Mourning Coffee with Tracy Lee

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Difficult Decisions

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

I buried my friend’s husband this weekend. He was much too young to die. He had a heart attack about a week prior to his death. Our town is very tiny, so hospitals are not equipped for cases requiring extensive care to survive catastrophic events. Therefore, when my friend called me, the call came from a hospital in Dallas TX rather than the one downtown from my home. Continue Reading →

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Uncle

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

When I was a child, my dad’s best friend had a terrible accident.  He was a young man who had recently graduated from high school.  After a fun outing that went horribly wrong, he became a quadriplegic.  Back in the early 1060s, the prospects for such misfortune were not very favorable.  Out of extreme love for his best friend, my dad brought him into our home.  The labor of love, demonstrated by my father to his best friend, brought them into a new relationship; they became brothers.  My dad’s best friend was now my uncle. My father was then and continues to be an engineering genius.  He designed and manufactured many assistive devices for my uncle that were completely before their time.  Amazingly, my father took my uncles vehicle and with a cutting torch, welding machine, and unyielding faith, reworked it until my quadriplegic uncle could drive it for himself.  He manufactured things for my uncle’s hands that allowed him to relearn to write.  There were many other devices that my dad made for my uncle, but not all of them together could match the investment of acceptance and confidence my dad poured out to his best friend.  These gifts gave my uncle his independence, his dignity, and returned his hope for his future. 

As his independence grew, he was less dependent on my parents and eventually became a tax accountant.  As time passed, he married a woman from the northern United States.  He and my parents were geographically separated as my dad’s work took our family out west. My uncle died last week, and I buried him beside his wife.  My family was not in attendance.  My siblings were conspicuously absent.  My mother is too ill to travel, but my father, who lives in the area, made a decision not to come to his former best friends services. 

Some years back, my father and my uncle joined together in a business venture that did not fare well.  As fortunes were lost, so too was their brotherhood.  As he began dying, my uncle tried to reconnect with my dad; sadly, his efforts were fruitless. Broken-hearted, I took a moment at my Uncle’s funeral, “Life and love are divine gifts from God.  My uncle and my father are good men, and they enjoyed these supernal gifts as brothers.  To help us overcome our weaknesses, God offers his loving assistance as we navigate the trials of life.  To help us overcome our transgressions, He restores our peace through His glorious gift of forgiveness. My prayer is that as we travel through life, our trials will build our strength, increase our integrity, and bring us closer to the divine nature of our Father who is in heaven.  However, should we fail, I pray that we exercise His miracle of forgiveness toward ourselves, and toward others, so that our souls will be restored to joy, and our loved ones will remain serenely intact.” 

My dad and my uncle battled to retain their fortunes.  While their battle destroyed many things, their most significant loss was sorrowfully each other. 

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. Continue Reading →

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Tomorrow

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

Tomorrow will be my grandson’s first birthday.  It will also be the first anniversary of his death.  My daughter, his mother, is picking up his one-year birthday cake from the bakery this morning.  She is also seeing her doctor in hopes of an all-clear for expanding her family. 

Tomorrow we will celebrate our love for my tiny grandson who rests buried within the grounds of our funeral home.  We will also address the sorrows we have endured this past year.  If my daughter receives the all-clear from her doctor, we will have another reason to celebrate; the news that she and her husband may soon be able to pursue pregnancy. My daughter and her husband are fortunate.  The death of their son did not destroy their marriage.  They have beaten the odds and have enjoyed a closer more loving marriage in the face of extreme sorrow. 

GRIEF BRIEF 150

LOSS OF A CHILD

It is thought that the loss of a child will bring a husband and wife closer together.  In reality, the opposite is more common.  If you have suffered the loss of a child, you may find that professional counseling might help a great deal.  (Mourning Light II, Tracy Renee Lee, 2016)

My daughter has spent this past year recovering from the loss of her wee babe.  She has concentrated on the rearing of her other children, helping herself and her husband through the grief recovery process, and preparing her body in anticipation of a new pregnancy. I am proud of my daughter.  In the face of extreme sorrow, she has taken hold of her future and moved it to where she would have it be.  Rather than lose herself in the sea of anguish that engulfed her, she made a plan of recovery and followed through with it.  She remains forever changed, saddened with a wounded heart that will never forget the pain and anguish of losing her son. 

My daughter is great at compartmentalizing life’s trials and understands that growth must continue.  She is an intelligent and determined woman and refuses to be lost forever in a prison of stifling pain.  She has responsibilities and purpose in life, and she does not ignore them. GRIEF BRIEF 209

DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE

While the first key to recovery is to decide to recover, the second key to recovery is to discover your purpose in life. 

Without a purpose in life, it is impossible to recover to an acceptable standard of comfort. 

You must have a purpose, a direction on which to focus your heart, mind, and efforts.  Without such a purpose, your mind will dwell on the pain of your loss, and soon you will drown in anguish. 

Your will alone will not bring total recovery.  You must merge it with your minds ability to discern your purpose intellectually; your hearts desire to serve, love, and accomplish that purpose; and your efforts to achieve your purposeful goals. With profound purpose, your soul will redirect your energies toward its accomplishment, and the by-product will be grief recovery.  (Mourning Light, Tracy Renee Lee)

This past year has brought great sorrow to the hearts of our family.  Losing a beloved baby has been excruciatingly painful.  Like our daughter, my husband and I have dedicated ourselves to our purpose:  service to others. Continue Reading →

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Financial Preparedness

Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

As a business owner, I work with budgets daily. Ensuring that a business has adequate operating capital is paramount to sustainability. Prior to retirement, my husband was enlisted in the US Navy. Such employment necessitated strict budgeting if we wanted to provide a decent home and food on the table for our children. As a mother, I taught the principles of budgeting and frugal living to my children so that as they matured and left home, they would not meet with the pitfalls of stifling debt and poverty. Continue Reading →

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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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