Hello, my name is Rich Szewczyk and I got here by accident. I’ve assisted in funeral services since I was in Catholic elementary school – knowing it was an honor to give a person a proper farewell. During high school and college, I would help out at the local funeral home sitting wakes, and found my calling for helping grieving families through the most difficult time in their lives. I went to college to become a funeral director, hoping to one day own my own funeral home.
But a few years into my new career, I was diagnosed with MS, and could no longer handle the 24-hour on-call shifts, or being around the chemicals used in most funeral homes. Doing any work that was physically demanding became too hard, and I had to walk away from the work I loved – being there for families who needed me.
Since then, I’ve been looking for a way to help people again.
Then, my mom lost her cousin – her dear friend. I was asked to write the eulogy for the service. I sat down and had a long conversation with my mom about her cousin’s life – talking about her fondest memories, her cousin’s dreams and ambitions, her life accomplishments, and what she meant to everyone around her.
And, in that conversation, I found a new calling.
After writing the eulogy, I’ve been asked to write others, and I’ve found that the entire process can be very comforting for those who are grieving. The conversation itself is healing. And, in that conversation, the eulogy practically writes itself. I don’t use forms. I don’t use templates. Every story is individual – just like every life is its own and can never be replicated.
Thank you to all of the families who have trusted me with their memories. I’ve really enjoyed telling their stories.
And I look forward to telling yours.