Yesterday’s Philly.com article “Oversharing undertaker goes viral” about Caleb Wilde had all the usual tidbits about the young blogger.
Wilde, who’s Confessions of a Funeral Director blog draws readers from around the world, uses concise, off-beat humor to gently walk readers, “who have little or no experience with death and dying,” over the bridge spanning life and death.
“I’m the last person in Parkesburg who lets you down,” jests Wilde.
The Philly.com article speaks to Bill Wilde, Caleb’s father, being a big fan of his son’s blog, the (not true) story that Caleb ties the shoelaces of the dead together and that his “Confession” blog gets 600,000 to a million hits per week.
Those are stories and facts we all knew about Parkesburg’s most gifted writer.
Here’s what we learned from the article that we didn’t know before reading the article:
- When he could be making tens of thousands of dollars every week from his blog, of choice, he takes no money for his effort. “Funeral directors are too often seen as opportunists,” he says, “who are looking to take advantage of people in their weakest moments. I am not one of those funeral directors, he continues, “this website exists so people can share freely and honestly without fear of ulterior motives or profiteering”
- He was a missionary in the Madagascar before returning home and taking up the family business.
- Saying Caleb is someone who has done very creative things in social media to market the funeral home industry, a National Funeral Directors Association spokeswoman said. “We believe he has a lot he can teach other funeral professionals,” and has extended an invitation for Caleb to speak at the Association’s national conference later this year.
- Caleb is pursuing a postgraduate degree in death, religion and culture and wants to open a green cemetery in Parkesburg.
Personally, while Caleb’s Facebook posts frequently (as in almost always) bring a smile to my lips and frequently make me laugh, I am not a daily reader of his “Confession” blog.
When I take the time to read one of his posts, however, I always come away with a deeper appreciation of the grief, heartache and sometimes anguish that accompany death in our culture and the gentle and under appreciated task of compassionately shepherding the living through the internment process.
Occasionally though when I read one of Caleb’s posts, I’ll let my mind wonder to my own eventual death. Thinking my demise is way too far in the future, I have resisted making plans or even purchasing a cemetery plot.
What I’m certain of however and what I have told my family, is that when my life draws to an end, I want Caleb Wilde, or someone just like him, to be there to comfort them and coordinate what I hope is a celebration of my few minutes of life.
I’m confident that if Caleb Wilde is indeed the last person to let me down, the closing scene of my existence on earth will reflect the thoughtful, empathetic, caring and kindhearted virtues I aspired to in life.
That is the most I can ask for in a funeral director.