Monday, March 24, 2014


Before I became a funeral director, I had a dear friend who lost her adult son to cancer. I had been out of town working for quite some time, and when I returned to the intermountain west, in the dead of winter, I met with her at a restaurant for hot cocoa. My friend was a highly respected and accomplished woman. She had been the state president of a nationwide political organization and worked for very important men. She was strong and very intelligent. I had worked beside my friend for many years and was very sad to learn that during my absence, she had lost her son.

Once we were seated, we ordered our cocoa and my dear friend began telling me about the death of her son. Her son resided in a coastal state and had returned home to live with his parents, as he passed through the final year of his life. As she began telling me about his journey to death, she would naturally cry. When she came to a particularly difficult moment, she would pause and look at me. I was just crying away without regard to other patrons in the restaurant. During one pause, she reached out and took my hand in hers. After looking deep into my soul, she said something to me.

At the time, I thought it was a very important statement. It struck me deeply, and I pondered it for a long time. As a funeral director, I have often reflected back on this experience with my friend, and I have realized that she shared something profound with me. Throughout my days as a funeral director, I have shared this “Pearl of Wisdom” with many of my clients.

Her enlightening words were these. “Thank you for letting me tell you the story of my son’s death. It seems that each time I tell someone about his death, it erases some of my sadness.”

We sat at the restaurant and cried together as she finished telling the story of her son’s death. I left with tear stained cheeks, and my friend left a little less devastated.
You see, that is what death does. It devastates us. When we experience the death of someone we love, we are devastated. If you learn only one thing from this article, if you cannot bear one more moment of the overwhelming sadness that accompanies significant loss, listen and learn from the profound words of my dear friend.

Tell your story. Share it with everyone who will listen. Telling your story helps take your sadness away. It helps you to realize and accept the death of your loved one. Once you have accomplished this necessary realization, you are free to recover, and you will learn how to live life without your loved one with you.

This is the greatest thing you can do for your grief recovery.

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, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement and information at