Life Lessons from a Funeral Director

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Cameron Naugle under Funeral Directors, Therapy
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To say that our business is tough, is an understatement. Anything less than perfection is considered failure, and it’s likely that a public stoning would be less painful than the self-reprimanding we give to ourselves.

For most Funeral Director’s, it’s a calling, not just a job. We’ve learned life lessons the hard way; from thinking that we’re superhuman and forgetting that loss also touches our own lives.

Life dishes out some pretty tough lessons. These are a few I’ve learned along the long and winding road of my career as a Funeral Director;

  1. Even when you feel like you have nothing left to give, live for, or be hopeful of, life goes on, and that means you must too.
  2. You don’t have time. For the things that you’ve always dreamed of doing, there will always be something practical that gets in the way. Regardless of how silly your dreams sound to anyone else, go for it.
  3. You can’t go backward. You can’t tell someone how deeply you care for them or love them once they’re gone. You just can’t. Say whatever it is you need to say because it’s better to live with rejection or feeling silly than to never know the answer to, ‘What if…”.
  4.  If you can laugh, you’ve got the world by the tail. If you can laugh at yourself, you will have peace in your heart.
  5. You don’t have enough time in your life for people who don’t want to be in yours or who routinely make you feel less than. It’s that simple. Healthy relationships are what makes life worth living, starting with a healthy relationship with your own self.
  6.  Everyone dies. No matter what medical marvels may promise, our mortal coils always expire. Treat your loved ones like it’s the last time you will see them every time you say good-bye. Don’t leave without saying, ” I love you”, without a hug,  and don’t hold a grudge if you can help it.
  7.  Each human interaction involves a spiritual alchemy where there is energy exchanged and an opportunity to grow. Trust that, and learn from it.
  8.  Every one of us feels joy and sadness. Be kind to one another always.
  9.  Cry when you need to. It’s normal, and it’s a sign from  your body and soul that you need some tender loving care.
  10.  Take pleasure in simple things. Don’t clock watch. Just enjoy doing your best in each and every moment.

Paul (Cameron) Naugle, Jr., a fourth generation funeral director was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated from Wolfson High School and then went on to graduate from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Services in Atlanta, Georgia where he was part of the National Mortuary Honor Society (Phi Sigma Eta). He then graduated from The University of North Florida with a degree in Business Administration. He is a licensed funeral director as well as a licensed embalmer. He took over the position of President and CEO of Naugle Funeral Home and Cremation Services in 2012, following in his father’s, grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s footsteps. Cameron is married to Katherine Schnauss Naugle, an estate planning, probate and elder law attorney in Jacksonville and has two amazing children. He enjoys spending time with his family. He also enjoys his hobby of restoring and showing his antique cars. Cameron is a member of the Southside Businessmen’s Club of Jacksonville, as well as a member of the Florida Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association (FCCFA).

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