Funerals and mortuaries are not my favorite things. In the last week, I have been to a funeral and two viewings. Depressing week, and I wasn’t part of the immediate family grieving for these loved ones. Being on the fringe of these tragedies made me reflect some on grieving, loss, mortuaries and morticians.

My brother-in-law passed away during the crazy windstorms and left five kids parentless. My sister (his wife) had passed away seven years earlier. They had purchased and paid for a joint funeral plan. As I watched his six sad little grandkids trying to deal with the loss of their Grandpa, I saw a kind and caring funeral director from Leavitt’s Mortuary show a little 4-year-old that he didn’t need to worry, his Grandpa did have his legs. He opened the lower section of the casket and talked the little boy through his fears, and assured him that everything was OK.

As the casket was closed for one final time and the pallbearers were carrying the casket to the funeral car, a tearful grandson wanted to help, to touch the casket of his Grandpa. This same kind man helped this 4-year-old slide in between two of the pallbearers and put his hand on the casket as it was loaded in the hearse. It took a caring person to notice, a few seconds to help, a small act of kindness and it will make a difference to this little boy for the rest of his life.

My daughter-in-law’s 16-month-old nephew passed away in Texas and was transported by his family to have his funeral and be buried in Utah. This little boy had lots of challenges. Lindquist’s Mortuary worked with a grieving family under unusual circumstances. Lindquist’s helped the little boy’s parents and older brother and sister to work through their loss. Compassion, kindness and caring made a world of difference.

My first job was at Topper Bakery working for Dave DeRyke. I was sad to learn of his passing. I went to his viewing, because I would be teaching fourth graders on the day of his funeral. Lindquist Mortuary had ample hand sanitizer, extra face masks and had provided for social distancing. During a pandemic, they did their best to accommodate for safety and health concerns as well as respecting grieving family and friends. Every mortuary in our community provides livestreaming of the funerals. What an amazing service! Obituaries are also online to better serve people.

I went to High School with Peter Lindquist (Lindquist Mortuary) and Mike Leavitt (Leavitt’s Mortuary). I attended Weber State University with Shawn Myers (Myers Mortuary). They are all outstanding men. I was told by one of them that when their family started in the mortuary business, it was at the request of Brigham Young. With Utah just recently being settled, there was a need for someone to deal with the people who were dying. They felt that their profession was also a sacred calling.

I still take the paper — the Standard Examiner. It is now a much smaller publication. It still includes the obituaries. I scan the obituaries every morning. I will text, email or call family members or friends to tell them of someone who passed away.

Death is a natural and expected part of every life. I am grateful that there are trained, compassionate professionals who help us through these trying times. We are fortunate to have these three mortuaries in our communities. Thank you for all you do!

Lori Memmott Brown is a resident of Ogden.

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