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Sharon "Shaz" Read | Cremator Operator / Cemetery Gardener & Supervisor

Hi Tina

My name is Sharon Read and I work for a company known as Invocare which deals with laying a deceased to rest or cremating a loved one. I have worked at one of their cemeteries for 25 years. Forest Lawn Memorial Park has been a wonderful and life changing job and most days it doesn’t even feel like I’m at work.

I have been given an opportunity to be part of something that is bigger than me and everyday I feel honoured to be able to carry out the final wishes of someone's loved one.

Sharon Read outside the crematory at Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Death to me is the final existence of living in the vessel you were born in. Death stops the suffering of those that no longer have any hope of continuing and living a fulfilled life. Lives can be cut short at any moment for various reasons, some which are so unfair you have to wonder why.

I believe we leave our bodies and become something or someone else. Children are sometimes well beyond their years and I feel they have been on this earth before.

Everyone has the right to leave this life in a dignified manner without judgement or guilt. As a cremator operator, I try to carry out this duty with respect and compassion. It's not up to me to judge a person's life whether it's good or bad, but it is up to me to farewell this person on their last leg of their journey to wherever they might be going.

I lost my big brother 3 years ago and on the day of his funeral when we left the chapel an eagle flew over and then started circling us. My bro sat on an Aboriginal council and the elder told us that Shane’s spirit was now in the eagle. I totally believe this as on birthdays / Xmas / Mother’s / Father’s Day an eagle will soar over the family home even though this is an area where eagles don’t live.

At work I sometimes get the feeling that someone is in my space and I have to say “back away - you're too close" and that presence leaves immediately.

Many times while working in the gardens a bush beside me moves even though there is no wind or a breeze and I just know that someone is passing by or stickybeaking at what I’m doing. I always say “are you right [?]”.

While I have been involved in the industry for many years I still don’t get used to the sorrow I feel for the deceased and their loved ones. Trinkets and letters left on top of the casket can be very emotional as it gives an insight into that person.

I believe that no one should have to live their lives in pain and if there is no hope of their illness or no cure for their sickness then they should be able to leave this world as soon as they are ready and go off to a pain free afterlife.

I believe we try and keep our loved ones alive out of our own selfishness - we will no longer see them again so sometimes I feel that we would rather see them in sickness than not at all.

Kind Regards

Thanks for this opportunity


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  • What a great letter. It made me cry, in a good way. Thanks to Sharon for the doing the important work that she does. - Helen Dunne (Facebook)
  • Thank you Sharon ... Bless ... - Colleen Pettiford (Facebook)
  • Such caring thoughts! - Pam Cossey (Facebook)
  • One of my favourite letters I have read so far. - Sime Elizabeth (Facebook)
  • This one really moved me. Absolutely beautifully expressed, thank you Sharon. As always an image that compliments the words from Tina. Rosada Hayes (Facebook)