Restorative Art with Jilliann

Yesterday was our final filming session with Wayne State mortuary science student Jilliann Rutherford. We have been documenting Jilliann for seven months through her classes at Wayne State University's Mortuary Science program.

Her desire to become a funeral director was after she had already acquired a degree in psychology after years of schooling. Late in to her twenties, she changed her direction after realizing just how important a funeral director can be to families who have suffered a loss of a loved one.

Our last filming session would once again place us in the embalming lab of instructor Sharon Gee-Mascarello. This time, Jilliann and her fellow classmates would be learning and practicing restorative art and make-up.

For this first of two final sessions, they use human-like heads that have skin-like texture. The students learn about the most effective way to help restore the appearance of a loved one for their family so to have the appearance of restful sleep when viewed in the casket.

We want to thank all of the faculty team members and professors, as well as the students, who allowed us to step into their lives.

Clearly a phone call to a funeral home is a call we all dread. It is nice to know just how much passion and professionalism goes into those people who are oh so quiet, polite and reserved.

Oh yes, Jilliann wanted to make it clear, "Yes, I've been told this is a man's world. My response was simple: 'well, get used to seeing me around because I'm not going anywhere.'"