Mourning Coffee, by Tracy Renee Lee

My husband and I go to a movie and out to dinner every Tuesday. Unlike most couples, our weekends are almost always filled with funerals and Mondays are insanely backlogged with paperwork. That makes Tuesday our weekend. It is the slowest day of the week for us and it is the senior discount day for many businesses. The movie theatre near our home offers a wonderful discount every Tuesday so it makes our evening out very affordable.

Last Tuesday, a movie that we were excited to see finally came to the theatre. As soon as I caught up my workload, we jumped in our vehicle and headed off to the cinema. About ¾’s of the way through the movie, my phone rang. Someone was at the funeral home needing at-need burial arrangements. I informed my husband that we needed to leave, so off we went back to the funeral home.

The death was a sudden one, completely unexpected. The decedent, a champion basketball player, died from an apparent heart attack on the court during practice. The family’s photographs showed a physically fit man in his prime. He was thirty-something with a muscular physique. Not at all, someone you would expect to die at such an early age. Sudden death carries with it difficulties for recovery.



Sudden deaths are those that occur without warning.

These types of deaths require special understanding and intervention.

Sudden deaths are more difficult to grieve and recover from other deaths that give some warning.

Advanced warning that death is coming allows family and friends time to prepare for their imminent loss.

Survivors of sudden death may find it beneficial to consult with a counselor, especially in the case of violence.

(Mourning Light II, Tracy Lee, 2016)

The decedent’s mother and relatives were very distraught at his services. They had unexpectedly lost their loved one and did not understand what had happened or why.

As I worked with the decedent’s sisters on details for his services, an uncle came forward and asked that we insert a certain young woman’s name into the obituary. He explained that he had had a conversation with the decedent about this young woman. Without his family’s knowledge, the decedent had found a woman with whom he had connected. He had told his uncle that should he ever marry, this young woman would be his choice. He also indicated that the event might happen sooner rather than later as she was definitely his soul mate.

As the decedent’s sisters and I worked on the obituary, I was unsure whether they would include the young woman or not. They said that they had never even heard of the young woman before. Their decision was to observe their uncle’s inside knowledge and include the young woman in the obituary. I was happy that they chose to do so as I knew it would help the young woman in her grief recovery.



When one is in love one does not expect to lose the object of their affection.

Problems arise within the family structure when a marriage contract is not in place.

A boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancé may find that they are neither considered nor included in the family grief circle.

This lack of consideration presents certain difficulties for the disregarded survivor.

Grief may even be exacerbated by this exclusion or indifference.

This situation may increase the possibilities of complicated grief for the survivor.

It may be necessary for the unrecognized survivor to seek other ways to resolve their grief.

(Mourning Coffee I, Tracy Lee, 2014)

Fortunately, for this young woman, the decedent’s family saw fit to include her in their grief circle. This small act of acceptance will assist both family and future fiancé during their recovery process.

Death is a difficult experience. The loss of a loved one is sad and riddled with obstacles for recovery. How wonderful it is that this man’s family opened their hearts without prejudice for this young woman. Her future, as well as their hearts, have been devastated. Accepting and assisting each other through the pitfalls of grief will make recovery a tiny bit easier.

This young man’s family honored him in death by honoring his lost future. In so doing, they gifted his intended with relief and an easier recovery experience. In return, their kindness and acceptance will reflect back to them and they will likewise reap a greater ease of recovery.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Managing Funeral Director (FDIC) and owner of Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City, Texas, professional artist, co-founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp, author, and syndicated columnist. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and Grief BRIEFs 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 survivors toward positive recovery.
It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles, or watch video “Grief BRIEFs,” please go to my website at

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