Last week we found out she had terminal, stage four cancer. So we knew it was coming. But, we didn’t know when. Fortunately, she didn’t suffer too long and went peacefully.
Despite the peaceful nature of her passing, my husband is taking it particularly hard as it brings back the memories of his father’s passing. Don’s dad passed suddenly when he was ten in a motorcycle accident. It is a pain my husband has carried with him for the last twenty-five years that only in the last year with the help of a fantastic counselor, Frederick Marschner, has he been beginning to deal with.
His healing has been a long process as it extends beyond just his dad’s death. You see Don’s parents were divorced when his dad died and his father had custody. So prior to his father’s passing, Don and his brother lived with his father and grandmother. As a result of his father’s passing, his mother subsequently obtained custody and moved him and his brother hundreds of miles away from his grandmother and the only life he knew.
The death of his grandmother brings some of this to the surface. He is faced with going back to the place his father passed. He faced a sound in his uncle’s voice that he hadn’t heard since his dad died. He knows he’ll be seeing family he hasn’t seen since his dad’s funeral. The biggest fear, he will find himself at his father’s grave, as it is right next to his grandmother’s.
These are the typical emotional concerns any individual would face upon a loved one’s passing. In addition to this (and perhaps in an effort to not feel the grief) Don is worrying about practical issues. As you probably know, both my husband and I are self-employed. As such, neither Don nor I can just call into the office and say, “There has been a death in the family, see you next week.” Rather, we are responsible for getting our affairs in order before we leave for the services.
Looking at this week’s schedule (it was a busy one!), the prospect of having to make more than a dozen calls to reschedule quickly became overwhelming to him. This caused him begin to doubt whether or not it was worth it to go down. Fortunately, he quickly realized he would have regrets if he didn’t go. But, still trying to avoid the hassle of managing our schedules, he encouraged me to stay home.
Knowing this was a knee-jerk reaction to the amount of work that was quickly piling up, my response without hesitation was, “If you are going, I’m going. Family comes first.”
At first he didn’t accept that. He worried about the clients that were scheduled. He worried about my professional relationship with New World Gifts, WillowLight and more than anything Buffalo Underground, a group I would be offering a class to for the first time. He worried about everything.
More firmly I repeated, “Family comes first.” Followed by, “What good is my gift, be it to communicate with loved ones or provide spiritual support during times of grieving, if I can’t use it to help my family?”
He began to offer objections. But I cut him off telling him, “If my clients don’t understand that, they are not meant to see me nor do I really want to see them.”
As it turns out my clients, at least from what I can tell, have been understanding. And, rescheduling was a lot easier than my husband anticipated. Within a couple hours, most people were rescheduled as they understood that while death is the one thing in life that in inevitable, it is also something you can’t plan. They also understood that family comes first.