When I first spoke with Caleb Wilde last year, he joked that he's damned to be a funeral director for the rest of his life. But there's some truth there. He's a sixth-generation funeral director in the small town of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. It's a community with an aging population, which means the funeral business is a stable means of supporting his family.
When we talked in Parkesburg, he told me about his struggle with depression, and about how the exposure to so much death has shaken his religious beliefs. "Nobody ever told me that it’s going to affect you negatively and you’re going to have to learn to cope," he said. "There is very little training at all."
I recently checked in with Caleb to find out how his views on death—and his family business—have changed since we last spoke. He told me that a lot shifted during what was the funeral parlor's busiest year yet.