Connection and Kindness: How We’re Different

We love feedback and part of my job at O’Connor is to meet with families we have recently served to collect their responses, experiences & stories of their time with us.

I love asking the question,

“So, why O’Connor?”

Many families have had a previous experience with us and we are who they trust. Some chose us because of what  I call “The Six Degrees of O’Connor” – their kids went to school with one of the O’Connor children or grandchildren, or they know Joe & Jane O’Connor from church, their community or other organizations.  Other people I sit with mention driving by for years and knowing this is where they would come when they needed a mortuary.

Recently there has been a trend on an answer that makes me so proud. “Out of the three mortuaries we interviewed, O’Connor was the only one who asked about our loved one.”

Isn’t that sad? If we aren’t in this business to connect with others and care about the loss that has been suffered, we shouldn’t be doing this.

Photo Courtesy of ©

Photo Courtesy of ©

I’ve found that most of the people calling the mortuary for the first time have a need to talk through what has just happened to them, what they’ve just lost. While they may call with the goal of obtaining the cost for our services, once they are treated with kindness and compassion – and not as a transaction – they are able to talk about what really matters.  Once the conversation moves into their life and that of the dear one they have lost, I’ve noticed a marked relaxation in the voice on the other end of the line, they are connecting with me, I am a person, not the credit card machine they talked to at the other place.

This idea of connection and kindness translates into any interaction. I recently decided to try a new dry cleaner. I first walked in and saw the racks were full of clothes – this indicated to me they have many satisfied clients and I quickly learned why this is the case. The owner, Jenny, is the sweetest lady and was concerned that one of my suits still had the tags on it. “Have you tried this on? It’s okay?” She showed concern over removing tags until she knew I was pleased with my purchase. Her concern for her clients is what has brings her so much repeat business. We are people to her, not a transaction.

Max & Bella

Max & Bella, the “Bristol Kids”

When I moved to Aliso Viejo several months ago, I had to find a kennel to board my dogs for a few days during the moving process. I went and toured a facility called Pet Suites. I was not only impressed by how clean it was, but by the active interest they took in my dogs from the start.

Now Pet Suites is the only place I would take Max and Bella for boarding or a day of “doggie daycare”.  They call my dogs the “Bristol Kids” when they come in and at the end of the day when I pick them up I get a full report on how they played, if they didn’t act quite right or if Max had to be pulled out for bad behavior.

They have made a connection by treating my dogs as if they are part of their family.

We are not just a transaction to them.

Treating people with kindness should always be our highest goal. It is the lasting impression I want anyone calling O’Connor to have.  Another proud moment for me when meeting with families is when they say “Everyone here is just so nice.” Those are lasting memories they take away.


 || what do you think?

Can you remember a time you were treated as a credit card instead of a person?

Have you stopped using a business you relied on for years after realizing they no longer made an effort to maintain a connection?

Has your family been served by O’Connor Mortuary? Please share your stories of who left a lasting impression on you.

By | 2014-04-07T13:08:22-07:00 April 7th, 2014|Inspiration|60 Comments


  1. Patricia Kolstad April 10, 2014 at 7:54 am - Reply

    In today’s fast paced world, “self serve” is more the norm than the “may I help you,” old fashion way of doing things. Some folks don’t want to be “helped”. They don’t want to make that connection with anyone. They want to “get in and get out.” I love Trader Joe’s! No matter where you are in the store, if you’re looking for something, they will stop what they are doing, and respond “let me show you,” and off we go. I have often said how I didn’t want to interrupt what they are doing, and the response has always been, “I’m here to help you.” Engaging with people sets the tone for the customer’s experience. Having knowledge and listening to understand helps to get folks to the proper place. Being available but not taking control is the best way that I can describe the places that I like to frequent. Nordstrom’s does an amazing job of making the customer their top priority!

    We are fortunate that we get that opportunity here at O’Connor’s to hold the hands of people in grief. Tender moments from strangers (us)lets them know that we are here to help, to understand, to care for them.
    Thanks, Lori!

    • Lori April 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      You make a great point! I do not frequent Trader Joe’s as often as I used to in my old neighborhood. Ralph’s is a straight shot down Pacific Park and convenience is key for me when I am running in after work.
      You have reminded me how well I was always treated when I shopped at Trader Joe’s. They would engage in conversation as they checked me out, not just talk about what time their shift is over.

      Yes, MP, we are very fortunate. For me to sometimes be the first one speaking with the family when they call in to inquire about our services, seeing them when they come into to make the arrangements and then possibly meeting them for an aftercare or marker appt allows me to connect with families as I never have had the opportunity before. I have made new friends and complete my day, even the hectic ones, with a big smile.


  2. Molly Keating April 10, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

    I recently had an experience where I had to file a police report about a creepy neighbor and experienced the connection you talk about in your blog. My first instinct was NOT to call the cops, I called my husband who then called the apartment security and they encouraged us to call the police. I really didn’t think they would care, I thought the incident was so insignificant to the murders and car accidents that happen every day – why should they care about me? I got on the phone with the operator and began answering her questions, she was abrupt and bottom line and when she realized I had waited an hour to call got pretty irritated. When she came back on the line she told me how important it was for me to call immediately, that they would do all of this different stuff to help me, that they never want this to happen to me, that 2 cops were on their way over and that she wanted me to call anytime. The cops said the same thing – I felt like I had an army at my disposal. “Call us anytime, we’ll figure out if there’s a problem or not, let us do it, we’re the pros” – and they are.
    It was amazing and I felt so personally cared for and protected – this experience of mine resonates so much with what you are talking about in this blog. I think that when we take the time to connect personally with others we empower them in how they are feeling and validate their experience. I will never forget those wonderful voices that spoke such love and comfort to me without ever meeting me before. I love that you do the same for each of the families you talk to : )


    • Lori April 10, 2014 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      I am sorry that you had an experience that required police attention, but I am glad your local department came to your rescue with such care!
      I am glad that the officers took time to connect with you and make you feel protected. Sometimes we hear alternate stories about law enforcement. It is sad when a few tarnish the image of the many great men and women who do their jobs so well.

      Thank you for your kind compliment about the families I meet with. There is nothing like seeing someone visibly relax in front of you once they learn you want to hear how they are doing. When they keep talking and say things like, “I do not mean to take up all of your time” I assure them that it is exactly what I am here for.
      It is not like I am doing anything out of the ordinary or special. I am listening. At the end of the day, isn’t that all any of us really want, to be heard……
      Love you,

  3. Carrie Bayer April 10, 2014 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Dear Lori, this is very well said! I agree that if we can’t be caring & compassionate in what we do, we shouldn’t be doing this. Many of the other funeral providers I have worked with over the years have been wonderful but there are a few that I hope, for the family’s sake, that I don’t have to work with again. I also remember my experiences with companies that I do business with on a personal level. It determines if I become a return customer or not. I must say that I am quite lucky that I have mostly positive experiences with the new places I go for various services. It seems any negative experience I have had is one that couldn’t be improved no matter how friendly or kind I am to them- it’s just how they choose to do business. I’m so grateful that we are not like that here at O’Connor! The work we do is so very important, I can’t imagine doing it any other way. Thank you for yet another amazing blog! Love, Carrie

    • Lori April 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      Isn’t it sad when we encounter people who we can’t crack with a smile or kind word? Makes me feel sad for what their lives must be like. Those people likely will not be doing business very long with those attitudes.

      I am so proud of what we are doing at O’Connor. I can’t tell you how many times families have said something to the effect of “I do not know what your bosses are doing, but they know how to hire just the right people for this atmosphere”. To have people say that during their most difficult times is HUGE….
      I am glad I get to do the work I do with people like you!
      Thank you for the compliment about my post…. 🙂

  4. Anne April 10, 2014 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Hi Lori
    What a great blog. I notice over and over in our morning meetings this very thing: Everyone in the room really cares, really is moved by the deep connections they often make with their families, really wants to be sure every detail is cared for. They make every part of their arrangements as perfect as possible. It is not just a wish; it is an imperative.
    People know when someone really cares or if they are just doing a job.
    I went with my great-granddaughter to Snooty Fox for breakfast this past Sunday. Lou and I used to go there most every Sunday before church. Of course I hadn’t been in there except once in more than a year. We ordered a #1 in Lou’s honor and split it. The waitresses who knew Lou had passed came over to my table in the crowded busy restaurant to see how I am doing. The owner happened to be in and took my money. He had just been told Lou had died and gave his heartfelt sympathies and was sorry he didn’t know earlier.
    Is that my restaurant? You bet. When I have someone to go to breakfast with, I want to go there. They care about their customers. They take time for a hug or a kind word. They notice. That’s what counts. Caring. We all need it and we all should give it, every day, with each encounter. I think we do.

    • Lori April 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      I also love hearing how passionate everyone gets in the morning meetings about details and the experiences of our families. It fuels the team and the energy is palpable.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with Snooty Fox. This restaurant will continue to flourish based on their care and concern for their customers. Their business will grow because people who did not know about them will be encouraged to go….I will be one of those people, I have not been yet.

      God does not leave us alone for a moment. He has placed all of these special people in your path to care for and hug on you during this most difficult time.

      We do all need it and should all give it. I am grateful that three days a week I get to start my day with a hug and smile from you!!!
      Love you!

  5. Joe Lavoie April 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for a blog that really makes you think. I think its just natural for all of us here to serve the families truly as if they are our own, I am very honored to be part of the arranger team that first hand gets to connect with the family we are serving and to make this as easy for them that we possibly can. I have been very fortunate to have had good experiences with people from my doctor , dentist , and many stores in between now you can have that time when things don’t go as well and I try to look at it as if that person was not having their best of days so I am thankful that has been few and far between. Thank You again for serving the families as you do , I appreciate you being part of our team. Sincerely Joe Lavoie

    • Lori April 11, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      I appreciate your positive outlook about the negative experiences you have had with regards to service. Your ability to be empathetic of the circumstances instead of becoming angry by the service provider’s actions is a great quality.
      You are the best at what you do with the families we are privileged to serve. I know your heart and I know how seriously you take each step of the arrangement and service process. I know it wounds you deeply on those rare occasions when all does not go as perfectly as planned.
      Thank YOU for serving families as you do….I am honored to be part of YOUR team….. Love you, man…..LB

  6. Jeff Turner April 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    I loved what you said about being in this profession to “connect” with people. The more life I live the more I begin to understand that connecting is our purpose. Seeing people as valuable is an exercise in having a heart of peace. When I step over that line of trying to justify my opinion of them, exaggerating their faults and my virtue, my heart is now at war. It is a moment by moment battle to choose to keep my heart at peace and I loved the way you illustrated what is really important in our day to day interactions. Connection above all else!

    Blessings and thank you writing this,


    • Lori April 11, 2014 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      With connection comes a heart of peace, that is for sure. We are made for relationships and our desire for connection is innate. There is nothing like sitting across the table from someone who feels comfortable enough to share intimate details of the life they shared with their loved one. To become a part of an exclusive club that families feel comfortable enough to say, “I’m not having a good day today” and for me to be able to suggest grief support groups or other methods for them to start start the healing process is a responsibility I am proud to have placed upon me.
      That moment that you look a grieving person in the eye and can make them smile or feel at ease is a precious gift.

      I am glad this post resonated with you….
      Connection above all else!


  7. Fitz April 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Hey Lori,
    Well written blog. I enjoyed reading it and your points are spot on. Making that connection is what can turn an apathetic into and advocate. It really boils down to treating people how you would want to be treated.
    We changed our shredding service last year because after using the same one for several years. I didn’t feel the connection or level of service was up to standard. When I had called to engage the service of the company, the response I received was not very friendly. They acted as if I was troubling them to give them business? I told them I would call them back and did a Google search for other providers. I found a company closer to us, less expensive and they were thankful for the business.
    In this day and age of internet search literally at our finger tips, the companies that thrive are those that are customer service centric.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Lori April 11, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      Hey Fitz,
      Thank you for reading my post. I am glad you enjoyed it and could relate. I think we have all had conversations with family members who were on the verge of being apathetic or even assassins. A listening ear and a heartfelt response can convert apathetic to advocate rather quickly.
      We live in an age where replacement services can be found within moments online. Service is key and if we are not receiving what we think is appropriate, we can quickly move on to the next provider on the list. I am glad you sensed that red flag of poor service and made a change that was service and dollar friendly.
      Thank you for your response!

  8. Neil O'Connor April 10, 2014 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Lori

    I appreciate your ability to connect with people and go deeper in a relationship. Most people are surprised that “we actually care about them.” I try and observe how people interact with each other, especially when we are buying their goods or services. I had a great encounter at the toy store over a $2.95 toy, the owner was less than helpful when I wanted to return it, the toy broke in the store. Funny, the cost was not the issue it was her attitude, I will not be going back there ever. Small acts of kindness go a long way, most people never remember what you say, just how you make them feel. Thank you for making us feel good about being in your company!

    • Lori April 11, 2014 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      It is amazing how critical we become of the service we receive when we are so focused on giving our all in our profession. I have left businesses in a huff assuring them I will never engage their services again based on poor treatment.
      In the simplest terms, “The customer is always right”. That should have been the automatic response from the owner of the toy store. In graciously returning $2.95, she would have secured future business.
      I am appreciative of your comments about my ability to connect with people.
      It is something I find extremely rewarding and I feel that this is the best season yet for me at O’Connor based on all of the face to face interaction that I now experience.
      Thank you for all of your support and the learning opportunities you have afforded me. Grieving people have a special place in my heart and I could not imagine caring for them anywhere else.

  9. Tom April 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story about the “Bristol Kids” and the relationship these feelings have brought about with their care providers. We are stronger knowing how to treat people with compassion and concern.

    • Lori April 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Compassion, empathy and concern should be at the forefront of each interaction in our profession.
      I am thrilled that the “Bristol Kids” were a hit with you while reading. I am glad that I have loving, qualified people to care for them when needed.
      I appreciate you, Tom!

  10. Katheryn Mitchell-Siroonian April 10, 2014 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Lori, your blog is beautifully written. Your warmth and caring are such an asset to the O’Connor team. The whole group made one of the most difficult times in our lives a pleasant memory. It was you that brightened my life on one of my visits. I could have continued on in my “mood” but you reached out and turned my day around. I will be forever grateful.

    • Lori April 11, 2014 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      I am not glad that you needed our services, but I am sooooo glad that we had the opportunity to meet. There are not many people we encounter in life who are instant friends. That is how I felt from the moment we sat down. We laughed, we shared stories of who was frustrating us in our day…it was like a lunch with a best friend instead of a business appointment.
      I am sorry you had to experience loss in your family. That loss has been my gain. Your friendship is a treasure to me..
      Love you!

  11. Don Schoellerman April 11, 2014 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    HI Lori,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on connection and kindness with all of us. We will always cherish the kindness that we received at O’Connor by you and your Team. I have used three principles as defined in Lou Holtz’s book “WINNING EVERY DAY” to help me make good decisions in my life.
    #1. CAN I TRUST YOU ?
    From the very first moment of the very first call that i made to O’Connor – Lori you and your Team received a BIG “YES” on all three principals. That “TRUST”– that “COMITTMENT TO EXCELLENCE”– and that “CARING” continued through every step of our journay together ! !
    Thank you and your Team @ O’Connor for all that you do for all of us !
    Especially at a time when these three principals mean so much to all of us !
    Mary Ann ( Granny )
    & Don

    • Lori April 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this post.
      From that first day that you called when your Dad was still in the hospital, I felt a connection. I could relate since I am the one who makes decisions for my grandmother.
      The emotion that you showed touched me because I could tell how much your parents mean to you.
      I was grateful that you kept me updated on your Dad’s condition and that you contacted me once he was ready for us to transfer into our care.
      I am proud of the team I work with and I am pleased you were able to experience the empathy and compassion they show to each of the families we have the privilege of serving.
      I know tomorrow will be a difficult first for “Granny”.
      You will both be in my prayers…
      I will be in touch,

  12. Joanna Ramirez April 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Miss Bristol,

    I enjoyed your blog. It was very refreshing. I have had both situations occur to me in the past. The one situation that was bad was at a popular eatery in the area.Myself and the group I was with was trying to create a conversation with the gal working and she would not have it. She just wanted our order and move on to the next table. We tried twice after and then gave up. She seemed miserable with her job and treated her customers with the same attitude. I loved and thoroghly enjoyed visiting this place but that experienced tuned me off COMPLETELY and I haven’t been there since. Not good. On the contrary, I continue to drive quite a distance to get service from a great team that I can conveniantly get around the corner. So, it is how you treat your customers. It is great service that satisfies the customer not cost. Thank you again for sharing.

    • Lori April 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      I can’t imagine working in a profession where your salary is driven by your personality and not having one. I imagine this gal’s serving career will be short lived!
      I agree with you that convenient location does not matter as much as the way you are treated.
      I have noticed that even the El Pollo Loco by my house has stepped up their service lately. The not so secret, secret is out.
      Treat people with kindness and they will continue to walk through your doors.
      Thanks for reading!

  13. Erin Fodor April 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    O’ Connor has served my family a few times. When my father and uncle died, this was our
    first experience with O’Connor. The level of service and care my family and I received is almost unexplainable. My whole family and I concur we will never use another mortuary.
    I would even go as far as saying O’Connor changed my life. I say this because of the way I was treated, and this has shaped my career. I know work at O’Connor’s and plan on having a lasting successful career here. In my short time here, I have had such fulfillment. I know this is the company I am meant to work for. I am honored and blessed. Thank you Lori and O’Connor Mortuary!

    -Erin Fodor

    • Lori April 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      I am glad that during the most difficult time in your life, your family chose O’Connor Mortuary. I would be disappointed if anyone else navigated your family through these difficult days.
      We all have a story that led us through the doors of the mortuary.
      I am not glad for the heartache you have experienced, but I am glad that you are here.
      I enjoy seeing you spread your wings and learn. I especially appreciate your passion and great attitude.
      I can’t wait to see what your future at O’Connor holds!

  14. Lori April 11, 2014 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your lovely response. It is always such a blessing when we serve members of Saddleback Church who I have not personally known prior to us serving your family.
    From the moment we sat down to begin designing your Mother in Love’s marker and could not stay on track with regards to the business at hand, I knew we would be fast friends. I enjoyed each story you told me. I know I have much to learn from you.
    I am proud of the service and care that you received from O’Connor.
    I can’t wait for our next visit. I am soooo grateful God placed you in my path…
    Much Love,

  15. Lori April 11, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for faithfully reading and responding to my posts. I appreciate your support. From what I know of you, I am certain you treat each person you encounter with the utmost of care and respect. You do not need to be a Bible scholar to quote scripture that we all should be living by. I appreciate this verse and it is a wonderful one to live by.
    As far as the “Bristol Kids”…..we must talk…you have a misconceived notion about them. 🙂
    Much Love,

  16. Shasta Cola April 12, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

    That is so cute that you take Max and Bella there, I think that is where my sister works, she told me about how they do those report cards. I think that’s sweet because so many people like you treat their dogs like family and so its important that a doggy daycare does too. I think there are a few places I have stopped going because they were overly rude to me, I have come to accept that most places don’t have their customer service up to par but that’s okay for me(though I tend to critique a little and vent about it haha)…its when people are actually rude that I say Okay I’m not coming here anymore. My family has been served by O’Connor last year for my brother’s service, and everyone has left a lasting impression on me. I think what meant the most were the questions asked about him, because even though I really didn’t feel like speaking about anything when I did it brought out emotion and I knew that everyone actually cared.

    • Lori April 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      I would love if your sister is caring for Max and Bella when they are there.. that would definitely make me keep taking them!
      Okay, I am trying to visualize you venting….I do not think I have ever seen you without a smile. I have never heard you raise your voice either. You are always so sweet.
      I am glad we were able to help you through such a difficult time. Being an only child, I can’t imagine the pain you have been through.
      I am here whenever you want to share stories of Casey……
      XOXOXO Lori

  17. Jenn April 12, 2014 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Lori, I am surprised when families are surprised at “how nice we are.” This being my first job experience at a mortuary has closed me off a bit to how other places do it. I just assume we are all caring and polite to our families. Any business should run that way. I remember when my fiancé and I were looking for mattresses and walked into a place in Newport Beach, the sales lady there couldn’t be bothered to even get up to say hello, we went next door to Sit and Sleep and met a nice man who probably didn’t think we were very serious about buying a mattress but still asked questions about us, told us a little bit about himself and the company and had a normal person conversation with us, not a sales pitch, in fact I think we barely spoke about the mattresses we were trying out. We didn’t plan to buy that day so he was right about us not being too serious, but we ended up walking out with an almost $2000 purchase when we found a good mattress because we trusted the man who sold it to us. Now we love our bed and trust that when we need something else or have any mattress issues, we know who to call. We have a doctor, a favorite bartender, a hairdresser, but my fiancé and I now have a “Mattress Man”, haha. It seems silly but its so true, like funeral directors, we won’t need him very often, but its good to know he is there.

    • Lori April 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      You had a “normal person” conversation with someone…wow! 🙂
      Your story illustrates exactly the point of this post. No matter what profession you are in, if you treat people with kindness and respect, you will gain their trust.
      It is important to have a “go to” for each appointment or event.
      Once families have experienced O’Connor service, I think it is a huge relief that they can add a “go to” to their list. Like you said, they might not need us very often, but they are sure glad we are when they do…
      Thanks for reading and for your fun sense of humor!
      Laughter is so important and you are hilarious, even without trying…..

  18. Amy April 13, 2014 at 12:07 am - Reply

    It is such a good feeling to work for such an amazing organization that puts families first. To know that families can trust us with their most prized possession during one of the of the most difficult times in their life.
    Getting the feedback from our families allows us the opportunity to sharpen our skill and improve. Without that we wouldn’t be successful.
    We have all been on the receiving end of bad service. Once you receive flawless service there is no reason to expect anything less.
    Thank you for what you do to serve our families.

    • Lori April 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      I think you and I are both in seasons where we are more grateful than ever for O’Connor compassion, care and service. We will not have to go through the process that many of the families we serve do of interviewing providers.
      I find great peace in knowing The Covington has our number should anything happen to my Grandma before she goes back home.

      I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sitting with families and hearing of their experiences. It makes me more proud than ever of the O’Connor team. The feedback is positive the majority of the time. I would say we are doing something right!

      I appreciate your gratitude, but truly, I love each aspect of my job. I get paid to sit and talk to people! I could not have spoken a better position for me into existence. 🙂

  19. Michael Thomas April 13, 2014 at 11:29 am - Reply

    I knew the Bristol Kids would be mentioned at some point! Great blog Lori!

    • Lori April 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      C’Mon Michael…look at them! They command an audience. I have an obligation to share them with our readers. 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  20. Elsa April 13, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I think we can all relate ti being treated like just another transaction. In my recent involvement with vendors for my wedding, i have realized how important it is to be treated an not just that. I have meet some wonderful people who have such a passion for their business that i had no doubt that they were the right people to work with. I try to offer my families the same experience when it comes to choosing the right mortuary to care for their loved one.

    • Lori April 15, 2014 at 8:19 am - Reply

      As you realize, weddings and funerals are similar in that you are planning an extremely important event. The difference? You have months to plan a wedding and a couple of weeks or sometimes less to plan a funeral.
      The grief coupled with the urgency of the details at hand can make for some stressful times.
      You have mastered the art of caring for our families during this difficult time.
      You cover every detail, give them their options and contribute to the flawless service they receive throughout the time we care for them.
      I know, because families have told me in Family Care Appointments.
      You not only “try” to offer your families the same experience….you are doing it!
      I have learned a great deal from you and I am thankful for your example…..

  21. Christopher Iverson April 14, 2014 at 10:13 am - Reply


    You are so right. Connecting with kindness is the strongest bond. As we know, “People don’t care about what we know until they know that we care.” We build bridges with families because we play a strong role in helping them towards the destination of experiencing “healing hearts.”

    • Lori April 15, 2014 at 8:26 am - Reply

      Yes! I love your quote about “people not caring what we know until…….”
      That sums up what we do very well. Those people who drive by for years and see our sign and hope they do not need our services for a long time are faced with reality and learn that we do care. We not only care, we care deeply.
      In an age where many industries are doing all they can to take the “touches” out of their time with a customer, we are fortunate to be in a profession that relies on how well we connect with and treat people.
      I am glad I have had your example over the years to sharpen my skills of connecting with our families.

  22. Becky Finch Lomaka April 14, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Hi Lori,
    Thank you for a great blog. It is so true – being nice (especially in today’s fast-paced world) can be such a unique concept. Even before I came to work for O’Connor, I was always impressed by the level of kindness and caring the staff showed everyone who they were in contact with. It is one of the reasons I wanted to come work here. The kindness and caring our staff show families is unparalleled. To truly be cared for, especially during such a difficult time, makes all the difference in the world and helps people begin their journey of grief.


    • Lori April 15, 2014 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Being nice IS a unique concept to many. They cannot be bothered to take their eyes away from their phones or other devices to look into the eyes of another human and connect.
      I am sorry you had to experience first hand last year how important it is to be treated with kindness as you began your journey of grief.
      I am so thankful that the kindness of the O’Connor team attracted you and pulled you in…..I can’t imagine the team without you!
      I love your kind heart and fun personality. I am looking forward to years of serving our families and community together.

  23. Mark April 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Lori…Thank you for your blog….When I receive a piece of mail addressed to resident, it makes me feel like that company really doesn’t care about me as a person…I agree with you that we should be nice, but not just here at work, everywhere….it takes as much energy to be nice as it does to be mean or rude….it is a good thing that we stand out for being nice, but sad that more companies don’t care….Mark

    • Lori April 15, 2014 at 8:40 am - Reply

      Even more insulting is the mail that reads “Lori Bristol or Current Resident”. That tells me they could care less if they do business with me or not. Anybody who lives at the same address will do. Not a very personal touch, indeed.
      We share our faith and that tells us that kindness and love should be our highest goals, anywhere, not just at work. Sometimes it is hard to keep a positive attitude when we have tasks in the back of our minds that can distract from the people in front of us. A big learning experience for me this past year has been to realize that somehow everything always gets done. There is no need to get so tightly wound about circumstances I have no control over. At the end of the day, everything gets done. I am a work in progress, but I am learning, little by little to let things go and focus on who is important instead of what is…..People vs projects……
      Love you, Brother!

  24. Rosemary April 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Lori!

    We each want to be treated with caring and kindness and as a person, and it is so great that O’Connor recognizes and honors that need. It makes all the difference in the world!


    PS I cannot even begin to imagine that Max could be guilty of bad behavior. Just look at that sweet, precious face!

    • Lori April 15, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

      Aren’t we fortunate to work for a family owned and operated business that truly focuses on “family”? We not only strive for flawless with the families we serve, but we strive for excellence with our internal “family” as well. Relational health is important to our management team. They have made it an important part of their training agenda.
      When families make comments such as, “Your bosses really know what they are doing when it comes to hiring. Everyone we have talked to has been so wonderful”. I let them know that this is not by accident. Our owners are very focused on making sure the O’Connor “family” is prepared relationally and through professional development to give our families the best experience possible. When I tell them our value and service is unsurpassed, I know that to be true so I can state it with confidence.

      As far as Max goes…..don’t be fooled by the face….I am a sucker for it, but the behavior is, in fact, that of a spoiled, naughty boy….. 🙂

  25. Lauren April 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Lori!
    I agree with Jen’s comment that it is hard to believe that others would not put relationship first over the task that needs to be taken care of, especially when a family is going through a difficult time. It’s easy to just get a job done, but when it is your profession, it should be done with care and with passion.

    • Lori April 15, 2014 at 8:56 am - Reply

      It is hard for you to believe others would not put relationship first because you “get it” 110%! I have had the privilege to speak with you one on one and watch you grow significantly in your roles as Service Director and Arrangement Specialist. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Your passion, dedication and commitment to giving the families you work with perfect service is evident. I know how hard you take it if you think even the slightest detail was missed.
      I mentioned earlier in a response to Erin that we all have a story that has brought us through these doors. I truly believe we are able to draw from the losses we have experienced to be able to feel with families and want only the best for them. This is simply because we know how we wanted to be treated on our darkest days.
      I can’t wait to watch your star continue to shine!!
      XOXO Lori

  26. Jon April 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm - Reply


    Thanks for sharing and your commitment to the families we serve, getting the feedback is an important part of helping us to improve and become even better. You made me think of a time Melaney and myself made a purchase of some furniture from a store in Rancho Cucamonga that Melaney’s mom recommended. As the sales guy was writing everything up he asked about delivery we both braced ourselves expecting the worse when we asked if they would deliver from their small little store to us all the way out in Tustin. His reply surprised us when he said “Of course you drove all the way here from Tustin to do business with me I’ll deliver your items anywhere.”

    • Lori April 15, 2014 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      Also, thank you for your kind words about the Family Care appointments. I do enjoy this time with families and hearing how great they think the team is. There is occasionally feedback that a detail was missed or did not go exactly as planned. We could beat ourselves up and think of them as failures, or as you have said, we can use them to improve and become even better!

      I enjoyed your story about the furniture salesman. I think that even though businesses know service is key to keeping their doors open, they are not always committed to providing that level of service.
      This guy you dealt with sounds like he totally gets it.
      He made you feel valued as his customer and in turn I am sure that is where you and Melaney will go next time you need to purchase furniture.
      Thank you for sharing this experience with us…..

  27. Mitch April 15, 2014 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this. Your commitment to our families is very commendable. But again that’s what we do. Every person is important to someone and should be treated that way. It is hard to sum up a persons life in a 10 minute eulogy. Families want to know if they will be treated with respect and treated with the dignity they deserve. Thanks for your caring and all you do.

    • Lori April 16, 2014 at 6:27 am - Reply

      I, in turn, would like to thank you for all you do. I have heard a lot of great feedback from families whose services you have directed. The one that sticks out the most for me is a family who had some difficult dynamics. One member of the family was left to sit alone at the back of the service. You offered to sit with her so she would not be alone. Those acts of kindness are what O’Connor stands for. It is not something that can be trained to or taught. It is the gift that is given of a compassionate heart and you certainly have that.
      Thank you, Mitch!

  28. Kari Lyn Leslie April 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm - Reply


    We strive for perfection, and we catch excellence. I think that’s how Chris says it. I know it’s a quote from someone else, but I like it. It really sums up our experiences here. Our families mean so much to us, and it shows. We are so blessed!!


    • Lori April 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm - Reply

      I like that quote as well. There is no perfection here and now, but we know we will get to experience it one day. Until then, excellence works for me!
      We are extremely blessed… many people can say they would keep coming to work if they won the Lotto tomorrow? I absolutely would keep coming to meet the families we are fortunate to have trust us with their care.
      Thank you for your comments….

  29. Stacy April 18, 2014 at 9:16 am - Reply

    That is correct, families we serve are acknowledged as people whom have had a death and we commit ourselves fully to gain their trust and help them through their grief. We show them that we care and demonstrate the upmost care and respect for their loved one whom has past away. We definitely do not see them as a transaction! Sadly, mortuaries have a bad connotation in our society. Not only because of the natural circumstances of there being a death but because many other providers treat families like they are simply a transaction. Thank you for much for your commitment to the families we serve. I agree with you that it is all about building a connection with the family. It is already the most difficult time in a persons life when there has been a death of someone that is greatly loved but to have someone helpful, resourceful, caring, compassionate and whom builds a meaningful relationship with people is a heart-warming feeling/experience. You do so wonderfully with our families and following up with them!

    p.s The “Bristol kids” are super cute! 🙂

    • Lori April 19, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Thank you for reading and for your comments. I so appreciate your kind feedback. I have watched you interact and go above and beyond for families. You “get” that this is not a transaction. Being entrusted with the care of a family who has experienced significant loss is not to be taken lightly. You do not and I appreciate being on a team with you where we are all on the same page.

      PS – Thank you for thinking the “Bristol Kids” are cute….I do too! 🙂

      XOXO Lori

  30. Diana April 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    I remember when Max & Bella treated me like a credit card instead of a person. The day they greeted my lunch bag instead of me (Love them so much) I try to remember, to treat others as you would want to be treated, it is a lasting impression. Great blog Lori!

    • Lori April 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Lol!! That is so funny….not Bella so much, but Max ALWAYS heads for your lunch bag! You always treat others with kindness. It is, after all, why you are our Director of First Impressions!
      Love you….soooo much, 😉

  31. Shayna Mallik April 24, 2014 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Thank you for such a great blog. It feels so good to work in such an amazing organization and company that no matter what truly puts the families first! It is so important to understand how each person that walks thru our doors will be grieving differently and will need help in different ways. O’Connor’s is blessed to have you working here and is even more lucky to have you in family after care. This is your calling!!!

    <3 Shayna

    • Lori April 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      I agree with you that we are truly blessed to get to serve families in the way that we do at O’Connor. The tools and professional development that our management provides helps us to recognize what type of personalities we are dealing with so we can meet people where they are, which helps us connect. I hear you on the phone and your caring heart definitely comes through. Thank you for your kind words. I will agree with the “calling” part. I do feel like this is the best season I have been in at O’Connor. I look forward to continual growth and learning to make the families experience the best possible.

      Love you!