Two Floors Above Grief: The Untold Story Of A Funeral Home Family With Kevin O’Connor

WRT 47 | Funeral Home

  Life’s precious moments emerge from the dance between joy and grief, proving that even two floors above, we’re never alone. Join us on a heartfelt journey through the pages of life, grief, and the enduring bonds that shape us. Our special guest, Kevin O’Connor, former educator and author of the book “Two Floors Above the Grief,” shares the tales of growing up above a funeral home, offering a unique perspective on death, life, and the wisdom passed down from one generation to the next. Kevin explores the complexity of grief not only from the perspective of grieving families but also from the eyes of the funeral home director’s family. Through the experiences and valuable lessons he shares, Kevin shows how grief journey is not linear; it’s an ever-evolving process. Tune in now and remember that through life and loss, we are never truly alone. Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach. I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.  Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Two Floors Above Grief: The Untold Story Of A Funeral Home Family With Kevin O’Connor Our conversation now is with Mr. Kevin O’Connor. He is the author of Two Floors Above Grief, and it’s like, “What is that about?” It’s not a self-help book. It’s not the steps of grief. This is a book that Kevin is sharing about his family and their experience of living above the funeral home. It’s unique. Let’s get into the conversation now.     Our guest is Mr. Kevin O’Connor, and I will let him introduce himself. My name is Kevin O’Connor. I’m the author of the book Two Floors Above Grief. I am thankful for this opportunity to be talking with Tina. We will talk more about the book and some of the premises of the book as we get into our discussion. Before we get into the book, which is still part of who you are, where are you from originally? I’m much more than the book, although the book is a memoir of my life. I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I have been here since 2007. Before that, I was involved as a teacher and school principal in California, in the Bay Area and outside of Chicago, in McHenry County. I was a principal there for eighteen years. I then came here in 2007 after I retired from the Illinois system. I did some volunteer work and helped here and there, and before I knew it, by 2011 or 2010, I was working full-time for the school system again. I spent another 8 or 9 years working in the Department of Diversity in Broward County Public Schools in Fort Lauderdale. My job there was in the curriculum area, working on curriculum and support for LGBT students and families. I was also heavily involved with the writing and professional development for the family life and sexual health curriculum that had been provided to the students in Broward County Public Schools, but I retired there in 2020. That’s when I started, “Now is my time. Time to write this book I have been wanting to write,” but I worked in the Biden campaign first. After I retired in August 2020, I went right from there into working as a field organizer for the Biden-Harris campaign. At the start of 2021, I started to focus on giving the book some legs and getting going with the writing and things. That’s where I was and a little more about me and where I came from. There is so much there. I’m not quite sure where to jump in, but I want to be clear that he said near the Chicagoland area, which is different than being from Chicago. You are in Chicago. That gets back to the book a little bit. The location of the book is mostly set in a town called Elgin, Illinois, which is about 35 or 40 miles Northwest of Chicago, and that’s where my dad and my uncle operated their funeral home. My mother and her family had been longtime residents of that town back to my grandfather. My mother was raised there and she and my dad met in high school there in Elgin. I was very much a part of Elgin until I went to college back in Loyola, Chicago. I spent a year of those four years in Rome, Italy, at their campus in Rome. Eventually, being an educator in California for six years, I came back to the Elgin area in 1978 and I was employed in McHenry County. I worked in McHenry, Illinois, as a teacher, and then I worked in Cary, Illinois as a principal. I was also a principal in Mundelein, Illinois, which is in Lake County. These are all on the Northwest collar of Chicago, and that’s where I retired from in 2007. It was the school district in Cary, Illinois, and then I raised my family. I was married at the time with two kids. I raised my family in Crystal Lake and another town in that area. The cat over there. What’s the cat’s name? It’s a dog. It’s a chihuahua. Thanks for asking. It’s so small. She weighs about eleven pounds. She’s bundled up in her blanket there. She keeps me company quite a bit, and she had her morning walk, which we have to temper a little bit because now she has a congestive heart condition. She takes a lot of meds. We know her time is coming, but we don’t know when. Who knows? That’s part of what I talk about in the book. There is no schedule. We are doing …

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