Eleven years into her career, Laura Van Sprang still recalls her decision to become a funeral director.
The gregarious former wedding and event planner was finding herself looking for a way to continue her passion in working with people and planning events, but also wanting to give back, when on two separate occasions in the same week she was asked if she had ever considered being a funeral director.
“I had always wanted to make a difference and I feel my past career as a wedding and event co-ordinator helps me think outside the box – to work with each family to create a funeral or gathering that is as unique as their loved one,” says the manager of Sands Victoria Funeral Chapel.
The former Vancouver, BC resident recently returned to the west coast from Edmonton.
While a career as a funeral director is not for everyone, for those like Van Sprang, it’s a calling. “To be part of a dedicated team who work so hard around the clock to serve the community and families is so rewarding. Death does not have a schedule and neither do we – someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and our professionals are dedicated to the dignity and trust our career requires,” she says.
The importance of remembering
Marking a person’s passing in a way that is meaningful to those left behind is an important part of life, and grieving.
“Community support and participation is as important in death as it is in all other major life events we celebrate and come together to acknowledge, and we work within all budgets to ensure the family and community are brought together whenever possible. There is strength in numbers,” Van Sprang reflects, suggesting as people become less afraid of talking about death, and are more comfortable pre-planning, they involve their family in the discussion.
“This trust has been comforting for both the family and our industry in doing our very best to insure all options are considered and wishes are being honoured.”
At the heart of the community
This community-centred approach is at the heart of Sands, which has been part of Victoria for 112 years.
In addition to creating meaningful ceremonies, Sands also opens the doors for community use. You can also meet the Victoria team at the Hike for Hospice May 6, where they’ll be helping raise money for the vital community organization.
“Being out in the community helps people become familiar with the faces and personalities of those who may be trusted to take care of their loved ones. Knowing the person in advance, can alleviate a lot of stress of who to turn to when in need.