Posted on September 02 2013


Meet Australia’s youngest female mortician Sarah O’Connor, things ain’t always what they seem….

When most of us think about death, funerals and morticians we associate it with a well groomed grey haired man that doesn’t look too far from their own parting party… so when I stumbled across a young vibrant woman with a sense of humor as sharp as a  diamond tipped scalpel it only lead me to more investigation. The worlds a crazy place as we all know, and with the ever changing stresses and social ideologies of “What we should and shouldn’t do with our lives” to find someone like Sarah creating an original and forward thinking path it makes you realize awesome stuff still does exists. You can also have a read of Sarah’s blog here….

Sarah’s words “As a mortician, I’m trying to change the world one cosmetised corpse at a time. I aim to make all of my senior citizens look like Golden Girls. My strength is in the blow wave…”

A day in the life of….

I get up at stupid o’clock and usually start in the mortuary at around 7AM. It’s quiet in the funeral home at this hour, and I usually potter about with a jug o’coffee in the office before I get into the nitty gritty of it all.

Some days I might only have a couple of bodies that I need to prepare. If this is the case I drive around to the other mortuaries in Brisbane to see if they need a hand. We’re a pretty tight crew so we have each others backs when the days are long and thankless.

Other days I can find myself preparing over ten bodies. Considering it takes roughly between one and three hours to wash, dress, present and coffin each person the days can drag. I might be tiny, but I can certainly maneouver larger bodies than expected. Maybe I should look into starting Judo. That’s pretty a random thought.

No two days are ever the same. This is largely because no two causes of death are exactly the same. Obviously, the way I can present a victim of trauma varies from the result I can get from a natural death. The more natural the death, the lesser the challenge to making my customers look glorious.
At the end of the day I have to clean up, which sucks of course. I leave the mortuary smelling like a mixture of feet and bleach. I avoid going into the public at all costs because I’m quite sure that I project this waft of moldy potato. Sorry if I turn y’all off potato.

Q: Is death the end or only just the door to the other-side?

A: I honestly have no clue. I think about this all the damn time and after three years of staring directly into the eyes of corpses I am no closer to finding an answer. I’ll let you know if I crack that chestnut anytime soon.

Q: Choose any of the gods? Religious or non religious…

A: Joel McHale – God of Funny Times.

Q: Is life a state of mind or just an evil game of chance?

A: Life isn’t all chance, no siree. I figure that you’re dealt with shit, and you can either use it to fertilize something fruitful or you can build an even bigger pile of shit. Yeah!

Q: Are funerals fast becoming the new wedding?

A: As we move away from the strictly religious services into a more personalised ceremony I think in a way it is. This being said, we only have one funeral but people are getting married a thousand times over.

Q: What are next seasons colors?

A: This might sound silly but I hate it when coffins look like kitchen interiors from the 1990′s. And they often do. Trend setters should keep their eyes peeled for gladiator blues and soft lavenders moving in to the warmer funeral seasons.

Q: Is your mortuary style traditional or culturally forward?

A: I’d say I’m pretty up with the wizards. Think of that what you will.

Q: To bedazzle or not?
A: Is this question about the Raquel Welch and Dudley Moore original or the shitty Elizabeth Hurley version? Gross. Not.

Q: Nonchalant or emotionally attached to your work?

A: Some people comment on my ability to distance myself from the task at hand. I am actually emotionally attached in the sense that I constantly question mortality and health and my own relationships with those around me because of what I do. That being said, maybe because I think about myself so much (which sounds so stupidly self absorbed) I don’t dwell very much on the loss and pain involved in the families of those that I hang out with. Maybe my own philosophies are a coping mechanism in themselves.

Q: Strangest experience on the job?

A: Probably seeing inside a persons skull for the first time, with the brain removed. Our skeleton is truly remarkable. That’s why I want to get buried – so my great great great grandkids can dig me up and hang me around the house in assorted comical positions. My last will and testament will reflect this desire.

Q: Best advances in technology in your industry?

A: I’d have to say, formaldehyde free embalming chemicals. The old stuff was really bad for embalmers and morticians. I used the old stuff in my first year or so and your eyes would water and your nose would sting. I’m sure my organs would be glowing by now if I still used it.

Q: Motorbikes and morticians are they a complimenting existence in society?

A: Yes. Motorbikes are pretty stupid though. You can really do yourself some serious damage to yourself on them. If my friends bought one I’d be worried, but in saying that I am considering getting my license so I can look tough. Well, tougher than I am now at 50kgs and a towering 154cm tall.

Q: Drugs, a mind expanding experiment – or dancing with the devil?

A: You won’t die from smoking a single joint, but you will die if you get a little giggly and run in front of a bus. Heavy drugs are always a really a bad idea. All needles are bad, and all addictions are harmful.

Q: Was Tracy Chapman right by driving so fast in her car she felt drunk?

A: It was fast, but was it fast enough for her to fly away? Depends if you’re talkin’ about a revolution. But probably not. And she probably messed up her dreadlocks.

Q: Road rage, is it justified by the social stupidity of daily drivers? or a trap for simple minds?

A: I’m the shittest driver in the world and I still get road rage. Does this qualify me to answer this?

Q: Sound or silence while beautifying the dead?

A: So much sound. Lively tunes to wile away the hours.

Q: Any personal near death experiences?

A: I was reversed over by my parents in a car on mothers day once. I was two and a half, and ever the deviant. As it turns out, escaping the watchful eye of my older sisters and hanging out on a driveway curb is a great way to test a kids bone solidarity.
And of course the most important question of all

Q: Neighbors or Home and Away?

A: Get away from me.