DO WHAT YOU LOVE

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

Love what you do, do what you love.

That’s always good advice, no matter your age. Carpe diem; life is not a dress rehearsal; and if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. You’ll be happier, too, even if you really don’t have to work – as you’ll see in “Good Mourning” by Elizabeth Meyer.

Milan, Paris, London, Palm Beach. As the daughter of a high-powered lawyer-to-the-rich, Elizabeth Meyer was accustomed to the best restaurants, the best shopping and, yes, the best travel destinations. But travel behind a hearse? No way.

And yet, after her beloved father’s death, that’s where Meyer was and, once the shock subsided, there was one thing she couldn’t forget: though the family had utilized the services of Manhattan’s most prestigious funeral home, she’d pulled out all her party-throwing, event-organizing skills to ensure the send-off her father deserved.

The funeral home hadn’t done it. She had, and so, some time after her grief eased, she marched into the funeral home, requested a meeting, and asked for a job. She knew the funeral homes’ clientele; she’d attended social affairs, private school, and charity events with them all her life. She knew what they demanded. She didn’t need money; she needed something to do.

Despite what she knew, however, there was still plenty to learn and Meyer absorbed everything she was taught: embalming, casket ordering, planning, and the business side of things. Working with the dead and their families turned out to be the “calling” that she’d been searching for – even though her friends and family thought she was going through a phase and they tried to talk her out of it.

But their talk fell on deaf ears. Meyer was happy – until she wasn’t. Until the corporation and the funeral home’s culture became a problem. Until Meyer began to think that “there just had to be a better way to do death.”

Here’s an interesting mash-up: take Six Feet Under, add a subscription to Vogue and a hefty bank account, stir in a tony New York address, and sprinkle on some attitude. What you’ll get is “Good Mourning,” and a few eye-rolls.

By diving into a world that few – society mavens or not – desire, and by questioning why that’s so, author Elizabeth Meyer proves that she’s not your usual Society Girl. Of course, we’re served tales of the rich, famous, cheating, lying, generous, and regretful… but as Meyer ponders death, the afterlife, and the role of religion in both, we also peek at the profound.

Conversely (here come the eye-rolls), there were too many I-don’t-need-the-money protestations scattered here and there, and some not-so-subtle reminders of Meyer’s station in life in this memoir. That she came from money was plenty obvious and quite belabored.

Still, it didn’t take long for me to brush aside that swagger and enjoy this book, and if you need something thought-provoking, yet light and fresh, I think you’ll like it, too. Put “Good Mourning” on your to-read list… because life is not a dress re-hearse-al, either.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at bookwormsez@gmail.com.

More in Life

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.

This John E. Thwaites photo shows the S.S. Dora near Sand Point, Alaska. Thwaites sailed as mail clerk on the Dora between at least 1905 and 1912. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 2

The S.S. Dora touched lives on and became part of the history of the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska.

Steller Sea Lions can be seen in an enclosure at the Alaska SeaLife Center on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska SeaLife Center to Alaskans: We’re still here for you

You rallied and kept us alive. Today, we’re writing to say thank you.

A wood-carved whale hangs in the Nikiski Senior Center on Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Nikiski Senior Center)
Whale of a job

Nikiski Senior Center gets addition to dining room.