Tracy Lee

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 read my blog, <a href="http://www.MourningCoffee.com">Morning Coffee</a>, follow me on <a title="Pushin' Up Daisies - Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/PushnUpDaisies">Twitter</a> , and visit our website for additional encouragement and information. <a title="Queen City Funeral Home - Website" href="http://www.queencityfuneralhome.com/">www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com</a>

Recent Articles

Mikey Joe 9 – One Year Later

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

It is four o’clock in the morning, and I have not been able to sleep for days.  Thoughts fill my head of February last year.  I will travel to Dallas this week to pick up my daughter and her children, just as I did twelve months ago.  That visit was filled with stress and anguish as I sorrowfully met my daughter and her family at the passenger gate and then claimed the body of my deceased grandson at the airline’s cargo bay.  Our family drove to East Texas with our precious little boy, protected by his tiny casket, tethered in the back of my van. 

At the funeral home, I held his lifeless body and prepared him for burial.  Serving and protecting my grandson was such a sweet blessing to my broken heart.  I do not know how my daughter survived his death.  At times, I wondered if I could muster the strength to continue breathing.  Being his funeral director forced me to summon fortitude that I did not know I possessed.  It was my highest honor.  

Returning home will be bittersweet for my daughter.  This will be her first visit to her son’s grave since his burial.  The sadness of his death remains her constant companion and seeing his grave on the anniversary of his death may be very difficult. 

Grief BRIEF 110 – FIRST VISIT

One’s first visit to the gravesite after burial can be a great cause of stress.  One may be fearful of increased feelings of sadness and depression.  If you suffer such fears, plan a short visit – perhaps 5 minutes or less. (Mourning Light, 2016, Tracy Renee Lee)

Physically touching his grave and visiting her deceased child will usher in healing for her.  She will have the opportunity to talk to him and to express her love and longing for him.  It will give her a gift that she has not yet had – the gift of being with her son, Mikey Joe, for more than a moment. 

Grief BRIEF 108 – THERAPEUTIC

Visiting the gravesite can be very therapeutic.  It gives private time for reflection and communion. (Mourning Light, 2016, Tracy Renee Lee)

She and her children will visit us for four months.  Mikey Joe is buried here at our funeral home so she will visit with him every day.  She does not know it yet, but she will treasure most sacredly this time they will share together.  We will celebrate his birth, mourn his death, and traverse the road to recovery together as a family. This week I will travel to Dallas to pick up my daughter and my sweet grandchildren.  Gratefully, I will only visit the passenger gate and bypass the airline’s cargo bay.  I will be so happy to see them, hold them, and kiss them over and over, and over again. My name is Tracy Renee Lee. Continue Reading →

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Jack

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

When I was a young girl, my parents moved our family from the Arklatex to the western United States. When we arrived there, I discovered that I had a branch of cousins out west that I had never known. These cousins were the first non-southerners I had ever met. They were kind and gracious, and growing up around them enriched my life. About 14 years ago, I moved my family back to the southern United States. Continue Reading →

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Miracle of Forgiveness

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

A few years ago, I saw a movie about anger management. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as anger management. You must forsake anger to experience peace. A bereavement advisor visited me this week from a local hospice organization. He has a client who is suffering from extreme anger associated with her deceased mother. Continue Reading →

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Pizza

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

Last night my brother brought me a pizza from my favorite pizza restaurant in Georgia.  He and his wife drove straight from Georgia to Texas to deliver the tasty delight.  My sister-in-law was not with him when he rang my doorbell.  He had dropped her off at their home in Louisiana before he finished the last leg of the drive to my house.  She has breast cancer and is undergoing treatments in Georgia.  She was too tired and worn out to continue beyond her home.  When he arrived, we heated the pizza and thoroughly enjoyed every bite. I asked my brother about his wife’s prognosis.  He was heartbroken and could not, at times, find the strength to speak.  My brother and sister-in-law are both finding it difficult to face the predictions related to her illness.  I realize that I too have difficulties with her future.  My heart is broken for both of them. I try to help my brother prepare for their future medical and psychological needs.   What more can be done?  I must stand beside them and watch as they suffer this terrible disease and its ravages upon her body and soul.  I pray for recovery but must prepare for something less.  That is the hard part:  the part that might not end so wonderfully. Last night my brother brought me a pizza from my favorite pizza restaurant in Georgia.  Although it was a delectable treat, my heart cried with every bite.  I will never eat a pizza from my favorite restaurant again without remembering the pain my sister-in-law endures and that for 654.1 miles she carried my ideal pizza home so that I could enjoy a rare treat. 

I used to wish that my favorite pizza restaurant had a location closer to my Texas home.  Now, I am okay that they do not. My name is Tracy Renee Lee. Continue Reading →

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Pastoral Rebuke

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

Recently I worked with a beautiful family who had lost their matriarch. The children and grandchildren were, of course, distraught over their significant loss and were at times emotional during the services. As the funeral service came to an end, and the family gathered around the casket to bid their final farewell to their beloved matriarch, the Pastor rose and approached the podium. His words of comfort were startling to me. He chastised the family for showing their emotions and instructed them in the perils of not holding themselves in check. Continue Reading →

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Steve, 1

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

As I sit in the foyer, waiting for my best friend to arrive, I notice the details in the fabric of the chair across from me.  I have seen that chair in so many churches over the span of my life and the familiarity of it is somehow comforting. I think back ten minutes ago, I walked through the door and searched for her husband.  I found him, his familiar face with his friendly smile gleaming, but his eyes were closed and his skin cold.  I bent forward, over the edge of his casket, to place a kiss of farewell on his forehead.  As I did so, my soul could feel his ever-present chuckle and sweet voice telling me that all would be well. I moved toward the foot of his casket to tidy up the folds of his flag, an honor for me.  One by one, I neatly folded the pleats representing his service to our great nation.  Then I walked to the foyer, sat on the couch, and began waiting for my dear friend. 

Today will be the worst day of her life; it is the day she will lay her beloved husband, Steve, into peaceful rest. 

Her children and grandchildren will be here by her side, to help her through this most dreadful day.  Friends will surround her and extended family too.  She will have plenty of support.  There will be moments when she will feel overwhelmed by too many people wanting to console her, all saying the same thing – that they are sorry for her loss.  It is true, they are sorry for her loss.  What more can be said?  Emotions are so strained that barely speaking those few short words is difficult enough. 

My husband and I have traveled four states to be here with her.  Deep down in my heart, I need to be with her today.  She and I have experienced life together, had our children together, celebrated life’s milestones together, endured war as our husbands were called away together, explored religion together, and grown older together.  Our friendship is deeply rooted. 

My utter love for her drives me to stand beside her as she walks through hell today.  I would rather close my eyes, turn the other way, and wait for her nightmare to end:  but this is not a dream.  This is my best friend’s reality and I will be with her as she walks down this pathway of pain.  I want to help her.  I want to comfort and love her, and lift this burden from her, even though I know that is not possible. 

Carrie is my dearest friend and today she travels a new life that neither she nor I, would ever choose.  Within the next few hours, she will lower her beloved Steve into the earth’s protection, and she will say farewell.  Carrie and Steve will now endure a separation that will try her sanity and test their endurance, but they shall not remain separated forever. 

It has been two months since Steve passed and tomorrow we celebrate the birth of the wee Babe born in a manger, who suffered, died, and resurrected, so that all mankind might be saved through obedience to His laws and ordinances.  The miracle of Christmas, the beginning of the greatest gift any of us has ever received, is upon us.  That tiny Babe, born so long ago, came to redeem us and forced death to relinquish captivity over us.   His grace offers us life eternal, the miracle of forgiveness, and the mighty power to resurrect.  That brings peace to my soul, hope to my life, joy to my heart, and the ability to love and serve others.  I pray for all humanity to know God’s loving embrace, that His peace will comfort those who suffer and mourn, and that the miracle of Christmas will transform your life to a better existence. I hope that through this loathsome journey of pain, loneliness, and sorrow, upon which my friend is thrust, I can be the friend she needs, the friend I should be, the friend that my Savior asks of me. 

Merry Christmas dear friends, may God’s love embrace you, and if you suffer loss and pain, may God’s eternal gift of life reunite you with your loved ones through His gift of grace. My name is Tracy Renee Lee. Continue Reading →

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Mikey Joe 8 – Denver Statues

Earlier this year, when we lost our grandson, our family agreed that the best place to bury him was at our funeral home.  His death and funeral seemed so surreal; dreamlike, in a nightmarish sort of way. My husband and I reside in our funeral home.  Mikey Joe is buried just outside of our great room window.  The location of his grave places him beside us when we sit to eat our meals and relax before retiring to bed.  This closeness allows me to tend to my grandson’s needs, just as I do for any of my grandchildren.  Mikey Joe’s needs, however, are different from theirs.  For him, I tend to the physical needs of his grave.  Doing so tends to my emotional needs and encourages my grief to soften. When we buried Mikey Joe, we decided to uproot our plantings around the funeral home and place in their stead, a memorial for deceased children.  For the past eight months, my husband and I have sought and purchased bronze statues of children engaged in the merriment of childhood activities.   These statues will be the focal point of the memorial, surrounded by pavers engraved with the names of lost children.  The memorial will assist families to heal by providing a permanent spot of remembrance.  We have a lovely ballerina, a boy playing football, two children playing leapfrog, and a little girl cooing a little bird.  Last week, I acquired three additional statues; a boy sitting on a saddle, a boy roping, and a girl with her lariat.  Although these three children complete our goals for the monument, I hope one day to obtain a bronze pony to match them. Two days ago, I drove my husband to Dallas to hop a plane to Colorado to collect the three statues and transport them back to Texas.  I made the air flight and vehicle rental reservations online.  Because his flight was too early for us to drive there in a timely fashion, we rented a hotel room in Dallas. I waited as he checked his luggage to make sure that all was well before I drove away.  During check-in, the attendant informed him that he was 14 hours early for his flight.  I had made a terrible mistake and in order to return safely home, I would have to drive away and leave him there.  I dreaded the discomfort he would endure. Continue Reading →

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I Hope

Through my research this weekend, I came upon an interesting story about suicide prevention. The article showcased a young man who was contemplating suicide. Unlike many persons in that state of mind, he reached out to his family and community. The article encouraged all to reach out, and rather than judge, offer support and love to those who might be contemplating or have attempted suicide. This young man’s family concentrated on telling him how much he was loved and how much they wanted him to stay with them. Continue Reading →

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Failure Produces Success

Death can be a frightening, lonely, and painful experience.  I see death every day of the week.  In fact, I have seen death every single day of the past decade. In witnessing this plethora of death, I have gained a unique perspective on the ultimate pain of loss, as well as the struggles through its ensuing grief.  Of late, I have found the number of proportionate deaths within the generations younger than my own, soaring.   These deaths seem directly related to lifestyles that have negatively affected physical and/or mental health.  It seems that a good number of prime-aged adults either do not realize or do not care, about consequences related to actions and choices: even when that consequence is death. I find that persons devoid of consequential beliefs often act irresponsibly toward themselves and others.  They seem oblivious to the pain they impose upon those who love them and disrespectful toward a higher being.  Upon their death, those who share their inconsequential belief system suffer the demons of loss and grief through inconsolable hopelessness.  It seems that more times than not, their solutions are based on wrangling their pain, as they do their responsibilities, into suppression.  This myth of recovery is not one of healing; it is one of self-deception and may impose confusion, derangement, paranoia, and neurosis into the life of the survivor. In all fairness, I see these same behaviors in older generations.  It is a reality, however; that I see the consequences of death in greater numbers among prime-aged adults.  It pains and worries me that so many of them self-inflict their deaths due to selfish acts of abuse upon themselves.  Additionally, it frightens me beyond comprehension, as I have children and grandchildren within this demographic.  As their mother and grandmother, I see the impact of the inconsequential lifestyle infiltrating their tolerance and becoming acceptable to them.  Before long, I fear that they may succumb to the same end as those I see lying on my embalming table. What then is the answer to this life-threatening lifestyle of inconsequential behavior? Continue Reading →

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