My very first case as a licensed funeral director was my great uncle. His death was quite some time ago, but I remember it very well. I was sitting in church Easter Sunday and my cell phone rang. I stepped out into the foyer and answered the call. It was my dear cousin telling me that her father had just past.
Last week was Easter Sunday and as I sat listening to the speaker, I thought the experience of losing my great uncle. I also thought about my cousins. They were so sad to lose their father.
Today as I sat in church, I found out that my dear cousin received grave news last week: the week of Easter. Her husband has been diagnosed with a terminal illness that is aggressively attacking him. His prognosis is bleak. My cousin and her family are faced with the reality that her husband will soon depart from them. He will leave behind a grieving widow, grieving sons and daughters, and grieving grandchildren.
Although it has been a long time since my uncle passed, my cousin will suffer a difficult grief scenario. As her husband was diagnosed as terminal during the eventful week of Easter, the same time of year of her father’s death, she will relate the two deaths together. She most likely will suffer a complicated grief recovery. She and her family have already entered into the trials of grief. They are suffering the future loss of their patriarch as they witness his life begin to slip away.
I wish I could take this pain from them, but I cannot. What I can do, if they will allow me to, is to help them prepare for their loss. Of great value, would be to concentrate on making their final weeks, hopefully, months, together as productive as possible. They will find great comfort later on if they will fill their time making wonderful loving memories to draw upon once he has passed. They should take every opportunity to be together, to set anything that is awry back to where it should be. They need to be with him when he is frightened, ill, and weak. They should openly express their love to him and serve him as he labors toward death. If possible, they should be with him when he slips from this life into the next.
Although these tasks may be difficult to bear, if they will do them, they will experience their greatest comfort once he is gone. It will not make his passing easy, but it will bring relief to know that they helped him through his last days, that he left this life knowing that he was loved and that he had the opportunity to set things right before going.
Doing these things will bless him, and them, with comfort and relief, and greatly contribute to their recovery.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), the Managing Funeral Director (FDIC,) and owner of Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City, Texas. I am an author and syndicated columnist. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and grief briefs related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate survivors toward positive recovery.
It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.