Last year, 175 B.C. workers died from a workplace injury or disease, and in a city such as Merritt, the only funeral director in town is responsible for arranging the next steps when a loved one passes away.

Angela Texmo, a devoted funeral director at Merritt Funeral Chapel, is the silent guardian of grief and often a beacon of solace and hope during darkest hours.

“It’s an unusual circumstance, not everybody deals with this situation all day, every day, whereas we do,” she said. “Just because I’m comfortable with it and I know the process and what to do, I’m the source for anyone else.”

Each day, Texmo confronts the dualities of her profession with unwavering resolve. She often sees herself in a paradox of familiarity and professionalism, and during many times, she finds herself consoling families she knows immediately.

“It’s hard, it’s not easy at all. I’ve worked here for 11 years and I’ve lived in Merritt for 38 (years). So I know everybody and everybody knows me. If I don’t know the person, I knew their parents or I knew their children. Unless they moved here recently, chances are I have some kind of a connection,” she added.

Yet, with grace and patience, she navigates these emotional minefields, offering a steady hand to guide people who are going through the labyrinth of grief.

“It’s hard to separate the personal emotions from the family situation when I’m meeting with a family, but I’m not being helpful to the family if I don’t concentrate on their needs,” Texmo said. “So you learn how to isolate your emotions and concentrate on the business.”

“There are situations where it does affect me emotionally and I’ve been known to shed a tear with a family when I am sitting with them. I’m not necessarily mourning the loss of the person that they’re here for, I’m hurting for the family member that hurts.”

Texmo’s unwavering commitment to her sacred duty can be described, in her own words, as wholeheartedly heartwarming.

“I was meant to be a funeral director, I didn’t know that. I wish I’d known 40 years ago, but maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated it so much if I started it in my 20s. I think I’m in my element here, this is what I was meant to do,” she added.

In the hallowed halls of Merritt Funeral Chapel, Texmo’s presence serves as a beacon of hope amidst the shadows of despair.

“I feel with them (the families) and I move forward with them,” she added. “I’m the resource. Come to me before, during or after. I’m here if you want to have a funeral, I can be there for a celebration of life or I can just give you guidance.”