Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet D

I visited with a woman today who suffers a terminal illness. The ravages of her illness are painful and will soon take her life from her. This weighs heavy on her mind, not for herself, but for those she loves.

Sweet D has completely accepted her impending demise, but worries immensely about its effect on her children and grandchildren. She tries to talk to them about what is going to happen, but they refuse to hear it. She asked me if I would help them through it, once she dies. I answered, “Of course I would.” Her heart is broken. She wants to prepare her family for her death. She does not understand why they will not face the reality of her future.

Human nature is a crazy thing. Each of us has different strengths and weaknesses. As I spoke with Sweet D, I told her that her children and grandchildren love her deeply. In fact, the depth of their love is what causes them to deny the reality that she is dying. Denial creates a barrier of protection against the severe pain inflicted through loss and death. Her family will wait until she dies to consider that there will be a time when she no longer lives next door.

Sadly, Sweet D feels alone, abandoned and unloved. The denial of her family to accept her impending death creates a barrier between them. She is left alone to contemplate what she might experience after her life passes. She is left alone to plan her funeral. She is left alone in moments of fear, trial, and weakness. She is left alone to mourn the loss of her life, and any future experiences with her children and grandchildren. Sweet D’s family has not yet realized that they are not just losing her; she is losing them. Her loss is infinitely more devastating than their loss. They are losing one family member. She is losing every family member.

If someone you love has received a short-term diagnosis, denial may be your close friend. This is a natural reaction to devastating news. It is important however, to realize that the person dying may need you to help them through the experience and fear of knowing that death is at their doorstep. Their knowledge that they will soon die, affects them severely. They may be happy and then sad, they may be fearful and then fearless. Their emotions and fears may be all over the rector scale. The advance knowledge of death’s closeness may bring about personality and philosophical changes. If possible, put your fear and denial aside. Reach out to your loved one and be there for them. Open your heart and comfort them through the experience of dying. Although the experience may be excruciatingly painful for you, once they pass, you alone will have comfort through the precious moments you spent together. Most likely, you will find the experience to be life changing and spiritually enlightening. Many of us fear the experience of death. How sweet it would be for the dying, in their last months of life, to have the strength and love of a loved one to draw upon.

Dying alone is tragic, especially when those you love stand beside you.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author, and freelance writer. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/ and Twitter account @PushnUpDaisies, visit my website www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies” for additional encouragement and information.