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Kettle Valley Memorial Services funeral director lessens grief's grip

Health care to death care

Not everyone is cut out for working in a funeral home, but Erin Paul believes it was her calling.

She started out as a nurse, where she occasionally worked with palliative care patients at Penticton Regional Hospital, before a chance meeting at a birthday party led her to a new career. After a conversation with Kettle Valley Memorial Services owner Kevin Smith at that party, she basically decided to make the move.

After spending time on the transfer team, earning her educational requirements and serving as an apprentice, Paul is now a licensed funeral director and embalmer at Kettle Valley Memorial Services, which is located at 461 Dawson Ave. in Penticton.

She believes her time spent with dying patients got her ready for her new career.

“It’s such a privilege to care for people when they’re dying but also after they’ve passed,” Paul says. “The dynamics with the families are totally different from when they’re in the hospital dying as to when they have passed. You have to be able to handle death and then people’s emotions surrounding the death. Some people are angry. People are very upset. So, it’s different.

“I don’t want to say you have to have a shell around you, but you have to be able to handle people’s grief, because there’s all sorts of different grief and ways to grieve. You’re essentially walking with those people and helping them through the grief. You’re not taking the whole path with them, but you’re an essential part of that path.”

Paul brings both professionalism and grace to her role at Kettle Valley Memorial Services. She is able to answer any questions pre-planners or family members of the deceased might have, and she does it all with compassion.

Paul grew up in Vancouver, but her family moved to the Okanagan when she was 15. Her great grandparents, the Swales, were founding pioneers of Kaleden, which is where she now lives with her family.

In other words, Paul is part of the community and knows the lay of the South Okanagan land, which is a comfort to her clients.

“I’m definitely proud of what we do,” Paul says. “We care for the families very well from start to finish.”

Kettle Valley Memorial Services offers a wide variety of services, including traditional funerals, celebrations of life, cremation and graveside services. Paul noted that Kettle Valley recently conducted the first green burial in Penticton Cemetery as well.

Planning your funeral before you pass is always the best route to go, because it alleviates the stress on your grieving friends and family members. Paul will sit down with you at Kettle Valley Memorial Services and take you through the process, answering any and all questions you might have.

Kettle Valley Memorial Services can be reached at 250-493-2929 or [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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