Monday, August 25, 2014

My Client Today

My client today, wanted to see his mother. I had just picked her up from the hospital, she was not yet embalmed, nor was she ready to be viewed. She was still in her hospital gown, lying on my stainless steel table. This was not the proper time, nor the proper way, for a loving son to see his mother.
I understood his need. Family members often ask to see the bodies of their departed loved ones before appropriate preparations have taken place. It is a difficult moment for the funeral director. Unfortunately, we must postpone their wishes until appropriate preparations have been accomplished. Our duty is to present a death image that will promote healthy healing rather than hamper it.
Often times, such a request is issued because the survivor was not present at the time of death. This particular request however, was issued due to unfinished business. This loving son, a man in his fifties, had let his mother slip away, without taking the time to visit her, during the illness that took her life. His carefree lifestyle and lack of responsibility will now plague him with guilt and complications, in healing from his mother’s death.
In this type of situation, the survivor feels that if they can see their departed loved one, they can make things right. This is unfortunately not true. Regrettably, this bereaved son will spend a great amount of time, trying to recover from his lack of sound judgment and irresponsible behavior during the final days of his mother’s life. I wish I had a cure for his pain; I do not.
To avoid such pain in your own life, prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you have a loved one that is ill, please call them. Go by and check up on them. Express your love, appreciation and dedication before they slip away and the opportunity eludes you.
Unfortunately, I see all too often, families that forget to say those three important words, “I love you.”
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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grief Brief 55 - Psychological Distress

Grief creates psychological distress and turmoil. Awareness of one’s own psychological discrepancies does not make the grief experience easier, it does however, encourage self-analysis, and thereby the development of additional coping techniques and skills.
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, August 18, 2014

Resources

When people fail to prepare for death and financial resources are scarce, the survivor will inevitably inform me that he or she will need to make payments on selected funeral services. It seems obvious that we will all die. Why then are there those, who refuse to plan for such an inevitable event?
When I go to the mall to buy a dress, the clerk never allows me to walk out of the store without paying for my selection. The merchant has invested his resources in providing an appropriate place for me to shop, the employees to assist me while I shop, and items from which to shop. That is the extent of their investment before they must realize a return of funds and a profit. I, of course, have a choice. Upon selection, I can pay for the item with funds I have set aside for the purchase of things I need or want, or I can enact my established credit and charge the item. The point is that the merchant must be paid before I walk out with his merchandise. Payment for selected merchandise transfers ownership from the merchant to me. If I charge the item, my credit card company assumes an unsecured debt risk and therefore charges interest for their trouble.
The same holds true for the funeral home. My funeral home of choice will provide an appropriate place to hold a funeral, employees to assist in accomplishing a proper funeral and goods and services that will provide dignity and respect for the loss of life. Like the mall store, that is the extent of how far the funeral home's investment reaches before they must realize a return of funds and a profit. Again, I have choices. Either I can pay for my choices with funds I have set aside, which would include cash, life insurance policies and pre-needs, or I can finance the selected funeral items by enacting my established credit. I have two credit choices; I can utilize either my credit cards or the services of a different company, a finance company. Like the credit company, a finance company assumes an unsecured risk and charges interest for their trouble.
Pre-paying for a funeral works in the same manner as setting funds aside for the purchase of a dress at the mall. Each month, one will deposit funds into an insurance policy that has been established for the funeral services they have pre-selected. It works exactly like a savings account, only better. If one fails to pay completely for his or her selected services before he or she dies, the insurance company will pay for his or her funeral in full. Assuming that the insured has been honest with their qualification status from the beginning. Of course, the insurance company like the credit company will add fees for their assumed risk.
Why then should one purchase funeral insurance if either way, he or she is going to pay fees to cover assumed risk? One should purchase funeral insurance to protect their loved ones from the unnecessary financial burden and stress of paying for a funeral when they are in a vulnerable state of grief. At such a time families may be easily deceived, victimized into unnecessary expenditures or pressured into making decisions that they would not have made had they been better prepared. Decisions such as relinquishing their home or abandoning aspirations of higher education.  The point is that if your loved ones are busy covering your expenses, they may not be able to cover their 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 atwww.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grief Brief 54 - Emotional Roller Coaster

Grief is the ultimate emotional roller coaster ride.  Do not be discouraged if you have a few great days and then experience several bad ones.  Do not think of this as a setback.  Alternating good and bad days are a normal grief experience.  You will find that as time goes by, you will eventually experience more good days than bad.

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, August 11, 2014

If

I was watching a program on television with my husband this past weekend about addiction. In this movie, the star said, “If, is hard to live with.”
I see clients weekly that live with the word “if.” “If only we had not been drinking.”, “If only I had not let my child go to that party.”, “If only I had insisted he go to the doctor.", etc. There is a mountain of “ifs” at the passing of a loved one. If you allow yourself to becoming entangled in “ifs, you will eventually be strangled by them.
My husband always says, “Don’t worry about the things you cannot change.” I believe the military taught him to live by that strategy. He does not become overwhelmed by “ifs”; he analyzes facts and creates successful tactics to chart a course for a positive outcome. I have watched him do this countless times during the course of our marriage; it is an amazing ability. When I am in situations I find alarming, he merely suggests a change of focus and direction, and suddenly those alarming situations improve.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if simply changing your focus or direction would help you recover from grief more quickly and more efficiently? It is a great strategy and it has worked before. Why not give it a try?
Grief is so devastating and is experienced due to our loss of the person to whom we direct and focus our love and affection. Love and affection are very powerful and desirable emotions that we bestow upon others. The reward for these bestowals is the return and validation of these emotions upon ourselves. In other words, the more love and affection we bestow, the more love and affection we receive.
When we have lost the primary focus of these emotions, we feel lonely, devastated and possibly afraid. Our existence has changed. We may experience loss of income or social standing. We may even be in danger of losing our home. The loss of our loved one cannot be changed. He or she is gone, and he or she will not return. The losses of income, social standing and possibly our home, are the results from the loss of our loved one, and results may be changed. The future may look very lonely and bleak; however, by changing your focus and direction, the future may be changed.
I am not suggesting that you forget about your loved one. Doing so is not possible nor is it desirable. Neither do I suggest that you make major changes within the first year of loss. I do suggest that you focus on changing little things. Changing little things is easy, and doing so, will change your outcome for a brighter future.
My suggestions are these:
1. Evaluate your situation. Are there things that you can change, things that you can work on changing or things that you can eliminate that are causing you undue stress and unhappiness? If so, begin immediately on these positive changes. Simply by changing your focus on making your life better, your life is becoming better.
2. Realize that stress exacerbates pain. If you can identify a few slight modifications to your situation that will lighten your stress, act upon them. Doing so will make your survival easier and your life more enjoyable.
3. Understand that you are the survivor and begin acting like it immediately. Survivor's act, they do not react. You must take control of your destiny and chart your course. In so doing, you can control, and potentially deter some of the damages you might otherwise suffer. Start with small things and work up to bigger things as your strengths and abilities return to you.
4. Remember, the more we love, the more we are loved. You have lost your loved one, and you are realizing that all of the time and love you shared with him or her needs somewhere to go. Holding it inside hurts and benefits no one. Share your time and love with others, your friends, your children, your grandchildren, your pets, your associates and even new friends. Your circle of love will grow and eventually it will overtake your pain.
5. Get busy. Volunteer at your favorite charity or church. When we are busy doing, we are not busy yearning. Do not be afraid to lose yourself in the service of others. The individual that grows out of grief might just surprise you.
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.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Grief Brief 53 - Patience

Recovery from the death of a loved one may take a long time, especially in immediate family situations. It is imperative to understand that patience plays a large role in grief work. Be patient with yourself, with others trying to help and with those not realizing that you need help.
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 atwww.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Caskets III Interiors

The interior of a casket has many functions and can be as plain or as plush as one would like it to be. One's immediate concern when selecting a casket and considering the interior is usually the color of cloth, type of cloth, and possibly customized embroidery expressing something meaningful to the family and the decedent.  Of course, awareness of color is important.  If a woman is going to be dressed in a bright purple dress, one should not purchase a casket with a camouflage interior.  Such a casket would be much more suitable for a great hunter, dressed in khaki cargo pants and a vented shirt, with lots of pockets for shotgun shells. The interior is important to consider because it expresses the love, comfort and attitude of the family for their departed loved one.  It also compliments the exterior of the casket and improves the aesthetic presentation of the decedent to those who come to pay their respects.
The interior of a casket has many important and vital purposes that are often unknown to the person choosing the casket.  In addition to the color, there are less obvious reasons for picking one casket over another based solely on interior functions. The casket interior has several flaps of material that drape around the sides. These flaps function to hide various items used to help pose the decedent into a pleasing or relaxed looking position. Without these flaps of cloth, friends and family would see foam wedges tucked here and there, holding up an elbow or lifting an out of balanced shoulder to a better height. They also soften the look of the interior so that it appears softer and more comfortable for the decedent.
The padded edging called the extendover, covers the harshness of the casket edges. It folds out over the edges concealing the gasket and any locking mechanisms. This is an important purpose as it protects the survivors from injury when they rest their arms and hands on the edge of the casket.
A rather large overstuffed pillow is included in the interior package of a finished casket. This pillow helps to hold the decedent in an inclined position. This position helps present a naturally comforting presentation to the survivors.
If choosing a half-couch casket, a skirt hangs over the middle bridge of the casket that blocks ones view into the lower end of the casket and covers any part of a gasket that might otherwise show. The skirt is attached to an overlay that serves to soften the harshness of the bridge. This skirt’s purpose is to help focus one's attention to the upper portion of the decedent’s body, yet also conceal the lower extremities. Quite often, a decedent’s feet are unable to accommodate shoes and in order to hide thier bare feet; the skirt is strategically placed to keep them from view.
The last and very important feature to discuss is the bed of the casket. The bed may be stationary or adjustable.  An adjustable bed allows the mortician to adjust the pitch at which the decedent rests. Pitch can sometimes be vital depending on the condition of the body.  From time to time, a decedent may need his or her head elevated above his or her feet. The pitch adjustable bed works in conjunction with the large overstuffed pillow, to achieve the best horizontal angle possible for the decedent.  Adjusting the pitch of the bed also allows the decedent to be raised for better viewing.  If the decedent is too low in the casket, friends and family will not be able to see his or her face when they are seated during the service.
Higher end caskets have an additional adjustment option.  In addition to pitch control, they offer an adjustable roll axis.  An adjustable roll axis is important for a comfortable presentation of the decedent.  Rolling the decedent toward the viewing side of the casket allows for a more complete view of the decedent’s expression.  When the bed has been rolled toward the survivors, they do not need to lean over the casket for a full view of the decedent’s face.  For survivor’s who are not as tall as others, this consideration is much appreciated.  Not only are they able to see their loved one with greater ease, their safety has been considered.  When a survivor leans onto, over or into a casket, all sorts of mishaps are possible.
When choosing a casket, in addition to the aesthetic options available to you, inquire and explore the functional options.  In so doing, you may be pleasantly surprised at how these subtle options enhance your overall experience.
At this juncture, it becomes apparent that the knowledge and expertise of your funeral director may be a great value to your overall funeral experience.  Their proficiency and skill will ensure a more pleasing and comfortable farewell for you and other survivors.
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 atwww.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Grief Brief 52 - Grief Expression and Recovery

Religion is often the determining factor when it comes to grief expression and 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 atwww.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.