Patience is the ability to hold yourself in check until the change you seek materializes. It is rarely comfortable for change requires purpose, application, growth, and movement. Whether the change we seek is within ourselves, or in those around us, the application of patience, although long-suffering, may bring about great rewards. ~Tracy Lee
When suffering a significant loss, recovery may require months, and in some cases years to materialize. Recovery does not happen overnight. Its length is directly related to the depth of commitment and love associated with the decedent. If the decedent was one of close relation or deep relationship, one should expect a significant amount of time and investment into the recovery process.
Grief Brief 53
Recovery from the death of a loved one may take a long time, especially in immediate family situations. It is imperative to understand that patience plays a large role in grief work. Be patient with yourself, with others trying to help, and with those not realizing that you need help. (Mourning Light I, 2016)
As I have traveled through life, I have always considered myself to be a patient person. Three years ago, my grandson died. I was his funeral director. His death occurred in Hawaii; however, I live in Texas. My daughter, his mother, wanted her son buried in Texas. In order to accomplish this, it was necessary to fly his body across the Pacific Ocean, and halfway across the main continent, to Texas.
Throughout my career as a funeral director, I have arranged long-distance care for many decedents. It is an easy process. The funeral profession has access to trade mortuaries and travel agencies that specialize in the preparation and transport of dead human beings. Generally, I research the area of death for funeral professionals, find a trade mortuary, call them and arrange for the first call, travel preparation, and shipping arrangements of the decedent. After that, I make arrangements for transport from the appropriate airport to my funeral home. Once I have the decedent in my custody I direct the funeral according to the instructions that I have received from the surviving family.
Being the funeral director for my deceased grandson was an honor that I would never give up. Being the funeral director for my deceased grandson was also the most difficult thing I have ever been called upon to bear.
The process of having a funeral home in Hawaii call for his body, embalm him, and ship him to me was excruciating. Although I appreciate the funeral home in Hawaii, and in my heart, I know that they were wonderful to him, it was incredibly difficult for me to collect myself and patiently wait for the necessary procedures to occur. It seemed to me that time dragged by and that it took forever for him to arrive in Texas. In reality, it took no longer than it should have, but as his grandmother, my patience was thin, my sorrow was great, and my agony was unbearable.
His death imposed a great toll on me. My grief was overwhelming. My heartache and concern for his mother, my daughter, nearly robbed me of my sanity. I hope I never suffer such a tragic experience ever again.
Through my journey to grief recovery, I found that I relied upon my spiritual strength more than anything else. Although I am an experienced Grief Counselor, my education did nothing to keep my heart from breaking over and over every minute of the day and night. I was fortunate to understand and practice certain recovery techniques that kept me from losing my mind; however, the overwhelming sadness remained with me for a very long time. Indeed, there remain moments in my life where pain continues to grab my heart and rip it right out of my chest. Those moments are further apart than they used to be, but they are still there.
As a Grief Counselor, I know that I will, for the rest of my life, suffer from the sadness of my loss. Certain days of the year, certain activities, days when I am called upon to assist another family that has lost a child, and moments when my daughter calls me on the phone unable to speak from choking back sobs, are all moments when grief grips my inner soul and causes me to pause. I know though that I have to be patient with myself.
Pain is indiscriminate. It returns whenever it feels like it and all we can do is suffer through it. That suffering continues to require patience. It always will.
“Patience is not passive waiting. Patience is active acceptance of the process required to attain your goals and dreams.” ~Ray Davis
I have this quote posted on my computer at work and on my mirror at home. I read it every day because it reminds me that I must accept the process of my goals. The goals of grief recovery and assisting others as they make that same journey.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, Podcaster, and founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, Podcasts, 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, please visit my podcast “Deadline” at https://open.spotify.com/show/7MHPy4ctu9OLvdp2JzQsAA or at https://anchor.fm/tracy874 and follow me on Instagram at “Deadline_TracyLee”.