Funeral counselor, or the art of honoring the dead and accompanying the living

Conseiller funéraire, ou l

“When I told my friends that I had changed jobs, the only clue I gave them was that I had to wear costumes. And immediately, they answered “Croquemort! But yes ! This is for you!” »

A costume yes, and tailor-made please! Not that Bart Thorree has an appetite for death or even for the morbid. Nothing to see. It is his sensitivity and his desire to help his neighbor that made him embrace this “shadow profession”, as he describes it.

Before, almost in another life, Bart worked in a “start-up nation” type company, a com box. He made videos, 3D animations. Ironic since precisely, his professional life had lost all relief for him. “’You’re dying out,’ Mickaëlle, my partner, told me one day. And she was right. So Bart asks to be laid off economically.

A revelation

For two years, he dabbled, tried, tested other professions. Until that exact day when his companion read him this ad: “looking for funeral carrier”. It is enlightenment. Almost a revelation. “I wondered how I had managed not to think about it before. »

But when he calls, the place is already taken. Whatever. Bart feels it, he has found his way. “I knocked on every door, I asked everywhere, how one managed to become a ‘funeral counsellor’. His path led him to the Carreau funeral home, an independent company in Limoges. The boss, Damien Doirat asks him: “Do you have experience? A costume ? The answer to both of his questions is “no.” But the two men meet. Damien Doirat explains all the facets of this profession to him. The interview lasts four hours. “Go to the tailor”, concludes Damien Doirat who will train and finance the diploma training of his brand new funeral adviser and master of ceremonies.

Meaning to life

By close to death, Bart found meaning in his professional life. “It’s a noble job,” he smiles. The goal is to facilitate the transition to mourning, which has not really started yet. The person died, but the body is still there. A strange and painful in-between. “People are not at a normal time in their lives, but at one of the worst. Our role is to be as calm as possible to help them be a little more calm. »

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Take care of the dead and also of the living. The funeral counselor receives the family, accompanies them administratively, because the death is very framed and requires a number of declarations, listens to each other to organize a ceremony.

At the same time, he takes care of setting a date for the church, the cremation or the burial, collects the authorizations, organizes the schedule for the coffin and the ceremony.

That’s for the living. You also have to take care of the deceased. This is the mortuary toilet. “It’s a moment when I feel very calm. Even my breathing is different. I did not know him alive. I’m thinking of the family who will find him later. »

Bring serenity

On the day of the burial, or the cremation, Bart becomes master of ceremonies. “I step aside as much as possible, while always being present. We have to control everything. The day of the ceremony, for the close relations, it is a wound, a pain. The quality of the mourning may depend on this day, which is why it must take place as calmly as possible. Grieving is like healing. It is not a state, but a passage. »

“If ever one day, all this doesn’t affect me anymore, I will stop. But the day when it will affect me too much, too. » The meeting of a man and a trade, noble and human.

Coralie Zarb


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