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.
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 the funeral stirred Ms Mikkelsen’s initial thoughts about the business.
As a nurse she attended
New beginnings: Janet Mikkelsen has opened a funeral home.