Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Pain of Grief

Grief manifests itself in many painful facets. There is emotional pain, psychological pain, spiritual pain, the pain of loneliness, the pain of sadness and even physical pain. Physical pain is very often brought on through continued avoidance of the grief experience.

Not everyone suffers the same amount or type of pain once a loved one dies. The pain intensity is usually predicated on the level of attachment the survivor experiences with the deceased. It is nearly impossible, however, to avoid a painful experience at the loss of someone with whom you shared an attachment. Of important note, the deceased need not be a loved one to feel pain at his or her passing.

When I was a young woman, I joined a large corporation in a secretarial capacity. It was not long after I began working there, that one of the district managers died. Although I worked in a different office building, and had only seen this man at regional meetings, I was affected by his loss. My attachment to the company included this man as an integral part of my newly acquired associated network. I pondered my pain at his loss for many years, and truly did not understand it until I entered funeral service. Although, I did not know him very well at all, our work overlapped. I relied on his reports to compose my own. I had an attachment to him because I had a reliance on his work. His passing created a structural defect in the security of my newly acquired income. The stress, though short lived, was very unnerving.

If grief is left unresolved or ignored, it will eventually surface in one’s life as physical ailments. Grief shifts into medical conditions as an underlying cause. If you find that you are developing unexplained physical or mental conditions, you might discover that if you addressed your grief issues, your other conditions actually resolve themselves. Grief affects the body and soul the same way stress does. If you continue to ignore your grief, other conditions will develop that are avoidable by allowing the pain of grief to present itself and working through it.

I hope that if you have experienced unresolved grief, you will find the courage to face it and overcome the ill effects it creates within your physical and mental health. If you can muster up the courage to do it, you and those around you will benefit immensely. Your health will be better, and your life will be better too.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and mid-week grief briefs 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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grief Brief 29 - Helplessness

Widows in particular, experience feelings of helplessness. It is not uncommon for widows to suffer such feelings for an extended period of time. Family and friends pay an important rehabilitative role during this period of insecurity. This role may be minimal as in morale encouragement. It may however, be extensive and require a more hands on approach, leading up to and including daily functional participation.

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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When a Loved One has been Murdered

When a loved one has been murdered, many difficulties arise for the survivors. Murder crosses into numerous death categories, all of which carry serious emotional and psychological obstacles to overcome. No matter whom you are, if a significant loved one has been murdered, you will experience unparalleled grief. Murder falls into the traumatic death category, as well as unanticipated and sudden death categories. Sudden and unanticipated deaths are difficult to recover from. Under these circumstances, the survivor has been robbed of ample time to set into motion, plans to compensate for their loss. Add to this, the experience of murder, and the survivor is destined to have a ruff go of the grief recovery process. Preparations for loss of income, loss of social standing and loss of companionship are losses that survivors can plan for if they have sufficient notice that a death is imminent. If the death is predictable, families can plan accordingly. A family planning to purchase a new and larger home might decide to stay put, once they know the household provider has a terminal illness. That same family, suffering the murder of the household provider and having recently purchased their dream home, may now be facing repossession of their home. These are unfair and unpredictable situations.


In addition to the suddenness of a murder, the violence experienced by the loved one is overwhelming. Details of the murder might be kept from the family in order to protect them and to protect the integrity of the investigation. The family might hear details that may or may not be accurate through the media, they might possibly see and hear additional details day after day, as the news replays and reports on the murder investigation. This experience can create a mountain of issues and setbacks for the survivors. If the murder is high profile, the family might not even be able to go out to dinner without overhearing conversations of speculation regarding their loved one’s horrific experience. Speculation can be especially difficult for the family, as it is often inaccurate and cruel.


As years pass, the survivors of a brutal murder will be haunted by mental anguish. Try as they might, questions are always lingering in the backs of their minds. How long did their loved one suffer, were they frightened, did they call out for their family, how long did the brutality last, was death quick, were they humiliated before death, etc. Their questions are never completely answered, and so they must accept that they must live with the uncertainty, of the suffering sustained by their loved one. It is overwhelming and torturing to the survivors. In some instances, death may have been so brutal that the body of a loved one is non-viewable. If the family is unable to view the body, they are robbed of their final farewell. Survivors may question their belief in a deity and lose their way. They may become disillusioned with the justice system, especially if the murderer is not held accountable due to some legal technicality or mistake.


The fact of the matter is that murder is cruel and unjust. Survivors are going to suffer psychologically, the vicious actions of a demented human being upon their loved one. Emotional and psychological pathologies are going to plague the survivors for quite some time. Some survivors may never be able to accept that life continues and will be permanently held prisoner in the psychosis that follow.

As a funeral director, I have witnessed this tragedy upon families I have served. As a child, I witnessed my mother suffer this tragedy. Murder is a horrific perpetration. Unfortunately, it is one that is inflicted upon families throughout the world, daily.

If you have suffered the murder of a loved one, I extend my deepest condolences.


My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and mid-week grief briefs 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.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Grief Brief 28 - Fatigue

Survivors frequently experience fatigue. To some, fatigue is unexpected and thereby distressing. An ordinarily active person may find that they are very confused by such an experience. When fatigue becomes debilitating, one should consider 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.





Dying from a Broken Heart

Many have said, “She died of a broken heart.” Seriously, is it possible to die from a broken heart?

Grief creates a mountain of stress and sorrow. Once we have lost a significant loved one, our world is suddenly no longer, as it was, and never will be again. The happiness, security and love we enjoyed yesterday have slipped away, and we are left to reconstruct our existence without the assistance and companionship of our loved one.

Studies show that, after one year of bereavement, 13% of survivors suffer from panic disorders and 39% suffer from anxiety. Of those suffering anxiety disorders, 55% also suffer from depression. Once a survivor enters into a state of depression, an open door invites other debilitating stressors to take root.

Grief should not be taken lightly. Some people might think, after a period of time, we should return to our normal selves. One hopes this is the case; however, not everyone passes through grief so smoothly. In fact, you may pass through one grief experience quite smoothly, yet suffer greatly from another.

When we think of grief, we associate depression as the culprit that interferes with our recovery. We should not, however, discredit the ravages of loneliness on one’s ability to return to a healthy state of mind and physical health. Loneliness severely attacks the functionality of our immune system. If one already suffers from autoimmune disease, precautionary measures should be explored with their physician.

Persons suffering loneliness are more susceptible to increased inflammation in the body, atherosclerosis, learning and memory problems, higher rates of cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and viral invaders. (Biological Effects of Loneliness, Cacioppo) Typical loneliness is experienced when one is temporarily isolated from what is normal and comfortable. An example of typical loneliness might be experienced when one begins a new job, starts college or moves to a new town. Typically, feelings of loneliness subside by themselves within six months or less. Loneliness associated with death is not typical. Death is not a temporary reality; it is a permanent one. When loneliness becomes chronic, it moves into isolation. Isolation negatively affects humans psychologically and physiologically. This affect can be severe, yet has a rather simple remedy.

In his study “Biological Effects of Loneliness,” Cacioppo discovered that there are two profound methods for recovery from loneliness. The first is to retrain the survivor’s social abilities and skills, and the second is to reintroduce them into social activities. It seems the less social we are, the more socially inept we become. Bringing people together to share good times should be familiar and comforting to the survivor. Small gatherings of close friends might be the best method of social reintroduction. As the survivor rediscovers the benefits of socialization and becomes stronger and more comfortable, small social gatherings will eventually graduate into social events.

If you find that someone you care for has become isolated after suffering the loss of a loved one, earnestly seek him or her out. A visit once each week will not kill you, but it might very well be the beginning of their recovery from life threatening isolation, and debilitating loneliness.

Is it possible to die from a broken heart? I believe it might be.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and mid-week grief briefs 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, February 4, 2014

Grief Brief 27 - Loneliness

Loneliness is frequently expressed by the bereaved. Especially by those who have lost their spouses. Social loneliness may be curbed through social support. Emotional loneliness however, is brought on by a broken attachment. With such, a new attachment is the only remedy. Certain survivors are unwilling to form new attachments and thereby endure sever loneliness indefinitely. This behavior is more common among the elderly.

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.



Embalming Process

Embalming is a scientific process that serves one purpose over its many others. That purpose is to prolong a decedent’s presentational integrity, or in other words, to delay decomposition of the dead for a brief period of time.

As a funeral practitioner, I am often asked about embalming. Some clients want to know what it entails scientifically; some are spiritually concerned, while others have a morbid interest in the details.

“Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law…” (Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Funeral Rule, Disclosure No. 2) This statement begs the question, “What are the certain special cases and do they apply to my loved one?” Embalming is not required if a loved one is going to be cremated or buried without services, as in Direct Cremation or Immediate Burial. Services include viewings, visitations, funerals and graveside services where the body will be available for others to see. Without embalming, the body may not be present at any type of service where the public may be exposed to it. In some cases, a family may choose to have a visitation with a closed casket or a funeral with a closed casket, and in these cases, embalming may not be required.

Generally, without embalming, the service must take place within 24 hours of death. There are extenuating circumstances, however. If your loved one were brutally murdered and sent for autopsy, the funeral home would not have your loved one for a number of days. Quite often, brutal murders negate the opportunity for viewing due to extensive damage to the deceased, rendering the body unembalmable. The family may still have a visitation and funeral with the body present with the added services of refrigeration and Mylar encasement. Viewing, however will not be lawful or possible.

Embalming does not extend the decedent’s presentational integrity indefinitely. Although decomposition has been chemically impeded, it has not been stopped; it merely continues to decompose on a slower schedule. How long the decedent’s presentational integrity is preserved is dependent on a multitude of factors. The condition of the body at death, the illnesses suffered by the deceased and the span of time between death and embalming. In most cases, if the body is in good condition before embalming and if embalming takes place within a few hours of death, the decedent’s presentational integrity is extended for three to five days. If additional time is required and your embalmer is pro-actively working on the body daily, eight days may be possible. In rare cases, if the embalmer is diligently exercising restorative measures, one might be able to press an additional day or two more.

Funeral Practitioners are trained in the arts of restoration, however, if a deceased individual were brutally murdered, even restoration may not be what the family wants to see. If you ever suffer such a tragic experience, discuss it as openly as possible with your funeral practitioner, they will be honest about the esthetic possibilities of the restorative work.

Embalming is required with any funeral that includes services where the casket may be opened. Other situations requiring embalming are those that require transportation of the body. In some states and counties across America, a body may not be transported across county or state borders without embalming. Air travel and dangerous or contagious diseases also require embalming.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and mid-week grief briefs 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 websitewww.QueenCityFuneralHome.com or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies” for additional encouragement and information.