For many, taking on the role of a funeral director seems like an enormous responsibility. Being able to assist a grieving family through times of distress as well as manage to separately organise a funeral service is not a job to be taken lightly, but for Kerry Mercer, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ms Mercer, who works at JH Grice, in Hatton, and Dove Funeral Service, in Uttoxeter, finally landed her dream job after waiting over 25 years to pursue the career she always wanted.
The 44-year-old spoke about what exactly makes her so passionate about her unique career choice, and why she cares so much about helping people deal with the many taboos that surround funerals.
Kerry, who has been working for Central English Co-operative Funeralcare since 2010, revealed she decided it was the career for her because it would allow her to “help people”.
She said: “When I was about 16, I had my first family bereavement. It was my granddad and I went to see him in the chapel of rest.
“The visit got me thinking about funeral directors and the amazing work they do.
“I also saw the tough time that my grandma was going through and it made me realise that working as a funeral director would let me help people, put them at ease and help me get through such a difficult situation.
“I knew at some point it was something that I would do at some point in my life.”
Before moving to Swadlincote in 1999, Kerry worked in a law firm in Scotland. After giving birth to three children, she worked in retail before joining Central England Co-operative Funeralcare in 2010.
“The opportunity came about when I was driving through Swadlincote past Ward and Brewin Funeral Home and I turned to my husband and said, ‘I’m going to work there one day’,” Kerry recalled.
After being offered a job as a funeral administrator, Kerry completed several training courses that allowed her to take on the role as funeral director for JH Grice and Dove Funeral Service, in Hatton.
One of the many questions Kerry regularly gets asked outside of work is ‘what is it like being a funeral director?’
Kerry said: “People often ask me why and my answer is job satisfaction.
“It is being about to help families from when they walk through the doors right up to the funeral and beyond.
“I love helping people and I hope this comes across in the way that I deal with families and ensure they get everything they want.
“You also play the role of a councillor. You had to judge when a family walks through the door what they need from you. You need to sit and listen to them and feed off what they want.”
“I am so proud to be a funeral director and proud to be able to honour the lives of those who have passed away.”
What does the role of a funeral director include?
- Discussing funeral arrangements.
- Transferring the deceased to the funeral home or assisting if families wish for their loved one to remain at home before the funeral.
- Providing facilities for viewing the deceased prior to the funeral.
- Dealing with all necessary paperwork.
- Inserting death notices in local or national newspapers and online.
- Arranging any musical requests or special tributes.
- Arranging funeral vehicles.