Friday, November 2, 2012

A Hurricane of a Week

The moon is just past the full stage and the wind has finally died down. The rain has, at long last stopped and I am exhausted.
The devastation along the Eastern shore of the United States can not be ignored. That was one huge storm system that reached as far as the Eastern shores of Michigan. For four days, the wind has been blowing and the rain pouring down. The neighborhood that I live in is fairly new construction and the power lines are all buried. But in the sleepy border town of where I work, the trees snapped under the heavy rains and high winds. Taking with them power to thousands of homes and businesses. Our funeral home was one of them. Two days of no power. Getting the business by on the small amount of power supplied by a single generator. The show must go on! It is times like these that a business like ours is even more important and you can't just close up shop for a couple of days.
Yesterday, we had a candlelight service for a five day old baby. And over night, we picked up a ninety-nine year old woman. Fortunately the power was restored this morning because we have a service tomorrow for a forty-eight year old man. Three completely different ages of people. And yet each and everyone of them died of natural causes. For each of them, their mission was complete here on earth.
As for me, after standing in the 60mph gust of wind and rain for three hours on Monday with 20 foot waves crashing on the shore just over the hill from where I was standing, my body is in need of some rest and relaxation. But it's shaping up to be a busy weekend. There is a lot of office work to catch up on now that the power is restored and new business keeps flowing in. But such is life in the death business.

Every day, I see death. I look it square in the eye. I see the old, well traveled bodies of people that lived long happy, healthy lives. I hear the stories of how they spent those lives. I too, see the young and I wonder, how much life will I squeeze into my time here on earth?

A couple of weeks ago, during a service, a woman about my age walked into the funeral home. She was there to make arrangements for her daughters funeral. You see, the night before, her daughter was riding in the back seat of a friends car. When the friend drove through a stop light at full speed, the on-coming truck had no time to stop. Out of seven people involved in the accident, this twenty year old girl was the only one that did not make it.
Later that day, I picked her up from the medical examiners office. It is sad to see such a young person lying on that stretcher.
The visitation brought out hundreds of young college aged kids. I wish that I could say that I did not see them in the parking lot smoking weed and drinking. But I did see them. And I wonder which one would be next.

I can only hope that this young girl had completed her mission here on earth. We all touch the lives around us in so many ways. It is my goal that everyone that knows me, is somehow a little better having known me. Even if for just a short while. I take my experiences with each person I meet and I always try to learn something. By doing so, I am enriched by each of you. I know that the people touched by the three lives at the beginning of this post are a little better off having known them. And I hope that everyone that knew this young girl has been blessed by knowing her as well.

In my business, we are here to help the people that are left behind to cherish the memories. In doing so, we have to remember that to relieve someone else's burdens makes it more about us and keeps others the way they are. But by walking with them through it makes it more about them and helps them move through it.


That corgi :) said...

I think I might have mentioned it before, but it does take a special person I do believe to work in the business you work in Stew. One with compassion and kindness and willing to be there to be with a family through some of their darkest hours. I don't think I could do it and not have some jadeness (if that is a word) creep in. Yet I am sure you and yours do it with dignity and grace even under the worst of circumstances with rain, windy, hot weather, etc.


MorningAJ said...

I'll second that. I know I couldn't do the job without becoming completely depressed about the ones whose lives seem to have been cut short.

Bless you Stew, for the work you do, and the light you bring to our lives by sharing your experiences on this blog.

Pia said...

Don't now what makes me stop by at your blog. But I'm happy to read this post. Your words touch my heart. Be blessed for your work!

Stew said...

Thank you both for your kind words.
I believe that we all have inside us the need and desire to help others when they need it. I consider myself fortunate to be able to be there for these people.
Death will always make you stop to think. But it's the people still living that I do my job for. And each day I am reminded to live life to it's fullest.

Ms Sparrow said...

How nice to think that we all have a mission on earth. I just wish that we could know what that was and how to fulfill it. I feel like I'm failing at whatever it is!

Stew said...

I don't believe many people ever know what their mission is.
But the people that we touch throughout our lives will know. And something tells me there's several people who have witnessed your true beauty, Betty.

Jim said...

A very heartfelt post, Stew. You are certainly in the right 'business' professionally and as well personally. I find your outlook refreshing considering what you witness on a daily basis.....something most of us aren't as equipped to handle as you are.
Good that you escaped most of the devastating damage from 'Sandy'.

laura.forestdreams:) said...

so moving...and heart felt.
you surely are overflowing with compassion and be there for people, to help them through their time of grief.

you are truly filled with beauty, stew.

my thoughts are with all those who have had to deal with sandy's wrath...devastation in so many ways. i can only hope that each day things will improve and people will heal.