Monday, March 30, 2015

The Errand of Angels

Before becoming a funeral director, I had never attended a service where there were two register books for guests to sign. Now that I have been a funeral director for a number of years, I have found that this situation, although unusual to me, is not uncommon. Two register books are generally required when some sort of family feud remains unsettled.
The family I served this week was one that I have served in the past. Unlike the preceding deaths in this family, this particular death was shrouded by family discontent and feuding. All through the week leading up to funeral day, I would receive calls from various family members. These calls were filled with expressions of displeasure over arrangement preferences selected by the opposing side of the decedent’s family.
As the days passed, I became more and more worried over the service plans for the decedent. Family members would express their concerns and assure me that he would not want his family in such turmoil.
Compounding this stressful situation, my client’s brother had died just three days prior. In fact, my client passed while preparing to attend his deceased brother’s visitation. A very sad announcement was made at his brother’s visitation that he would be unable to attend, due to his untimely and unexpected death, just minutes earlier.
Additionally, seven months prior, I served this family in the loss of sisters who died just three days apart. The amount of stress this family was suffering, caused by the multiple deaths so closely timed, only served to exacerbate the difficulties they were experiencing amongst themselves. There was also an issue with funding. Both brothers passed at an earlier age than is common, so neither had adequately prepared for the financial demands that come with death. In addition to the unexpected loss of their brothers, this family was faced with a hefty financial crisis.
As the members of this family lamented over payment for their services, a benevolent soul came forward and paid for their services in full. This kind person did not seek recognition for the generous deed performed out of love and charity. Indeed, he insisted that his identity remain anonymous.
As I notified the members of the decedent’s family that their expenses had been paid in full through the generosity of a kind soul, my heart was broken as I was unable to tell them who had provided the precious funds on their behalf. There was speculation and many questions directed toward identifying this person of benevolence, but as he had insisted, his identity was protected from detection.
His actions of benevolence and charity set Newton’s law of motion into swift opposing reaction. Family members who were but moments ago hateful toward each other, were so humbled by this person’s selfless generosity, that they immediately reversed their selfish and aggressive behaviors.  They  now exercised kindness and generosity toward each other, as they had in the past. As they arrived for my client’s visitation, there was no longer any need for two register books. This one sincere and charitable act of compassion brought harmony and peace back into focus.
I believe this kind soul has secured blessing from on high for his selfless generosity on behalf of this family and their deceased brother. I do not know how he knew of their need, but he came forward at a desperate hour. His actions not only relieved them of financial crisis, it freed them from living out the remainder of their days fighting and hating each other. This man performed the errand of an angel, a miracle, and I am thankful that I witnessed it.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles 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 audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.