There are few experiences more personal than grief.
We all grieve differently. We experience the highs and the lows personally. A healing mechanism that works for one person may not work for another. And there is no timeline we can attach to grief—simply, we cannot say when grief “ends” or how long it takes to move forward with your life after a loss.
While we all journey through grief differently, it can help to connect with folks who understand the pain of a loss. It’s possible to learn lessons and begin our journey to healing by listening to the experiences of others.
That’s why we put together the Perspectives on Grief blog series. Periodically, we share the perspectives of our caring staff members who have been personally impacted and touched by a loss. It’s our hope that these personal stories help you find a sense of comfort throughout your grief journey.
Continue reading to hear our Owner and President Jim Busch’s personal experience with grief.
Jim Busch’s Personal Journey with Grief
Being a fourth generation funeral director, I have never been far from death, dying and bereavement. It has not been easy by any stretch to help others at some of their most difficult days and hours. My faith, family and friends are what bring me back every day, energized to help others.
When I think of my own personal experiences with grief, several instances come to mind that I have never truly gotten over. I have just learned to live with them.
When my grandfather died, it shaped me into a better funeral director. I remember the phone call from my mom, where I sobbed uncontrollably. He was a best friend to me. He taught me a passion for yard work, how to embellish a good fishing story and the phrase, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.” While I miss him dearly, I often smile, knowing he was a part of my life.
Grief is hard work. Several years ago, we experienced the unexpected passing of our longtime employee, John Shook. Having a death in the workplace has changed and shaped our perspective forever.
Then, there’s my mom. Her passing has left a tremendous void that’s so hard to describe. We talked often, and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I wish I could call her to be uplifted by her tremendous outlook on life. She taught us how to love deeply. She posed the question, “Would you rather not have that hurt? Would you rather not have loved that person?” I carry her profound wisdom with me.
On February 23,, 2020, my father, the third generation of the firm and our mentor, passed away. He was under hospice, and I found with both my parents that the hospice experience helps with grief in the weeks and months ahead. I always encourage the families we care for to remain present when a loved one passes—it’s truly a sacred moment. That moment is the most intimate time we have to look into and feel the soul and passions of our loved one.
My dad lived for five years after my mom passed. What hit me the hardest was how much I focused on my dad after my mom’s passing. I worked to keep him happy and content, and did the best to care for him. I never realized I had not fully grieved my mom until cleaning out their home and preparing it for sale. There was so much history, so many memories of them together. It truly was a difficult time sorting all of their belongings, but one that has helped me heal and look ahead.
Then there is my funeral director perspective. Not only did my father pass, but we then immediately had to turn to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it placed on how we grieve and celebrate life. Our staff said early on in the pandemic that we have to do everything we could to help families find ways to celebrate life safely. We weren’t meant to grieve isolated from our loved one or other family. We cannot push grief off—we need to share it and let others console and help us remember the life lived. It has been difficult losing a parent, especially your last parent, and even more difficult dealing with this during a pandemic.
Grief is certainly something that needs attention. The best thing we can do to remember the people we’ve lost is to keep them alive in our hearts.
My unique experiences with grief have taught me to care deeply; love well. Life is short.
Get More Unique Perspectives on Grief
In the days, weeks and months following a loss, it’s important to remember the grieving process has no set timeline. To help guide you through your grief journey, we encourage you to sign up for our weekly newsletter, A Journey Towards Healing. When you subscribe, you’ll receive weekly emails of encouragement across an entire year of your grief experience.
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.