Title: The Undertaker’s Wife: A Memoir
Author: Dee Oliver with Jodie Berndt
“So what’s the secret to surviving the loss of a spouse? I don’t really know, at least not in a neat and tidy way. But I know the place to begin. With prayer,” Dee Oliver, with Jodie Berndt’s assistance, writes in her book, The Undertaker’s Wife: A Memoir.
This two hundred and twenty-four-page paperback targets widows and widowers, especially those seeking the lighter side of death with Biblical applications. Containing slang words and a few profanities in quotations, topics of dying and death surrounding a mortuary setting may not be appropriate for immature readers. The NIV and The Message of the Holy Bible are referenced. After a prologue, the book is divided into four parts, ending with an epilogue and acknowledgments. This reader wishes there was consistency capitalizing all pronouns of God for reverence.
Dating and marrying a mortician produces rather unusual experiences, consequences, and decisions. In this unassuming yet sometimes hilarious read, Oliver sheds her fears, faults, and findings when her older husband abruptly passes away, and she has to deal with the emptiness that can only be filled through trusting God.
Blending stories of picking up a “client” on a first date with a funeral director, giving her soon-to-be husband the Heimlich maneuver after a perfect ring toss, learning why it took so long to get pregnant, and appreciating the expansive back of a funeral car for a multitude of shopping bags, the humorous stories later deal with serious discussions. Realizing God has a plan and reason for all things, the woman not only goes to mortician school, but she also becomes an impressive intern as a white women at a black funeral home.
Learning that quiet time in prayer to God is the key to keeping one’s sanity during heartbreak, she urges readers to write a spousal letter, set up a will, and design an obituary. Tips are also given regarding how to survive those first few days, weeks, and years or respond by offering flowers and food when someone’s loved one dies.
This book of laughter, charm, and grace from a mortician’s perspective will help those dealing with the death of a loved one or knows of someone grieving. Comical yet sensitive, the writer obviously is the type of person many would feel honored handling his or her funeral arrangements with compassion and care.
Rating 4.5 of 5 stars.
Author of two books on the subject, Oliver has been a widow since 2007 and is raising three girls in Virginia. Cowriter Berndt is the author of several books, and she and her husband have four children.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.