Pushin’ Up Daisies: His Dying Wish
I met with the widow and her sons to plan her husband’s funeral services. She was a soft-spoken, genteel woman. As we stood to select the casket, I saw her falter. Her strength was weakening. We returned to our seats and began planning the details of the services.
Her husband was a well-known man in town, yet asked her to limit his services. As our time together progressed, I understood his request. She is in no way strong enough to host the social gatherings surrounding the death of a loved one. She is elderly and taking life-sustaining medications that rob her of her energy and vitality.
Tonight will be his visitation. People are calling the funeral home, asking all sorts of questions about the memorial events planned on his behalf. The visitation is only for one hour. Many are disappointed about the limit of time. Her husband knew, though, that she would not be up to the rigors that their friends might place on her. He preempted their demands by requesting that she limit his services. Even as he laid dying in pain, and preparing to meet his maker, his thoughts were of her and her health. He knew his darling wife, kind and frail with genteel manners, would try to appease everyone without personal regard.
Sometimes traditions can be demanding at an inopportune time. This is the case with this family. Should the widow accommodate the community, she would become very ill and suffer immense exhaustion. Her friends do not mean to put undue stress on her; they simply want to pay their respects. After all, they too have lost someone special to them. They are unaware of the danger these events impose upon her health.
In such cases, it becomes the responsibility of extended family members, or the funeral director, to protect a survivor who is in danger of becoming ill from overextending themselves. Loss is a dangerous time for survivors. They are sometimes unable to eat regularly, forget to take their medications, they may be unable to rest, and quite often, become dehydrated. These issues can be very dangerous; even life-threatening for survivors who are already weak from the rigors of caring for their loved one prior to death’s arrival.
Tonight we shall place a comfy chair close to her husband’s casket where she can greet her guests without rising for hugs and condolences. I shall stand beside her, protecting her from the rigors of her daunting task. I hope I shall be able to uphold her husband’s wish of protecting her from her impeccable manners of grace and propriety. She deserves that, and it was her husband’s dying wish.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. 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.
It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.