MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Passing on to the other side can be a scary thought.
“It’s apart of life, one of the tougher times to accept, but it`s a reality,” said Madeline Lyles.
All of us will have to face death at some point.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of at all,” said Dana Taylor.
Taylor and Lyles opened After Life Mortuary Services a year ago making them the first African American women to run a mortuary service in Memphis.
“It’s not morbid. It’s not a scary profession.”
In fact, both ladies knew they wanted to go into the funeral home business back when they were teenagers. And both women know firsthand that an interest in
working with the dead doesn’t always go over well.
“It stuck out as pretty odd to my family.”
The trailblazers didn’t let it stop them and now they are helping young people who may be curious about the career.
The vision of the camp is to bring passion and purpose together. To inspire the next generation.
“I just feel like it`s our passion, our call in life.”
The summer camp is open to 13-17 year olds who are curious about all aspects of death care.
“We want to give them hands on experience and perspective from the inside.”
The teenagers will interact with different professionals who all play a role in bringing some closure to families.
“Of course you have morticians, embalmers, funeral directors.”
Camp attendees will also meet homicide investigators and forensic technicians to help teenagers find out where they fit and if the industry is right for them.
“A lot of people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes.”
Aside from introducing teenagers to the ins and outs of what takes place after a person stops breathing, the women also want teenagers to know what it takes to help a family breathe easier.
“They need your support and compassion. You have to be selfless.”
“It does take a heart of compassion.”
They say it takes a special person to uplift the broken in what may seem like their darkest moment.
But the satisfaction of bridging the gap between life and after life for families keeps this duo going.
“We see families come in and they are devastated at the loss of a loved one. For them to see their loved one looking peaceful, presentable to everyone, it does help them to cope.”
And that’s what they want to pass on to teenagers thinking about taking the same route as them.