Toulouse: “I was an undertaker and I tell what I lived”
For six months, this young 31-year-old Toulouse man was a funeral porter. A book was born from this unprecedented experience. On this eve of All Saints’ Day, a work to think about.
Gabriel Dubromel, 31, has often met on death. This subject, frequently taboo, has always intrigued him. In spring 2020, the Covid pandemic and its procession of deaths, further accentuates his curiosity. So when the time has come to look for a job, he goes to a temp agency. “After various odd jobs, the agency offered me a mission as a funeral porter or undertaker, a name better known to the public,” he explains. The funeral porter carries the coffin, handles the body and buries it. It is a low paid job, precarious and psychologically hard with the sadness of relatives, in particular. Yet I have learned a lot ”.
On the strength of this experience, this young Toulousain wrote a book Adventures and Misadventures of an Undertaker, (Ed. Pandora’s Box) which is scheduled for release on November 1st. “I recount all my feelings and the amazing encounters I had in trying to answer questions from the public: forensic doctors, gravediggers, embalmer or embalmers, etc. A question often comes up: who are the undertakers? Why the choice of this profession? A public often the cause of prejudice. Or, if all kinds of people can exercise this activity, all have one thing in common: tenderness and a certain fragility. Often, too, these people have faced death early in their life. This profession then becomes a way of approaching their deceased. A kind of therapy ”.
To live intensely, better to look death in the face
Obviously Gabriel also describes several anecdotes: “I didn’t want to write a sad book. I want the reader to enjoy browsing the pages and get answers ”. He remembers in particular a coffin too big for the grave: “We had to put it on a ridge. We can also sometimes saw the parts of the coffin to facilitate the passage ”. Another anecdote: “An employee told me that a few years ago, a fire broke out in a funeral home. The undertakers “saved” the deceased “.
The young thirty-something also attended original funerals: a musician with his litter, an alleged assassin present incognito during the burial of the deceased, a Bulgarian buried, according to the tradition of his country, with a piece of and a glass of cake wine placed in the tomb. Or more amusing: the suspected heart attack of a man in a hotel with his mistress, who, a few days before having established life insurance in his favor. “In six months, I have matured a lot. I also developed a certain familiarity with death. Taboos are bad. To live intensely, it is better to look death in the face ”.
The first name is changed