Most of us are terrified at the thought of death, funerals and corpses. But for Caitlin Doughty, dealing with and talking about death is one of her life’s greatest passions. Caitlin is a professional mortician and the author of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory.” She also founded The Order of the Good Death, a group of professionals dedicated to making death a little less taboo.
Fusion Live spoke to Caitlin all about her unique career path, and her popular web series, “Ask a Mortician.”
Caitlin’s fascination with death goes back to when she was a little girl, when she witnessed a tragic accident: “I actually witnessed a pretty traumatic death when I was younger of another young girl and it really haunted my dreams for a really long time, and I developed obsessive compulsive behaviors to compensate for it. And I think the reason that happened is because I had never seen any death before and that’s really rare in any country else around the world and our own country a hundred years ago.”
The negative event eventually became a positive for Caitlin, who has had several jobs in the funeral industry and recounts some of the craziest questions she’s been asked: “Can I have a viking funeral? Can I keep my dad’s skull on the mantel piece? Can I have my body taxidermied when I die? A lot of people are just really fascinated by what can actually, legally be done with the physical body.”