Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Blog Address

For additional blog posts, please go to

http://www.mourningcoffee.com/pushing-up-daisies-blog

Thank you.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

At Rest

As I sat with my client pre-arranging her mother’s funeral services, she became emotionally distressed.  She apologized for wanting to accomplish her mother’s funeral swiftly, upon her death.  She felt ashamed and wondered if others would see her as insensitive or ungrateful.  She thought others might think she was treating her mother without respect or that she had not appreciated her mother’s love and sacrifices.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.  The desire to quickly accomplish final disposition is neither an act of selfishness nor a lack of love and appreciation.  The desire to quickly accomplish final disposition may be an act of love.

This daughter desires to quickly accomplish final disposition because she has witnessed her mother suffer through a long and painful illness.  The ravages on her mother's life and body have been so physically painful and emotionally stressful, that her daughter cannot bear the suffering one more moment.  The only scenario to render relief to her mother is death.  The only scenario to render relief to her daughter is final disposition.  The relief the daughter will experience is known as closure.  Because the pain of witnessing her mother’s suffering is so severe, she cannot rest or feel relief until her mother’s burial is accomplished.

At that moment, the moment of final disposition, both mother and daughter will be at rest.  One will be laid to rest, and one will live at rest. 
   
My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.  I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.


Please follow my blog at http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement.  For information on booking speeches, go to  www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Surprise Gifts

As I sat in the sanctuary, listening to the pastor, my soul was touched by his sermon. The widow has been an acquaintance of mine for several years and is now my friend. I knew her husband was ill and would soon pass away. That day happened this past week. Today was his funeral.
The decedent’s family is a blended family. Blended families can be challenging for a funeral director. There are often underlying issues and aggressions that can erupt at inopportune moments. This family, although blended, held no surprises. They were kind and gentle to each other, and my heart was overjoyed at the precious memories they would carry with them, from this day forward. Their pastor’s words reflected their behavior and impressed upon the congregation, hope for their future.
His inspirational words advised all families to build memories together at every moment possible. Memories outlive us and sustain our families once our death has occurred. Good memories help families recover from loss and give them strength when they would rather give up. They nurture our loved ones, and in our absence, help them battle and overcome their weaknesses.
As I observed this family today, I saw the excellent men their father had raised. They were respectful and loving to their stepmother. They had compassion for her above their own sorrows. Their memories of their father will forever sustain them through their trials in life, and the firm foundation, which he built for them, will forever keep them honorable.
As today's services came to an end, I wondered would someone in the blended family waylay the final moments of the service with an underlying issue. Instead, I witnessed the love and respect these two exceptional men held for their stepmother. They revered and appreciated her love for their father.
As the final hymn filled the sanctuary with worship, the widow rose to her feet. She reached toward heaven and with trembling hands, pleaded with God to accept her husband into his presence. As I witnessed the raw emotion of a recent widow, my eyes filled with tears for her pain. Moreover, I pondered her depth of love for her departed husband. He had blessed her with a life of love and companionship, and he had raised choice sons to love and protect her until the blessed day of their reunion in heaven. These two fine men, raised so well by their beloved father, unknowingly elevated the bar of honor, behavior, cooperation, and respect.
At the end of the day I realized, the decedent and his family had given me a number of surprise gifts after all: a joyful heart, the experience of seeing exceptional men behave exceptionally, and an absence of unwelcome eruptions at inopportune moments.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author, and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
Please follow my blog at http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement. For information on booking speeches, go to www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Good Samaritan

As a funeral director, I see firsthand the willingness and abilities of families to come together and assist each other in times of crisis. Occasionally, however, one's family is unable to provide for unexpected needs when tragedy strikes. In such circumstances, one may find that complete strangers come to their rescue, as good Samaritans of old.

I recently served a family that suffered a tragic loss. Although the father of this family is a strong, hardworking man, the industry in which he works, is one that pays very low wages. His family is large, consisting of several young and teenaged children. Under such circumstances, his meager income must stretch to meet the needs of many. His wife continually struggles against the rising costs of food and shelter. Her opportunity to work is restricted, as her time and efforts are eaten away with developing innovative methods to economize and ensure the survival of her family.

Tragically, the eldest son in this family passed away in an accident late one evening. As his grief-stricken father and mother planned his end of life services, they promised that even though they did not have the funds to pay for their needs, they would somehow get them.  As I helped his parents through their choices, the physical stature of his strong father paled under the severity of mournful grief, his mother could scarcely draw breath.  My soul mourned for them.

As they left the funeral home to somehow scrape together the necessary funds and prepare for the services that would follow within the next few days, a vehicle entered my driveway.  A gray-haired woman, wearing very dark glasses came to my door and asked to see the funeral director in charge of this family's services.  I invited her into my office and asked what I might do to assist her.  She reached into her purse and pulled out her checkbook.  She looked me square in the eyes and asked for the total sum owed for this family's services.  She wrote her check for the appropriate amount, informed me that she wished to remain anonymous, stood up and without another word, walked out.

Although I did not see this woman at the services for this young man, I have since seen her in town shopping for groceries and at various activities.  Although our gazes have met, she has never let on to those around her that she has ever met or spoken to me.  As she requested, her identity remains anonymous.

As a funeral director, I see firsthand the willingness and abilities of families to come together and assist each other in times of crisis. Occasionally, however, one's family is unable to provide for unexpected needs when tragedy strikes. In such circumstances, one may find that complete strangers come to their rescue.  This gray-haired woman, wearing very dark glasses, who anonymously paid the funeral bill for this tragically stricken family, lives the supernal example of the Good Samaritan of old.  How wonderful it would be, if more of us patterned our lives, as has she.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author, and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.  I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement.  For information on booking speeches, go to  www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Affordable Green Burial Option

I worked with a family this week, which I have worked with before.  This family is one of humble means, and the decedent lived quite some distance from my funeral home.  Upon notification of my client’s death, my husband and I immediately began our journey to accept her into our protective custody and bring her back to the area of her birth for burial.  In life, when funds are tight, monies are spent on survival.  We must often push to the side, things that we know are inevitable yet not impending, in order to afford the bare necessities of life.  This was the situation this dear family found themselves faced with this past week.

As I arrived at my client’s home, her daughter ran out and embraced me, thanking me for coming in her time of need.  She tightly held on to me, sobbing over the loss of her beloved mother, expressing gratitude for the kindness she so desperately needed this horrific night.  The loss of her mother was devastating, and she needed someone to understand her pain, her fear and her desperate situation.

My client’s survivors decided on a partial service known as an immediate burial.  An immediate burial is a viable alternative for traditional funeral services when funds are not readily available, and there is opposition to cremation.  In most cases, immediate burial does not require embalming, it therefore offers a satisfactory alternative to survivors seeking as little environmental impact as possible.  Generally, an immediate burial must occur within twenty-four hours of death.  If the survivors have chosen a cemetery that does not require a vault for burial, an earth friendly encasement may be chosen as well.

If you find yourself in need of a more affordable burial alternative and would rather an immediate burial in place of a traditional funeral, you will need to discuss it with your funeral director.  It is also a kind gesture to discuss it with your survivors before your death.  The abrupt schedule of events and the absence of services may impose a more complicated grief recovery upon certain survivors.

Keep in mind that funerals are for the living, not the deceased.  An immediate burial does not offer consideration to family and friends and is accomplished at the convenience of the funeral home.  If your family stands in need of a more traditional funeral service but finds itself unable to acquire the appropriate funding, a graveside service may be a better alternative.

My client's daughter understood the gravity of her mother's financial situation this week and was happy to find an appropriate and affordable burial option.  Although immediate burial lacks consideration for the decedent's family, we paused a moment while her son offered a word of prayer on her behalf.  My client was a good mother and her children deeply loved her.  It is my prayer that their moment of prayer will offer them the solace needed to avoid a complicated grief recovery.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.  I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement.  For information on booking speeches, go to  www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Grief Brief 62 - Difficulties Concentrating

During bereavement, concentrating and retaining information becomes difficult.  This is caused by a preoccupation of loss.  Reading and other tasks requiring concentration, may take longer than usual.  Mistakes and errors may also become more prevalent.  As time passes, mistakes lessen and the ability to concentrate and retain information returns. 

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.  I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement.  For information on booking speeches, go to  www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Final Farewell

I often write about saying good-bye before a loved one dies, and this week I followed my advice. I have a great aunt who is 100 years old, and although I visit her fairly often, she will be moving some distance away this week, and so that opportunity will soon no longer be possible.
When I entered her room, she was dozing, so I gently called her by name until she woke up. I bent forward to hug her and could see a touch of confusion in her expression. She told me she wondered who I was. As soon as I told her my name, I could see her joy, and we enjoyed a long visit.
While she spoke of days passed, she recounted great love for my beloved grandmother (her sister), my gracious great-grandmother (her mother), my cousins, my father and numerous other relatives. She spoke of the Great Depression, and the anguish suffered by our family during the trials of their survival.
As I left the nursing home, I passed through the town where my father lives. I decided to take a moment and visit with him as well. He was outside planting his garden, and we sat under the shade of 100-year-old pine trees. He recounted great love for my beloved grandmother (his mother), my gracious great-grandmother (his grandmother), my cousins and numerous other relatives. He spoke of the importance of being self-reliant, the Great Depression, and the trials and anguish suffered by our ancestors through their poverty so that we could one day enjoy the harvest of their sacrifices. It occurred to me, more profoundly than it ever had before, that many wonderful people have suffered great hardship, that I might see a better day.
As I spent a meaningful afternoon of communion with those whom I love, my heart was filled with gratitude for loved ones who have already left this life and hope for those of us who remain. While lying in my bed this morning, my mind drifted in and out of sleep.  My soul found peace as I dreamt of a future grand reunion; my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my great aunt and my father holding hands together, with the light of Christ surrounding them.
My great aunt is near the end of her experience on earth; my dad will one day be there too. After today, however, although their loss will be unbearable, I know that I will feel a modicum of peace, as I took the time to visit them before their days were over.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author, and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com. follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement. For information on booking speeches, go to www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com