Donor Family Voices Archive
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From the Summer 2006 issue of For Those Who Give and Grieve.

What are some things you have done to help you along your grief journey? What has given you comfort or hope?

I AM GLAD THAT I HAD THE LOVE AND SUPPORT FROM MY FAMILY AND FREIDNS TO HELP ME GET TROUGH THE FACT THAT I GOT A KIDNEY DISEASE. IT ALSO HELPED TO WRITE POEMS AND WRITE HOW I WAS FEEELING WHEN I DIDN'T WANT TO TALK TO ANYONE.

Posted by: Krystal


Things that bring me comfort are the love and compassion of family and friends surrounding me.

Writing, my grief group and ministry online for bereaved parents. Creating Web pages for our daughter and others to keep their memory alive.

Reading books on bereavement and other bereaved parents stories about their children and how they have coped.

Knowing my daughter lives on in others and has helped save others lives or improve them.

Posted by: CindyJo Greever


It will soon be 5 years since Bill's death. We donated his heart,kidneys,eyes and liver for others that may have a need. It was his wishes. He was a very healthy man and his time was up at 43 due to an accident. We have attended gatherings for donar and recipent families,participated in runs associated with organ donation, made a quilt block for a quilt to honor donors. The time to talk and share with others that lost and gave others opportunities to have a better life have been very helpful in making this tragic event in our lives easier to accept.
Approximately 2 years ago we got to meet the heart recepient and spent time with he and his family. It was truly a blessing to know about the man who is living with the help of Bill's heart. A living legacy is one of the best rewards for us to accept Bill's untimely death. This choice has softened our pain.
I would hope that others would follow Bill and our example of offering the gift of life if they ever have to face the lose of a loved one. Sincerely, Flo Gaskill(Bill's life partner)

Posted by: Flo Gaskill


Special things we have done to remember our loved one


1) My son plays college baseball and when he goes up to bat or play in the infield he will always write his deceased brothers inititals in the dirt before he bats or plays.

2) Planted a garden in his memory.

3) Have one special shelf with our loved ones favorite things.

4) Put license plate frame on our car "In loving memory of my son."

5) Created websites in his memory.



Things I have done to help me along the grief journey


1) Volunteer

2) Took up hobby of making fleece blankets

3) Finished my college degree

4) Attend grief support meetings

5) Speek at Organ/Tissue functions

6) Speek at recovery homes on guns and alcohol.

7) Keep a journal.

8) Fly the Native American Flag on his birthday and date of death.

9) Been a mentor to others who have lost their child.

Posted by: Cheryl Monette


I have been helped on my grief journey by living by the principal of it is not what has happened to me, but what I do with what has happened with me. Thus, the work I do in educating and speaking to others about the importance of donation has been quite helpful. As a nurse and caregiver, it was hard for me initially to seek help or for others to recognize I needed and still need support. By volunteering for donor activities, I have been able to communicate the joy I have obtained in giving and receiving, therefore allowing myself the opportunity to heal. At one of my talks, I was able to meet one of the recipients of one of my husband's kidneys. He and his wife have gone on to have two children since he received the kidney and this has taught me much about what really matters in life...contribution.

Posted by: Jan Frye Hill


After our daughter Kelly died I found a grief counselor and got myself and son into a grief group. It was the best thing we could have done. You have to know you are not alone. I attended Compassionate Friends meetings for two years and since my daughter was an infant I attended a special group for parents who lost of infant children.

Posted by: Patricia Morrison


Our grief journey and what we have done for comfort/hope: Our family has planted a tree that we gather under for picnics, story-telling and hugs/tears shared to make us all feel better. We meet at the cemetary on Tiffany's birthday and anniversay of her accident to bring balloons. In the beginning, we had a jar at the cemetary so we could leave notes. Now, we keep journals and search for new stories and jokes that Tiffany did or was in on. What gives us hope is knowing that even after almost 11 years (as of Sept. 5th), her heart still beats, her kidneys and liver still function. One of the greatest comforts through the years has been that knowledge that her ulimate gift lives on. The most important thing we have done through the years is to always mention her name in casual conversation, always feeling free to say something about her and keep her a living part of our lives.

Posted by: Billie Lomonaco, Tiffany's mother


I was married for 24 years and after Ed died, I was really a mess. I was stuck in this very sad place for a very long time. About 3 years after Ed died, I attended a retreat for widows and widowers. There I met a Catholic priest who told the group "Time doesn't heal; people heal. And healing begins when you make the decision to heal". Well, when I came home from that retreat, I made the decision to heal. I received an invitation to attend a Speaker's Training at the Gift of Life in Philadelphia. I attended the training and started to attend Hearts of Gold meeting, which is a donor family support group. I think being with other donor families has helped me in my grief process. You are with other people who truly know how you are feeling. I am now the Chairperson for the Hearts of Gold and go out and share my story about Ed with my co-workers, rotary groups and other organizations. I receive comfort in meeting other donor family members and transplant recipients.



One of my favorite quotes is from the Dalai Lama. He says "Change only takes place through action. Frankly speaking, not through prayer or mediation, but through action".



I know attending the Hearts of Gold meetings has truly helped me begin to heal.

Posted by: Diane Milbourne


About 8 months after my son died I became active with Gift of Hope the OPO for my area, I volunteered as a speaker to get the word out their because I felt that I needed to turn this tragedy into something more positive. So I started out on The Donor Family board of Advisory to give my input in how they could help donor families and then started volunteering my time to educate people about the importance of Organ donation and if I a mother could make the decision to donate my 2 1/2 year old organs so could anyone else. I always tell people that my son gave me a gift after he died, and that was that I know he is still living on in 3 other kids. Since our son has died we started a collection of Noah's Ark artifact, drawings,etc. I also have honored him by getting donor organ license plates with his name on it. When I did that there were many people who thought that I had lost it but those plates are a testament to what he did.

Posted by: Gabi Tidhar


Some of the things I have done to help myself along on my grief journey are:

1. Read almost every grief book I could get my hands on to educate myself.

2. Grief counseling

3. Tried to surround myself with people that loved and cared about me especially in the first two years.

4. Gave each of my siblings and their families, my parents and closest friends a book on how to help a bereaved parent.

5. Write to his organ recipients on special occasions.



What has given me comfort or hope?

1. Hearing his name from the mouths of people I love & care for.

2. Having his organ recipients write me, call me, or email me. Hearing from them what a difference his gifts of life have made in their lives.

3. Celebrating his birthday with family and close friends.

4. Loved ones and close friends donating to causes in his memory.

Posted by: Kelly DeLine


My husband, Tom, died on 9/19/00 and I still am grieving and somehow cannot find any comfort.However, my dad died in Feb. 1992 and my mom just died on 8/4/06 and somehow I find some comfort in knowing that he is with my mom and dad- It is a feeling that I cannot describe.

Posted by: Joyce Ann Swartz


I know down in my heart and soul the my son's life lives on. His life was not in vain. He gave his heart, liver and kidneys to four people so that they may live on with their families. Donating my son's organs turned a tradgic situation into a positive, loving one. My hope is that one day I might be able to get in touch with the young man who has my son's heart. He may write to me, call, email, get in touch with the Donor organization or may not. This is my hope.



I have worked in the retail business for many years. People tell you lots of things about their lives and this helps you to find the perfect gift for their needs. One person told me that she had just lost her only son. I listened intently to her story. When she was finished, I told her mine. She said she knew there was a reason for her to come into my store that night. This happened five years ago and we are good friends and we exchange letters and cards to let each other know that we are thinking about them. She told me the last time we saw each other that she would come to the mall and not even come into my store. For her to walk past and just see me, was enough to keep her going and give her hope.
That is what helps me along my grief journey. To help other people. I try to give the young teenagers a positive outlook on life. I have a strong faith and trust in God. Without the Lord and his love for me, I would not have been able to get through these past 12 years of my 15 year old son's suicide.

Posted by: D. Sue Logan


The greatest hope and comfort for my husband & I after the death of our 22 month-old daughter, Stephanie, came from our decision to donate her organs. This helped us feel that her passing was not a total loss. She was able to help others & give them more time to be with their loved ones, something that we really knew the value of.
I did attend bereavement counseling with my other daughter, who was having a hard time, which did help somewhat. It was not specific to our loss (not child/sibling) so we more or less wound up feeling more sorry for the others there who lost a spouse/parent. It did help us formulate ways to handle the rest of the world who did not know how to deal with us. My husband did not have any counseling until just recently. For his job he had to undergo hospice training & they had a bereavement session. I think it really affected him, even 8 years later!
We also donated a church window in Stephanie's memory at our new church building, something we know will be in existence long after we are gone!

Posted by: Patty Smith


I recognized early on into my grief journey that I needed to connect with other people who had experienced what I was going through. My husband and I joined a parents grief group and regularly attended meetings for two years. It was extremely hard to walk into that first meeting, but we found so much comfort in being able to talk about our daughter and share ideas on how to cope. By the end of the two years, it had become our turn to help support new families starting their journey. That helped me to focus on something else besides my pain.

We also sought connections with other donor families through the NKF, eventually volunteering to spread awareness of organ and tissue donation. Each time we shared our story, we grew a little stronger. There is no one else that can understand your feelings of grief and then the joy that comes from donation like another donor family member.

Posted by: Patti Norquist


Our daughter, Lisa
Denman Stacy died March 15,2002. She was 34 years old, she died very
unexpectedly leaving her beautiful children and a devoted husbad . She
was a very loving kind person and always wanted to give and help others. I
am her Mother and the pain and loss cannot be described s he was a
organ donor that gives us some peace to know someone else is living and
happy for a second chance in life. We have head from one family. This
helps sp much to know apart of her lives on and someone else is happy. The
recip., daughter has written to our granddaughter telling us about her
father and thankinging her Mom for his life. This is very special for a
young girl to be so eager to know her dads donor. Her Grandmother has
written to me and is a very special person who has given me strength.


I hope someday to hear from the others, I look at my mail each day
hoping to hear from a reciptent telling us how they are doing. God has
given us peace, but our hearts will always be sad as we miss our daughter so
much.

Posted by: Karen Denman Findlay


I keep a journal and write down thoughts and memories of my husband. I wrote this on the two year anniversary of his death.





The Winding Road of Grief



Losing my husband suddenly was one of the hardest things I think I will ever have to go through in my life. Finding myself a widow at 39 years of age with two young children was not what I envisioned after only 15 years of marriage.



I have learned that this journey that I travel for the rest of my life will never end. Being a widow is permanent. There is no end…only that the road changes as I go on. I find so many metaphors in using the word “road” for this new life journey. The road being my grief, and the weather along the way being my emotions.



In the beginning, right after my husband’s death, I traveled on a highway that was so overtaken by fog. Not knowing what was ahead, not knowing whether I was traveling uphill, downhill or what direction. I was constantly looking for the guidance of that one that I missed so terribly to lead and show me the way. I kept on trying to follow the white lines, but they kept changing. I was finally able see the light breaking the fog apart. I came upon a clearing that brought my husband’s death to a whole new reality for me.



Once the fog was lifted and gone, the road and the journey continued to change…..sometimes going 100 MPH, then to a screeching halt and always running into brick walls of grief……the dirt road, the rocky bumpy road…leading me to the days of anxiety and loneliness. There were the days when the snow and thunderstorms whirled around taking their toll on me physically and emotionally.



It has been over two years since my husband left me. The road I am on now I find to be less challenging…I have learned how to prepare myself for the hills and the winding curves as they come… the storms that I encounter along the way do not scare me like they once did in the beginning. This journey has become less of a burden and I am learning to embrace it. There is nothing I can do to make it stop. I am now able to find some beauty in the pouring rain and the falling snow.



I still have days where I occasionally run into that storm, and the anger, sadness and tears surface. I have learned I cannot control them…they will pass, just like an afternoon thunderstorm.



Most of my days now I am just traveling at a normal speed….able to enjoy the sunshine and think to myself…there are more sunny days ahead for me and my children and the road will become less winding and challenging as we continue on this journey.



My husband was an organ donor. We were able to donate five organs and his corneas. I pray that the journey that his organ recipients must face and travel is a better one that leads them also to sunnier days ahead.



In memory of Keith


Written by Trish Blackwell - North Carolina

Posted by: Trish Blackwell


I joined New Hope for Kids (in Mailtland, FL) and took my daughters for 1 year. The adults get specific group support and the children get grief support through role playing and art projects. After the first year, I began volunteering and now am on the Board of Directors. It feels good to have your knowledge and pain understood by so many. I would encourage anyone to get a support group.



I also started going to a Holistic Dr. who helped put my body chemistry back in balance after it had been so drained from long lasting grief. The homeopathic natural supplements help your body deal with all the confusion and loss of hope. I wanted a way to live thru the pain and not suppress it with anti-depressants. I did use Zoloft in the beginning for 5 months and hated it. It won't allow you to cry or laugh and numbs you. This keeps you from healing and progressing.

Posted by: Carolyn Moor


It would be so easy for most of us when we lose a loved one to just shut the door and close out the world

So we can suffer all by our selves. So we don’t have to hear the sorry for you loss and is there anything we can do, when the reality is there is nothing they can do.

It is a choice we make or a decision if you will that we have to decide to pick our selves up and go on with life. It is ok to live again.

Some seem to have a harder time of it. Maybe it’s because they don’t know what to do or don’t have the right encouragement

When my son Edward passed away we donated his organs. There were some things I already knew, our family had suffered a similar lose when my older brother Garry was killed 13 years before my son. So you could say my own mother was like my coach she knew when to comfort me and when to just stand by and watch. She knew what I was going through.

On the 1 year anniversary of Edwards passing I received a letter from My son’s heart recipient ( Bob) that would help me to heal and learn how to direct my pain in to something to keep me busy and to leave a legacy for my son and my family. I started doing something I hadn’t done since a few months after my brother’s death and that was writing my poetry again. I sent a letter back to him along with a poem I wrote in honor of my son and to Bob called “The Transplanted Heart”


He did not die.

His heart still beats, it’s true,

The proof is there that beats in you

His soul has traveled on, you see.

And you and I are left.



To meet another of God’s test.

Sometimes I’m so weary I Would

So just like to rest.



But know the sooner I finish my test

I can see him again,

And finally rest.


I have since entered a piece in a poetry contest and won the poem was published in a book and that just encouraged me to continue writing to date I have approximately 106 of them .also I have started a manuscript from my daily journals hopefully to be published one day. I started posting my poetry on the NDFC wed site to share with others. I do other projects to keep busy like making shadow memory boxes and memorial candle’s (mostly for family and close friends because I don’t like to charge for them. I enjoy giving them as gifts.) I think most people just need to when the hardest part of the grief passes they just need to find there own nitch whether its writing volunteering, speaking or just finding a hobby I think there is something out there for everyone to help them through there grief and to help build a legacy for there loved one they just need to search there soul to find what there good at or what gives them peace. I know I have found mine and I can never express how much it has helped me and giving me a new reason everyday to write more. Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of my sons death and I have written 3 in the past 2-day with thoughts of him in mind

Always……………………………………………..
By: Kimberly Miller
(Donor Mom-Ohio) 08/14/06

Posted by: Kimberly Miller


We talk about Will's passing and how we donated his organs and tissue. It
gives us great comfort to know that 5 people are living because of the donations
and we found out that Will's bones were used to help a little girl walk. Not
only has Will saved people's lives he is also helping people that have
other issues such as learning to walk again. What a blessing to know that Will's
gifts have helped so many people.

Posted by: Diane A Walsh and Mike Zimmardi


My son Casey died on April 20th of 2003. He was 23 years ofl at the time. I think of April 21st as his day of donation of his life to others. He died on Easter Sunday, and gave the gift of life on Monday the 21st. It was the looking past his death and embracing the lives that he has saved that has eased my grief. It is my ongoing connection with his recipients that has eased my grief. All the recipients were adult men with families. All were within months of dying, and even after three and one half years; they are are doing well and living wonderful productive lives. The cards and pictures from Casey's recipients sustain me during the holidays. Knowing that he lives on and has transformed six lives is amazing. The significance that Casey died so that others could live has never been lost on me or in the hearts of the other families he touched by his donation. I hope other recipients will know just how much hearing from them means to the families who grieve.

Posted by: Julie (Dinsmore) Myers


When my 17yr old son, Brian, passed away on 12/11/02, I thought I would never be able to feel joy again. The rawness of grief pierced my heart and I was stripped of my passion for life. I was forced to step back and evaluate the little things that filled my day. I held onto those things that embraced me: God, my children, my husband, and my desire to communicate with the man who received my son’s heart. Today, I depend on the Lord to guide my life journey, celebrate every event in my children’s lives, cherish my relationship with my husband, continue monthly spiritual direction, correspond with BJ (Brian’s heart recipient), and reach out in any way I can to those who grieve. Life will never be the same, just changed. I praise God for all my blessings and look forward to the day when I will be reunited with Brian again.

Posted by: Maureen Fleagle


Some of the things that helped me along after the death of my husband was alone time. To ponder the good times in our marriage and also the trying times. Only yourself knows all of those times. I got a small puppy to help occupy my time and mind when my mind was tired of thinking about the loss. Keeping busy was invaluable. Having a friend to listen when I felt like reminiscing helps keep the human contact. I took several driving trips with the puppy to see relatives and friends. But always, my "smiler" felt broke. It takes time for it to fix itself.

Posted by: Donna Tope


The one thing that has helped me and my family is the fact that so many people have been physically helped with the donated organs and tissues. Just recently, we were able to meet with the heart recipient. I also communicate with one of the kidney recipients. It's good to know that their life's are better as the result of their transplants.

Posted by: Janet Lemaire


i am still struggling a lot, the hard part is getting over the.. wish i had dones, or what could i have done more of.. and the anger of him leaving.. the loneliness and the being alone.. i try to get out and do vol. work, also go to support groups that are going through the same.. there has to be a way that one can get through this, with out feeling guilty.. thank you ..

Posted by:


We lost my son, Patrick, who was only 20 years old, in August, 2003. Initially, I was numb with disbelief that this could have happened to our family.



For the first several months, I went to the cemetery almost daily and just sat at his grave site and talked to him. I played his favorite music for him even though I knew he couldn’t really hear it. I’ve listened to his favorite CD so many times that I now actually like hip hop music.



One day while sitting at his grave site, a butterfly flew up and landed on his foot maker, a few feet from where I was sitting, and lit there for a long time before it took flight again. I took that as a sign that Patrick was aware we had honored his wishes by donating his organs. After that day, I no longer felt the need to go to the cemetery every day to be close to him.



What has given you comfort or hope?



Making the quilt patches honoring Patrick’s life and participating in the AOC picnic ceremony was probably the beginning of our recovery process. At the first picnic, we met Patrick’s liver recipient and also his left kidney recipient. We feel honored to know that a part of Patrick lives on through his organ recipients and we cherish their friendships.



We created a collage of pictures from every phase of Patrick’s life, including special moments with family and friends. We had this collage framed and hung it in his old bedroom. When I get to really missing Patrick, I will go sit in that room and the memories give me peace.



I keep a few of Patrick’s clothes in a sealed container. Sometimes when I miss him the most, I pull those shirts out and just breathe in his scent.

Posted by: Rosalind Hood


Writing poetry was my comfort in the beginning but ultimately over the past 20 years it has sharing the comfort of knowing my son’s love continued on in his recipients. I found that clubs and church groups are always looking for speakers. Providing these groups with factual information dispels myths surrounding donation and has made the wait a little shorter for a few recipients.

Posted by: Diedra (Dee) Thompson


What has helped me along my grieving journey is knowing that my
husband, Dennis did the right thing in donating his organs. I live each
day knowing that he unselfishly gave of himself. Since his death I have
become involved in Donate Life. I keep busy in participating in as many
events and I love to speak on behalf Donate Life and for Dennis. It
gives me comfort and it keeps Dennis close to me. I feel him everyday
as I continue on my journey and when I speak for donate life I can feel
and hear Dennis in my heart. What he did in his passing I am so proud
of. I miss him each and every moment of the day but I also smile
knowing that he left a legacy behind not just for me and our sons but
for all who are committed to organ and tissue donation.

Posted by: Patti Rivetti


I, personally, have participated in numerous activities sponsored by the local LifeNet office. I attended the ceremony that honors the donors and their families which was an honor. I made a quilt square to be put onto the LifeNet memory quilt in honor of my son. That was so therapeutic because I was able to think and remember about all of his fave things and represent them in a way that people would have a better understanding of who he was. I haven't sent it in yet..but I will...I've also made "memory flag" that I will display at his gravesite from time to time..and I used the same idea for that as I did for the quilt square...many of his fave activities and nicknames and a pic of him are on it....that was actually enjoyable to do... What has given me great comfort and hope is my faith in God. I pray alot and attend church regularly and it brings me peace and great joy to commune w/my Lord and Saviour. I have also joined a local "crime fighting" organization called VICTIMS AGAINST CRIME/VOICES AGAINST HOMICIDE...They specialize in helping people who have suffered a loss thru homicide. I have joined their board and am currently serving as their secretary. They work to educate, raise awareness and prevent homicides in the communities in Hampton Roads. They give scholarships in honor of loved ones that have passed on to people who have suffered a lost thru homicide. This actually gave me great comfort because this year a young man will expand his education and his horizons because he was the recipient of the Derrick Ellis VAC scholarship. I was so proud that my son's memory was honored in such a way.

Posted by: Sherry Ellis-Freeman


My journey began nearly three years ago.


One day I received a letter from one of the kidney recipients. It took me nearly a year to send my answer along. It took me that long because I wanted the letter to be perfect. I must have rewritten the letter 5 times. I finally gathered the courage to finish the letter and send it along. The recipient accepted my letter and wrote back.


Please allow me to quote a speech the recipient gave recently as I believe she has truly captured my journey.


“We wrote back and forth a few times each time getting more and more frustrated by the organ bank doing their job of whiting out our identities. We opted to cede that anonymity and eventually decided to meet. I had been warned, as had she, that this often did not work out well, and occasionally had very bad results. I thought the "benefit outweighed the risk". Apparently, so did she. We decided to meet one Friday morning for coffee. Nine hours later we were still talking. Eighteen months later we consider ourselves to be friends.


Last Saturday I took her to dinner to celebrate her birthday. We spent our usual 6-7 hours of time together catching up about our lives, our kids and how we have each changed. She is surviving the agony of widowhood, the angst of single motherhood. In the process she has grown new self-confidence, redesigned her life, and redefined her place in her world.


All of our lives have changed. Mine has, hers has. My husband and children’s and grandchildren’s lives have changed. All three of her kid’s lives have changed."



Last year I gave the recipient one of my photographs. Photography has become a release for me. It allows me to capture all of the beauty that surrounds us. I included a card. Please allow me to quote this card. The words were written by Steven Schwartz from the musical Wicked.


“PEOPLE COME INTO OUR LIVES FOR A REASON, BRINGING SOMETHING WE MUST LEARN.

AND WE ARE LED, TO THOSE WHO HELP US MOST TO GROW, IF WE LET THEM.

AND WE MUST HELP THEM IN RETURN.

SO MUCH OF ME IS MADE OF WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM YOU.

YOU’LL BE WITH ME LIKE A HANDPRINT ON MY HEART

AND NOW WHATEVER WAY OUR STORIES MAY END

I KNOW YOU HAVE RE WRITTEN MINE BY BEING MY FRIEND.



It has brought me great comfort meet and become friends with my husband’s kidney recipient. She has helped me through the journey of grief by bringing me comfort and joy. She allows me to be happy or to cry if I need to. She listens to what needs to be said and shares her stories of grief. She and her family are now a big part of our family. She has helped us all to survive.

Posted by: Wanda Murray


I am a donor wife. My husband died suddenly 5 years ago at age 43 from a brain aneurysm. He was an organ donor and six people received his organs. Two years ago I became a Gift of Life Donor Program Volunteer (my local OPO). It has helped me greatly to share my husband's story through speaking and writing opportunities and to do other volunteer activities through Gift of Life. My husband loved flowers and also the outdoors. I maintain a small garden at home with his favorite flowers in his memory; and also try to walk or bike often in the park near my home, where he and I enjoyed many happy hours. I especially try to do a walk in the park around birthdays, anniversaries and holidays as well. It helps me to feel more connected to him.

Posted by: Laurel Schwass-Drew


my name is shawna weisinger ... and my husband passed on September 12,2005 . he was 20 years old .. this past weekend i met his lung recipient ... she was so thankful and all i could think was i didn't do it my husband did ... but it still helps to know that someone else can live a fulfilled life and a part of my husband still lives on with the help of someone elses body ... he also donated his kidneys , pancreas ,heart, and liver. .. his 21st birthday would have been august 8 th and that was 2 days after i met his recipient and it helped me on his birthday too ... thank god for organ donation ....

shawna rae weisinger

jeffs wife

jeff weisinger

8-8-85****9-12-05

Posted by: shawna weisinger


"What are some things you have done to help you along your grief
journey?

The first thing I wanted to do was to meet the receeipients which I have met 2 of them and that has really helped me. It is good to see how even in death my husband has helped someone. I miss him everyday but knowing he has helped others has given me something to remember. I also talk about him a lot to everyone, my family, friends and our kids.



What has given you comfort or hope?"

To know that he is waiting for me on the other side and that he gave me two beautiful kids to share my life with.

Helen Gregory
Spotsylvania Virginia, husband ALbert "Buddy" Gregory II 08-22-72 to 11-21-01

Posted by: Helen Gregory


Truly, what helped me was meeting the woman that received my sister's lungs.
Prior to that, 'the hope of organ donation' had not penetrated my heart - it
was just something I would say and tell people when I talked about Diane,
but I don't think I truly believe it. But, after I met the organ recipient,
I understood the hope of organ donation. I saw what my sister helped to make
possible because of her decision to be an organ donor. And, most importantly
my sons, who would never meet their aunt, saw what she helped to make
possible. It was a life changing day for me, my parents, and my brother.

Posted by: Karen Bonick


Since tragically losing my daughter, Lyric Marie Benson, in late April, 2003, I have started LYRIC OF LIFE. Lyric was murdered in NYC and that prompted me to start this nonprofit organization. There have been three LYRIC OF LIFE Benefits in Kansas City, MO thus far. All have been in late April. LOL does three things:

1.) Raises organ donor awareness
2.) Assists donor and recipient families
3.) Grants college scholarships to senior theater students

Please find out much more by going to Lyric's Web site: www.LYRICofLIFE.org

Posted by: Terry Benson


some of the things that assist me in grieving.... not many... but i hold on to that he helped others .... my son was 16 and he left me to early in life... every day is a challenge for me... i see his smile, hear his voice... i know he was a champion, and now he has Championed for others to live.

since its has only been a year, i had a brick made in his honor. it states "christopher field on to your next great adventure".... he had such imagination, he was going to be a screen writer, he loved superheros.... so every time i see a super hero, i stop to take a moment and smile.... he championed for all others throughout his life....

Posted by: Donna Field


I HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE LUCKIEST DONOR FAMILIES, THAT I KNOW OF.

I HAVE DINNERS WITH LISS' PANCREAS AND HAVE BE COME A PART OF HER LEFT KIDNEYS FAMILY. MOTHER'S DAY CARD ETC.

WE EITHER E-MAIL OR PHONE.

I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO WALK MY BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER DOWN THE AISLE BUT I KNOW FRANK,HER PANCREAS WILL. AND HO W BLESSED WHEN CLARETHA'S DAUGHTER CASSUNDRA NAMES HER BABY LISS.(WE HAVE FEW YEARS TO GO ON THAT ONE.

I KNOW THAT MY BEAUTIFUL ANGEL IS HAPPY WITH HER CHOICE OF BEING A DONOR . I THINK IT WAS ONE OF HER BEST GIFTS TO ME, THE FACT THAT WE BOTH KNEW THAT WE HAD TO BE DONORS. SHE MADE IT SO SIMPLE.

WE HAVE BROUGHT JOY INTO EACH OTHERS FAMILIES. AND THAT IS MY DAUGTER,LISS. A GIVER OF JOY.

Posted by: JUDI KAYE


My wife and I give talks to ICU professionals during our OPO's
CE courses. This has led us to better understand each others grief and
suffering.

Posted by: Steve Gardner


I’ve been very lucky in my grief journey.

It sounds like rather a strange thing to say, for an Australian who was living with his family in Seattle for just 9 months on a temporary work assignment when his wife of 12 years collapsed one morning from a brain aneurysm, 4 months into the assignment.

Firstly, I was fortunate that we had discussed what we wanted to happen to our bodies when the time came. Of course I had no idea that her time would come so soon, and my first statement to her in the ER was, “What’s going on here? We were supposed to grow old together!” So when I was approached by the ICU doctor about organ donation, at a time of the day when I should have been enjoying a morning coffee at work, I really thought at the time that the question was a “no-brainer”. Please pardon the pun. To me, it was obvious. And it still is. I could not comprehend saying, “No”.

No doubt you have heard the expression, “No pain, no gain.” In the last 3 years, I have surprised myself many, many times with the intensity of my inner strength. I have cried, got drunk, drugged myself to sleep, and got up the next day and got on with whatever I had to do that day, because I had to. And in the process, I have survived.

I have surrounded myself with support systems. I found a fabulous counsellor in the US & saw her every week until I came home. After that, I discovered that because Doris had worked so hard as the director of a community support organisation, with a network of counsellors, most of the good ones in this town knew me too well & were unable to take me on as a client. I did eventually find one, who had also worked with Doris, but was far enough away from me to make it happen. We worked together on my grief process for about 18 months, gradually tapering off towards the end, and she travelled with me through the tough times and the anniversaries.

I learned, very early on, to ask. Ask for 5 minutes of your time, ask to be invited to dinner, ask to be included in whatever you are doing today, no matter how trivial it seems to you, ask for help with unpacking all of the “stuff” and for storing “stuff” that I don’t want to get rid of just yet, ask to be left alone, but not for too long!

While still in Seattle, I met an American at work, and married her in Vegas on the day before I left the US. We were apart for most of the following year, while we worked on her application for a Resident Visa. So there I was, conducting a long distance relationship and a brand new relationship, at the same time as dealing with my grief, and knowing that I really had to push myself to be ready for a close-up one-on-one relationship when we finally got together. Talk about pain and gain!

Do you see now where I have been lucky in my grief journey? Everything has conspired to push me along the path, to keep me moving forward, while providing me with the space to honour the past.

I also got heavily involved with the local organ donor coordinators here in Australia. They were provided with the opportunity to make presentations to the in-service training courses of the local Ambulance Service about once a month for a whole year, and invited me to take some of their time to share my story with the Ambulance Officers. Apart from this being my way of helping their cause, of which I am (understandably) passionate, it also gave me the opportunity to re-tell my story many times, and always to a new and appreciative audience. This of course is another important aspect of the grief process – being able to tell the story over and over again. And the story changes and mellows over that period of time, too.

One of the questions that came up early in these sessions was, “Has being able to donate some of your wife’s organs helped you in your grief process?” My first response to that question was framed in hesitation, but as these sessions progressed, my answer was a more emphatic “Yes”. Some good has come out of what was for me a personal disaster of monumental proportions. In fact the latest report I received on one of the kidney recipients was that he had returned to a full workload. Now that’s comforting.


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Life is not a dress rehearsal, it's the real thing.

Posted by: Rodney Fiddaman


It has been over 7 years since my husbands painful, wrongful death
and I still do not have any closure. I do find some comfort by
telling the true facts about my husbands death and the fact that
there is no law prohibiting willful wasting of gifts of life. I tell
every one how Congressman Oberstar agreed with me that the law that
prohibits buying and selling should be amended to include willful
wasting. I tell everyone how, Since he wrote that letter in 2001, he
has been ignoring me, but continues to take my tax money. I tell
everyone how, the night my husband was killed, I said yes to donate
his gifts if life and how they were literally wasted. I tell everyone
how the NDFC and NKF never has any stories from persons who had
devastating experiences after saying yes.
I honor my husband's memory the 1st Sun of every month by running an
ad in the sun. paper in the city where he was killed. I let every one
who reads it know that his employer is responsible for his injuries.
I verbally let every one know that in the state of Missouri, nurses
can forge and alter consent forms for anatomical gift donation, lie
and waste anatomical gifts, steal an opportunity to improve someone's
life, steal a comfort measure from a grieving family, and intensify
the pain and grief for a grieving family. I tell everyone how, to
this day, the Missouri board of nursing refuses to tell me why they
refuse to discipline nurses who do such dishonest things. I think all
RN's should work in Missouri because they can lie to get out of doing
work ( it was 3 o'clock Sat. morning and she would have had to call
in a surgical team.) and not have to worry about losing their nursing
license or even receiving the least form of discipline- a letter of
reprimand.

Martha Youngblood

http://www.mlecmn.net/~maky/

Love is a link death cannot sever.

Posted by: Martha Youngblood


Some of the things that helped me along mt grief journey is...

I have an area in my bedroom that is a Shrine of my parents. It has their wedding picture, cards that I have given them through out the years and a chair that I sit on and talk to them.

Both of my paretns were gone beofre I married my 2nd husband. I dedicated a song to my parents that onyl me and my husband danced too. I know that they were there in spirit.
Yvonne Kuehn

In loving Memory of

Charlotte and Charles Czerwinski

Posted by: Yvonne Kuehn


What has given me comfort or hope? Comfort is hearing from two of the recipients and knowing they are doing so well.
Comfort is Tracy knowing he was loved. I never talked with him on the telephone or in person that I didn't tell him I loved him at the end of the conversation. His response was the same and a hug for his mom.
Hope was watching Tracy's daughter grow up. She was a toddler when he died. I have made up an album and memory box for her. She always wants to hear about him. The kind of person he was. Cassie Marie is such a joy to us and we are truly blessed to have her. Tracy would be very proud of the young woman she's become. We have told Cassie about her Dad. His faults as well as his strengths. He wasn't perfect and he made mistakes like everyone else but his heart was so soft and his love and trust for his family and friends never waivered.
Beloved, how we miss you.

Posted by: Bonnie Jotblad (mother to Tracy James Nelson2/6/90


My son Robb died four years ago in an car accident, he was twenty seven at the time! It has been the hardest four years of my life, but I know I have to go on as hard as it was and still is. I did so many things to help me, in the grief process , I started a website, and his friends started a scholarship fund at the local college in our hometown, but the thing that has helped me the most is the grief support group I started for famlies who have lost a child. I think we come together and gain strength from each other and we all know the hurt and pain each of us has faced. We can all relate to each other and talk, cry whatever it may take to get through this nightmare.

Posted by: Chris (Robb's Mom)


Meeting and an ongoing healthy relationship with his solid organ recipients.

Posted by: John and Margaret, Matt, Jamie, Andrew, and Lillia


My unweilding faith has never let me down during my darkest hours. I met a special friend who had experienced the same loss as I, 10 years prior to my loss and her kind words and gentle way helped me more than words can express. I owe her alot because she was the "real" deal! Having family and true friends that are there for me 24/7 unconditionally to talk has helped me with my grief journey. It is the road less traveled but as time passes the pain seems less painful. Also meeting my recipients has helped me heal and learn to love life again!

Posted by: Pat J. Kupfer (Jeremy's Mom)