As a funeral director, I can control emotional spillage when working with my client families. Well, most of the time. Yet in this movie, although I found it possible, I also found it difficult to hold my emotions in check.
Occasionally I have worked with families who have suffered the loss of their loved ones through violent murder. My mother lost her father to such a horrific act when I was a young girl. I remember the agony she, my aunts, my uncles, my grandmother and my great grandparents suffered. In fact, I would say that my great grandparents never recovered from the violence suffered by their son. Not long after his death, they were both committed to a rest home and shortly thereafter, they died from broken souls. It was tragic - heartbreaking, and to this day, I remember the moment my mother was notified by phone of what had transpired. She sobbed so deeply; I thought she would die herself. She fell to the floor and her sister, who lived with us, picked up the phone to see what could have caused such a reaction in my mother. As had my mother, my aunt too collapsed onto the floor with gut wretching sobs once she heard the tragic news. I knew something tragic had happened; I just didn’t know what it was.
By the time our neighbors were sitting down to dinner, my mother, my aunt, my brother, my sisters and I were at the Tucson AR airport boarding a flight to South Louisiana. As a child, I watched my adult relatives cry the saddest sobs I had ever witnessed. I saw my grandfather, cosmeticized in his casket, with signs of trauma evident on his face and body. I wanted to reach out and comfort him, yet I knew it would not help. He was gone from us, he had suffered horrific violence, and nothing I could do would ever change that fact. I felt helpless and hopeless. That was nearly 50 years ago and to this day, it still brings me to tears. I am sure when my mother is in a private place, and when her mind wanders back to that time, she, like me, finds it impossible to hold back the agony we carry within our hearts.
I write this article because like all parents, I worry every day about the safety of my children. Although my children are adults, they, like my grandfather, are not immune to violent acts upon their persons. Perhaps my profession contributes to my worry over my children and grandchildren. I am uncommonly exposed to the violent acts human beings perpetrate upon each other. Not as much as police officers, but police officers are very strong people. Nevertheless, I ask you to take precautions for your safety and for the security of those you love. Appreciate the presence of police officers within your community and the work they perform every day to make your world a little bit safer. Ask your police chief to provide your civic clubs with a safety presentation. Practice sound judgments in your associations and activities. And above all, tell those you love that you love them. Teach them how to protect themselves by being aware of their surroundings, other people and activities that seem to be getting out of control.
My grandfather was a former police officer. He was viciously murdered by parolees. I wish I could tell him how much I love and miss him, but it is not possible. That is a scar my heart will carry to my grave.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. 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.