My mother and her many (7) siblings were raised by my grandparents on Main Street in Newtown, CT.
Just down the street from the town general store and the picturesque flag pole you’ve seen on the news. The home is not unlike other homes on the street, and not probably not all that unlike grandparents’ homes around the country. What distinguishes our family home is not that it is next door to the family business at 58 Main, but that our family business happens to be the Honan Funeral Home. The sole funeral home in Newtown, CT.
Founded in 1903 by my great grandfather, William Sr. and taken over by my grandfather William Jr in 1966, the business has been run by my uncle Daniel since his passing. The Honan Funeral Home has been a big part of our family for more than a century. The unqiueness of it was a part our our lives in both bigger, and smaller ways than you might expect. The famously casual nature in which my grandfather could discuss his work was seemingly balanced by the heaviness of being part of a family who handle their own calling hours and funeral services when a family member left us.
My grandfather’s (and now my uncle’s) day-to-day was very different from you or I. The topics of his consultations and mine could not be more distinct. But in ways I’ve been thinking about more and more over the last few days the way my grandfather ran things serves as a model for who and what I’d like to be in many ways and especially in business.
My uncle is faced with a work week that is unimaginable, but he’ll look to all those years working side-by-side with my grandfather to help guide him through serving those who have just experienced unknowable tragedy.
He’ll be a familiar face to those in need; because just like my grandfather, Dan is incredibly active in the Newtown community.
He’ll both give and receive support from the St. Rose of Lima Church community; because like my grandfather, he is active in his church community during both good and bad times.
He’ll rely on his colleagues from around the state to help provide the support and service the many families in need that would otherwise be impossible with a staff of just two; because like my grandfather, he understands the value of relationships within his industry.
And when he is able to walk those families through the unbearable experience they’ll face this week with confidence and compassion, he’ll being doing his job; because like my grandfather learned from his father, Dan knows that it is his job to use the 100+ years of experience passed down to him to make things a bit less awful for those who’ve lost so much. And by attempting to do just that, he makes our whole family proud to be Honans from Newtown.