Monday, March 10, 2014

Saint Patty's Day

In 2009, over one-third of all car accidents that occurred in the US on Saint Patrick’s Day involved alcohol. These accidents resulted in nearly 50 deaths.

When I was an intern for my professional license, it occurred to me that a good number of Americans choose the way they will die. They do this through the various choices, activities or habits they incorporate into their lives. Unfortunately, when these choices have fatel consequences, there are innocent victims who suffer these senseless losses. The fact remains, if you want to avoid injury or potential death, certain holidays tend to be more dangerous than others.

As a funeral practitioner, I have seen deaths caused by any manner of poor judgment and excessive risk. I find, however, more often than not, this type of death involves alcohol over any other faculty altering substance. The pain suffered by the survivors of a loved one, who has senselessly lost his or her life over the holiday weekend, is sad indeed.

During the development of my funeral director persona, I adopted a new habit. When I see someone doing something excessively risky, I walk up to them and offer my business card. As they reach to take it, I ask them to save it in their wallet, as I am sure they will need my services in the near future. If the person is an obvious minor, I ask them to give my card to their parent. It is a shocking experience for the recipient. If they have not previously recognized the danger in which they have put themselves, they generally do at this point. My goal is to help save lives. If my actions help save even one life, it is worth the interesting reactions and comments I receive.

With Saint Patrick’s Day upon us, I plead with you to take the necessary precautions to avoid being that guy or gal in your state, that becomes the St. Patty’s Day statistic. If you are going out with a group of friends and know you will be drinking, please designate a sober driver or utilize the designated driver program, Another option is to call a taxi and retrieve your vehicle once the effects of alcohol have subsided. If your party is at a hotel or within walking distance of a hotel, perhaps you and your party friends could arrange for overnight accommodations at the hotel. The following morning you might enjoy breakfast together before returning to your individual homes. If all else fails, call mom and dad. As a parent of adult children, I would be more than happy to rescue them from themselves, should the need ever arise. One last suggestion, just stay home.

Remember, just because the holiday is dangerous, does not mean that you must live dangerously. There are simple precautions you can take to ensure that your holiday is a little safer than it was last year. As a funeral director/embalmer, I assure you, I would prefer seeing you on my table when you are 91 rather than 19.

Enjoy your holiday.

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.

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