I have seen it in the eyes of family upon my arrival for the removal/transfer of their deceased loved one. Exhaustion, sadness, disbelief that death has arrived for the person they cared for and loved. Many of us in the funeral profession have made home removals to see the look and feel the tone of those that have given so much of their lives over the recent past. For the next 48 to 72 hours, these saints must muster even more energy for the funeral activities that will take place.
I have been part of and talked with many that shared their experiences with the exhaustive “death watch” which may last months. In their wonderful mission of making the transition from life to death as comforting as possible, I also know that hospice and senior care workers now must move to their next assignment, exhausted as well.
Similar to bringing a newborn home, caring for a dying loved one uproots routines. Sleep, work, personal time, meals, care visits, laundry, etc. all change. In most cases, babies at some point get settled and find a routine similar to our own, but the transition to death has no routine.
An example and the inspiration of this post is one of our associates lost his father just last night. Several weeks ago we were made aware that hospice care determined that the death of his father was imminent, which meant that as his funeral home family we are on standby to assist and serve. The agonizing weeks, days and hours that followed took an emotional toll on their family. It’s interesting that at our funeral home we have been notified by family that life sustaining procedures have been stopped on their loved one, and death may occur at any time. I have personal knowledge of people surviving without life support and living for over a month…incredible testimony to our human design.
For some, plans for the funeral have been made for their deceased loved one. The details of contacting others, dates, times and locations are pretty much all that has not been secured. For others, even more exhaustive days are ahead. Funeral decisions made under the cloud of grief coupled with exhaustion only exasperate what is considered one of life’s most stressful events, the funeral of a loved one. On top of this, finances, frayed emotions and unresolved family issues are not unusual during funeral events.
Death is often exhausting…for those that are dying, for family that is tending and caring for the dying, for those that make the transition more comfortable from life to death, and for those that serve the families in their darkest of days. I have witnessed, deal with and ultimately know that I too will personally experience exhausting death of a loved one. My words are from my heart to encourage all of us to continue to have empathy, provide comfort and serve those that are experiencing exhaustive death. At some point, we’ll want to be served as we serve. Cheers y’all.