'The day's not over yet!'

Many of us at some point in our lives have heard the phrase, "The day’s not over yet!" My great-uncle introduced me to it. I asked him one day why he always said it and he told me that when he landed with the Third Canadian Division at Juno Beach on D-Day, they achieved their objective and were regrouping and congratulating themselves when their commanding officer came by and said, "The day’s not over lads. There is still work to be done!” It was something that stuck with my great-uncle, and he often said it for the rest of his life.

Evan J. StrongI have always taken the phrase to mean that we can never be complacent and that some challenge is always lurking around the corner to test us. That the end of our “day” is never certain, and we should expect the unexpected.

As funeral professionals, I believe we embody the meaning of "the day is not over yet." The nature of our calling is one of facing the unexpected each day and never being complacent. We are, as a profession (I have never understood why some refer to us as an Industry, it makes me cringe!), dedicated to helping those who are forced to deal with the most unexpected circumstance we as humans face: the death of a loved one. We are there in the darkest times, ready at all hours of the day to help those we serve. We are accustomed to the changing wishes of families. We adapt without breaking stride to those crises, like a sound system that does not work or a video that will not play, with quick action and a solution. The families and communities we serve do not see us sweat; in fact, they have an expectation we will overcome any challenges, and we do.

We as a profession have been challenged and tested even more with the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have adapted and created ways to best help those families affected by this tragedy, to help them grieve and mourn, to celebrate and reflect, and to do so within the rules and regulations of our respective jurisdictions.

As we continue to confront this pandemic, our profession has shown that the day is not over yet, and we continue to support our communities during these difficult times.

As OGR members, we have not taken a rest, we have not lowered our standards even with restrictions and, most importantly, we have remained true to our calling: to serve with dignity and respect.

I encourage all of us to stay strong, stay focused and support our fellow professionals during these difficult times. We serve our families and communities best when we know the day’s not over yet.

It never is for those of us who dedicate our lives to the service of others.

Evan J. Strong is a Licensed Funeral and Cremation Professional and president of Evan J. Strong Funeral Services in Calgary, Alberta. He also serves as OGR's President-elect for the 2020-21 membership year.

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