Donor Family Voices Archive
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From the Holiday 2011 issue of For Those Who Give and Grieve.

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for someone grieving the loss of a loved one. Is there anything someone could do for you that would help? Has someone done something for you in the past that you found particularly helpful? Please share with us things that friends and family members have done (or can do) for you to help you get through the holidays.

Shine a Light!

I unexpectedly lost my twenty year old son, DJ, in July 2006. Even though half a year had passed, I didn’t look forward to December. I didn’t want to enjoy the holidays because DJ could no longer enjoy them. I went through the motions because I had other family members and friends that still deserved to enjoy the holidays and looked forward to celebrating at our house. When it came time to exchange gifts, I was given a small, engraved, lighted ornament that was a tribute to my son. It filled me with a lot of emotions and memories of past Christmas’ and good times.
After the holiday season that year, while returning all my cherished Christmas artifacts to their packaging, I came across a little tree that DJ had made out of wire coat hangers and a simple string of Christmas lights. He saw beauty in simple things. I had forgotten that. I pulled out that little tree and repaired it. It has become a centerpiece for all Christmas gatherings, not just because DJ made it, but because a small, lighted ornament reminded me that healing starts with a little light and grows over time. Bring it out, dust it off, share it with others. Let your loved ones’ light shine.

Shelly J. Sinn (Till)
Donor: Darryl E. Hawkins, Jr. (DJ)

Posted by: Shelly


Our 2 children Josh age 23 and Chelsea age 20 were killed in an auto accident at Christmas '96 our son was declared dead at the scene, but Chelsea was careflighted to the Hospitsl where on Christmas Day she donated her organs....so the christmas season has been very difficult for us....we have been to the Hospital where Chelsea was every Christmas morning for the past 14 years...we bring sweet roll trays to the ICU and the ER...it has become a tradition, and the staff looks forward to it....We started that tradition to help us, and also we have helped others by telling them our story...as far as family, they all have their Christmas celebrations, and them come to our home late Christmas afternoon, and we all have Dinner together Before we know it Christmas Day is over, and we have all had a wonderful celebration!!

Posted by: Pat Stixrood


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT!!! I don't want MY SON JEFFERY'S name to be kept silent. I love to talk about him & have other people, family speak of JEFFERY!

Posted by: Pattilynn Eanes (ZIPPRIAN)


myself and other members of our family put up a Christmas tree on our son"s grave. it does help us get through the holidays knowing that we have done something that Mark loved.

Posted by: Bernadette LeBlanc


Our daughter, Amanda, went to Heaven Nov. 26, 1996, just before Thanksgiving. That makes the holidays especially tough. Cards means a lot to us during this time. Also, our granddaughter was born on Nov. 20, 2004, and our grandson was born Nov. 24, 1998, which is the second anniversary of the traffic accident that took our Amanda. Celebrating these birthdays brings me so much joy and lessens the pain.

Posted by: Cheryl Manley


I have such caring women in my life, 4 sisters and many friends. It will be 16 years since we lost our 18 year old Courtney. One family of three sisters are especially continual about sending emails and cards. I know we are close to their hearts, when they give us encouraging words. Now I have a friend who has lost her grandmother who was mother to her when her mother passed at a very young age. I will watch her kitty, watch her condo - be there for her. We never get over this but you have to keep the Faith. Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.

Posted by: Carol Minnich


Losing my son at the age of 16 was devastating,but my family as well as all of my sons friends have been so suppotive even after five yrs..we have a special tree at christmas for my son and every year my 14 yr old daughter puts a new ornament on it and its always one that is special and something her brother was interested in and on the anniversary of his passing we have a special web page where the kids and family can talk to him and i get great joy out of reading all the wonderful and sometimes silly things that r written on there.we continue to celebrate his birthday every year with his favorite german chocolate cake and this yr on his 21st birthday family and his friends wrote notes that we attached to balloons and then released.I am so blessed to have had him for 16 years and doubley blessed for the support system i have..god bless,sonia

Posted by: sonia


My mom died of a massive stroke on 10/5/10. The past 11 months have been very difficult. But what touched me most is the support of those you'd not likely suspect. On my mom's birthday - in March, I recieved a few calls from her good friends saying they knew the day would be difficult but they were thinking of me. How thoughtful of those to remember my moms bday and to call me. I also recieved a call on mothers day saying my mom and her family continue to be in people's prayers and thoughts. So months after my moms death, people other than my dad and brothers are still feeling her lose.
Those acts have meant so much to me. It wasn't from family, as you'd expect, but a friend of my moms. What a truly gracious friend.

Posted by: Tara Ivory


My mom passed away 4 years ago this December. The last time I saw her before she passed, was Thanksgiving day and one week later she was admitted to the ICU unresponsive. Because these events are so close to two major holidays this time of year can be very draining on me and my family. I appreciate those friends and family that do not ignore her presence during holiday discussions and who understand that avoiding the "elephant in the room" does not make it less difficult - but infact more so. I am grateful for the friends that share stories of her during the holidays and allow her memory to continue on.

Posted by: Kelly Schmitt


I have a friend who has sent me flowers on the anniversary of my son's death and his birthday for the past nine years. It is so comforting to know that someone is still actively paying attention to my loss and I cherish her thoughtfulness every day. During the first 2 years after my son's passing she sent me a note every month with encouragement and inspirational clippings from magazines. I looked forward to these tokens of gentle caring and they really help me during the first year, and especially a really difficult second year, after his passing.

Posted by: Peggy Lehr