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  • janetgoncalves

I want to do something death-related as a career but what are my options?

Some universities offer courses on Death. I’ve been fortunate to be a guest speaker at a local university in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for such a course over the past few years. As part of my death doula presentation, I mention that one death impacts a minimum of 5 people but has a ripple effect on others. I invite the students to come up with death-related careers besides being a death doula like me. Here are some of their answers:

• Funeral director/memorial celebrant

• Embalmer

• Pastoral Thanatologist

• Crematorium technician

• Forensic pathologist/entomologist

• Funeral cosmetologist

• Coroner

• Cemetery worker/grave digger

• Grief counselors

• Hospice doctors/nurses/aides

• Obituary writers

• Product sales (caskets, coffins, etc.)

• Morticians

• Educators

• Authors

• Lawyers

• Funeral service workers

• Forensic science technicians

• Floral designers

• Mental health counsellors

• Monument engravers and manufacturers

• Social workers

• Veterinarians/technicians

• Transport services

A fascinating career that I mention is that of a moirologist. Moirologists are simply professional mourners hired by a family for various reasons, (e.g., they suspect a low turnout and having professional mourners would bring peace of mind to the family). In fact, the Texas Golden Gate Funeral Home, in Texas, U.S.A., uses these hired mourners to appeal to those wanting larger funerals.

Many parts of the world have a rich history behind professional mourning. This practice dates back to Egypt, China, and the Middle East during ancient times. Professional women mourners were very common, and they’re even explained in the Old and New Testaments. These hired mourners serve a similar purpose today as they did in ancient times.”, according to the online article Why Professional Mourners Exist and What They Actually Do.

Professional mourners are a common sight at funerals in parts of Africa and Asia. England has its own history of professional mourning. This practice stems from the Victorian era when there was a strong culture around grief and mourning. The practice went out of fashion in Europe and North America during the 19th century. Rent-a-mourner services are making a comeback in the West. Today, professional weepers can be well paid, depending upon their performance, and having a background in acting/theatre may be beneficial.

In conclusion, as you can see, there are many death-related careers other than becoming a death doula. Perhaps I have sparked your interest to explore the topic in further detail.

Sources: Professional Mourners Exist and What They Actually Do, Updated 9/1/2022, by Sam Tetrault,'Best Funeral Ever': Auditioning And Training 'Professional Mourners', Jan 7, 2013, 04:51 AM EST|Updated Jan 7, 2013

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