JODIE Wardle – who works at our branch in Main Street, Kimberley – has spoken of how she was inspired to become a funeral arranger after seeing the care and attention that went into organising the final send-off for her beloved dad.
Jodie joined the team in 2021, a year after the death of her dad, John.
And, as the UK marks National Grief Awareness Week (December 2-9), she has said how getting the job at Gillotts is “so rewarding” and that she believes her dad would be proud of her achievements. She has also shared advice on how to cope following the loss of a loved one.
“You think that you know and understand grief, until you lose a close member of your family or a close friend,” said Jodie, who has previously worked in administration for the NHS and the British Army military police.
“It’s important to realise that everyone is different, and that everyone grieves in a different way. There are also many stages of grief, and that process never ends; it gets easier over time but it never ends.
“For me, I felt a lot of anger at first. I would be in the supermarket and there would be people in there, going about their business and smiling. I was angry that they were so happy whilst I was grieving for my dad.
“The best advice I can give is to keep talking about your loved one following their death. Keep their memory alive and maybe make a memory box. I have a box that has keepsakes in it that remind me of my dad, such as his socks and a piece of paper with his handwriting on it.”
John’s funeral was organised by the team at Gillotts Funeral Directors in Kimberley. And, pleased with the care and compassion given to her family during a difficult time, when a job came up at Gillotts, Jodie applied.
“I wanted a career change and so I applied for the job with Gillotts,” said Jodie.
“It’s a very sad but very rewarding job. I grew up in Kimberley and I’m often dealing with families of people I either know or have known of.
“That local connection in a close-knit community like Kimberley is so important.”
Her career choice was questioned by her son, who wondered how she would cope with the nature of the work.
She said: “I have a phobia of tomato ketchup. It’s so bad that I can’t even have it in the house, so he did wonder if I would be able to handle working at Gillotts Funeral Directors.
“But it’s the best job I have ever had, and I find it both rewarding and interesting.”