Opals Story – Nursing to Funerals

 

I worked as a nurse for over 30 years in the NHS. My career was varied and rewarding. I spent time working in Oncology, in the community as a District Nursing Sister, working as a Specialist MS Nurse and also as a Nurse Practitioner. As you can imagine, over the years I met lots of amazing people, that is what made the job so interesting. To be a nurse and care about what you are doing, you really have to be a ‘people person’.

In October 2013 I attended my dear Uncles funeral. During the eulogy he was referred to as Bob, his name was Don, then it was mentioned about a cruise he had been on, news to all of us. I came away from his funeral thinking “I could do better than that” and started to research the funeral business. Several visits to funeral ‘parlours’, lots of reading, writing a business plan, training to be a funeral celebrant, embarking on a six month inspired speakers programme, meeting a supportive Funeral Director who was willing to share his expertise with me  and working with other funeral companies led me to a change of career and maybe more excitingly for me led me to set up my own company.

I didn’t want to just take the service, I wanted to offer people more choice and transparency, which is what led me to set up my own funeral company a year later. A bold step maybe but I have never looked back. That same month my Aunt died and it was a real privilege to be able to take her funeral service.

During this time I have met some fantastic people from all walks of life, too many to name here, but I feel so blessed and thankful to each and everyone one of you that has inspired me on this journey.

Looking after families when they are arranging a funeral and sometimes taking the service for them is a real privilege and I can honestly say very similar to nursing. I am passionate about my new career because you only get that one chance to get it right and I want to offer families support and guidance and get it right for them. I have the ongoing support of an experienced funeral director and work alongside him so we can offer families choice.

Most people only organise 2 – 3 funerals in their lifetime and unfortunately it is often at a time when they are feeling distressed and emotional. Most funerals take place within 2 weeks of someone dying so not much time to prepare.

My aim is to make sure you are supported and guided during this time, knowing what choices are available and being transparent about costs.

I called my company Opals in memory of my Uncle Don, he was born in October and died in October. The ‘circle of life’. Opals are the birthstone of October and derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning ‘to see a change (of colour)’. I am passionate about my change of career, but in many ways it is just like nursing, caring for people when they need you most and are at their most vunerable.