Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Grief Brief 4 - Sleep Disturbances


Sleep disturbances are common among survivors in the early stages of loss.  Early morning wake ups and difficulties falling asleep are generally experienced during the first four months after the loss of a significant loved one.  In normal grief, these symptoms seem to taper off and medical intervention is not usually required.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer.  I write books, weekly articles and brief tips related to understanding and coping with grief.  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/ and Twitter account  @PushnUpDaisies,  visit my website  www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies”  for additional encouragement and information.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is there Life after Death


Recently I had a mother visit me at my funeral home.  We had buried her young son just two years earlier.  Experiencing the death of your child is a horrific experience.  My client, now my friend, had also lost her husband just three months prior to the loss of her son.  One can only imagine the pain and anguish through which she has lived. 
Her question, “Is there life after death?” surprised me.  We had discussed on multiple occasions her belief in an afterlife.  As she continued, I realized her question was about her own life.  My friend was asking if there would ever come a time when she would experience life as she had before, with joy, love, and security.

Her question is insightful.  The experience of loss can become so overwhelming that we forget how to recognize joy and perhaps become fearful of its experience.  We may feel uncomfortable in social situations and withdraw from societal encounters.  We may feel afraid to experience love again and barricade ourselves from its rapture.  These are normal fears and emotions.
Life will never be the same for someone who has lost their child, their life’s companion, or anyone of significant value.  Such a love loss will never be forgotten nor overcome.  Life has changed and eventually you will be able to make adjustments to cope with it.

My friend’s experience was tragic, but most likely, she will one day be strong enough to allow love and joy to re-enter her life.  She might be a little more guarded, a little more cautious and a little slower to trust, but if she takes care of herself emotionally and spiritually, things will get better.  I already see it happening.

Through such an experience, we wonder if there will ever be an end to our sorrow.  We may feel there is no hope.  My dear friend, there is hope.

So, is there life after death?  For the living, indeed there is. 
My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer.  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/ and Twitter account  @PushnUpDaisies,  visit my website  www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies”  for additional encouragement and information.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Grief Brief 3 - Grief or Depression

Grief and depression are different conditions. 

With grief, the world looks poor and empty.
With depression, the person feels poor and empty. 

Although depression may exist during bereavement, it seems to be a transient state. If depression debilitates the bereaved for an extended period, professional practitioners might be considered.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer.  I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief.  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 and information at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.




Monday, August 19, 2013

Broken


This past week I served a broken family.  The father was a strong God-fearing man.  He was in his eighties.  He was a veteran.  He had brought comfort to many during his lifetime. 
 As many of us do, in his younger years, he had made mistakes.  His mistakes lead to a separation in his family.  A separation that at his death was insurmountable by his children. 
 Although this man who had served many during his lifetime has died, the ripple effects of his actions are continuing to affect the living in his absence.  Most particularly, his children. 
 You have always heard, “You hurt the ones you love.”  Unfortunately, this hurt transcends your death.  For those left behind trying to overcome this hurt, your death is not inconsequential.  Indeed, pain and suffering are exacerbated by death. 
Death does not erase evil deeds against another.  If we are the offender, death robs us of the opportunity to make amends and to repair the damages we have inflicted against others; allowing us to rest in peace.  If we are the sufferer, death robs us the opportunity to forgive and overcome the damages we have suffered allowing us to live in peace. 
It seems likely that this man’s family will never recover from his evil deeds against them.  How unfortunate that this family of children grew up never experiencing the comfort of their daddy’s strength, never grew up witnessing his good deeds toward others, and never grew up knowing that before all else, he loved them more than life itself.  The absence of these experiences creates a void and pathology within the psychological development of the human soul.  
The man, who created this family, destroyed this family.  His mistakes were probably the same that many of us fall into during our lives.  Mistakes that are easy to make yet difficult to repair.  This man went to his grave leaving behind him a trail of sadness, heartache, and betrayal.  His legacy could have been different.  It would have required restitution to his children.  It would have required him to take upon himself the consequences of his actions rather than leave his children to suffer them.  
As a parent, I want to believe this man tried to repair the destruction he caused within his family.  It is impossible for me to comprehend that a parent would go to their grave knowing that they were leaving behind such a mess for their children to live through.  The cold hard truth is however, that this is not the first time I have witnessed such devastation within a family caused by one of its own.  It is not the first, nor do I believe it will be the last.  
Death does not erase evil deeds against another we must do that ourselves.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer.  It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.  
Please follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement and information at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

 




Thursday, August 15, 2013

Grief Brief 2 - Ailment of the Soul


Grief is an ailment of the soul. 

When the body suffers injury or ailment, one must take time to recover or restore good physical health. 

When one's soul suffers injury or ailment, one must take equal measures to restore health and psychological balance.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer.  I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief.  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 and information at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blessings

Have you ever known someone and wished you could live in their shoes?  Maybe they are famous, maybe they have won the lottery, or maybe they have great luck.  Perhaps you know someone whose shoes you would not wish to wear.  I know someone like this.  She is my cousin.

When we were children, my cousin was scary.  She was older than the rest of us and so she was stronger, faster, and smarter than all the little cousins put together.  She would pull pranks on us and scare us tremendously.  As my cousin grew up, she was a little on the wild side.  Probably no wilder than most teenagers, nevertheless she frightened me.  As a young woman, my cousin “Got right with God.”  She became a strong church going woman and married a man from her local area.  She had children and her life settled into an average married woman’s life.  After a while, she divorced her first husband and married a second.

One day at work, I received a notice that my cousin’s adult daughter had been in an auto accident.  She had been broadsided by an 18-wheeler.  One wonders how she even survived.  My cousin immediately gave up her employment and sat day and night at the hospital with her daughter.  She prayed incessantly that her daughter would wake from her coma.  Nearly a year later, she did.  Unfortunately, her daughter must spend her days relearning life’s skills.  My scary cousin now has custody of her daughter and her daughter’s young children.  Life will never be the same for any of them.

Soon after her daughter and all of her daughter’s life functioning equipment came home, my cousin’s daddy fell ill.  Within a very short time, my cousin’s daddy passed away.  This was particularly tragic for her because she loved her daddy so deeply and because her burdens were increased unbelievably.  With the death of her daddy, my cousin assumed the role as leader within her extended family.  She now takes care of her disabled daughter, her disabled daughter’s very young children, her disabled mother, her ninety-eight year old grandmother, her nieces, and the mistakes and irresponsibility’s of her adult siblings.  Her burdens are so heavy and so numerous, I don’t know how she carries them. 

I attended her daddy’s funeral.  It was a normal funeral with the usual prayers, music, and sermon from the preacher.  During the funeral, my cousin walked up to the pulpit and spoke.  To this day, I don’t know how she did it.  With so many burdens, she spoke of her love for her daddy and their treasured experiences together.  She spoke of the newly acquired responsibilities and burdens that she would now be called upon to bear.  She was so vulnerable, so frail and yet so strong all at the same moment.  In an instant, she went from scary cousin to superwoman.  She pled with her siblings and her husband to help her with these burdens.  As she spoke, I thought to myself, my cousin was still the strongest, the fastest, and the smartest of all the cousins put together.  My heart was full and I was filled with appreciation and admiration for her.

Nearly three years has passed.  This past week at church, my cousin shared her witness of God and her love of Christ.  During her witness, she spoke of her dearly departed daddy, her disabled daughter, her very young grandchildren, her disabled mother, her ninety-eight year old grandmother, her irresponsible siblings, and her nieces.  She called them blessings, not burdens. 
My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and writer.  It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on. 

Please follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement and information at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Grief Brief 1 - Forgetting Memories


Visiting places or carrying objects that remind the survivor of the deceased is motivated through a fear of losing or forgetting precious memories.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer.  I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief.  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 and information at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.




Saturday, August 3, 2013

Parental Grief

Perhaps the most difficult loss to suffer is that of your child, it stands out as the most dreadful of all.  No two people grieve in the exact same manner.  This is especially true in the loss of a child.  Societal mores dictate a unique set of standards for each of the sexes and this follows true through bereavement.  Men are assigned the role of strength while women are allowed to openly express sorrow. 

In addition to being a funeral practitioner, I am a portrait artist.  In my capacity as an artist, I was working in a large retail store and noticed a young couple checking out at the registers.  The husband was attentive to his wife as she paid for their selected items, and assisted her with amazing tenderness and love.  She was a stunning beauty and he was strong and handsome.  As they walked closer to where I sat, I could see there was something else.  I could not remove my gaze from them and to my surprise; they walked right up and sat down at my table.  The beautiful woman sat directly across from me.  I looked deep into her eyes and was overcome with compassion.  It was a very confusing experience.  She was perfect in every way, yet there was a vulnerability that tenderly drew you to her.  Her gaze was almost yearning and her mind seemed far away.  Then her husband spoke.  My eyes remained focused on his lovely wife, and then I knew.  She sat there, so straight and brave, and without a sound or gasp, a tear streamed down her perfectly formed cheek.  As her tear reached her jaw line, I realized that I was looking into the depth of a broken soul.  The faraway look that had been so confusing to me was now clear as day.  This stunningly beautiful woman had suffered the overwhelming loss of her first-born and only child, just two weeks earlier.  Her sweet son had been a vibrant, playful, and beautiful toddler.  Their neighbor accidentally ran over him as he retrieved a ball while playing catch with his daddy in the front yard.  In an effort to save his son, this strong father sustained dangerous injuries himself and was within 18 inches of reaching his son when the vehicle crushed him beneath its weight.  This young mother sat there, not moving, still, and quiet.  Her husband recounted the tragic details of their son’s death and asked if I could paint his portrait from a cell phone snap that he had taken just days before their loss.  I painted their son’s portrait.  It was beautiful.

This was the first couple I had ever worked with that had suffered the loss of their child, and perhaps that is why it remains with me.  I learned a lot from these parents.  The daddy was strong, tall, and outgoing; the mother was beautiful, feminine, and withdrawn.  Through the years, the daddy has remained strong and outgoing.  In fact, as time has passed, I have often worried about his never wavering strength.  Conversely, I have witnessed the mother rise and fall as the days have passed.  She has displayed her sadness and demonstrated her journey to recovery openly.

 For several years now, I have kept in contact with this family.  They have since enjoyed the birth of a new child.  A girl, as lovely as her mother.  Their impact on my funeral practice remains ever strong.  They taught me so much about the tragedy of losing a child.  They also taught me that two people mourning the same death grieve differently.  Each parent had enjoyed unique experiences with their son and each parent grieved in a way that they were able to recover from his tragic death and live as a family again.  Their road was so hard, and I am sure it remains so.  They are strong and vibrant, yet I observe in quiet moments that they drift back in time and remember how precious and wonderful their son was to them.  I learned that society is not necessarily fair, especially to dads when they lose their children.  However, most importantly, I learned that if a mom and a dad love and tenderly support each other, each taking care of the other in moments of despair, they will eventually arrive at a place where they can bear the pain.  Moreover, although life has forever changed, they can exist together with peace and harmony anew.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director and writer.  It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on. 

Please visit my website for additional encouragement and information at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com .