COLUMN: Pushing Up Daisies - The Temperature’s Rising

by Tracy Renee Lee

As we enter the summer months, the weather begins to invite us outdoors. Families and friends having fun in the sun can be seen far and wide. The fragrance of sunscreen has returned to the air, and peals of laughter from children playing games reach my ears. Summer promises to be a much sought after break from the recent quarantine we have all undergone.

I, for one, am anxious to be done with quarantine. I am sure you are too. I do, however, want to offer a word of caution as we begin our summer season. Most of us have been shut in for quite some time. It is possible that our mental health, as well as our physical health, has deteriorated. For several months, we have sat indoors with temperature controlled forced air blowing incessantly upon us. Most of us have experienced very little sunlight beaming down, kissing our skin, and producing the much-needed vitamin D we all need so desperately.

Returning outdoors, breathing fresh air, and reclaiming movement will be good for our bodies, minds, and souls. One should be aware, however, that there are times when re-acclimation is best taken in baby steps. Already, as the temperature begins to climb, and more families choose graveside services to enjoy being out in the fresh air, I have noticed a substantial increase in the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and stroke. Profuse sweating, fainting, and dehydration are making their appearances in the cemeteries early this year.

As a funeral director, I implore you to be very aware that although you may be excited to be outside again, the consequences of failing to reacquaint yourself with summer elements and physical exertion, in a controlled and cautious manner, have the potential to be very dangerous. At the beginning of quarantine, you may have been in top-notch shape. You may have even worked out daily during the entire time. Nevertheless, the fact remains that even under the best of conditioning you have remained sheltered from the elements. Reintroduction into the elements should be approached with caution and prudence.

Please do not be the next person lying on my embalming table, or next set of cremains that I must hand over to a grieving family simply because you were overly anxious to be back outside again. Take the necessary precautions to protect your health and your life. Keep yourself well hydrated, stand, or sit in the shade, wear loose lightweight clothing, and just so you know, there is nothing wrong with a makeshift paper fan to keep yourself cool. Observing these simple suggestions, and a few best practices may just keep you healthy enough to survive the summer and several more to come.

As you enjoy your time in the sun, please remember these words from me to you.

“You are important, and even though I may not know you, your life matters to me, and most certainly to those who know and love you. Moreover, whether you believe it or not, there is a funeral director nearby who would much rather see you standing vertically, enjoying your summer, rather than lying horizontally (with cold skin) on their embalming table.

Please, keep yourself and those about you healthy and happy through summer vacation 2020. Thank goodness it is finally here. I hope you, and those whom you love, enjoy the precious gifts of fresh air, sunlight, and summer fun!"

God Bless each and every one of us.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. 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.

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

Please follow me on Instagram at "PushingUpDaisies_TracyLee".