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When I was seven, I saw my grandmother’s body at a funeral home and remember thinking “she doesn’t look good”. I think that’s where my interest in Funeralcare stems from. When I told my Mum I thought working in the funeral industry would be a good job, she called it “ghoulish,” and my Dad was just worried about the things I’d see, so initially I went to university to study fashion but left before my final year and decided to pursue Funeralcare seriously.

I landed an admin job with Co-op before quickly progressing to a Funeral Arranger role, but it was the embalming job that really fascinated me. Many people think it’s just doing hair and makeup or preserving the body, but it’s anatomy, maths, chemistry and so much more. I decided to go for it and spent three years studying for an embalmers qualification and quickly landed a role with Co-op Funeralcare Lancashire when I graduated.

Being part of something meaningful

Since then, I’ve embalmed thousands of people including victims of the Manchester bombing and my Grandad. I had been heavily involved in looking after my Grandad when he was ill so it felt like the most natural thing to do was to continue caring for him after he died. I was devastated when he passed but I also felt that I had extra time with him that nobody else would get. It was such an honour to know I would do the last thing anyone would do for him. I embalm everyone as though they are a close friend or relative, so embalming my Grandad didn’t feel that different.

I spend every day at work doing everything within my power to support families through a very difficult time, and while this job can be difficult and emotional, I feel honoured and privileged to work in Funeralcare.

Rachel Carline