When most people think of morticians, they probably imagine a cliché undertaker type who likes hanging out with the deceased a little too much. But being a funeral director isn't about a penchant for the macabre - in fact, it takes an enormous amount of emotional strength, tact, and scientific knowledge. Miranda Robinson, a mortician in Kentucky, proved all this when her video with Refinery29 explaining her job went viral.
With her cat-eye glasses and light Southern drawl, Robinson has a warm demeanor, making the end seem less scary. Don't let the Ouija board on her coffee table fool you - this woman has taken the taboo out of death. Robinson considers her work as a mortician an art form, remembering to respect those who have passed and help loved ones grieve. She dives into how morticians make the deceased look like themselves and what goes on as she prepares people for services.
While embalming is a given in modern death care, it's only one step in Robinson's process.
"Restorative art can be as simple as applying cosmetics, and as complex as re-creating a face or even a hand," Robinson explained in a 2016 interview. Restorative art - or techniques morticians use to make the deceased resemble themselves - means more to Robinson than merely using her artistic talents. It's also a way to help those left behind to grieve.
"For a family to be able to see a loved one after something tragic has happened to their appearance, and for them to look 'normal' again, is such a rewarding experience for me," she says of her work.
Robinson wasn't a little Wednesday Addams jonesing to get into her line of work. In fact, she feared death for a long time.
"I would lay in bed, think about death, and it was like this black hole," she explained in her Refinery29 video. By overcoming her anxiety, Robinson says she tries to live each day like it's her last. While it might seem like a scary proposition to some, Robinson lives life to the fullest as she helps families of the recently deceased.
"The most beautiful thing about my job is taking the loved one into my care," Robinson remarked. In addition, Robinson reiterates an important message: She's thinking about the loved ones left behind as much as she's thinking about the deceased. She assures the bereaved, "I will give them the love that you will give them."
Robinson takes into account how they will react to seeing their loved one's body, always striving to give them a natural look. "Death doesn't have to be a negative experience," Robinson said in the close of her Refinery29 video.
Not only does Robinson prepare the deceased for their final rites, she can also act as a celebrant at the service. Similar to how it's possible to get certified to perform marriages without being a clergy member, funeral celebrants take the place of a priest or pastor, providing a sense of comfort and guidance during services.