Some years ago, my aunt lost her husband and her brother within days of each other. I spoke with her about her experience, and she had some interesting things to say. For many years following the deaths of her loved ones, she expressed a heaviness upon her soul, almost a looming darkness filling her life. She experienced the first stages of grief, realizing and accepting that death had occurred, anger at her loved ones for leaving her alone so closely in time. She expressed the frustration of having to learn how to be alone, how to do the things her husband had once done for her and, many other things.
I asked her how she had recovered from the darkness that had engulfed her existence. In particular, I wanted to know what was the one thing she had done that had propelled her into recovery. She thought deeply for a moment, and I witnessed the light of realization in her eyes before she spoke. She told me that she had arrived at a place psychologically where she was either going to make it or lose it. She decided to sit down and have an open and honest discussion with herself. She decided that she could no longer survive under the conditions she was enduring. Death’s grim reaper was not going to take her, as she had so often hoped and prayed; so she had to overcome her agony by proactive intervention. She decided from that moment forward she would recover, and she gave herself a set of guidelines for doing so.
She aggressively sought out friendships and new experiences outside of her home. She engaged others in conversation when she went out to do chores, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc. She turned off the TV and put away the novels. Eventually, she relocated to be closer to her family and left the home she had shared with her husband behind. She began a new life with survival and recovery as her goals.
I am happy to report that my aunt was successful in her endeavor to recover from a complicated grief experience. She had the determination and strength to be honest with herself and to do something to overcome her pain and sorrow. My aunt has not forgotten her husband or brother. Indeed, she speaks of them daily. The difference is that now that she has recovered, she speaks of them as loving memories rather than heart retching losses. She can share fun stories with us about our uncles, and she can laugh and reminisce right along with the rest of us. I am happy for her. She no longer lives in the pit of loneliness and grief. She has reentered the life of the living, rejoined our family and her friends, and she awaits a day where she will be reunited with her loved ones in due time.
My Aunt Mary no longer rushes the grim reaper. She enjoys living once again.
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.