My father is 77. He is a man of great strength and agility. He is very smart, a mathematical guru, and has been my business advisor my entire adult life. I am, forever have been, and will always be a daddy’s girl.
As my husband answered the phone, I could hear my dad’s voice. As the familiar tone hit my ears, I was instantly alarmed. I realized immediately that my father was in severe danger. As my husband was initiating first aid instructions, he was grabbing and changing his clothes. Before he hung up the phone, my husband had his keys in hand, and we were getting into our vehicle to head out toward my father’s home.
At the close of their conversation, I learned that my dad had been run over by a vehicle. He was lying on the ground, unable to get up or move. I wanted to call the paramedics and send them to my father's side, but he had asked my husband not to. He did not want to alarm his sweetheart and cause her undue worry and stress. My thoughts of him lying on the hot Louisiana soil, exposed to the hot baking southern sun and all manner of creepy crawlies while injured, was too much to bear. I was worried he would die before our arrival.
My father has always been aware of safety. His construction sites have always been accident-free. He has been very cautious and has rarely sustained injury to his person. He has been insistent that his surroundings always be safe. Of interest, however, is that my father sustained this very same accident not over a year ago. He has been run over by a vehicle twice this year.
By the time we arrived at my father’s home, he had drug himself across his acreage, and up the long steep entry to his home. He was sitting in a zero gravity chair with ice packs under and over his body. His skin was torn, he was shaken, weak, and unable to stand and walk on his own. He was, however, to my relief, alive.
While I was evaluating my father’s condition, my cousin called. My 102-year-old great aunt was in need. The situation there was not life threatening; however, it was uncomfortable and stressful. My husband and I were there about an hour before we were able to gain control of the situation
Did I mention my daughter is getting married this coming week? Saturday was suppose to be my day to shop for appropriate attire. Before I was able to find anything while shopping, my father’s sweetheart called and said that my dad needed me to return to his side. It was a stressful day.
By Saturday evening, I was wondering if my recovery would be more arduous than my father’s. The stress of him being mowed down by an out of control vehicle, TWICE THIS YEAR, was so stressful that I became physically ill. At first, I thought I had the flu; then I thought I was suffering allergies, next I thought I had food poisoning, and lastly I realized I was suffering the ill effects of extreme stress.
Stress suffered by survivors is more extreme than everyday stress. Stress associated with grief can be debilitating.
GRIEF BRIEF 56
Grief is stressful.
Stress has a negative impact on one's immune system.
When suffering the loss of a loved one, it is a good idea to notify your primary care physician if you have existing physical, psychological or emotional conditions.
(Mourning Light I, Tracy Renee Lee, 2015)
My stress load is heavy. My choice to be a funeral director and certified grief counselor make it so. Additionally, I recently placed my mother into an assisted living facility. My mother is not happy. Her illnesses and unhappiness weigh heavily upon me. Now, I am faced with a new dilemma. What to do about my father. His recent accidents cause me to worry for his safety and future.
Reflecting upon my weekend, I wondered how ill might I have been if something worse had happened to my dad. After experiencing this level of stress, my comfort and health faltered. It was a peak through the window of grief that will one day strike my existence.
I learned many lessons this weekend.
Make sure I never have unfinished business.
Take every moment to tell those whom I love that I love them.
Ensure they know they are my happiness.
Never leave a loved one without parting exchanges of sincere endearments.
Seek out every possible moment to express my love and gratitude.
Insist that if I become agitated over anything, no matter the significance, realize that even in anger and pain, my love is unwavering.
Love is enduring; it is forever. If we fail to respect the gift of love, we will unnecessarily increase the debilitating stress that accompanies grief.
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, certified grief counselor, 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.