Let’s Start at the End
Hello, my name is LeAnna Hallman, I am a 3rd generation funeralist, I’m here to disrupt the funeral industry and I am very afraid of death.
I grew up in a funeral home. It was not strange but very ordinary. I started reading On Death and Dying when I was about 10 years old. Hungry for answers about death, I was endlessly voracious and everything was blessedly at my fingertips. Bodies sacredly held behind doors, families grieving in still arrangement rooms, and death certificates with parents’ names and cause of death floating from desk to desk.
I have been indoctrinated and exposed to death and dying in almost every way. I have attended celebratory farewells and the saddest most tragic goodbyes.
As I grew I turned my back on the notion of traditional services. I was waiting for a time when we were not just eulogizing each other but taking control of our own end of life- but it never came. Funeral arrangements are a great option with a trusted Funeral Home but the process is hyper focused on the financial aspects vs how you want to be remembered, and you will need plenty of cash to get started. I am turning back around now. My mission is to create peace of mind that people can feel today, starting where they are, with what they have.
After you sign the wills and trusts – and your assets are planned and accounted for- how do you capture all the other things that are important to you and that you care about? For example, if you passed away tomorrow what picture would run in the paper? Would you want your mom choosing a picture of you as a young graduate? Or your partner choosing their favorite pick from your wedding day? Who gets to choose? What if the answer is you, choosing a picture that truly captures you and how you want to be remembered?
I realize things like the photo used for the paper or funeral program may sound petty and small amidst death and dying. Is it because the weight of death seems heavier than life? I want to reject this notion. Death is final- but life is the meaningful part! The small things and big things. Our loved ones, yes, but also the shared inside jokes, the sun on your face, the haunted house you all braved together, the tediousness of never ending laundry and dishes, that time you looked like a million bucks, the comfort of your moms cooking or your friends couch. It is the good stuff, and the bad stuff, and the boring stuff that make up our lives. Maybe your life wasn’t great or charmed, maybe it was only survived, perhaps it was just plain decent, and that is okay too. It is okay to let a decent life stand up to the shadow of death and say – “this is a life worth knowing”. All of these experiences make up who we are, it can never be too small or petty.
Whether you fear death or welcome it, it seems only right that you write this final chapter too. When your body is lying in wait at the funeral home – and your legal assets are readying for distribution- this app will spring to life. The plan you made will offer up directions and guidance, relaying calm where there might be confusion, replacing panic with peace. Finally there is a place that embraces all the parts of who you are now so you can tell people how you want to be remembered long after it’s all over.
My hope and prayer is that this app serves you, speaks to you, and that you will embrace it back.