Grandma Confiscates Cell Phones
Today I visited with a dear woman that I met about 3 months ago.  My visits with her on both occasions were to discuss her funeral arrangements.  My first visit with her took place in her hospital room.  It was a very uncomfortable day for her and I left the hospital praying that her doctors would be able to discover the cause of her ailments and offer her some relief.  She was a sweet woman and even though she was in severe pain, she was friendly and concerned with my comfort.
Today, as I visited her at her home, she was much more comfortable than before.  Her landscape was cheerful and expressed her personality through brightly colored blossoms.  There was a peaceful arbor spreading shade over a sweet table with seating for two.  Other flowering bushes offered privacy and shared their pleasing fragrance with anyone willing to take a moment to enjoy the pleasant bounty of spring.
Before discussing the business of the day, we spoke of her past few months.  She told me about her illness and her plans for her future.  We discussed her recent activities with her children and grandchildren.  Recently she held a slumber night with her 15 grandchildren.  She chose a small space and confiscated each child's electronic devices, to ensure interaction and intimacy.  Board games and waffles were abundant; TV’s, cell phones and I-pads were non-existent.  Each of her grandchildren began the evening with complaints of impending boredom.  Each of her grandchildren closed the event with a new appreciation of love and precious memories created with their grandmother.
I know that this activity was difficult and painful for her to host.  Her health is fragile and she suffers extreme pain.  She understands what is coming though, and she is systematically preparing her loved ones for her passing.  She is actively creating memories for each of them, so that once she dies; they will have a treasured moment with her to call their own. 
In my own life, I often reflect back to experiences with my grandmother.  She also took time to create moments that taught her descendants strength and brought them peace.  As a grandmother myself, I compare my actions against those of my grandmother.  I try to live up to her generosity, her kindness, and her love for her grandchildren.  I try to create memories with my grandchildren that will one day help them surmount the difficulties, trials and weaknesses that plague the human race.
This woman’s family is blessed with her wisdom and her courage to create peace, love, and confidence for them in her last few months of life.  She is a strong and brilliant woman.  
I often see families where loved ones do not have such thoughtful memories to draw upon.  The lack of sweet familial experiences creates contention and self-doubt among descendants.  Regardless of where you are in life, take the opportunity to create sweet memories with those you love.  This dear woman is fortunate enough to know that her life will soon end, and dedicated enough to sacrifice her comfort for the future of those she loves.  Sadly, this is not always the case near the end of life.  Without notice, the grim reaper can call your number, and within a twinkling of an eye, life is over.  Enjoy every moment you have with your family.  Never waste an opportunity to express your love for them.  If you do so, your family and loved ones will be better prepared for life without you by their side.  They will face life with greater confidence and in times of weakness, they will be able to deflect temptation and heartache.  They will survive, secure in their knowledge that you loved and provided for them, all that you could.
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 and Twitter account  @PushnUpDaisies,  visit my website or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies”  for additional encouragement and information.

Sweet D
I visited with a woman today who suffers a terminal illness.  The ravages of her illness are painful and will soon take her life from her.  This weighs heavy on her mind, not for herself, but for those she loves.
Sweet D has completely accepted her impending demise, but worries immensely about its effect on her children and grandchildren.  She tries to talk to them about what is going to happen, but they refuse to hear it.  She asked me if I would help them through it, once she dies.  I answered, “Of course I would.”  Her heart is broken.  She wants to prepare her family for her death.  She does not understand why they will not face the reality of her future.
Human nature is a crazy thing.  Each of us has different strengths and weaknesses.  As I spoke with Sweet D, I told her that her children and grandchildren love her deeply.  In fact, the depth of their love is what causes them to deny the reality that she is dying.  Denial creates a barrier of protection against the severe pain inflicted through loss and death.  Her family will wait until she dies to consider that there will be a time when she no longer lives next door. 
Sadly, Sweet D feels alone, abandoned and unloved.  The denial of her family to accept her impending death creates a barrier between them.  She is left alone to contemplate what she might experience after her life passes.  She is left alone to plan her funeral.  She is left alone in moments of fear, trial, and weakness.  She is left alone to mourn the loss of her life, and any future experiences with her children and grandchildren.  Sweet D’s family has not yet realized that they are not just losing her; she is losing them.  Her loss is infinitely more devastating than their loss.  They are losing one family member.  She is losing every family member. 
If someone you love has received a short-term diagnosis, denial may be your close friend.  This is a natural reaction to devastating news.  It is important however, to realize that the person dying may need you to help them through the experience and fear of knowing that death is at their doorstep.  Their knowledge that they will soon die, affects them severely.  They may be happy and then sad, they may be fearful and then fearless.  Their emotions and fears may be all over the rector scale.  The advance knowledge of death’s closeness may bring about personality and philosophical changes.  If possible, put your fear and denial aside.  Reach out to your loved one and be there for them.  Open your heart and comfort them through the experience of dying.  Although the experience may be excruciatingly painful for you, once they pass, you alone will have comfort through the precious moments you spent together.  Most likely, you will find the experience to be life changing and spiritually enlightening.  Many of us fear the experience of death.  How sweet it would be for the dying, in their last months of life, to have the strength and love of a loved one to draw upon. 
Dying alone is tragic, especially when those you love stand beside 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 and Twitter account  @PushnUpDaisies,  visit my website or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies”  for additional encouragement and information.