basis? How do you you know that they're going through these things that you would have intimate knowledge of how do you how do you deal with that, and I think you've given us a bit of a taste of it. But I know, the Provost is not a big place like

Unknown:

no, it's not it's literally half the size of oil. So I mean, it is, you know, this scale, it's so we live in a community of about 2000 people, you know, with the area that we serve, we probably serve a population of about five to 6000 people. So you know, and again, just just for the context of conversation, what that means is we we usually serve 60 to 70 families a year. So the you know, getting right to it, I think the thing that I had to learn it like this took an incredible amount of time to be able to really learn how but ultimately for me, I look at it, you know, in a lot of the same environments as as other like caregiver roles in the community, you know, where I really look at as being a funeral director and embalmer, this is the way that we help take care of our community. Much like our nurses, much like our doctors, our first responders are our, you know, healthcare workers that are also working sometimes in extremely difficult environments. You know that, again, this is how we're able, you know, to help take care of our community. And really the mindset that I've got myself to a place with is, I look at it from you, I guess, like, it's just, I look at the trust that every single family puts in us take care of their loved one, regardless of circumstance. And the trust that they sometimes don't have a choice in meaning. There are families that absolutely call us because they just, they've been told they have to call a funeral home. And now it's like, all of a sudden, this person that's extremely important to me, is going to be taken care of by somebody that I may not even know. Right. And that's such a big deal to me. And so when I really get focused in on, that is built between us and then because trust is where, where the opportunity for relationship becomes irrelevant, right? When I, I, when I acknowledge that trust, and I can, you know, through the experience of walking through those funeral arrangements, you know, sharing my knowledge with you about, about learning what your opportunities are, and what it looks like to be helpful to you, helping you navigate those decisions. And then, you know, through the entirety of that experience, we build very, very meaningful relationships with families in an incredibly short amount of time, I bet we get to know people, sometimes better than some of their best friends do in less than 36 hours. Because here's like, when you're sitting at the funeral arrangement table, you skip all the foreplay, like, we're not going to sit here and talk about the weather, we're not going to sit here and talk about shit, that doesn't matter. What we are going to do is we are going to talk about the most important person in the world to you at this exact moment. And we're going to talk about the most important things and the most important relationships attached to this person. Right? And so the smaller those circles get so you know, going back to your mom's question about how do we do this in a small community. The reality is, is oftentimes, when we sit at the table with these families, we already have a pre existing relationship, you know, whether whether it's just seeing each other around town, like, it doesn't always mean we're, we're close close with everybody, but you know, usually, you know, one another because it is a small community. So it just like, it just really grows the opportunity for building that trust building that relationship, you know, because you're going to see me at the grocery store at some point in time. And, and because of my personality, I'm not going to take the other aisle, like, I'm going to meet you in that space. And if it if it gets emotional, I'm going to create that space for you to feel that, like, if that's okay with me, right. And so I actually really love serving families in a small community through funeral service, because it's just led to such meaningful relationship, and an incredible opportunity, you know, to, to get to know people. And I mean, we have had, of course, we have had some extremely difficult environments. Like we've had, we've had children pass away, we've had young people die, we've had older people die, that were just, you know, the pillars of their family, like you, you know, it's age doesn't dictate tragedy. And so it just, and, yeah, it's sad, there are some very sad, sad situations, you know, and families that we've had to serve. But then like, that is just one of the things that I'm extremely fortunate to be able to come home and have a partner, you know, that that just really creates the opportunity for me to talk about those days, and you know, leans into those conversations with me, and I've got some really great friends that create safe places for me to have those conversations because, and, and I'm a huge advocate for mental health, like I see a psychologist on a somewhat regular basis, you know, like, I'm, at minimum, seeing a psychologist three to four times a year, even when I'm feeling really good, because I just like to have somewhere to check in with, right. So I think there's a huge mental health aspect to that conversation. That anybody that is, is, I think you could apply it into any environment. But if you are, if you are going to intentionally enter into a relationship with people in your life, at some point in time, you're gonna need to have somebody to talk to you about it. Right. And so yeah, I mean, I'm a huge fan of of professional help. I mean, huge fan of circles, close people having safe places to have these conversations with because what I learned and it is something that I talk about, like when I, when I do, say, continuing education courses or workshops or things, I go through a process, I call my order of service. And ultimately what it is, it's, it's how I've learned to go inward before outward, if I want to show up as the fullest version of myself, you know, to serve your family as a funeral director, what I've learned that at a very high level, which, which came at a cost at one point in time, was that I have to take care of myself first. And what that looks like is number one, truly number one, taking care of myself, mentally and physically honoring those relationships closest to me. So my nuclear family, which is my wife, Bailey, and our three kids, you know, and then going through a few other things, which, ultimately, then that way, when I show up at work as a funeral director, I'm actually present, one of the things that used to get me really distracted, was, I would try to take care of too many people at once. And I would try to serve too many spaces at once. And so what happened is, say I would, I would go to work, and I would be very distracted by what was going on at home. So then I would get home, and then I would be distracted by what was going on at work. So I was never actually present. And, and so by so long. Sorry, it's just that I got signed out. Um, but yeah, so it just it ultimately, what it led me to is realizing is that, you know, and that was a very defeating, very, very defeating feeling. And I think there's a lot of people listening to this would, would understand that, where you're working really hard in multiple spaces, and feel like you're falling short everywhere you go. Right. And I think if you reverse engineer that happening, oftentimes what it is, is, is just a simple reality, that you're trying to go outward too much, and you forgot to take care of yourself first. You know, and taking care of yourself, again, is a very intentional process of, of mental and physical things that we can do for ourselves, actually plotting out what are the most important relationships in your life, you know, honoring those relationships in a way that allows you to show up in those professional spaces at the at the level that you desire to.

JP Gaston:

So what are some of the logistical or real life challenges you face working in a small town,

Unknown:

the mindset that you have to recognize, you know, probably running a lot of businesses in small communities and, and the more niche you get, again, just really needing to gain confidence in the reality that you're going to have not necessarily turnover with staff. But you're definitely going to have to be willing to train people over and over and over again, you know, and so the thing that we had to do in our setting is what we basically like, so we've on the funeral home for 12 years now. And when I look back at some of the strategies we've taken with employees over the years, like we used to have, one person had one full time staff member, and was just like, super invested into this person, like spent about realistically about five years training them, you know, getting them to like this level of of, you know, where they were just really a wonderful addition to our team to the and then you know, what ended up happening is that, at some point in time that that person was no longer employable to the business is probably the best way to word this. And, and ultimately, where that left us was, like, back at the very start, meaning it was just like, so not just the cost of having this person on staff for those years, not just the cost of of helping them through their school, not like not all of these things. In addition to that it was just like this last piece of time, right? You know, like, and that was, I think that was the hardest part for me. You did this, it was just like, extremely deflating, extremely defeating, you know, to have a feeling like I was starting over and Bailey and I talked about this often, like we've on this funeral home for 12 years, realistically feel like we've rebuilt the business a minimum of five times, because it's just like the cyclical experience of like, something changes, you know, something significant changes, and now you're back to the stage of like, having to just reevaluate how to move forward with that business. Because the goal of constantly being for growth, and I think it's important when, you know, when I talk about growth, it's not specifically financial growth. A lot of that growth was, you know, like, quickly, before we were sort of on air here, we just talked about really now investing into environments wanting to create predictable outcomes for ourselves on personal levels. So some of that growth is how do we attach a schedule to a very unpredictable work environment? How do we make sure that everybody knows That they're going to have their opportunity to stay home and be with their family on Christmas and not get called out, right, you know, like, really trying to be mindful of those things. So. So I think when, you know, for us, and specifically talking about our business, the thing that we ended up having to decide to do in our setting was looked at realistically, what our business requires is myself, plus one other full time position to run most effectively, and which also gives people some space outside of work. But the best way of accomplishing that was actually to, instead of just wind hiring one position at bat, you know, at 100%. But we actually ended up doing as we actually hired two positions at 60%. To running slightly inefficiently, in a sense of, you know, we have more staff than we need at times. But the reality is, is by introducing that other person, it also removed an incredible amount of pressure from the idea that tech, like we just knew, nobody would ever be in a position of having to do it by themselves. Right? So as a business have to look at that as like an investment into realizing your why if we're willing to broaden slightly inefficiency or inefficiently on the numbers game. I think macro so micro, we're running inefficiently macro, I think we're, I think we're money up. Because now you're not spending so much time, like you don't hit that five year mark, and end up having to start over. Right? You know, it's just like, we are in a bit of a hybrid scenario, which is, is probably, you know, again, like, you have to realize these things aren't always going to happen this way. But, you know, the two staff that we have, are growing their families, and that happens to be at the exact same time. So they're, they're both going to be off for, for their parental leaves for the 12 months. And they like, that just has to be okay. I think like, these are the things were just like, you know, this doesn't mean what we built isn't working, you know, like it just sometimes, like, sometimes timing just doesn't work out the way that we would hope it would. And so like, you can't allow everything to defeat you, you know, you have to be able to pull yourself out from them. And again, I think it's really powerful for people in leadership roles. You know, so whether, again, whether these other business owners or the manager so that, you know, can be able to, like, look at that and say, You know what, no, this is working, this is exactly what we hoped for. Because when these people return to our work setting, we do still have access to them. And even if they need to reduce their workload by a certain amount, you don't want to accommodate their new family, we still have way more access to help than we did before we hire these positions. Right. And so just really, I think the biggest thing that has helped me as an as an owner of a business, in a rural community, is just really focusing mindset on to number one, being able to see beyond specifically financial growth, and looking at new types of growth. And for me is the way that I explained this, I did a speaking engagement once and truly, I think this is the mindset I bring into business as a result of, of what I do, like, you know, from from being surrounded by, by death, and sitting at the table with families, hearing their stories, listening to what their lives look like, I think the thing that I've realized, outside of Bailey and our three kids, the things that I required for happiness are time, health and money. And again, recognizing, you know, people that are listening to this aren't gonna see what I'm doing here. But like, just for the sake using your imaginations, you know, like, imagine that as a triangle, right? And so at each point, so we had to talk, you know, we have time, health money at each of the corners of this. And what I've learned, and what's really unique about this lesson is that, typically in life, we're offered two out of the three things at any given time, meaning, you know, I look back to 18 to 25 years old, had lots of time, had lots of health, never had fucking money to do anything. Right? It's just like, I'm 36 now, like, getting to a stage in my life, where it's like starting to accumulate, accumulate money, still have my health constantly feel like I'm fighting for time to do things, right. And then I look at, say, my parents generation, like the year that my mom retired, ended up getting breast cancer. And so her first two years of retirement while she had time, and she had money, and then she, she didn't have the health to, you know, to have experiences, right. And so, what I've learned from this and apply personally and professionally is, you know, when you have access to all three things at once, like those are the moments you need to like, literally run towards the sun. You know what I mean? And, and what, what becomes very powerful about this is when you realize that doesn't necessarily mean having access to All three of those things for months at a time, sometimes it's just like you wake up and you have enough money in, you know, in the cup holder, and you have the day off, and you have your health. And it's just like, I've got the opportunity to take my kids on a hike today. Right? You know, and it's just like, like, it's so just looking at that is like these small, intentional things, I have the affordability to pop in the car and take my family on an experience and the health to do it. But those are, those are fucking once in a lifetime moments that I think we don't necessarily recognize in the moment, right. And so when you start to live much more intentionally with that, then you realize, and because, again, they are going to be seasons in life where you're back to only being able to access two thirds of those things. And that's outside of our control. So then it's like once you start to realize that you stop losing yourself to the moments that you only have two thirds, because you realize it's just like, Well, no, I don't have control of this, like right now, I'm in a season of life that financially, we can't afford to do these things. So right now we're in a season of life, that I don't have the time to do these things, or I don't have the health to do these things. And so I think it just really makes you appreciate those opportunities that you have access to all three.

Seth Anderson:

One of the things I'm loving about this podcast, Jeremy is I've had like 74 questions to ask you, but you just like keep rolling, and you answer them without me having to ask. So that's been really efficient.

JP Gaston:

You talked, you've talked a few times now about personal development. I know we'll get to what you're doing for personal growth. But I'm curious, because how many people know a lot about the industry that you're in? Yeah, if you're outside the industry, you probably know nothing. So is there been a lot of advancement and change in your industry and development, industry wide?

Unknown:

Guys? I think so I think, you know, like we're actually over the course of my career entered a really unique time and funeral service. So you don't serve as used to be very male dominated, you know, especially, you know, 30 4050 years ago. And so what has happened, you know, and this really probably started in line with around the timing of me coming into funeral service, but you know, became more female driven, which I truly believe, like, I truly believe I'm a feminist, I think it's one of the best thing that could have happened to our profession was to have a much higher level of female involvement, like, women are so well equipped. And like, I think, around the world, to be honest, but you know, again, I tried to focus in on my part of the world being funeral service. And the reason I think the biggest advancement I'm seeing take place right now in funeral service is emotional intelligence, the people that are having the highest levels of success are the people that are able to recognize that, you know, and this was something again, like just relating this back to our own experience, our own story, is when we bought the funeral home from the Gregory family in 2009, they were like, they were top notch, it was a great business, like this family, it served the community for 50 years, you know, and they had always had an extremely good job, like, their professional reputation was bar none. And so, you know, when we moved in, we knew that and for me, even at that age, I was only 24. But like, even at that point in time was easily able for me to recognize that our opportunity to grow this business wasn't going to try to polish the professional side of it, it was going to be to, you know, have a responsibility to maintain the professionalism. But our opportunity to grow the business was going to be on the personalization side was by building relationships, and in the way that we communicate about what we do. And so I you know, I really believe in our profession, I really believe in a lot of, of what we're trying to work towards, you know, that I, again, had another event I did, I spoke once just at a Canadian College of funeral service graduation, and it's the school that I went to, I got invited back quite a few years later to just give a talk to the new graduates. And it's actually really funny, because it was another situation of visiting educators, you know, people that taught me and it was just like, I remember this, Rick and Roger and, and, and, Joe, you're having a ride and coke on the Thursday night before the graduation or whatever. And it's just like, I'll be honest, Jeremy. If we had to pick one of our previous students that would get invited back as a guest speaker. We're not really sure you were on the list. I was like, Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me, you know, like, but I remember like when I had the opportunity to speak to that group, because I'm extremely passionate about what I do and love what I do. And I think we have an incredible opportunity to serve our communities. But there's also intentional choices you have to make within that and one of the things you have to choose is, so are you going to be a funeral service provider, or are you going to be a disposition provider? And what I mean by that is are you going to be somebody that Just simply, you know, takes care of the body, for a family, or are you going to serve the entirety of that family. And and I think those are completely different businesses, you know, provincially, they're going to be licensed the same way, they're all going to be called funeral homes, but the opportunity that we have to serve families really comes down to that simple fact, is simply going to be somebody that is responsible for taking care of the person that died, are you going to take on the responsibility of taking care of that the entirety of that family, and I think, really what's happened is, and is continuing to happen within funeral service, the biggest progression I see, I mean, yeah, there's some technological advances being made, like we're making much nicer cards, where we have nicer websites, you know, like, there's a lot of things that that have definitely advanced alongside all of this. But the biggest advancement we're making is that elegance part of the conversation, where we're able to recognize that you know, what, outside of this person that died, we do have a high level of responsibility to not just end not just take care of the spouse like, but to take care of the entirety of that family, to engage with the grandchildren, engage with the great grandchildren, and make sure that they're acknowledged in their loss, and have the opportunity to join their family in mourning, as much as the mom or the dad or whoever does.

Seth Anderson:

So Jeremy, tell us a little bit more about death education, and what that's all about how people can find out more information about some of the services

Unknown:

you guys offer. Sure, so death Ed, you know, very much shorter death education, just just like, you know, and so deaf education, again, historically was known as thanatology. And ultimately, you'd like to simplify it is like the, for me, it's the it's kind of the study of the human behavior attached to grief and loss. And, you know, the thing is, is thanatology was more specific to studying, you know, the emotion of what happens when somebody dies. And for me, really just leaning hard into the idea that again, grief is our emotional and behavioral response to loss, not specifically to death. So basically, you know, where death had started, and how it began was just a deep recognition of the, these lessons that I've learned in my life from from being in the trenches of loss, with families in the immediate parts of their loss, I've learned have become extremely applicable into almost every environment, I actually think you would have a hard time coming up with an environment that would not be able to reverse engineer. And so what, basically what ended up happening is, is again, like, just because this is such a unique space to be able to talk to this about that it is a combination of the emotional side of the conversation attached to the business side of the conversation is, you know, traditionally the way that you grew a funeral home business was to try to do more funerals, you would buy another funeral home, you would open a new location, you would do these things and, and the thing that we knew we didn't want to do was follow that footpath meaning like didn't want to buy a second location, an hour away and feel like we were stretched more than we need more staff and do other things. So So this was actually our biggest opportunity to grow on a business level was to figure out a way to, to grow the business without growing the funeral home part of the business. And what that meant was taking this knowledge that we've gained over this almost nearly, I guess, almost 17 years of being in the funeral profession, and take and now reapplying it into new settings. And, and the way that I guess I learned how to do that was I really believe this is x, this is a wonderful way to explain it. So in small communities, especially I think it would be the same in a lot of urban centers, but in small communities, for sure. So it's when it's when it's Fire Prevention Week. You know, they take all the kids over to the fire hall for like, and they talk to the firefighters, they see the trucks, they get some lessons on fire prevention, when it's community safety, you know, the the RCMP come to the school, and they talk to the kids about what's going to happen, you know, and how to be safe in this and that or when it's something healthcare related, like they go to the hospital, and maybe it sounds like basically, it's like these people are all resources to their community. And then somebody dies in the community or somebody dies in that school. And they bring in the 21 year old fcss worker that has never walked through loss personally in their life, tried to help this mass of people, and can sometimes actually not be a resource at all because they just simply don't have the experience to back it up. And so I saw this happening, you know, throughout the entirety of the early parts of my career, and it just never made sense to me. So when we moved the provost, we quickly quickly inserted ourselves as a community resource, you know, saying we are here to walk alongside you Like as parents, as educators, as fellow professionals in this community as a resource about grief and loss, because you know, we are experts in that field, there's nobody else holds the knowledge that we hold simply because of accessibility. Nobody else in the world has the accessibility to families in the immediate parts of their loss, other than funeral directors, right? And so like, basically, I just like was, informally how this ties into your question was in formerly doing death education for the entirety of my career, and then how that kind of grew into a business was by just formalizing that experience and saying, you know, what, we do hold a lot of knowledge, we are huge resources. And we can take this information, create something tangible with it, that makes it an actual teachable lesson that you can now take home and reapply whether that's in your own family setting, whether that's into your own business. And so really, that that then became the space for like, it is a grief and loss education platform, it is the tangible way of taking all of these, all of this knowledge that we've gained from families trusting us to join them in their loss, listening to them, truly sitting in that table, listening to their experiences, and then bringing it back and kind of almost in a sense, like digesting that information, and then bringing it out in a way that we can reapply it into new environments, you know, like, how do we talk about how impactful this loss of like, like, let's look at, you know, I don't know JP, like for you personally, but I know, like for your kids, right? Just the lost sense of predictability in the midst of a pandemic, not knowing if you're going to school or not, not knowing if you're going to have access to your social networks, not knowing if you're going to, you know, be able to see your family this month, or this week or this year, right? Like, there's an incredible amount of loss that and the thing is is like now when we can start to recognize that as loss, and we go back to the idea that were lost lives, group or follow? Well, if we are starting to see emotional behavioral responses from our children, in environments that we are not used to seeing emotional behavioral responses from them, we can probably, again, like rewind that behavior, and be able to say, oh, maybe it's related to the experience that they're having of not being able to see their friends or not being able to see their grandpas and grandmas, or not being able to access sports, or, or whatever it is these things that are likely really important to them. And so it's Yeah, it was just really, you know, ultimately, what that is, is just trying to redefine what grief is showing people how to identify where lost human lives, so that we can properly acknowledge one another in those spaces. One of my favorite quotes, maybe of all time, for sure, right now at this stage of my life is by Parker Palmer. And he says, the human soul does not want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed exactly as it is. And I think the whole driving force for me with death is to show people that in in times of loss, and in difficult times, our goal should not be to fix one another, our goal should be to see one another. And I think grief is absolutely, like grief, and empathy and acknowledgement are going to be the emotions and the tools that allow us to properly do that. And and so, yeah, that I mean, that was a very long winded version of the question that you asked me, but just to give you more context as to what death is, that that is, it is not just simply death education about what happens when you die, happy to talk about that as well. But it's just so much more meaningful than that for me, you know, that there's much more than a functional part to it. And I think there's just an incredible amount of magic in in this space, you know, and there's so much learning that we have to do because I think generationally speaking we're we're literally just starting these conversations, you know, like this is this is not something our parents or our grandparents ever talked about. Out Loud for sure.

JP Gaston:

I know your website says that you do speaking engagements, you do corporate engagements, you do a little bit of everything. So what's the best way for folks to get in touch with you if they're looking for

Unknown:

so probably right through the website, there's a contact form. So the website is www dot death ed.ca. And, you know, navigate the website is pretty straightforward. We tried to keep it as simple as possible. But there's just a contact form on there so that if anybody would like to connect straight through their email, and whether that's you know, and that connection isn't necessarily specifically for formal engagements it is you know, if you have a question like we want we again, we want to be available as a resource, so I love getting emails from people asking specific questions about their own grief or about somebody that they're walking alongside, and just using us as a resource. Because JP, you mentioned this earlier, funeral professionals are not necessarily the most approachable profession. Meaning like, and I think that's a historical thing, you know, where it was almost you're like, really secretive? Like, what the hell do those guys do? You know, like, we know, we know, the surface level stuff, we know that, you know, we know that they take care of people when they die. And we know the certain things really going on behind the scenes. And the thing is, is I don't think it needs to be a secret at all. You know, like, I think this is another opportunity, we do have to educate our community. So just if, if there's any kind of question, the website is just a wonderful way to reach out whether it is curiosity about what we do professionally, or whether you're having maybe some hardship or looking for ways to support somebody that you know, that's walking through loss. It's just a really wonderful way to connect with us.

JP Gaston:

Funeral Directors, like the only time people interact, or when they've experienced some sort of lost loss in their life, or they're watching a horror movie, and the funeral director is always some sort of evil, something in that horror,

Unknown:

or filmography history where jack black was a funeral director, which may have been the most realistic portrayal of what we actually. But yeah, like it's, it's not secretive. And it's funny, like we go back to as you know, early in the conversation, you guys had asked like, Did you always want to be a funeral director growing up? And, and my answer is very clearly, absolutely not like, what kind of kid would want to grow up and be a funeral director, I'll be honest, like a huge driving force of mine, or passion and pride is to change the narrative on that, I think it should be a really cool career choice for kids. You know, and I think the way that we make that more achievable is by creating positive experiences, you can have a good death experience, as funny as that sounds, you can, you can absolutely have a good experience, when somebody loves dies. Now, like, again, you need to recognize we're not removing the emotion from that statement. My point is, is like if we can truly walk alongside a family, and show them, you know, and educate them on what their opportunities are, and then support them through that experience by offering them our emotional intelligence and, and our knowledge and our professional support. I think it leads to very good experiences. And when the kids are sitting there watching that happen, when they see the opportunity that we have to create relationships with these families, and the ways that we have to serve these families. And I believe that changes the entire trajectory of the child's life. Having a positive grief experience early in life. And being acknowledged as a part of that process. I think it changes the entire trajectory of how those children roll for the rest of their life. And

Seth Anderson:

it's interesting, I didn't expect it to kind of go here and I know we're, we're getting towards the end. But that's kind of what we went through. When our dog Grizzly passed, I remember he was a piece of work, but specifically, what I went through with my dad, and that was really my first real exposure to death. And to your point, like, parents never really talked about death, everyone kind of avoided the topic, and then you get hit with that. And it was, it was a lot. So when graves was dying, I actually wanted the kids to experience it a little bit. And so we had a lady come to the house, and do it. And we all sat there and bawled her eyes out, and it was hard. But I don't know, some people disagreed with me. But I think like Linden took a lot from that experience. And now he's experienced death. And we mourned it, and we got through it. And I don't know, I don't know what the right, you know, half the time, we're just kind of flying by the seat of our pants as parents, but I felt like in that moment, that was something that he

Unknown:

shouldn't I mean, I completely support and I'm aligned with that approach. And do I understand, I mean, I think a lot of parents that are, are hesitant or wouldn't agree with that approach of just, but they've likely never been shown how either they you know, it's very likely they haven't had their own personal experience with loss at that level. And then, and nobody's ever shown them how. And so by including Linden and including your kids on that experience, you ultimately what you're doing is you're giving them the opportunity to practice mourning and to practice grief and to practice empathy and to practice emotion. And that's extremely significant because, you know, losing our pets is a really big deal. Actually, like for a lot of families. That's it's huge loss and I can understand it. But the reality is, is for your kids at some point in time, they're going to lose somebody much more More important in their life, right? So whether and like man I live in, in a world of bad shit happening, meaning parents die young. Sometimes our kids die, sometimes, you know, their classmates die. And you know, sometimes really hard things happen in kids lives. And when we take the opportunity to include them in less traumatic environments that are still extremely emotional, like that gives them experience to lean back on, and why I think that is such an incredible favor to your children to have included them. And that is, they're going to remember that the next time they walk through any type of loss. And what they're going to be able to do is they're going to be able to say, you know what, I remember when this happened. And I remember, you know, I don't remember exactly what everybody said, but I remember we were all together I remember we were, we were allowed to be open with our emotion, I remember we were allowed to ask questions. to something we talked about as a family, right? Like it just like, now what you've done is you've created this pattern for them, you know, that says, When hard things happen, we still allow for emotion, we still are going to talk about it, we are going to create space for it not and again, like and I'm not knocking previous generations or picking on anybody. But you know, in the past, typically what happened was it was just like, something bad happened, and nobody fucking talk about it, especially with the kids. Right? Because what we did, again, I recognize nobody's gonna see us but like, you know, I'm making the shield this body shield and it's like, I'm going to put my kids behind me. And I'm going to absorb as much of the emotion and as much of the pain from this as possible, so that they don't have to take on any of it. And that is such a disservice. Because we the goal should not be to remove the emotion the goal should be to remove the fear. There was likely nothing scary about Grizzly dying because they were able to participate because they were able to be to be present if they just wake up one day, and that dog has just gone from their life forever and nobody talks about it imagine the fear that would be a part of that well what happens at the end of life I don't know he just fucking disappear apparently. And it's just like leaving it to them to tell themselves a story like this just like go to your room and make up your own version of the story. And and I just

Seth Anderson:

girls went to a farm and he lives there now. Yeah, like, you

Unknown:

can take me to a farm like what the hell like it just like, I just think there's again, I I'm really aligned with that approach, I understand like not everybody's going to be but I truly believe I just really believe that is going to serve your kids at a very, very high level. Because again, that is a significant experience of loss. Again, pet loss is a significant loss because we are very close with our pets that they're just going to be able to transfer that experience without knowing it like this, this will not be cognitive behavior like that it will just be subconscious behavior. But when they walk through other experiences of loss, they'll absolutely remember that you know when it's why when Linden doesn't make the basketball team he's going to be able to like talk to you about it. It'd be okay if there's emotion attached to that experience it's what you're right like I really believe those things are connected so

JP Gaston:

so I guess just on the way out of here, we always ask what you're working on for yourself so what do you what are you doing for yourself for their podcasts? You're listening to you Is there anything you're working on right now for you How are you feeding your mind?

Unknown:

Yeah, I'll be completely transparent I'm a I mean a bit of a wall right now so I was happy to hop on this podcast is just like going through season of life of truly not investing enough into myself like the last couple months have just been reasonably stable then you know, not reading not listening to audiobooks not listening to podcasts just like living day to day kind of thing and I think it's fine to have those seasons of life but deep recognize those are not that seasons in my life that I feel good. So I think I'm just I completely believe in vulnerability I'm not gonna sit here and say oh, I'm doing this and this and this and everything is just going like incredibly well right now. I wouldn't say it's like I'm not in a bad place it's just in a season of not serving myself at a high level and and that shows that chosen my health like you know, like, these are usually the times of my life like I don't I get heartburn, don't sleep well. You don't like all of these things that are not normally existed. So to wall around that conversation, though, is is the things that I do that I know provide me health. I haven't like it like I did. We Talk about the order of service at all. I'm trying to remember last time, yep. Right. So like, like, I just know, I'm getting myself back to a place of it's like, number one, I need to just I need to book in with my psychologist, I need to do a session, I need to just like, you know, unpack some of some of this last two months with him. And then I need to just lean into that order of service where I get very intentional about what does it look like to take care of myself? What does it look like to honor these relationships in my life? What does it look like to show up as a, you know, as a good as a good boss, and like, so it just, I have the process and the tools that like, quickly get me out of these experiences. But it's funny how that natural human behavior just, for me, allows me to slide in and out of it. It's funny how it's like, I know, the equation to feeling good. And like, sometimes how hard it is to stick with that stuff. Right? Like it is a it's a real, real mental battle.

JP Gaston:

I love that answer. Because like, yeah, it's very easy to come onto a podcast and just want to look good and sound like you've got your everything together, and you're checking every box on the list. But I appreciate the vulnerability because certainly, you know, I have times where things are going particularly well, and I'm working out every day, and I'm getting stuff done and feeling great. And then I have other times where, you know, I'll go for three, four or five, six weeks where I, you know, barely left my house because I work out of my home now. So I've, yeah, I've, I've seen the grocery store. And that's about it.

Unknown:

Yeah, and it's, you know, like, the last little thing I'll maybe throw in before we run out of time, but like, I think vulnerability is the ultimate strength. And transparency is a close second, you know, like, none of us serve one another, well, by all means, talking about all the things that are going right in their life. And, and the the simple matter of fact, for me, is most the greatest levels of success that I've had usually started with some kind of failure, you know, that, like me becoming the husband, and the father that I'm working to become was the result of being a shitty husband and father for a period of time. Right? You know, it's like all of these things. And I think we need to be transparent, and that that you didn't just end up here like there is a process attached. And vulnerability. For me. Ultimately, what I've learned is that when we're willing to be vulnerable in these conversations is vulnerability creates connection. And once we're connected, we can start to build trust. And once we build trust, we'll end up with a relationship. And if you and I can build a relationship, the meaningful parts really start to begin, right. And so it's just like it for me, it all starts with vulnerability. It all starts with being able to say, you know what, like, if we want to get to this meaningful part of the conversation, then at some point in time, I'm going to have to be willing to open myself up to say, like, this is who I am, or this is where I'm at, or this is my actual circumstance, not just what you've been seeing on Instagram, something that really resonated,

Seth Anderson:

basically the point you were getting to it, or at least how I interpret it is that we earn our values. And that's something that I heard recently on a podcast finding mastery with Dr. Michael J. Bass. He's the sports site for the Seattle Seahawks. And he just talked about like in order to get a value you have to earn it you have to you have to like to your point we had to be a not so great husband to get that awareness and realize that and I think if you kind of tapped into the things that are important to you and what your values really are, there was likely a road to get there that wasn't all sunshine and rainbows and I think it's a great a great point to maybe leave off on and I think we could do a whole miniseries just on on on these this topic, but very cool.

Unknown:

Yeah, man. Well, I will definitely make a trip out and come check out The Biz Dojo studio at some point in time and maybe throw something else down on onto the metaphorical tape or record or whatever. JP has a big reel

Seth Anderson:

of tapes in his basement.

JP Gaston:

For real reels, I splice them together by hand.

Unknown:

Awesome. Well, thanks again for having me guys. I appreciate anybody that's willing create space for you to have a seat at the table.

JP Gaston:

Awesome. Thanks for coming in extra. Hey, thanks for listening. Have you ever thought about how to unlock your own potential and what a coach could do for you? Well reach out anytime. We'd love to set up a free discovery session with you to see if coaching is right for you. And if we're the right coaches, just send an email coaching at The Biz dojo.com