I received a phone call early Monday morning, asking if I would travel to a hospital in a neighboring city. The caller asked if I would assist a dying woman prepare for her final arrangements. As the conversation ended, I began printing the necessary documents to accomplish the request.
I arrived at the hospital and searched out the appropriate room. As I entered the care unit, nurses and attendants were anxiously awaiting my arrival. The nursing staff was accommodating in keeping their patient calm and comfortable during the planning and legalities of death’s preparation.
Although the dying woman has adult children, they were not in attendance as their mother’s death looms nearby. Her neighbor was there with her. Over the years, the dying woman and her neighbor have become very close friends. She, therefore, appointed her neighbor as her beneficiary, and in so doing, secured her dear friend as her next of kin.
As we worked through the details of death, I witnessed her neighbor periodically wipe away tears of sadness. Her anguish was predicated on their gifts of unconditional sacrifice and enduring friendship. These two women had experienced many trials in life, and as one would suffer, the other would shore her up. Their friendship was glorious, and witnessing the current physical suffering and mental anguish of her friend was more than the neighbor could bear.
As I completed my work, I approached the dying woman’s bedside. I stroked her hair and prayed to my Heavenly Father that he would comfort both women through the approaching loss of life. For the woman in bed, I prayed for comfort as she suffers the pain of dying, and peace as she faces the fear of her unknown future. For her neighbor, I prayed for spiritual support as she loses the companionship of her dear friend, and peace as loneliness floods her soul. As she stood beside her friend, I recognized the bewilderment in her eyes. Insecurities surrounding afterlife and salvation were wild within her.
Death is a bewildering time for many, who throughout their lives have not thought of, questioned, or sought answers relative to their next estate. Facing loss without exercised faith or a belief system is confusing and frightening. It is a time when one suddenly finds him or herself in desperate want of comforting knowledge. No matter how hard we try, the reaper pushes through our doors and takes our loved ones from us. At that moment of desperation, knowledge, and faith are priceless commodities.
The sharing of friendship and gifts of sacrifice evident in these two women were beautiful to witness. That all of God’s children should have such love and support at the close of life would be a priceless gift to their souls. I hope that as we travel through life, we will seek and find sufficient answers to those three baffling questions: “Who am I, why am I here, and where am I going?” I believe that the answers to these questions will bring us comfort and sustain us as we suffer the inevitable end of life.
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.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.