Ep. 138

You’ll die trying contain sensitive subject matter and conversation surrounding death and dying
and may not be suitable for all audiences. Listener discretion is respectfully advised. It’s you,
it’s me. And welcome to season two episode 138 of ytt. You’ll die trying Trier’s, it’s a show this
show, pulling back the curtain, taking down the walls, brick by brick and exposing the hearts of
those who are caring for those you love the most. And in this instance, it’s me caring for
someone personally,

who I love. Most don’t want to do this episode. We must to be on the other side of the table,
that that’s where I am. I would walk the casket selection room of Haley McGinnis when it was
filled with entirely too many caskets because Mike my father in law wanted to show everything
he would teach and reteach me how to display these caskets beautifully, beautifully pulling on
the interiors, straightening, fluffing meticulously aligning the corners of the pillows, so that they
were centered perfectly symmetrical with the interior of the casket it had to balance to Mike,
this was an art and it should be done daily. If a family had to make a difficult purchase, the
selections available in our care and our casket selection room better be perfect as that’s what
the family deserved. I remember him coming down with me into the care center as I was in
bombing. At this time, I was simply a level one apprentice I knew nothing. I can’t say that I
knew things. But I was not licensed. And I had never seen anyone to this day even feature a
mouth so swiftly and beautifully. It was second nature to him. How he used the string how he
used the cotton, the web Roll Towel. It was amazing. We shared stories during this time
together, how raising the femoral artery was how he learned to embalm and how he always
went there first, instead of the carotid and how going to the femoral helped alleviate the need
for a hidden stitch. If you are in fact involving a younger female whose family would probably
bring a blouse that was little lower cut. Raising the femoral was Mike’s go to I remember Mike
showing me how easy the femoral was to find and the best most efficient way to get to it every
single time. He asked for a couple pieces of suture or string. I recall being very sparing with it.
As I knew that Mike was super tight with things he never wanted to use too much. And you had
to be mindful he never wasted before making the cut of the suture with the string probably not
even 10 inches in length, Mike said, and I’ll never forget it. String is cheap. I’m okay with you
making it longer. That was the only time and 12 years we spent in the care center together. He
had this chair, which was the ugliest thing that I have ever seen. The maroon fabric had been
faded for many years, being on the porch with the sunlight, baking the colors out of it and from

countless butts sitting on it. But he loved it. It had the seashells on it. It was hideous. I mean, it
was known as his chair. If staff were sitting in it during a visitation, and Mike came rounding the
corner, you’d better get up. I would hide the thing when he wasn’t around. I’d move it to the
darkest farthest point in the home, hoping he’d forget about it. But he never did. I even would
Put this chair on top of his desk. When he would come in in the morning. The thing did finally
disappear accidentally during a renovation, so I wasn’t totally to blame. I go back to Mike’s
office filled with gun smokes shoot out. Sounds audio just so loud, pipe smoke haze and Mike
ever attentive to both the TV and the doorway, and who’d be entering it. I’d frequent the office
of his numerous times a day bringing new ideas, thoughts, conversation, questions, you name
it. If I didn’t go back there at least twice a day. It was often asked if Mike and I were in an
Law lunches shared stories shared time shared. I remember countless steak dinners glasses of
bourbon smoking our pipes. Talking about the old school funeral directors obstacles, how tough
and cutthroat it once was, and in some aspects still is. I mean, I took up wearing suspenders
like him. The man always dressed so nicely. His shoes would be glistening, his suits, perfect.
dry cleaned dress shirts straight from the drive thru window and out of the plastic wrapping
he’d put on. He looked the part on top of being the part. Mike took care of everything. frugal,
honest, loyal. The man cleaned out plastic cups and bowls from our lunches together, saying
they’re perfectly fine three years. Mike didn’t want to throw perfectly good things away. He
grew up with nothing. Mike worked his way to where he is earning every achievement along the
way. When you have nothing, you know, no different really. So when you begin to experience
success and comfort, you tend to maintain the same mentality that you had when ripped jeans
and worn shoes were the norm. I remember the day Mike put his hands in the air and said you
all do it. Out of relief, out of grief out of hope. This happened to be the 55th of the year as a
licensed funeral director in Kentucky. He’d buried his parents, his son, countless friends, military brothers and sisters, siblings. The weight of decades of grief choosing you over himself.
They’d come to a head. I remember him also saying this day, right before walking out of the
funeral home the last time you don’t retire from this. You just die. May 14. Mike retired after 60
years in the funeral profession. At 9:22am. He died at his favorite place and all of the world is
home. Kay was with him and all his children are close by. I got my suit on and I drove to his
house. I met with Jamison, the hospice nurse fumbling over paperwork I would have otherwise
have been too smooth and able to complete without incident. I confessed in my grief. And
Jamison quickly realized a family of funeral directors are grieving their own. autographing my
name on the paperwork. I kept saying I can’t believe I’m signing Mike’s provisional Chris mica,
Christine, all joined us to assist in honoring the man who without his believing in us, whether
directly or indirectly would not have had this opportunity to serve and work at a funeral home
devoted to his community. Delicately, they tended to Mike as they would have with anyone else
I’m certain. For me this moment was beautiful where I kept saying wow, wow in my mind to be
on the other side of the table, loving someone so very much personally and watching the
delicacy and honor being shown to him. My how lucky families who call on my team are to be
able to experience such reverence. How moving
like a choreographed dance. He was gently placed American flag draping his body honoring his
service and the United States Army. He was so proud, so proud of his country. I traveled with
him to the funeral home. The home he had committed himself to for 60 years, spending
countless hours with those experiencing their darkest offering a place to grieve and gather at
the cost of time away from family and friends because he chose you. Chris and Micah continued
their care. As I sat off to the side, typing his obituary tribute preparing for the arrangements.
The following day. May 2010. I went to Mike’s office as an eager stranger begging for an
opportunity. I promised him if he hired me I’d be the best employee he had ever hired. Mike,
thank you for thank you for taking a chance. You have offered a life to myself that I could have
never dreamt of. I hope I have lived up to this promise I made to you and that smoke filled
office 12 years ago. Thank you for believing in me to have part and carrying on the legacy that
you worked so hard to build. May your memory be eternal. For now, I have a lot of final
preparations to complete. As this episode airs, I will be taking lead and we will be burying Mike
in this cemetery where his monument readily marks his memorial. Perhaps Mike cared for one
of your own whether you even know it or not. He chose you every single day and passed that
focus on to me. I would always end a day as he walked out the door right at four o’clock,
usually to sneak because he knew I would be there to say, Daddy I love you Mike. Take care. We’ll see you at 139