For­mer nurse opens funeral home

Janet Mikkelsen never dreamed she would be­come a funeral di­rec­tor. She sat down with Lau­ren Pri­est­ley to talk about grief, a mid-life ca­reer change and driv­ing a hearse around the city.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

See­ing dead bod­ies is all part of a stan­dard work day for Janet Mikkelsen.

The St He­liers woman opened a funeral home fran­chise in 2013.

State of Grace pro­vides eco-friendly fu­ner­als, mostly run by women.

Ms Mikkelsen worked as a pae­di­atric nurse at Star­ship chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal for 24 years then moved into pae­di­atric pal­lia­tive care for seven years.

Help­ing griev­ing fam­i­lies is noth­ing new but wrap­ping her brain around the busi­ness side of things has been a chal­lenge, she says.

‘‘I can’t help the fact that some­one has died but I can help in mak­ing the mem­o­ries of the ex­pe­ri­ence as pos­i­tive as they can be.

‘‘Deal­ing with the sad­ness has ac­tu­ally been the part I’ve felt very com­fort­able with. It’s not scary for me be­cause it’s what I’m used to.’’

Ms Mikkelsen’s sis­ter Louise Perkins died in 2005.

Mak­ing the de­ci­sions for

Photo: LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

New be­gin­nings: Janet Mikkelsen has opened a funeral home.

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