Monday, May 4, 2015

A Final Farewell

I often write about saying good-bye before a loved one dies, and this week I followed my advice. I have a great aunt who is 100 years old, and although I visit her fairly often, she will be moving some distance away this week, and so that opportunity will soon no longer be possible.
When I entered her room, she was dozing, so I gently called her by name until she woke up. I bent forward to hug her and could see a touch of confusion in her expression. She told me she wondered who I was. As soon as I told her my name, I could see her joy, and we enjoyed a long visit.
While she spoke of days passed, she recounted great love for my beloved grandmother (her sister), my gracious great-grandmother (her mother), my cousins, my father and numerous other relatives. She spoke of the Great Depression, and the anguish suffered by our family during the trials of their survival.
As I left the nursing home, I passed through the town where my father lives. I decided to take a moment and visit with him as well. He was outside planting his garden, and we sat under the shade of 100-year-old pine trees. He recounted great love for my beloved grandmother (his mother), my gracious great-grandmother (his grandmother), my cousins and numerous other relatives. He spoke of the importance of being self-reliant, the Great Depression, and the trials and anguish suffered by our ancestors through their poverty so that we could one day enjoy the harvest of their sacrifices. It occurred to me, more profoundly than it ever had before, that many wonderful people have suffered great hardship, that I might see a better day.
As I spent a meaningful afternoon of communion with those whom I love, my heart was filled with gratitude for loved ones who have already left this life and hope for those of us who remain. While lying in my bed this morning, my mind drifted in and out of sleep.  My soul found peace as I dreamt of a future grand reunion; my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my great aunt and my father holding hands together, with the light of Christ surrounding them.
My great aunt is near the end of her experience on earth; my dad will one day be there too. After today, however, although their loss will be unbearable, I know that I will feel a modicum of peace, as I took the time to visit them before their days were over.
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.

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