Monday, May 19, 2014

Memorial Day

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were out of town, dining at a country restaurant.  As we awaited our dinner, we met a staff member from an elected politician’s office.  My husband engaged the staff member in conversation and inquired which Memorial Day ceremony would the staff member, and Congressman attend in their district.  The staff member informed us that the Congressman sees no reason to return from Washington DC to his area for such an event and that he, the Congressman’s  area representative, spends his Memorial Days at the lake. 

Ordinarily, this would not offend me as I enjoy holidays, and I enjoy the lake.  Memorial Day, however, is one day out of 365 that Americans set aside to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our freedom.  It is one of our most important holidays because nearly every American has had a member of their family serve our nation through one war, or another.  I am a member of multiple organizations whose missions are to preserve the history, honor and graves of our fallen soldiers and deceased veterans from the beginning of our nation’s history to the present.  I have willingly taken this obligation, in order to honor my veteran kindred dead, as well as other veterans whose families are unable to attend their graves.  Likewise, I engage in these organizations to educate my children and grandchildren of the life’s blood their ancestors have shed for the establishment and preservation of their rights and freedoms.

As a funeral director, I serve mournful families as they lose their veterans.  These honorable men and women deserve the love and appreciation of a grateful nation, as well as from their elected politicians.  We do not observe military honors at these funerals simply to show off, we observe them out of reverence and respect.  Likewise, we observe Memorial Day to express our gratitude for the sacrifices these military members have so graciously given.  Service members risk their lives and the wellbeing of their families to protect our nation's honor and freedom.  They spend months and even years on unaccompanied tours in harm’s way so that we can go to the store and not fear a grenade exploding as we enter.  It is inconceivable that a U.S. Congressman does not see the need to return to his district to honor the veterans he represents, or that his chief staff member would not see the importance of observing with reverence the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans at a Memorial Day ceremony in the Congressman’s unpardonable absence. 

My husband is a military veteran.  I am a military veteran’s wife.  I hold dear his honor and sacrifice to our nation.  I hold dear the honor and sacrifice of each and every one of our nation’s military veterans.  I am saddened that Washington DC harbors elected politicians who do not understand or appreciate the sacrifices of our brave service members and their families.  I love my country, and I respectfully serve families who are laying beloved men and women of merit and honor to rest.  It is my privilege to serve these families and help them through the worst day of their lives; the day they must say their final farewells and accept Old Glory as a token of appreciation from a grateful nation.

 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.

Grief Brief 41 - Support Group

A support group is a scheduled gathering of people with common experiences and concerns.  It provides emotional and moral support, as well as new perspectives on life, increased understanding of grief, and close personal ties.  

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, May 12, 2014

The Un-Dead

Recently, I have noticed a long list of movies, books and television series’ that focus on the un-dead, the living dead or the zombie pseudo dead. As I have watched these topically based productions, I have been intrigued by the similarities of these half dead/half living persons compared to a survivor who is caught in a continual cycle of debilitating grief.

When a person is caught in a cycle of grief that continues for an extended period, we say that he or she is experiencing “complicated grief.” In other words, the grief cycle seems to have trapped him or her, significantly retarding their recovery time table and negatively affecting their ability to re-enter normal functionality.

One wonders why one individual over another, finds him or herself unable to recover from a loss and exit the grief experience. Quite possibly, one does not ever recover completely from the loss of someone they love. They simply adjust their life’s existence, enabling them to survive without the debilitating ache that finds its way into their hearts once loss has occurred.

Generally, when one finds him or herself in this extended state of grief, we recommend that they enter grief counseling or in extreme cases, psychotherapy. The advantages of counseling or therapy are that the professional grief advocate can intervene, and help the survivor identify habits that have trapped him or her into this undesirable state of non-recovery. This undesirable psychological state seems to hold these unfortunate survivors hostage as the un-dead, a state of mind where they exist, but they do not experience. Prolonged existence such as this will eventually land the grief stricken person into a state of serious depression and eventually psychosis. At this juncture, the depressed individual truly needs and should benefit from psychotherapy.

A qualified psychotherapist can help the grief-trapped individual identify habits and cycles of behavior that are inconducive to grief recovery. The counselor or psychotherapist can set into practice a positive growth experience; possibly yielding a sound recovery plan, that the survivor has been unable to identify, or obtain on his or her own. If the survivor has been trapped in this cycle for years on end, recovery may be a slow and complicated process. Their psychotherapist may utilize the benefits of prescription therapy to enable and enhance the recovery process.

If you find you have a friend or loved one trapped in the zombie pseudo experience of complicated grief, love and understanding may not have been enough to help them recover. It may be time to suggest something more substantial for their grief experience. Grief counseling or psychotherapy may be of great benefit to them.

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.

Grief Brief 40 - Psychotherapy

For complicated grief, psychotherapy is sometimes warranted.  Counseling can help a survivor identify habits and encourage positive growth.  It can yield a recovery plan that the survivor is unable to identify, implement and accomplish on his or her own.  

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, May 5, 2014

Stiletto Jo

Last week was a great week for me.  I received a call for help from a dear friend, whose mother had just passed away.  I am a funeral director, and helping others when they are hurt to their core, when waking and functioning are more than they can bear, and when their lives have become bitterly painful, gives me great satisfaction.
  I immediately drove my hearse over to my friend’s house, which is just down the street from my own, and sat with her, holding her hand as she called and notified her family of their great loss.  My friend is a brave woman.  She is a therapist; her job is to help others heal.  Healing others comes naturally to her, and she is great at it.  She finds the good in people and helps them draw upon their inner strength for recovery.  She is an amazing woman. 
As I sat there, beside her, holding her hand, I felt her breath quiver and her hand tremble ever so slightly.  I knew I was witnessing the courage of a healer, mustering all of the valor she held in reserve, for this most dreaded and grievous moment.  She had just lost her mother, yet she was nurturing and comforting her own adult children through the heart wrenching realization of losing their beloved grandmother.  It was a profound moment for me, because I saw her mother’s matriarchal mantel pass onto her own capable shoulders.
Preparing my friend’s mother for burial was an honor.  I could see the ravages of her illness on her tiny body.  I also saw the care and love my friend had rendered her mother, over the long and painful course of her disease.  As brutal as Alzheimer’s is on one’s mind, it is likewise brutal on one’s body.  The years and months of confusion can be debilitating and dangerous on the patient, as well as their family.  My friend had taken such loving care of her mother, that the usual physical signs of prolonged dying were absent from her mother’s tiny body.
My friend brought her mother’s clothing to me and along with the beautiful dress that her mother would wear when being laid to rest, was a pair of the loveliest stiletto heels.  My friend had taken such meticulous care of her mother, that even her feet were beautifully manicured and in perfect health.  My husband lifted my friend’s mother in his arms, and cradled her as he carried her to her casket.  When she lay there, I looked at her and thought what a wonderful mother she must have been to have raised such an outstanding daughter.  One that would become a healer and care for her in her final days.
Last week was a great week for me.  I served a dear friend at the loss of her beloved mother.  My reward was being able to witness the best in humanity at the most painful moment in life.  The measure of a good friend is not how funny they are, their glamour nor their wealth.  It is their ability to inspire us inwardly to improve ourselves.  My friend has done that for me this week. 
I love my friend.  I pray for her recovery, and I give thanks for my privilege in knowing her and serving her.
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.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Grief Brief 39 - Hobbies

Hobbies occupy the mind and hands.  They engage our brains and keep them in good health.  Hobbies create a sense of accomplishment.  They propel us toward a healthier and happier 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 http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement and information at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.