We were challenged to write such an article as the one below but knew there was such a need for this type of knowledge to be shared. Michelle Wiseman came well recommended to us. We did indeed find her to be very engaging, beautiful and so knowledgeable about her industry. Wiseman is the owner and principal mortician of Wiseman Funeral Home & Chapel located in Clinton Maryland and the recently established Wiseman Funeral in Camp Springs, Maryland. We knew this article would be very timely and comforting given the space the world finds itself in.
Power exuded from Wiseman as she walked towards me to participate in a pre-interview conversation. I was extremely impressed and fascinated with this woman as I intently listened to her as she boldly discussed her industry. I gleaned from the conversation that mentoring, educating, and caring for her community was a passion of hers. I concluded the conversation with the understanding that Michelle Wiseman is a woman that easily walks with power, purpose, and influence. My subsequent interview with Wiseman proved my point.
I asked, what in the world is a beautiful young lady like you doing in this business? How did this happen?
Wiseman: I think the thought of women, morticians have always given people pause for thought. This profession has historically been a male-dominated industry. Women started to really dominate in the 21 century. We are here to stay.
Is this a family business?
Wiseman: Yes, I am the first person in my family to graduate from mortuary college and open a funeral home. I graduated from The University of the District of Columbia in 2007. I opened the business in 2008. My parents and sisters are all very instrumental in helping to run the day-to-day operations. My mother is the head administrator, my father is the hearse & limousine driver. My sisters Monique is HR, Marline is the chapel clergy and Monica sometimes helps out with catering. I have been fortunate enough to employ other great staff members however it is largely a family business.
We as a people tend to look at what you do from one aspect. But in my conversation with you, I learned there is more to it than just helping someone to rest in peace, so let us talk about the living. We talked about some things you have had to deal with such as human trafficking. We talked about how prevalent the theft of organs is. This part of the conversation led me to how you empower people in your community.
Wiseman: The death care industry is very unique within itself. Morticians are certainly empathetic & sympathetic to families who have experienced loss. However, the general public is not aware of the large responsibility we have of containing potential public safety hazards. Human remains are dangerous. They are sometimes riddled with diseases and airborne and blood-borne pathogens. Our facilities are regulated federally by OHSA and must meet their standards. Every state has its own governing board as well. One of the largest responsibilities right now that is plaguing the industry would be, of course, black market organ death. And so it’s become very necessary to be aware of the signs of someone maybe stealing an organ as well as trafficking. So yes, it is getting to be dangerous and we are faced with many, many tasks that were probably there before, but it was not as prominent. Right now organ and tissue, black market organ, and tissue theft is a huge thing. And it’s a pretty big hazard only because you know, your grandmother may pass up a heart attack but your grandmother may also be HIV positive or she may have had cancer on, or she may have had some other type of disease that would infect the population. We are highly responsible for keeping everyone safe as well.