As a funeral director we see many different families from all different walks of life come through our doors every day. Every person and every family that we encounter has their own story and they’re always unique… but, almost strangely similar in their grief. Loosing a loved one will never be easy but the background or the life they shared together and the manner in which they passed plays a big role in determining the type of grief that the surviving family will be in. Usually we can tell just from the age and background of the survivors just what we should be expecting and we can tailor our services to better suit that family for what they need emotionally… all before we even meet the family. This is just years of experience and training… but sometimes we can be wrong too!
Late one Sunday afternoon last September, while at home, I received a call from a young lady who told me that her brother had passed away very suddenly leaving his young wife and 3 little boys (all under the age of 3) in a state of despair. Just by talking with Patrick’s sister I knew that his wife was going to need a lot of help and we offered to meet with Brittany (Patrick’s wife) at her home Monday morning to see where we could help. Before I ever met Brittany I knew that this was going to be very emotional for the family and I also knew with 3 little boys that she couldn’t just drop everything to come to the funeral home… so we went to her. What happened on that Monday morning will be an event that changed my life forever.
Monday morning my brother, Jason and Brittany’s uncle, Terry McLeod and I all drove to her home to spend some time with her and meet the family. The house was busy with family and friends all frantically rushing around trying to support the children as well as Brittany with all of their needs. On the way upstairs to meet with Brittany we were walking around all the kids toys and noticed the sounds of children playing and laughing… then we noticed the pictures all around of all the whole family, full of smiles and joy and I could tell that this was different and something special. While sitting with Brittany and listening to her describe Patrick’s life, their story and the way that he passed it became very emotional for everyone in the room. It took just a few minutes for me to realize that she was someone very special… and there was something that was holding her up and keeping her very strong… she had a sense of Peace and Grace through this tragedy that I was not expecting. Then she told me that through everything that we do for his service all she wants is for it to glorify God and bring others to Christ. We were all blown away… but then everything on the way upstairs to meet her all made perfect sense. Her home was covered in Grace and full of Hope.
Many times when we meet with families we can tell those who are rooted in Faith and Hope. It is encouraging for us to see this through the midst of tragedy and Brittany was a prime example of this type of person. We went into her house ready to help her and yet she did more for us then we could ever do for her. Patrick left a real Legacy and Brittany is not going to waste that. She has spent her time since raising her children and counseling other widows who have experienced some of the same things. Not only does she have a blog and other avenues of media to share through but she also has been asked to speak at conferences, in government chambers and other places. She is an incredible person with a story of Hope to share with all those who would listen.
We were honored to work with Elizabeth Cossick – editor of The Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon to create another avenue for Brittany to share her story. Elizabeth did a great job capturing the true essence of who Brittany is and telling her story. I would encourage you all to pick up the latest copy of the magazine or go to their website and read the full story. It is good for the soul to see great things come from tragedy.