I deal with a "traumatic" event in the life of a friend. Her cat, who was one of the few things that loved her, her baby, died in her arms after an illness. She felt guilt that she had caused it, or hadn't done enough to look after her "baby" as she has been dealing with her own health. Knowing this woman's story as I do, I understand why it shocked her so. It can just be so draining at times to see such raw grief.
This week, I was asked to see the son of a patient. The son wanted to see me to help ensure the salvation of his ailing mother. It was causing a rift in the family as he wanted me to talk to her and make sure that when she had prayed to accept Jesus years or months before, that it was "genuine". Currently she was expressing doubts about her beliefs. I had to tell him that even though we Christians are concerned about the salvation of the masses, there is a time and place for everything, and this was not the time. Death is not necessarily a time to focus on this issue. He had been focusing and working on this issue for most of her life so I basically told him that for the sake of the overall situation, that he should go to his mother and tell her that he loved her, and to tell her what he loved about her most, and to reminisce with her and her family. To share the happy memories, rather than to mar the family relations with an obvious source of tension.
You know, I remember earlier in my career that a man was given a few months to live. So he rented the country club and had a party. It was like the farewell before the funeral, so that the family and friends could share memories with him rather than after he had passed. I hope that I get a chance to enjoy the same. Mind you, we should probably think about doing this even today. To tell our loved ones how much we care for them, that they mean to us. Doesn't it feel good to hear wonderful things, or thank you's, even the simple "good job", or "I love it when you..." Why we don't think to do this enough but instead wait until the end, to cram it all in, that mystifies me.