Column... The Secret of Life

Updated 45 weeks ago by Tracy Renee Lee
Column...  The Secret of Life

I wake early each morning, so in order to protect my husband’s rest, I lie in bed with earbuds watching videos or reading articles on the interne

t until he stirs. This morning I was watching a video of a woman who has lived 107 years. She was cooking a meal for her grandson and his friends. She called it “Depression Dinner.” The dish consisted of potatoes, onions, and hotdogs. I will admit, I have often prepared this same meal. I never knew it was depression food, I just knew it was yummy.

Watching this woman on the video this morning reminded me of my grandmother. When I was a young girl, I would sit in her kitchen as she cooked and recounted the stories of her life during the depression. I am now a grandmother. I have moved back to the area of my birth. I live just a few miles from my grandmother’s home but she no longer lives there because she died in the late 1990s. I visit her grave two or three times each year, but I think of her and the wonderful memories I have of her, daily.

The depression was a character molding event in my grandmother’s life. All of her decisions from that point forward were predicated upon the potential of unwarranted poverty, hunger, and loss. She lived in fear that at any given moment, all would be lost without warning or reason. It was a dreadful and dreary existence. Although she had faith in God, her life was not filled with tremendous joy. Indeed, as I look back on her life, I think it was mostly difficult, sad, lonely, and to a great extent, miserable. I am sorry for that. I wish that she had experienced something better, that her life had been sweeter, happier, and easier. She endured so much, and her trials, and the trials of her generation, gave those who followed great abundance.

I have lived a gloriously wonderful life. I have enjoyed abundance in all things needed to sustain me and provide joy. I have been blessed from the moment of birth with love, shelter, food, clothing, friends, family, education, faith, and liberty. As I have lived my life, my understanding and appreciation of my blessings have become more pronounced. Of course, as I have aged, my blessings have increased exponentially. I believe that is probably true for everyone.

I have a unique career. I see daily the best of life and the worst of life. Moreover, I see them at the exact same moment. I see the deepest pain a human being ever experiences precisely because I see the deepest love a human being ever experiences. Without love, death has no dagger. Moreover, in certain circumstances, death brings relief to those whose loved ones are suffering the ravages of painful illness.

The year 2020 has changed so many things in life. I wonder if 2020 is the dreaded circumstance that my grandmother always worried would come around again. I look at my grandchildren and I wonder, will they ever know the freedom and abundance that to me were naturally mine? Will they run barefoot through the pastures with their cousins, shop in distant lands without a mask, or ride a carousel without hand sanitizing and worrying if it might cause their deaths? Will they ever have the security of never worrying about shortages of food, bathroom tissue, or PPE supplies? Will their liberties remain intact or will they war against an oppressive government striving to overstep its boundaries? Suddenly, I find that at my grandmother’s age, I too worry, as she did, about the futures of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Is that the true circle of life? Do all grandparents see, at the twilight of life, that life threatens a dreadful price for those they leave behind? I look at death so differently than I once did. For me, I see the sweetness of death as seeing my Savior, reuniting with my grandparents and great grandparents, and even though my parents still live, eventually, by the time I pass, they too shall I join. I shall revel at joining my grandson, as well as others that I love, and no longer suffering the pains, sorrows, and disappointments of earthly living.

For me, the sorrows of death will be leaving behind my dear children, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, my husband too should I pass before him, as well as the worries I shall have over not being here to help them, the sorrows they will suffer at my passing, and the trials they will pass through as they experience life. I think these were my grandmother’s worries and sorrows. I think these were the things she tried to pass on to me as I sat at the kitchen table listening to her as she spoke about the depression and the heartaches of her life.

My children and grandchildren live far from me, yet I try to speak with each of them daily. I try to actively participate in their lives because I know that one day I will no longer be here to do so. They are important to me, in fact, they are my life’s mission. Without them, my life would be empty and self-centered; totally meaningless. I hope that upon my death, each of my children and grandchildren will be able to remember me as I remember my grandmother, with love, respect, adoration, and thanksgiving. I hope that once I die that I will have instilled in them the importance of being good people, honest people, and benevolent people. Most of all, I hope that I shall be worthy, just like my grandmother, and her mother before her, of their emulation. This is what I strive for, to walk uprightly before them, to be worthy of them, to uplift them, and to play a key role in returning them safely and righteously back to the everlasting arms of God, so that we might live together forever as an eternal family at the foot of his throne.

I also hope the same for you and your family. In fact, I hope this for the world. I hope for love and happiness the world over. I hope eternal blessings reign down upon everyone who has ever lived and upon everyone who will ever live because I stare death in the face every single day and in so doing, I have learned the secret to life.

I am willing to share that secret with you if you are willing to receive it. In receiving it, however, you must also be willing to be responsible for the consequences of knowing it. If you are not ready for those responsibilities and consequences, please do not continue reading this article. Stop right now and do not read one more word.  However, if you want to know the secret, and if you are willing to be responsible for knowing it, responsible for the consequences of knowing it, then read on.

The secret to life is that death is not the end. Additionally, because death is not the end, life must be lived in preparation for what is to come.  Your life matters. No matter what anyone tells you, no matter how anyone labels you, whether you are a victim or a perpetrator, popular or unpopular, politically correct or incorrect, your actions and deeds are not inconsequential. What you do to others and what you do to yourself determine your future in the eternities to come.

Believe and do what you will, but I have seen enough death to know that life continues beyond what we see before our eyes. With this insight, it is also my belief that our responsibilities for what we do, and for what we have already done, travel with us for eternity. There is a path, however, for us to gain purity through forgiveness if we will seek it.  Take this opportunity to right any wrongs you have done, change your path if you are misled, and extend yourself toward the service of others. Allow the Savior to cleanse you for He is the only true liberator.  Only through His means will you find happiness and peace.

May the blessings of every good thing be upon you, and may all those you love find the truth of this message in their hearts. May happiness and joy be with you throughout your days both here and in the great beyond.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, Podcaster, and founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, Podcasts, 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, please visit my podcast “Deadline” at or at and follow me on Instagram at "Deadline_TracyLee".