Monday, April 27, 2015

Suicide Evokes Ripple Effect

As I was paying for my purchases at a warehouse market, I noticed some friends waving to me from over in the deli. I walked over to them and engaged in catch-up conversation. It was so good to see them. She had endured shoulder surgery and spinal injections over this past year, and her husband had lovingly nursed her back to health. They shared stories of their family, and I was sad to hear that they had lost their son-in-law. It is always distressing when a young person dies, and I could hear in their voices that they were heartbroken.

Their daughter and grandchildren, who live some distance away, have suffered great financial and emotional hardships from their loss. Their eldest grandchild has had to postpone her wedding due to the loss of income in their family. Her younger sister has suffered severe depression so much so that she finds it difficult to exit her bed and thus, has dropped out of school. The child I worry most over, however, is their grandson. He is the youngest of their three grandchildren, and additional circumstances have put him into an extremely dangerous and risky category.

When their son-in-law died, the father of their grandson’s best friend also died. Unlike their son-in-law, who died of natural causes, this man committed suicide. Suicide is tragic for everyone who knows the victim, and it puts extreme emotional trauma on the immediate survivors. This trauma is so devastating that if not properly managed, it places other family members at risk of committing the same fate. 

My friend’s grandson and his best friend have been inseparable this past year, each relying on the other for emotional support to make it through the trials of their father’s respective deaths. Unfortunately, their grandson’s best friend fell prey to his father’s suicide, and last week killed himself.

This second suicide is beyond tragic and creates a very dangerous situation for his immediate survivors as well as for his best friend. Due to the unique situation of both boys losing their father’s simultaneously while relying upon each other for support during their grief recovery, the suicide of this young boy puts my friend’s grandson in a uniquely prone situation of committing suicide himself. 

After a lengthy conversation with my friends, I suggested they consider professional counseling for their daughter and grandchildren. As it is apparent that she would benefit from their assistance, I also suggested that they leave the warehouse and immediately drive to their daughter's home. Their grandchildren are left to themselves all day while their mother is away trying to replace her husband’s income, and it is highly probable that their grandson should be under suicidal watch.

According to my friends, their daughter and her children delayed their grief experience through extended denial and now find themselves in an extremely complicated grief experience. Their eldest granddaughter will probably recover with light intervention. She has suffered personal tragedy before, and she can draw upon the guidance of her professional counseling through her previous experience. She also has her fiancĂ© and wedding plans to occupy her mind, as she has been fortunate enough to receive a generous gift of financial support to accomplish her wedding from a benevolent soul. Their granddaughter, who dropped out of school, is being placed in a particular program where she will be allowed to self-pace her studies, and will receive grief counseling support through this program’s guidance system. The grandson, however, has just been knocked down to a completely new level of pain and anguish, and it is imperative that he not only receive familial support, but immediate professional intervention. 

One should never take the possible risk of suicide lightly. If you know someone who might be at risk of suicide, do not take this responsibility upon yourself. A suicidal person needs immediate professional intervention.

GRIEF FACT 146

SUICIDAL MELANCHOLY

If one ever feels overly sad, considers harming, or killing oneself, immediately call 911 and ask for help.

Do not assume that these thoughts are fleeting or of little concern.

Grief exacerbates melancholy and abruptly overcomes one’s ability to recover and survive.

(Tracy Renee Lee, Mourning Glory II)

I hope my friends are away this week with their daughter and grandchildren. I know that if they were to fall short of preventing further trauma and loss in their daughter’s family, they would not be able to endure it. 

The curse of suicide is that it often evokes a ripple effect upon the survivors.

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 toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com. follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement, information or booking speeches at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com

Monday, April 20, 2015

Handmade Quilt

Today I visited with a dear friend, her mother lies in state in the next room. As we visited, we talked about her wonderful mother and her childhood memories. Her mother was the most amazing woman she has ever known. Her love for her was evident and remains ever strong.
Yesterday, I went to her mother’s house to bring her to the funeral home. I have been there before. As I arrived, I saw my friend and her five sisters. My heart was broken for each of them, and I hugged each one as I entered their home. When I hugged my friend, I apologized for being there. She said the kindest and dearest thing to me. In the midst of losing her mother, she offered her broken hearted funeral director heartfelt words of comfort.
I buried her father and her brother in years past, and to see her mother go was heart-wrenching for me. My friend whispered in my ear not to be sorry for being there, that it was a blessing for her to have a friend there in her time of need. My friend will never know how tender her words were to my soul.
As my husband and I prepared my friend’s mother for transport, I noticed the most beautiful quilt on her bed. The beautiful quilt, I learned, was handmade out of love by her darling daughter. Tomorrow as we lay her mother to rest, her casket will be draped with her beautiful handmade quilt. The quilt that brought her such warmth and comfort in life will bring warmth and comfort to those in attendance.
I am grateful for a dear friend who knew just what to say when I felt awkward, and thankful for the warmth and comfort her blanket of words brought into my soul. I hope that I can return the favor on the bleakest day of her life, the day she will say goodbye, one last time, to her beloved mother.
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 toward positive 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. For information on booking speeches, go to www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Homemade Soap

Isn’t it funny, how a simple moment can bring forward in one’s mind, sweet memories of a departed loved one?
This morning as I prepared for my shower, I realized for the third day in a row, that my soap bar was now a mere sliver and completely incapable of fulfilling its purpose of providing me with ample lather to clean and refresh my body for the day's events. Fortunately, I had not yet stepped into my shower, so I walked over to my lavatory and being unable to bend due to back issues, I reached into the cabinet beneath it, blindly searching for a fresh bar of soap. As I grabbed hold of the soap, neatly wrapped in lightly colored paper, my mind reflected back to a friend of mine, who each Christmas would send me a year supply of his homemade soap.
Preston’s soap was never neatly wrapped in lightly colored paper, nor was it perfectly formed into smooth ergonomic shapes. His soap was made from the finest ingredients, engineered for sensitive skin and cut into simple squares. Preston shared his wonderful soap with those he loved and cared for most in the world.
My friend Preston was so dear to me. His love of Christ and his redeeming mission was so strong. From the first time I met Preston, he always sought to share his testimony with those who were searching for meaning in life.
As I rose and prepared for my shower this morning, Preston was not on my mind. Blindly reaching under the lavatory for a bar of soap, made me miss him so deeply. I was touched by the imagery of blindly searching for soap, to those who labor in search of their purpose.
GRIEF FACT 149
YANKED
Grief is all-consuming, it is no respecter of persons or time. You may have several weeks of great recovery and suddenly find yourself in the pitfalls of despair. This is a normal response.
Eventually, despair and loneliness will be replaced with kind and fond memories. Even so, you will be yanked back from time to time by the least little insignificant thing.
(Tracy Renee Lee, Mourning Glory II)

I smiled as I cried, remembering Preston’s kind spirit and his willingness to share it with everyone he knew. I thought to myself, how appropriate it was, that this Easter morning, an insignificant sliver of soap, yanked my memories back to Preston and his willingness to share his testimony of Christ and his redeeming mission.
This morning I miss my dear friend, I miss his wonderful soap that he so thoughtfully sent me every year, and I miss his amazing testimony of Christ. This Easter morning as I prepared for my shower, I realized my day would be filled with thanksgiving for Christ's redeeming sacrifice, along with fond memories of my dear friend's willingness to share his Savior's message.  
My day was bittersweet.
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 toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
Please follow my blog at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com. follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement, information or booking speeches at www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Risky Business

As a funeral director, I often point out to people, when they are taking undue risk with their lives. Generally, I will walk up to them and hand them my business card. I will ask them to put my card in their purse or wallet, as I am sure they will need my services in their very near future. Until this week, however, I had never thought about what I would do if I, or a member of my family, were ever involved in such risky business?

Last week, my husband was involved in an incident that had the potential to be fatal. The news of the incident came by phone. I don’t mind telling you, although I was assured that he was without injury; the fact that the incident had occurred was devastating. My knees went weak, my breathing became uncontrollable, and I had difficulties processing the information. I was as nervous as a cat, until he was back home, healthy and beside me.


Of course, such a serious incident is cause for reflection. Was the activity he was involved in, so important that he should continue his participation? Does this activity bring such joy that the risk factors make it worthwhile? Is the vast investment into this activity reason enough to continue with it, or might we be able to reclaim our money without too great a loss? Would my husband be willing to forgo this activity, or would it break his spirit to give it up?


Although these questions are reasonable, they do not address the emotions that plagued me after receiving the news that my husband had been fairly close to a situation that could have potentially caused his death. I have battled with myself all week over it. My husband has participated in this activity for nearly half of his life, and although this has not been the first incident to cause alarm, it has been the most serious. This past week he finally achieved his long time goal of acquiring his dream equipment. I was so happy for him, happy for us actually. Meeting a twenty-five year goal is reason to celebrate; potentially losing your husband is not.


My husband is a reasonable and extremely cautious man, so his activities in this sport have never caused me great concern. Last week, however, has changed that for me. My concern is now high on the rector scale, and so I must determine, is it just because he came so close to meeting death straight in the face, or is it time to reevaluate our participation in what we love so much.


Fortunately, my husband has taken care of the situation. Before he was home, he announced he would be selling his dream. You see, the activity in which we participate is uncommonly safe, and our participation in it is recreational. The new piece of equipment, however, is designed for sport rather than recreation and there in lies the issue. Even though this sweet piece of equipment was a lifelong dream, my husband realized immediately that it was not designed for our needs. He therefore promptly decided to sell it and get something a little more conservative.


Statistically, participation in this activity is safer than driving a car, the situation, however, runs in close comparison to that of speed racing. When a teenager first gets his driver’s license, a fast, slick racing car may be his dream. Notwithstanding, granny’s old Buick may be the safer choice for him. Thankfully, my husband understands the difference between a fun and recreational activity from that of taking a great risk and thrill seeking. A parent would not deny their child the skill and indeed the necessity of driving, due to fear of a deadly automobile accident. A prudent parent, however, might limit the vehicle in which their child drives to one that is safer and does not encourage drag racing at the speedway.


And so, my husband has made the heartbreaking realization that his long desired goal was not as he had anticipated for all of these years. On his own, and without encouragement from his wife, he logically and rationally determined, as is his nature, that discretion is the better part of valor.


I thank God for giving me such a courageous and honorable man to marry and with whom to grow old. I count my blessings in my daily prayers for his goodness and fortitude in serving me, our children, and his country so honorably.


I gave great thought this last week to how devastating and pathetic my life would be without my husband by my side. The bleakness of my reflections has given me new insights into the inward hopelessness, expressed by many widows who pass through my funeral home, upon the loss of their lifelong and eternal love. I don’t know, maybe my Savior thought I just needed to understand more intently the devastation the loss of one’s husband brings into one’s life.


At any rate, I give thanks my husband suffered a small scrape on one of his knuckles rather than the loss of his life. Likewise, thanks that we have been blessed to continue our journey together through this life as husband and wife, until some future, and I hope, far off date. He is my life, my eternal companion, and my one true love. Eternity holds no value for me without him forever by my side.


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 toward positive 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.