I think the other students in my program would be quite taken aback if I described this experience of not just seeing dead people but helping to dress them too.
Frequenting mortuaries was never my hidden ambition. I’m quite an unlikely candidate for this duty of dressing the dead, but in the past 20 years it's a job I’ve done time and again.
My first opportunity was in Seattle around 1993 when Sister Taylor passed away and my Relief Society calling designated me as the one to help the family. Initially the idea sounded a little creepy and I wasn’t sure I was up for the task. Until I went. Low and behold, it turned out to be a sweet and tender experience. And very uplifting spiritually.
Since Sister Taylor’s death I’ve had numerous occasions to help. And, every time there is an overwhelming feeling of love in the room. The separation of the spirit from the body is real; I’ve had an almost visceral reaction noticing this every time I’ve helped.
Dressing the dead is one of those life experiences I wasn’t sure I wanted to have and then I learned what a rich opportunity it is after all. I wouldn’t trade the times I’ve been able to help families dress their mother or sister or even their baby. Yes, the baby was heartbreaking but still a beautiful experience.