“Who was that beautiful woman standing at the back of Papa’s funeral?” my daughter’s asked me. I replied I am not sure I didn’t see her. I later found out it was my friend from Instagram, Emma Jane Holmes. A former mortician and a beautiful soul. She had found out that my dad had passed via social media and looked up the funeral. Without letting me know, she attended. It touched me greatly because we had never met in person. Sure we chatted on the phone and social media many times, but not in person.
When I first met Emma Jane online, she published a blog, “Heels and Hearses”, writing about her experience working with the dead. I’ll be straight up here, Emma Jane, and I don’t fear death, and we love talking about it. Emma has taken it a step further and published her first book, One Last Dance. This book is an eye-opener, let me tell you! Parts of it are sad, a lot of it is hilarious, and most importantly, it is an honest account of life and death.
One Last Dance is a look into the life of a mortician. It is also a look into the life of a stripper.
The reader will learn a lot in this book. I found it hard to put down because every chapter is engrossing.
In chapter 15 (After Death). The reader will discover what happens to the body once life has left it. From experience, I have lost three immediate family members, my brother, to a suicide aged 34. My mother to strokes aged 75, and my dad from kidney failure aged 86. All three traumatic and hard to deal with, and all three had the most excellent care after death.
We had an open coffin viewing for my mother and brother. Both amazed me how much younger they looked. The reason is, as you will learn by reading this book, there is a great deal of care and preparation needed by the mortician, even down to what the deceased wears in the coffin. We buried dad in his dressing gown, footy socks and work boots! Don’t ask! The point is it meant something to us left behind.
Emma Jane writes about how grateful she is for every wrinkle or flaw she perceives of her body, having witnessed various stages of decay; she frankly tells you how it is. I’m talking about some pretty graphic stuff here.
In chapter 16 (Be An Elephant), we learn about the morgue. I have only been once to a morgue to see my brother when he died. An experience I have not forgotten 21 years later. You may be thinking this book is horrifying; it is not. You will learn how to be kind! For example, if a deceased person had no family, Emma Jane spent extra time sitting with them in the morgue. There are many more caring stories like this throughout this manuscript.
What was evident to me reading One Last Dance is the genuine love the author has for those in her care, both the families of the deceased and the deceased.
One Last Dance is a book of compassion, intrigue, wit and a look into two industries that are often a taboo subject to some.
So that’s a peek into the funeral industry; how about the strip club? Well, that’s an eye-opener for sure! How does a funeral director end up working nights as a stripper and during the day as a mortician? Due to a challenging divorce and mounting debts, an opportunity came to enter the exotic dancing industry. So Madison was born! Emma Jane’s stage name.
I will leave you to read the intriguing life of Madison, but I will share with you what she taught Emma Jane.
But Madison, my good friend Madison, she’s taught me I can be pretty. I can be powerful. All women are powerful, especially those willing to hang upside down on a pole in seven-inch stilettos. She’s taught me how fit I can be and that my body looks damn fine with abs. Madison has taught me I don’t need a spouse to help me in life if I choose singledom; I can pay my own way now (Chapter 50, Madison).
Emma Jane has left both industries and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts.
I can’t wait for the next book Emma Jane! You are a unique, strong, caring, and beautiful soul.
You can purchase One Last Dance here