Caitlin Doughty is well known today as an undertaker thanks to her popular YouTube channel ‘Ask A Mortician”, and her series of eye-opening books detailing rituals and odd habits of the living when regarding death and dying.
Starting a career in mortuary science in her early 20s wasn’t something Caitlyn had planned: “I never had any sense of the funeral industry as anything other than this dark, archaic hole with a man in a suit putting electric green fluid through a tube into a corpse. It never even occurred to me that I could be a part of it.”
Her latest book concerning the world of the mortician, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? attempts to answer questions from morbidly curious children everywhere. Questions such as “Will I poop when I die?” to “Can we give Grandma a Viking funeral?” are answered honestly and with humour.
“The kids make it clear that we’re not being direct enough in how we talk about death,” Doughty explained, “I think that a lot of adults never really got the kind of death education that they need.”
Of course it may make some parents uncomfortable but Doughty insists adults don’t shut down children’s questions- no matter how ‘out there’ they may seem.
“Maybe you’re terrified that something you say is going to set off some deep death fear in them. Say it honestly, tell them ‘If something is bugging you, or you want to keep talking, I’m always happy to talk to you about this’.” she explains that when children are given the tools to speak freely about any given subject, “they’re already used to talking about it, used to the more fun, interesting, curious parts,” believing it’s possible, through her inimitable humour and expertise to help people “see death as simultaneously very heavy and a source of great curiosity”.