Monday, January 26, 2015

Organ Donation

A friend of mine lies in my embalming room today.  She was such a sweet soul.  Our small town will surely miss her cheery smile and encouraging words.  She is a young woman and her death was unexpected.  In this situation, one expects her family to have difficulties adjusting to their loss.

My friend was a caregiver for those who were unable to adequately care for themselves.  She loved her clients and was dedicated to them.  She was honest and sincere.  Knowing her brightened your life.  

My friend was a giving and selfless person and she carried this gift with her, even into her death.  She was an organ donor.  She intended to help others by leaving behind life sustaining opportunities for anyone who needed healthier organs than the ones with which they were born.  In fact, my friend and her sister, who is likewise a caregiver, both chose to be organ donors.

My friend died from heart issues, so her heart was not suitable for donation.  She had other core organs, however, that were sustainable and met the criteria for donation.

Once my friend died, her family was asked to sign their consent for her organ donation.  They were honored to do so, as they knew it had been her wish to participate in this life-saving program.   Unfortunately, my friend’s family did not completely understand what organ donation entailed.  I speculate that my friend did not completely understand either, as her sister who registered right along with her, was unclear and surprised at the events that followed the signing of consent.

Consent from the family gave custody and all medical rights over to the donation harvesting company.  My friend’s body now became a sustainable host for her organs.  Her family had no influence or rights over medical actions utilized to protect the health of her organs.  Although my friend had been pronounced dead, her body continued on life support until suitable organ recipients could be identified.  When one deeply analyzes the concept of organ donation, the extension of life support makes complete sense.  When one has suffered the loss of a beloved family member, the extension of life support through additional heart attacks, strokes, and increased body system failures, becomes unbearably agonizing.

Initially, medical staff informed my friend’s family that life support would continue for up to 34 hours.  These hours were excruciating on her family.  As they witnessed their loved one suffer, they were informed that those 34 hours might extend up to 72 hours and that in addition to core organs, skin tissue would also be harvested; they were devastated and demoralized.   They immediately requested that my friend’s body not be disfigured above her shoulders, to preserve a pleasing memory at her funeral.  They were informed that they had signed over all rights to their loved ones body and that medical personnel would decide what would or would not be harvested.

My friend’s organ donation was extensive.  Her core organs were harvested, her long bones were harvested, her joints were harvested, her eyes were harvested, her ribs were harvested, her pelvis was harvested, her skin tissue was harvested and the list goes on.  

The point is that organ donation is a wonderful gift to those suffering life-threatening illnesses.  It is selfless and noble.  One needs to understand what all it entails, however, before signing on their participation.  They also need to ensure that their family understands the full spectrum that controls organ donation.

My friend’s family knew that she wanted to donate her core organs, they were devastated when the donation extended to her entire body.  The unexpected and sudden loss of a loved one is complicated to overcome.  Add to this, the donation of body parts that disfigure your loved one and the loss of medical control over the extension of life support once she is pronounced dead, and you are looking at excruciating suffering for those who loved and cared for her.

Organ donation is selfless and noble, and is a gift to those suffering life-threatening illness, as well as to their families.  Thank God, for people like my friend, who out of love for humanity, donated her vessel of life, so that others might live without pain and suffering.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.  I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences on their "Road to Recovery". 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, information or booking speeches at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Zac


I buried a young man this weekend.  He died before his time.  He was on the cusp of becoming an adult; however, his youth had been stolen from him.  He was diagnosed with brain cancer at a very young age and had lived the greater part of his life fighting this dreaded disease.

He died in a different state and came to me for burial.  His family traveled a great distance to be here with him when he went into his grave.  They were sad, but they had prepared for this tragedy in their lives.  They had taken time out of their everyday livess and had dedicated themselves to his last few years.

Now that he is gone, each family member has special memories that are unique to their hearts.  There are no regrets of behavior or selfishness.  There is sadness; there will always be sadness.  One cannot avoid sadness at the passing of a loved one.  They will each travel through the dreaded stages of grief, but they will have sweet experiences and memories to draw upon for comfort.  In offering comfort to their young family member, they inadvertently gave themselves the greatest gift possible; memories to draw upon for comfort. 

Not every family has advanced notice of impending death, yet every family has the opportunity to spend precious moments together.  Why do we wait for tragedy to make time to share together?  Because one never knows when their last moment on earth will strike, there are many things I would suggest we do with those we love.  Of paramount importance however, today, I suggest you make time to spend precious moments with those you love.  Do not let your life on earth slip away wishing you had just one more moment to quickly say, “I love you” to those who deserve to hear such tender words. 

Take time and vow to do something to let those you love know and feel your love for them.  Get off the computer, turn off the singing competition, put the electronic games away and for heaven’s sake, let go of the coliseum sports.  Turn instead to those who if they were gone tomorrow would crumble your world.  Do not waste one more moment on social media with social friends.  Spend real time making real memories with those you really love. 
That is what Zac’s family did.  That is what will get them through his death.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.  I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences on their "Road to Recovery". 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, information or booking speeches at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Emancipation

Feelings of emancipation at the death of an abusive or long-suffering loved one are normal and are not cause for alarm. Unfortunately, others often judge a survivor, who displays emancipation, as non-caring or non-loving. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A survivor who experiences emancipation at the death of a loved one is generally the survivor who loved the abusive person deeper than any other survivor. They are generally the sole person, who was willing to experience the abuse of this loved one when no one else would. When a person has suffered abuse over an extended period, at the hands of someone they love, it is natural for them to feel freedom once that cycle breaks.
The same holds true for a survivor who has been the caregiver for a loved one who has suffered a debilitating illness. Caring for a dying loved one over an extended period can interfere with the caregiver’s life. It often necessitates they put their needs and wants on hold while they share their loved one’s death. Quite often, as before, this caregiver is the only survivor who was willing to make this sacrifice within their family.
If you witness an emancipatory type behavior in the recently bereaved, realize that it is likely the result of liberty from horrific experiences.
This person may need great understanding and gentle reconstruction of their self-esteem, self-value and self worth.
Juvenile behaviors may be underlying and professional guidance and/or intervention might be helpful.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences on their "Road to Recovery". 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, information or booking speeches at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Beginnings

The holidays are over and everyone has gone home. If you have lost a loved one during the holidays, you may suddenly find yourself all alone. Friends and family are now busy getting back into their usual routines of school, work and children, yet your usual routine has been forever changed.
Sadness after the holidays is not unusual. Many people are disappointed with the gifts they did or did not receive, they are sad to leave family that they love and miss throughout the year and many people are just sad to return to their miserable lives. Sadness in and of itself is not dangerous, but when it turns from sadness to depression, danger lurks and abounds.
Survivors who have lost a loved one during the holidays are at an incredible disadvantage. Life has forever changed for them and in particular, so too has the holiday. For the rest of the survivor’s life, this particular holiday will always be a reminder of their loss. In addition, all of those around the survivor will be in the thralls of holiday spirit, yet the survivor will be estranged from the gaiety. This exuberance and joy will inevitably weigh heavily upon the survivor, making recovery just that much more difficult.
If you have lost someone this holiday season, do not worry about the holidays next year. Focus on recovery now. You have a full year before you will experience the holidays again, so work on feeling better now, in the present. If you feel you need help, seek out a support group, your clergy, or if necessary, a professional counselor.  Life is going to be difficult for quite some time, but eventually, with determination and hard work, it will become bearable again.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences on their "Road to Recovery". 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, information or booking speeches at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.