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 ©


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.


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.

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Mark says:

    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 says:

      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!

  2. Becky Finch Lomaka says:

    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 says:

      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.

  3. Christopher Iverson says:


    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 says:

      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.

  4. Elsa says:

    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 says:

      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…..

  5. Michael Thomas says:

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

    • Lori says:

      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!

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