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Living on the Edge of Death: A Personal Story

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Living on the Edge of Death: A Personal Story

Jimmy Walker standing with a freshly dug grave.

Jimmy Walker standing with a freshly dug grave.

courtesy of Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker standing with a freshly dug grave.

courtesy of Jimmy Walker

courtesy of Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker standing with a freshly dug grave.

by Julie Walker, Reporter

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The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/kj67d

“When you dig my grave, could you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain.” – Willie Nelson, “Gravedigger” 2004.

The thought of working at a graveyard never passes through the minds of many people, but for the select few it is their daily life. It’s a weird thought, right?  Living and working right along side the deceased each and every day. The employees of Resthaven Funeral Services not only work with the dead every day, their job is to make sure that the final part of life is a dignified exit.

I get the inside scoop everyday when my brother gets home. LHS ’16 graduate, Jimmy Walker has worked on the maintenance crew of the funeral services company for about seven months. He said that at first assisting at funerals was upsetting, but as time has passed, the idea bothers him less and less.

At any first glance, a graveyard seems like a depressing place, but in reality, death is another part of life that every living thing experiences.  Walker suggests that rather than relentlessly mourning the loss, people celebrate the life they lived.

Jim Stein, a Resthaven funeral director, said, “The family comes first. It could be your loved one in the service. If they family wants it, they get it.”

Walker is one of seven maintenance employees, and they take care of everything from trash, mowing grass, digging holes, and snow removal. They work hard every day to keep the grounds in perfect working order.  Stein remarked that  larger local cemetaries, like Mt. Olivet and Resthaven, have beautiful grounds because of their maintenance teams.  Smaller church cemeteries sometimes cannot afford dedicated staff to maintain the cemetery.

It may not be the most desirable job, but at the end of the day, Walker feels like he has accomplished something.  Walker says all burials are sad, but the ones that affect him the most is when he has to assist in burying a child or teenager.

Walker has worked many jobs but this is his favorite. He is currently attending Frederick Community College (FCC) to get his business degree. He played lacrosse and football for most of his life, and he has always worked hard and gotten good grades in school.

Walker has said that he enjoys working at Resthaven because he is not under direct supervision. He gets to work outside, and he can stay active. He says “Any day above ground is good enough for me.”

“Working here has taught me so much about how to enjoy life while I have it. I’m young and have a lot ahead of me, ” said Walker.

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Living on the Edge of Death: A Personal Story