She was known as a difficult woman. Her family knew it, her friends knew it, and generally, people who waited on her knew it too. She was very particular and expressed her opinions with vigor. She never let you slide on anything, and was quick to set you straight, if she thought you were deviating on anything that concerned her.
Three years ago, she came to the funeral home and made her prearrangements. She was determined to set everything up just the way she envisioned it. She even made me swear not change a thing after she passed. This week, we had her funeral. Although few people came, those who did loved her deeply. She had made a profound impression in their lives.
Over the years, I believe we became friends. She once gave me a grill so that I could conveniently cook steak for my husband. It was a kind gift, and I knew that it came from the depth of her heart. I appreciated her kindness and never told her that my husband never requests steak. She would remind me, off and on, about my promise to her, and we would review the details of her prearrangements. I guess she just wanted to make sure they hadn’t mysteriously changed since the last review.
The service attendees were her dearest friends. My mother offered the invocation through tears of sadness. She and my mother have next door neighbors for nearly four years in two different cities. They have helped each other through loneliness, loss, and illness. They have shared their fears, their trials, and now her death. My mother is heartbroken.
Another of my dear friends and her husband delivered the eulogy and pastoral remarks. I carried a stool into the chapel and sat beside my mother as I felt she just couldn’t make it through the service without additional support. It was an unusual sight, my aunt sitting at the end of the pew, my mother beside her, in the isle, in her wheelchair, and I beside my mother on a stool. We were three women, there to honor our difficult friend.
The service was short, only 30 minutes from beginning to end, but it was the sweetest service I have ever attended. Although our friend had been the picture of a difficult woman, she had touched each one in attendance deep within our hearts.
She was beautiful lying in her casket. The drawn lines of pain and anguish erased from her face. It was easy to imagine her comfort and happiness at being released from her existence of illness and loneliness. Her expression touched us, and we could, at last, see the person we all knew existed behind her difficult façade. She was angelic and with heavy hearts, we all said a warm and heartfelt goodbye.
I loved my friend, even when she was a difficult woman.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. 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.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.