…and so Anna hijacked my Marc’s Musings this week (in the nicest way)…so here it is!
Marc Eskritt has been recognized as the Blenheim & District Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. In honor of tomorrow’s Awards Ceremony I have decided to hijack Marc’s Musings to write a Musing about Marc. As I was thinking of what to write I felt overwhelmed with how I would squeeze in all of the things that make Marc so great, but found reassurance in the fact that anyone who has met him will understand there is so much more to say.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Anna and I am Marc’s daughter in law and employee. I have had the pleasure of seeing the different roles Marc plays over the last ten years, and can say with confidence that all are done with a high degree of care and compassion. First I met Marc the family man, which is without doubt his favorite role. Marc would move heaven and earth to make his family’s life better, and always makes sure his family knows how much they are loved. Although there is no official awards ceremony, I know he wins husband, dad and papa of the year, every year. The man who will drive half a day just to spend a little extra time with his baby girl before she goes back to school. And if he can’t make the trek to his kids quickly enough? Well then he will call the local drug store to have them round up a care package and have a taxi deliver it to their door.
Their support in turn allows him to be Marc the Funeral Director, which is a multifaceted role. Marc the business man and boss is hands down the best boss I have ever had, which is easy to see when you enter the funeral home and see the smiling faces working there. He makes people want to do a good job without having to ask by creating a warm and welcoming environment. Being the sole owner of the business also means he has to work hard to make sure everything is taken care of and all things run smoothly. I am regularly astounded by all the things he manages to get done each day, all the details he remembers and the seemingly endless compassion he has for each family. Helping the families he serves is what he loves about being a funeral director and he holds true to his promise to treat every family as he would want his own family treated. Each funeral is special and I know families feel his respect and genuinely kind heart by the countless calls and cards I see streaming in on a weekly basis.
These families inspire Marc the community member and friend. There is never a lack of people who want to chat with Marc just to spend time with him. He has a way of helping people before they have even had a chance to ask him. With everything else he has going on, he always manages to come through when people need him because this is a great community filled with wonderful people. This reliability often means countless 20 hour days and coming in to work on two hours of sleep to make sure everyone else is taken care of, yet he never complains, and never looks for recognition. He does it all for his family, for the families he serves and for the community that supports him. I know tomorrow will be hard for modest Marc who would prefer to sit back and see the joy on peoples faces then be the center of attention receiving recognition for all he does. I am happy that I had this opportunity to share what I believe everyone who knows Marc already knows. He does not just turn this on for show, he is a shining example of what it means to be a good person each and every day!
I was going back through some of my Marc’s Musings and found this one from March of 2010. Although the television shows have changed, nothing else has. We’re still best friends!!
Did I ever mention that I am a proud father and grandfather??? Well, maybe just once or twice…
This is my grandson Lucas James Eskritt who turned 3 just last month. When you ask him how old he is, he will hold up one hand and hold his thumb and baby finger down with the other. Lucas and I are best friends. He calls me Papa or when an abbreviated “Pops” when he’s excited about something. Sometimes I call him Bob because he likes Bob The Builder on t.v. and he calls me Rolly which is a part of the team on Bob The Builder. Lucas always likes to come to Pop’s house because he has fun and he and I have our own personal stash of candy…it’s a grandparents duty keep stashes of candy! Last weekend Lucas slept over. I asked him if he wanted to bring his baby brother Graham with him, but he didn’t…I think he just wanted some time by himself with Pops. I told him that I would pick him up after work but by three o’clock he called me to let me know that he was sad because he missed me so I picked him up early. Lucas is always interested in the Funeral Home. He always asks me who passed away and why. Last fall Lucas had a funeral in his sandbox for Maka Paka, one of his toy figures from the Night Garden. Maybe he’s the next generation of Funeral Directors for the Blenheim Community Funeral Home? Lucas is a good big brother but I’m pretty sure that he’ll manage to get himself and his brother into some mischief sometimes just like all kids do. I’ve made promises to Lucas that he doesn’t understand yet…to always have time for him, to always make him feel special and to always let him know that I love him no matter what.
My daughter Makaila challenged me to write down ten things I have learned in the last 36 years (since becoming a Funeral Director) and here they are…
- THAT HARD WORK PAYS OFF.
My father instilled that in my brain all my life. I was raised on a dairy farm. There were chores to do every day, morning and night. I have always worked hard.
- THAT TRUST IS EARNED.
I will be forever grateful to the families who have let us prove that we were worthy of their trust. It doesn’t matter how fancy your buildings or your cars are…what matters is how you treat people.
- THAT NOT EVERYBODY LIKES THE SAME THINGS THAT I DO.
And that’s okay. We all have different tastes in music, food and everything else. I am one of the most non-judgmental people you will ever meet. You only have one chance to make a funeral the way that you want it to be. Follow your heart.
- THAT DESPITE THE BAD THINGS THAT HAPPEN, SOMETIMES THERE ARE GOOD THINGS THAT SURROUND THEM.
I hear this a lot. I experienced it in my own life. Despite many obstacles on the night my Mom took a turn for the worse, we were all able to make it to the hospital and be with her when she died.
- THAT I CAN FUNCTION ON LITTLE SLEEP.
It doesn’t matter what time of night it is when a hospital calls, I go. You may never find out that I do that, but it’s important to me. It goes back to the fact that I treat everyone like I would have wanted my mother treated and I loved her a lot.
- THAT PEOPLE LOOK FOR SIGNS.
Everybody wants to know that everything is okay. I believe in signs. I can tell you stories.
- THAT EVERY PERSON AND EVERY FAMILY HAS A STORY.
You’re not alone. Nobody is perfect and no family is perfect. We just do the best that we can. I meet with people at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives and I learn a lot of things…all of which I will take to my own grave.
- THAT THERE IS GOOD IN EVERYONE.
- THAT I’VE LEARNED HOW TO BECOME A GOOD LISTENER.
- THAT SOMETIMES IT’S THE SMALL THINGS THAT MATTER THE MOST.
We have entered our fifteenth year here at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home. After a long time of not really taking any time away, we have been fortunate enough to find a part time Funeral Director who we trust to take care of families the same way that we would ourselves. Some of you have already had the chance to meet Jeff McGivern, who has been with us for almost a year now. Last November when we took our first vacation in many years, Jeff was the Funeral Director who was here in my place. A lot of people look at him and think that he is my son, but honestly he’s not! He’s just a great guy who will treat you and your family with the same respect that you have become accustomed to here. His full time position is in Chatham at the Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home, the same funeral home that I worked at for many years before opening the Blenheim Community Funeral Home. I have always maintained a good working relationship with the folks there and we help each other whenever we can.
Jeff covered me this past weekend when our children all met at my sister’s house on the lake and we celebrated Thanksgiving early. There is something to be said about the simplicity of a beach, some sand toys and some lawn chairs. And when you mix that with an afternoon of making memories while the smell of turkey fills the house, life feels good. From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. Although life may not seem perfect sometimes, my hope for you is that the good outweighs the bad and that you find a reason to give thanks.
Until next week,
Over the years it has become very popular to produce a slide show of still pictures and music and burn it onto a DVD to be played on a television or a screen during visitation. We can “loop” a slide presentation so that it plays continuously during the time that families are here; that way all of your friends can watch it too as they come and go. And when the funeral is over, families choose to take copies home as keepsakes. We’ve never charged any extra to families to produce a slide show for them, rather it’s just one of those extra things we do for them.
Years ago, before slide shows were very popular I set out to make one for my family. I set up my video recorder on the dining room table and leaned pictures against a box, zoomed in on each one and when I was done I added music…a long and tedious job (which is much easier and higher quality now). I made the slide show for an early summer family gathering that we were having and I was so glad that I did it when I did, because my Mom passed away that fall and she got to see it before she died.
That brings me to what I’m thinking about this morning. Sometimes I wonder if folks wish that they had made a slide show earlier rather than waiting until after someone passed away. I think that seeing a slide show of my life, one that includes my younger years with my brother and sisters, one that includes my rebellious teenage years and one that includes my wife, my children and my grandchildren would be awesome.
So instead of waiting until something happens to Great Uncle Harry and then coming to the Funeral Home with the pictures and music, why not bring them now? I’ll bet it would make him smile to see his life captured on a DVD. At the Blenheim Community Funeral Home, we would be happy to help you with that.
Until next week,
I’ve written before about stages of grief that you can expect to go through following a loss…but what about the stages you can expect to go through if you find out that you are faced with the reality of an impending death, be it yours or a loved one? Inspired by her work with terminally ill patients, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced five stages that people can expect to experience when they learn of a terminal illness. She also noted though that these five stages are not a complete list of all possible emotions that could be felt, that they can occur in any order, and that personal losses are as unique as the person experiencing them.
DENIAL: This is a defense mechanism. This is when we say “I feel fine. This can’t be happening to me”. This stage allows us time to take baby steps; to accept and process things as we are able.
ANGER: “Why me? It’s not fair!” In this stage, a person recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person who is dying can be very difficult to care for due to misplaced anger and envy. It’s important to remain nonjudgmental when that anger is directed at you.
BARGAINING: “I’ll do anything for a few more years”. “I’ll go to church every Sunday”. Usually the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle.
DEPRESSION: “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” It’s natural to feel sadness, regret, fear and uncertainty when going through this stage. It shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer an individual up who is in this stage; it is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
ACCEPTANCE: “It’s going to be okay”. “If I can’t fight it, I will prepare for it”. In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their own mortality or that of the person they love. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, since survivors must pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.
This information can be found in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ book On Death and Dying.
Until next week,
Next week will mark the beginning of the 15th year since we opened the doors of the Blenheim Community Funeral Home. I can’t begin to tell you how many wonderful people I have come to know and walk beside. Thank you for your trust and thank you for your friendships.
One of the things that I keep saying here is that I treat everyone the way that I would have wanted my Mom to be treated, and I mean that. Those of you who know me well and who knew me before my Mom died know just how much I loved her. In my eyes, she was as perfect as any Mom could be and I know that she would be proud of the person I have become. So my promise to my Mom, who I loved and respected so much will be to keep on being the son that she raised.
Thank you to all of the awesome staff that I have had to opportunity to work with and the staff who continue to work together here…Cathy, Anna, Robbie, Barrie, Mary Ann, Scott, Craig, Mike, Jeff, Moe, Makaila, Lynn, Rachel, Lucas, Graham, Darrell, Jenny, Brian, Jim, Dena, Wayne, Kyle, John, Jean and Ada. Because some people work behind the scenes and others are semi-retired, you may not see them often but they are all a part of what makes us who we are.
With much respect,
Marc and Gail Eskritt
There have been a lot of changes in the funeral world since 2003 both in the legislation that governs the industry and in the ways that people choose to deal with funerals and funeral homes. With that thought, another thing that I say is that there are no rules in funeral service anymore. Thank you for listening and thank you for asking me to be a part of the Lecture Series at the Mary Webb Centre in Highgate. On September 13th I will be speaking there and the title of that speech will be exactly that topic…there are no rules in Funeral Service anymore.