Friday, September 27, 2013

Grief Brief #8 - Dreams of the Dead

Dreaming of the deceased is very common. Sweet dreams and distressing dreams alike may indicate where one is within the cycle of grief recovery. Commonly, dreams with unresolved issues indicate an inability toward resolution and may require professional intervention.

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, September 23, 2013

Move On - A Ridiculous Term

There comes a time after you have lost a loved one that others want you to move on.  Some think it is unhealthy for you to continue grieving over someone who is gone.  Although misguided, at least these people have your best interest at heart.  Others are just uncomfortable with death and want you to get over it as you would a cold or the flu.  They want you to put it away in a neat little box so that they do not have to be inconvenienced or uncomfortable whenever they see you. This subject begs the question “Is there a time to move on.”

 It is important to realize that you are the authority on the subject of your recovery timeline.  No one can, nor should tell you how and when to feel better, when to get over it, or when to move on.  No one except you had your experiences with the deceased.  No one can possibly understand the depth of your experiences with the deceased.  No one knows your ability to overcome the loneliness and sometimes fear associated with your loss.  At times, you may even feel anger.  Anger at the deceased for leaving you alone, anger at yourself for something you did or did not do before they were gone, anger at others for something they did or did not do.  Feelings of anger are natural and are quite often followed by feelings of guilt.  Guilt can be destructive because it can damage self-esteem.  On the other hand, it can be motivating in that it may encourage you not to repeat such actions ever again.  Most often though, guilt feelings are actually feelings of regret.  If you realize that your guilt is actually regret, your self-esteem may recover more easily. 
If you have a friend or loved one pushing you to move on,  analyze their motives.  If their motives are purely in your best interest, take an objective look at your situation.  Has your grief become debilitating for an extended amount of time?  If so, it may be time to seek out a source for counseling.  Debilitating grief is called complicated grief.  Once things have become complicated, it might be advantageous to have someone help you regain order in your life.  Remember, the death of a loved one requires a completely new structure in your functionality.  It may take quite some time for you to adjust to your new requirements in life.  Statistically, it takes on average, 3 years for a widow to recover to a comparable level of functionality after the death of her husband.  Unfortunately, for a widower, the outlook is a little bleaker.
The most important things to remember are that you will never forget your loved one, you will never stop loving your loved one, and you will never replace your loved one.  There will most likely come a time when you will be able to overcome the devastation of your loss.  A time when you will be able to function in your daily activities without crying or withdrawing.  Nevertheless, when you love someone, they are forever a part of your existence. 
In other words, we never move on, we simply live on.
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.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grief Brief #7 - Social Withdrawal


People who have recently lost a loved one may tend to withdraw from family or friends in intimate and social situations. This tendency is generally brief and usually corrects itself without intervention.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I provide brief tips related to the loss of loved ones and weekly bereavement articles. 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, or visit my website www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com for additional encouragement and information.

Monday, September 16, 2013

4 Precious Women

Four precious women came to my office.  Although they were sorrowful, they filled my funeral home with joy.  This was the day they had known would come; they were prepared both mentally and spiritually.  Between the four of them, the loss was great.  They had not only lost their daddy, husband, and grandpa; they had lost their spiritual leader.  The man in my parlor, while living, had been a Reverend.  His congregation had been small in number, but large in kindness, generosity, and acceptance.  As we worked through the details of laying the Reverend to rest, this darling family of women, cooperated and supported each other with softness and love.  These four precious women were a true testament to his work.    

 Through the days that followed, the girls served their mother, and each other, with tenderness.  Their parishioners, one by one, came to the funeral home, and one by one, did so with kindness, respect, and compassion.  Indeed, the Reverend’s influence seems to have emulated the light of Christ to those he served.

During the week of this man’s death, these four precious women, demonstrated flawless virtue and goodness.  My heart grew with respect, admiration, and love for them.  My conviction in Christ’s mission was magnified, and my hope for humanity was shored up.

The Reverend’s final resting place was not where he had lived, and so necessity dictated that he travel a great distance for interment.  I was hesitant to see these four precious women embark upon the final leg of their journey, but knew they had an errand of love to fulfill.  Therefore, as I bid them farewell, my prayers and love went with them. 

These four precious women, who came to my office, suffering the greatest pain that we as humans endure, left it filled with joy.  I am grateful to them for sharing their time with me, for exemplifying the light of Christ, and for bearing their wounds with grace and dignity.  Although this week was caused by a solemn occasion, my soul was lifted, my joy was increased, and my cup was filled. 

Even in his death, the Good Reverend’s work lives on.
 
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, September 10, 2013

Grief Brief #6 - Absent-Mindedness

Newly bereaved individuals may find that they are more absentminded than usual.  Absent-mindedness, in and of itself, is not cause for alarm.  If this behavior is extreme, individuals may find themselves causing great inconvenience or harm.  If this behavior manifests itself for an extended period, or is severe in consequence, one should consider consulting with a counselor. 

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.

Losing Your Beloved

Many people say that marriage is the hardest part of life. It is not. Surviving the death of your beloved requires more work, deeper suffering, and greater endurance than marital bliss ever asked from anyone.

Surviving your beloved is excruciating and arduous. Experts in the study of grief have expressed theory upon theory to aid survivors through this journey. The fact remains however, that theory is not fact. In searching for a yellow brick road to recovery, you must realize, as did Dorothy and her cohorts, that you already possess the strength and ability to survive. Identify your strengths and cultivate them. Utilize your abilities and realize that you are the only one capable of surmounting your grief. From this point forward, it is your job to continue onward without the companionship of your beloved. You must redefine your role in a myriad of life’s situations as your own provider, your own protector, and your own strategist. If your loss is recent, it will take some time before you are able to embark on your proactive road to recovery.

Centuries ago, society required survivors to wear black for one year after the death of their loved ones. From this tradition, we wonder, does it take only one year to recover from the loss of a lifetime of love? Grief is the price we pay for the gift of love. I wish I could tell you that one year of grief is all that you will suffer. I cannot. If you loved your spouse with the depth of your soul, grief may forever be your unwelcome companion.

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, September 6, 2013

Grief Brief #5 - Appetite Disturbances


Appetite disturbances are very common during mourning.  They usually manifest themselves in terms of under eating rather than overeating.  Significant changes in eating habits may result in significant changes in weight.

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, September 2, 2013

This Friend

I have this friend. She is a unique sort of woman. She is the mother of young children and a computer expert. Actually, I think she might be a computer geek. My association with her began through a women’s club membership. It expanded as we attended meetings together, traveled across the great state of Texas for rallies, and generally participated in community improvement activities. I could always tell, there was something underlying about her, but I did not want to get into it. My life was busy enough without meddling into hers. I really just needed her to keep her problems to herself, and she did.

One Saturday afternoon, she called me. Her voice was the same as usual, brightly toned, but void of emotion. She opened our conversation with her usual directness, informing me that her call was in connection to my professional expertise. I offered my standard reply, “Sure, what can I help you with?” I thought she was going to ask me about something she had read on the internet concerning some crazy funeral tradition; but she did not. She shocked me, right there through the phone. Her next statement hit me from left field and I stood there dumb struck. In an instant, I knew I had been a horrible friend. Actually, I had not been a friend at all. I should have listened to the promptings of my heart and reached out to a young woman in a horrible situation, but I did not want to do it. Deep down in my soul, I knew she had problems, but I didn’t want to acknowledge them. I did not want to sacrifice my time, nor my efforts, to reach out to someone who was desperately in need of protection and support. To this day, I am ashamed of myself. I put my own concerns, my own time, and the management of my funeral practice, before the needs of someone who truly needed just a little bit of help. I think the slightest effort on my part would have meant the world to her.

As I waited for her question, she bluntly announced that her husband had just shot himself in the brain, and was dead on their apartment floor. I nearly dropped the phone. After a moment of shock, I asked her, “Have you called the Police?” “They are on their way.” she replied. “Where are your children?” “In the next room.” She said nonchalantly. “Have you called anyone else?” “Pastor is on his way.” I could hear the sirens in the background. I told her to let the police and paramedics enter her home. She did. They quickly assessed the situation and whisked her husband off to the hospital. I told her I would meet her there.

Her husband was pronounced DOA. As I entered the emergency room foyer, I could see her walking toward me. She reached out, and latched onto me, as though she were a small child at a horror flick. She gripped me so tightly, breathing frantically, burying her face at the nape of my neck. Everything seemed to slow down to a snail’s pace. I brushed away the hair that had fallen into her face. I kissed the crown of her head, and patted her on the back. I coddled her as I would a child, and told her I would help her through this. She was terrified, and the person there to give her comfort, was the woman that had never offered to help her before tragedy struck. She held onto me as though I were her mother. It broke my heart to see her suffer so severely. I was horrified at myself, and I knew that I had been a self-absorbed workaholic; too busy and stressed to assist a friend. How’s that for knowing you’ve messed up in life? She was shaking, yet to those who did not know her, she seemed calm. To me, she was a little girl acting all grown up and brave; but I knew she was terrified. I could see it in her eyes, I could hear it in her voice, and it cut me to the core. She asked me about funeral services, the least expensive possible, and I took him away.

A few days later, we held his service at my funeral home. I was surprised at the number and notable people who attended. This man, who had been horrid to his wife and bothersome in most social situations, had extreme political influence. His unique ability to blog and bend public opinion was very evident by those in attendance.

Thankfully, my friend has found a new life. She seems much happier. She is engaged to be married, has started a computer game business, and has moved to a different state. We keep in touch, mainly through social media. I am thankful her life has found new direction.

In my nightly reflections, my prayers are for the both of us. That her life will be better, that her newly found euphoria will sustain her, and that she will find a better friend to her than I ever was. For me, I pray that I will never allow myself to become so absorbed in my work that I value my time and efforts more than I do the needs of one of God’s precious children. Also, that I will be a better friend from this day forward.

Lesson to self: People are in your life for a purpose. Follow the promptings of your heart. No matter how busy you are, take a moment, and offer a helping hand of support. Goodness knows; you may need it yourself someday. Wouldn’t it be a pity if the person there to help you, turned out to be just like you? Hum, food for thought.

I am thankful for my friend. She taught me so much about where my life was going. She helped me prioritize life and people, over work and bills. She redirected me back to a better me.

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/ and Twitter account @PushnUpDaisies, visit my website www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies” for additional encouragement and information.