As they left the funeral home to somehow scrape together the necessary funds and prepare for the services that would follow within the next few days, a vehicle entered my driveway. A gray-haired woman, wearing very dark glasses came to my door and asked to see the funeral director in charge of this family's services.
I recently served a family that suffered a tragic loss. Although the father of this family is a strong, hardworking man, the industry in which he works, is one that pays very low wages. His family is large, consists of several young and teenaged children. Under such circumstances, his meager income must stretch to meet the needs of many. His wife continually struggles against the rising costs of food and shelter. Her opportunity to work is restricted, as her time and efforts are eaten away with developing innovative methods to economize and ensure the survival of her family.
Tragically, the eldest son in this family passed away in an accident late one evening. As his grief-stricken father and mother planned his end of life services, they promised that even though they did not have the funds to pay for their needs, they would somehow get them. As I helped his parents through their choices, the physical stature of his strong father paled under the severity of mournful grief, his mother could scarcely draw breath. My soul mourned for them.
As they left the funeral home to somehow scrape together the necessary funds and prepare for the services that would follow within the next few days, a vehicle entered my driveway. A gray-haired woman, wearing very dark glasses came to my door and asked to see the funeral director in charge of this family's services. I invited her into my office and asked what I might do to assist her. She reached into her purse and pulled out her checkbook. She looked me square in the eyes and asked for the total sum owed for this family's services. She wrote her check for the appropriate amount, informed me that she wished to remain anonymous, stood up and without another word, walked out.
Although I did not see this woman at the services for this young man, I have since seen her in town shopping for groceries and at various activities. Although our gazes have met, she has never let on to those around her that she has ever met or spoken to me. As she requested, her identity remains anonymous.
As a funeral director, I see firsthand the willingness and abilities of families to come together and assist each other in times of crisis. Occasionally, however, one's family is unable to provide for unexpected needs when tragedy strikes. In such circumstances, one may find that complete strangers come to their rescue. This gray-haired woman, wearing very dark glasses, who anonymously paid the funeral bill for this tragically stricken family, lives the supernal example of the Good Samaritan of old. How wonderful it would be, if more of us patterned our lives, as has she.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author, and professional speaker. 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.