Mistress of Death Review: Caleb Wilde ‘Confessions of a Funeral Director’

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Coming from several generations of funeral directors on either side of his family, Caleb Wilde has spent the majority of his life in or around funeral homes. His new book Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life is less secrets of the funeral home and more a guide to the spiritual world surrounding the death industry.

Caleb Wilde by no means shields the readers from his religious views as many modern books on death and the business of dying have. He’s a proud believer in God, and discusses his devotion and doubts in equal measure. He is fair in his approach and his words have little to no judgement in them.

Confessions of a Funeral Director was a difficult book for me to tackle. Five months ago, my father passed away from an unexpected bout with brain cancer. More than a handful of times, I found myself reaching for a stack of tissues while reading this book. Wilde is careful to describe grief not as something that should be handled quickly and with sudden closure, but rather as a process and something that sticks with us through our lives. He often quotes the famed writer Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and doesn’t shy away from modern descriptions such as “death positive.”

While I was expecting a book that was a bit more about random events and secrets inside a funeral home, I did find myself enjoying a book that spent more time acting as a tool for comfort and growth.

Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life is now available from Harper One books.

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