This may be a first, and I realize now, also long overdue.

I’m a huge fan of home funerals, how (in some states) you don’t need a funeral director for any part of it.

I’ve shared a number of ways that a family member can do some of the ‘jobs’ that a funeral director normally does without question, such as comb the hair or put on make-up.

But the fact remains that for most people, a funeral director will perform all of his/her usual duties, with no help or input from the family. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

So here, a blog postTo the Very Last Person to Ever Touch My Daughter on Earth, from a mom overflowing with gratitude for the funeral director who took the last care of her 11-yr old daughter, killed in a car accident.

You took the down comforter I passed to your hands and listened as I explained through choppy breaths and a stream of tears that she’d need to be wrapped up in it – like a burrito. Because that’s how she watched TV. Burrito wrapped in her blanket.

You wrapped her up tightly. And you laid her down gently for the very last time.  …

I want to tell you thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I hope you know that what you do for others – what you did for me – will always mean more than anyone can ever explain. Thank you for choosing the hard road, the difficult journey. Thank you for showing up and taking the lead when everyone else is lost and has no idea what to do. Thank you for staying late. Thank you for listening to our stories. Thank you for making us feel that we matter. Thank you for your professionalism. Thank you for your kindness. And thank you for your compassion.

And, thank you, for tucking Avery in one very last time.

Funeral directors do what many of us can’t face even at our best, and they do it 24/7, 364. They really are heroes in a big and essential way.

Even as our culture moves into more personal and family involvement in the funeral (my crusade), we would be completely lost without their guidance, compassion, and knowledge, and as Bridget McCarthy says, their very tender, loving care at the worst time in our lives.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a key example of meaningful personalization here: asking the funeral director to wrap your loved one in a blanket like a burrito!! So beautiful.