My first case as a fully licensed funeral practitioner was my Uncle Roy Don. As I was sitting in church Easter Sunday, I was reminiscing over family gatherings and events I had shared with my Uncle Roy Don. He was the strongest man I had ever known. He could pull the engine out of a car without the assistance of a lifting winch. He had super strength; he was a “Man of Steel.” He had grown up in a rougher time, when people worked hard for what they had and fought hard to keep it. Men would come from far and wide to challenge his strength. They always left with a new respect for his reputation. I had seen him do so many things in life that were physically impossible for the average person. His super strength is what had kept him going after losing his beloved, Betty Jean. I prayed for him that day at church. Prayed that he would have the strength to live another day, so that my cousins would not lose their father on Easter.
As church was ending, my cell phone rang. I walked out into the foyer to answer it, and my cousin informed me that her father had just passed away. Now every year when Easter comes around, I think of my Uncle Roy Don and the special experiences I shared with him when he was living. I see my cousins, his daughters, either around town or on social media, and every year at Easter, they express memories of their late father.
When one has lost a significant loved one on a holiday, that holiday instantly changes forever in their heart. The primary focus or celebration now becomes the marker in one’s memory, as the day they suffered the loss of their loved one. The first few years, one may be sad when that holiday comes around. One hopes that the sadness of the death experience will eventually be replaced with happy memories of wonderful times shared together. Reality however, works at a snail’s pace, and such a change does not happen quickly.
One need not lose a loved one on a holiday to feel an increase of pain on holidays. The loneliness of loss is magnified every holiday, as we cycle through the first year, and each year after a substantial loss. Holidays are set aside for family and close friend gatherings. They are social events, shared with those we love most. By disrupting our social circles, death disrupts our social events. If you know someone who has lost a loved one, be mindful that he or she might delight in a thoughtful card, call or visit to get through a very painful day.
I was so honored that my cousins called upon me to lay their beloved father to rest. It shall remain forever a special memory, that they put their trust in me to get them through such a dreadful experience. Moreover, Easter has forever changed for me. The profound celebration depicting the resurrection of our Savior gives me hope that one day, my darling cousins will reunite with their real life superhero, “Man of Steel.”
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief. It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on