When my mom died during COVID a few years ago, she didn’t want a funeral service she just wanted to be put in a box, no embalming, no nothing. So, I spent some time with a funeral director named Harvey Puckett.

Many of you know, I train and facilitate on high-pressure conversations, including media training, conflict resolution, forgiveness in the workplace, and diversity equity and inclusion. With that said, I was soothed to talk with, pray with, and become deeply connected to Harvey, a black man, for many reasons.

My family of heritage is what I would call unconscious racists. They would NEVER say they are racist – they like black people. But hidden underneath the surface was a high fear of anyone who wasn’t white.

It would show up in random conversations such as “Remember to thank Jesus that you’re not black.” This was something I was taught as a 6-year-old and trust me, you can’t make this up♥.

I don’t share this with malice. I’ve grieved a lot of loss in my life. I feel like I’ve managed to forgive and surpass double judging (folks being racist and me judging them for being racist). Sigh.

And, I don’t have blame much at this point in my life. Is it merely a noticing, an acceptance, a type of forgiveness?

Harvey and I had some intimate conversations on love, loss, racism, and cultural pain during the process of my mom’s burial. I felt safe enough with him to share my family’s history and I thought it was quite divine and precious that my mother received a black funeral director.

I fell in love with his soul, really.

I’ve been thinking about him this past week and thought of leaving him a message reminding him what an angel he is, and how blessed people will be to have him help navigate their family’s pain and loss.

A few months later I learned Harvey had died from COVID, too. I cried for him. I cried for me, for my mom, for all of us with immeasurable grief.

That little slice of intimacy, connection and love with Harvey soothed me during one of the toughest times in my life.

I’m simply grateful and hope Harvey is in blissful peace.

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Love, Dr. Shawne

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Five Ways to Start Forgiving Your Parents
Giving Your Pain A Voice

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