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October 17, 2003 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-17

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I

12A -The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 17, 2003

FRIDAY Focus
Brad Hamilton,
who has been
with Muehlig
Funeral Chapel
for six years,
relaxes at home
with family. He
says that home
life is the
greatest form of
job-related stress
relief and
participates
regularly In family
activities like
church and high
school football
games. Even
though he is on
call at all hours,
even on
Christmas Day,
Hamilton's loved
ones have always
been supportive
of his career.

'Appreciate the simple things, the bright spots from day
to day." - Brad Hamilton
Funeral director, Muehlig Funeral Chapel

Hamilton
delivers
flowers from
the funeral
home to a
church where
the service
will take
place. For
funeral
directors,
delivering
flowers is
one of the
least
personally
gruelling
aspects of
the job.

Hamilton In the morning light of Muehlig's parking garage. While Hamilton cites religion as a point of strength in coping
with his work, Issues of faith are left at the door, assuring appropriate service for all creeds.

JLL

CIRCLE

Funeral director Brad Hamilton finds life in the
presence of death. Photo story by Seth Lower, Daily Photo Editor

ou cannot see light without dark; life
means nothing without deathi.To
accept one's own mortality is to
embrace the beauty of life. But to live
with death every day is another challenge
entirely..
This is precisely what Brad Hamilton,
funeral director at Muehlig Funeral Home
in Ann Arbor, does for a living.
Seven days a week, any day of the year,
death can call Hamilton's home phone. One
might wonder why anybody would choose to
accept this burden.
For Hamilton, his youth shaped his even-

tual career path; a childhood friend's father
owned a funeral home where they played
after school.
The man was highly respected in his com-
munity and it showed Brad that the generally
misunderstood profession is an important
aspect of society.
An average day at Muehlig might include
picking up and embalming the deceased, mak-
ing funeral arrangements, visiting with fami-
lies, and delivering flowers.
According to Hamilton, the most reward-
ing parts of the job are "helping. people
through a difficult time and providing dig-
nity to the end of a life."
For family members or
friends who need to talk,
Muehlig provides bereave-
ment support groups that can

Embalming fluid is essential In the preservation of bodies and In
other preparations related to the funeral service.
help reduce the anxiety and stress of grieving.
'After years of suffering, sometimes death can
be a blessmg," said Hamilton.
"But there is a pecking order: the young
should never die."
He added that the hardest part of the job is
dealing with these tragic deaths and the con-
flicts that they cause within families.
How does one deal with the constant
presence of death and grieving? The key is
to keep a sense of humor, as Hamilton puts
it, and "appreciate the simple things, the
bright spots from day to day.'
To help achieve peace of mind, he runs
home from work, participates in church
activities, participates in the occasional
marathon, and spends time with his wife
and two children.
His daughter Betsy, a sophomore at the

"I suppose it has helped me
to live as completely as I can
so that if I could look back
after I died I would be
content with what I had
lived, no matter how short."
--Betsy Hamilton
LSA sophomore and daughter of Brad Hamilton
University, talks about growing up like the
girl in the movie "My Girl" and the blunt
reality that death puts food on the table.
"At four or five in the morning he can
receive a death call, and inevitably it
wakes us all up. For about 17 years I
learned to block it out - to roll over and
think of it as just an interruption to my
sleep pattern, but recently I started to real-
ize what it really meant. It dawned on me
that somebody somewhere was dealing
with the shock of the loss of a loved one."
"I suppose it has helped me to live as
completely as I can so that if I could look
back after I died I would be content with
what I had lived, no matter how short. This
is in essence what my dad embodies," she
continues. "As he sees everyday, you never
know when it may end."

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