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From the Holiday 2012 issue of For Those Who Give and Grieve.

While grieving the loss of your loved one, did your faith or set of beliefs support you? Or, did you find that your beliefs could not adequately explain for you how such things are possible, leading you to explore how you understand the world?

When my husband passed away I was thankful that I had my faith. After all God lost His son how could He not know what I was going through.

Posted by: Pat


I have always been a strong believer in God, but after watching my son in a hospital and see him taken from me, my faith was shaken. I was holding on to that faith for my son's sake, and truly believed in my heart that God was going to let me have my son back. After losing my ALfy I could not understand why such a loving God whom I have served all my life could allow me to go through such a horrifying experience. Losing my son was the most devastating thing in my ife. I prayed and prayed and begged but God had other plans. My beautiful son went to be an angel in heaven, and his mother was left in this world looking for answers, answers that never came. I still believe in God and trust God, but it is a long and rough road. I will never have the answers I am seeking for, all I know is that God is a good God and he loves us and he continues to carry us in the worst moments of our lives. Everyday is a struggle, the pain, sadness is more than any person can handle, but with God's help we will live through it...

Posted by: Liliam Trejo


On April 4, 1996, my son, Shawn passed away from an injury to the brain inflicted by another. We had four days with him before he went to meet God. He was the spark and joy of our family and has left a horrible void in our lives. He left behind a beautiful daughter, now 19, who is such a joy. I did not become angry or question God, knowing that he would help me through the tragedy and He did as he has promised. Many years have past but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss his dynamic personality and his hugs.

Michael Jackson was a advocate of organ donation and he was Shawn's idle, therefore, he had the same believe in donating. It was very consoling to my family to know that other families through donating Shawn's organ would not have to go through the pain of observing the death of a loved one.

For those who do not believe in eternal life, please take the time and read a very consoling book entitled "Hello from Heaven".

Posted by: Carol A. McGowan


Seven years seems like yesterday when the unexpected occured and our only child Anand was separated from us, as a result of a car accident.Undoubtedly, those initial days were filled with anger, unbearable pains and nothing really mattered any more or even made sense any longer. Upon reflection, we were within a cloud, seeking whatever answers or possible solace.However,our faith and beliefs were mere words then, as this shock and grieve was beyond comprehension, loosing our precious son of 21 years.Then one day the clouds lifted and a light sent rays of hope,support and recognition of "its all about you".What will our future be, what will we do to uplift ourselves and honor the memories and deep love we have for our son.Had it not been for our fervent hope and belief in our savior JESUS CHRIST and the remarkable support of friends and family, this journey would not have taken the awesome course it is on now.It must be noted that any loss of a loved one is painfully regretable and each of us deal with it the best way possible, for we are the one suffering and we have to make that choice to be lifted up or flow in despair and regrets. There are consequences for our action or inaction, for our grief and pains will never cease, it will come and go like a 'light-switch'- what matters most is the step we take to honor, cherish and find meaningful ways to pave the path of a fullfillng journey and a fitting legacy for our heroes.We have had immense joy and priviledge to have interfaced with countless donor families, recipients,donatelife and NKF'S members fiends and other families, for these relationships, connections offers valuable inspiration to set everyone on a trail of shared recovery of hope , passion and experience ultimate peace.Every moment is unbearable, but remember you are the driving force,with a spititual director governing everything and supplying all that we need.As we all grieve,reflect upon the wonderful times we had with our loved ones and as most of us know - "continue to share life - 'see you later...." a quote on our son's picture for memorial day.We all have the power to overcome, yet God reinforces further...Jer.29:11..plans to give you hope and a future.It is our prayer that all in the Organ Transplant world cultivate an attitude of gratitude for life, people and the things around us , for when the unexpected occurs, who knows when, but our connection, love and commpassion will help us all to sustain the pain and grief.Nothing is impossible, but with God all things are possible - likewise with faith, love, appreciation and chartering a course that makes you comfortable is most worthwhile.ITS ALL ABOUT YOU...
LOVE AND BLESSINGS TO EVERYONE

Posted by: Trib & Jasmin Persaud-Donor Family Florida


Yes our faith did help us after losing our son James at 33.It will will be 3 yearsand our faith is still helping and we know that James is living on through organ donation.We miss and Love him like crazy.

Posted by: Susan Jo & Nandor Palatinus


If it had not been for my faith and the faith of my husband (USAF career chaplain), I would not have been able to sustain the grief I felt upon his death. His life was filled with dedicated service to others-both in the military and civilian ministry. Knowing that part of him still lives on through his organ donations comforts me and fils me with the hope that his loving spirit is still at work here on Earth.

Posted by: mary funkhouser


When my son Brian was killed in an accident on 2-18-93 at the age of 7 I was devastated.I relied on my faith to give me strength. Believing in eternal life, I know I will see Brian again. I miss him every day, but know he is safe with God and his grandparents in heaven.

Posted by: Leslie Coefield


Yes, my faith did and does support me and my family with grieving.
We were a family of five, who all have a personal relationship with Jesus. We attend a Baptist Church in our town. On July 31, 2003 we lost two children in a car accident by our home. Sarah was 17 and Wade was 14. We now have a family of three and our faith in Jesus has carried us through some very hard times. We have stayed in church, fellowship with christian friends. We read our Bible and listen to christian music. This all has helped daily and sometimes by the minute. Gods word has been a comfort to me and my family. I am also reminded that God gave his only Son to die on the cross for me amd my sins. Sarah and Wade have a personal relationship with Jesus and I know I will see them again someday in Heaven. The hardest part right now is being left behind, but God has a plan for each one of us. He knows our birth and death before we do.
Do I wish they were still here, of course I do. I missed the Graduations, Weddings, Grandkids. But I have used this time to work with the youth and teens in our church.I miss them so much and Love them so much but I do have a hope only found in Jesus Christ.
Here are some verses we live by: Revelation 21:4, Romans 8:28, John 10:28, Psalm 28:7-9, John: 3:16, Jereimah 29: 11.I could share so much more but this is all for now.
Thanks Susanna

Posted by: Susanna Veskrna


With the loss of Don, everything I thought I knew was shattered. I have always been a deeply spiritual person who was confidant could with stand the test of faith. I was wrong. I think I could have dealt with most losses however this one was just too much. Not only was it a wonderful man but it was the man my sister loved. Shell is one of the best people I know. She does not think bad things about others, she helped everyone she could, she loved the simple things in life. Watching her life be destroyed made me extremely angry at God. I stopped praying and going to church, much to my husbands dismay. I know theoretically death is a part of life. I am mostly okay with that. I was a hospice nurse for goodness sakes. Not only did it shake my sense in God but it eliminated my sense of security in the world. Being a good person and doing the right thing does not guarantee immunity. We are good people and we try to do the right thing we give everything we have. That old saying "Everything happens for a reason, perhaps so, but it doesn't make it any easier. Understanding of the world? Yes, I understand I have no control of anything, and any given day your life can be turned upside down. It is a horrible feeling. There is no fairness and justice. I hope someday I find the inner peace I once had but it is an incredibly difficult thing to regain, and where to start? We have always been big supporters of organ donation and it has brought the peace I would have loved to have found in God. When I hear of someone loosing a loved one, I hope they are donors, not only for the recipients and their families, but for the happiness it may bring the donor family. As I sit here dreading a funeral tomorrow that is virtually by invitation only, as he was so loved, I say a very quick prayer that those organs bring strength and comfort. With the Internet, it is so easy to determine who the donor most likely is. Any recipient can look up accidents in the tri-state area and match it with info given by the organization. The one thing may not know is how great of a person that donor was. They can assume they are a kind and giving person to even think of donation. But they will not know the impact the deceased had on the people in his/her world. Perhaps it is necessary in order to be able to accept the organ as I know guilt is often involved. We just hope the recipient is just as awesome as the donor. We hope they go on to live happy and productive lives. We wish we could have shared that person when they were alive. We hope loss gets easier. I hope recipients are able to let go of guilt and enjoy every minute they were given and from time to time think lovingly of the person their donor must have been as it is really interesting to me that the best people I know would or have donate organs.

Posted by: Tamm


My faith did help me after losing my son CJ at the young age of 21. It has been 10 years and my faith is still helping. I do have bad times still but I feel the help of my faith pushing me through those times. Knowing that CJ is home with the good Lord helps me a lot! But I still miss and love him like crazy!

Posted by: Janet Shafer


My belief in God or something beyond the observable was becoming tenuous long before my son was killed. Since his passing, I've searched for evidence in my heart and in the natural world that he is still somewhere or that his spirit continues as more than an echo in the memories of those who love him. I've called his name (often silently), asking that he let me know, somehow, that he's waiting. I've asked God to let me know my son is with Him.

Silence.

I want nothing more than to be with him again someday. While I still hope, and search, it now seems that that I need to find value even in an existance that has ended for him and will end for me eventually.

My boy, I miss you so much.

Posted by: Scott


My oldest son, Michael, died by suicide in 2008. My trust in God was shaken. In the past, God had always alerted me to Michael's need. The day of his death I was filled with a peace I had never experienced. I knew later that peace was God's pre-comforting for what was to come. My relationship with God has changed, it's broader. I have more of a spiritual relationship instead of a religious one. Many other life events have happened that my trust is still shaky. But I know my Michael is at peace, no more struggles. I know I will be reunited with him and in that I do trust God.

Posted by: Melissa Bothum


Upon the sudden death of my father ALL of my beliefs in this world were challenged and questioned. Anything I had believed before this event was wiped clear. I began to question if there was a God how could he allow this to happen to my dad at a time when ALL things seemed to be going good for him. He had made lost the weight needed to get his transplant and his health was finally lining up. I questioned why I was not in that car that day. And why I had to argue with him that morning. My faith in everything was questioned. I began to read a lot and search the net for any kind of reasoning as to why I remain here and why my dad is gone and now my mother left disabled from the car accident. Being a nurse I am supposed to have control and it was my responsibility to care for my parents. On this day I had no control of anything that happened. I questioned why I did not see the signs that my dad was going to have a heart attack. Still a year and a half latter I am questioning the meaning of this life and how to understand the world I know face. I did attend grief counseling groups and then began seeing a private grief therapist. I am still like I said a year and a half later trying to make sense of all of this. It is as though I do not completely remember my life before the "EVENT" of July 16, 2011. I go on in my day to day life with a numb feeling. I talk to my dad a lot and look up at the stars trying to convince myself that he is there. My father told me that one day I would wake up and realize how strong of a woman I am. I definitely learned my strength through this.

Posted by: Melissa Young-Guillaume


The loss of our son was too hard to bear alone. It led us to our Lord Jesus Christ/ Then we began to feel His support in our grief. Our desire to donate was motivated by bringing a positive outcome to a tragic situation. Our spiritual decision to walk with God has continued to bring positive outcomes to a tragedy.

Posted by: Tiina Weatherill


In the long run yes it did. However no it took some time to retreive the faith I needed to except the loss of my 6 year old son and brother-in-law of only 2 weeks. It took at least a year to cope with the loss and to say the truth it still is with me no matter how much I pray. To have faith is to realize that this is not the end and soon I will be reutined with him in heaven. I still do not know what is possible in this life to help me cope 100% with my life. I feel empty but keep my self busy with the hospitality, caring, teaching and school. My faith has kind of left me when trying to find out my sons 2 recipients. Wrote them the letter back in 2008/2009 and yet still not had heard back. What at this point do I need to do to try again. This would bring my faith and hope in to perspective. My sons corneaus were given and 2 people can see because of this donation. But this is as far as we got. Would love to hear from the recepients what do I need to do? this would bring my faith to the ultimate!

Posted by: angela leone-hess


My husband Jack (48 yrs) died in January, 1998. Both Jack and I have a strong faith belief and it is because of that belief that I get through each day in my life. While grieving, I knew Jesus was there with me every step/every day. Some days I would move forward and others I would just stand still, while there were other days that I went backward...learning to walk again is what I told people in my life...I knew there was a light at the end of my tunnel of grief and I knew that Jesus would get me through....I could feel him. It certainly wasn't easy but I knew because of my faith that it would happen not in my time but in my Savior's time. Today, I am remarried and enjoying life..always missing Jack but enjoying the life I'm living now.

Posted by: Mary (Sickel) Franklin-Ringquist


C.S. Lewis wrote in one of his books on grief this about his wife Helen, "I was happy before I met Helen--why can I not be happy now that she's gone?" This statement is so true. But, he also went on to say that all those experiences that he enjoyed so much with Helen made him so sad that they had ceased. I think that is so true and it takes a lot of time when those happy times cease to deal with it. I felt that part of my heart left when Donald, my husband, died. It was the saddest sad and the deepest hurt I had ever felt in my life. I had faith in God and I realized that all people have to die but dealing with it so personally was difficult. My understanding of the Bible and the faith I had did lead me to explore and understand grief. I read a lot of books on grief that helped. I started having parties for the widows from our church family--there were 34 of us. Then, we all started inviting other widows to join us. My advice--explore the world out there. It's worth it!

Posted by: Glennis Posey


Christopher died tragically at the age of thirteen, and this is the sixteenth holiday season without my precious son. The only way I was able to get through the days is my faith in God and the eternal life we are given through the sacrifice of Jesus, his only son. This gives me the comfort to get through my days and the knowledge that I will be with my son when my journey ends.

Posted by: Pam Gleason


The shortest verse in the Bible is: "Jesus Wept".

Six years ago my son passed away in a motorcycle accident. Rocky was only 22 and had become a father only 8 short months before his death.

Rock lived every day to its fullest potential always saying, Mother, I can die today crossing the street and if we all live in fear of dying, we never really live.
After his death I was living in a world of shock, anger, and always asking why? It was my son's statement that taught me to keep moving, his belief that we all die and it is what we do with that time on Earth that counts.

My son believed in helping out the underdog and always did so whenever needed. He believed in working hard and playing hard. He also left for us a precious gift from God, my granddaughter. We celebrate his birthday every year at his favorite eatery with a cake that his daughter makes a wish on. We also celebrate his life every year on the anniversary of his death with family and friends.
He was able to one last time help out the underdog and leave a legacy for his daughter by Giving the Gift of Life to seven people and 2 others the Gift of Sight.

My world has changed just by burying a child but my hope is that one day I will see him again and knowing that he is with my mother and brother does soften the blow.

His tattoo simply put stated this, "Laugh Now...Die Never". Great words of wisdom from someone so young but yet so old in soul.

Time does not release the pain but it does heal the heart. I struggle and always will but if I put my belief in all that he taught me, I know then that God lent him to me for a while to teach me those things in which I needed to learn. We are put on this Earth for reasons beyond my understanding and when we have accomplished what we were here for, it is time to go home.

Have faith as my son did that we should live life to its fullest everyday as we do not know when it will be time to go.

Best Wishes...

Posted by: Kelly Duren


My 18 year old had gotten his drivers license Feb 2007 and while at the DMV they asked if he would like to be an organ donor (he was 18) his response was " who wouldn't?" He was killed in a car accident Dec 2007 The choice to donate had already been made by him. I asked my pastor in the days following my sons death 'How am I functioning so well?" My pastor said " It's not you doing it, it is God." If I had no faith, it wouldnt make sense. But I know God did not take him from me, he took him home. God knew this world was too much for him. my son stressed over the war, racism, and other major issues all the time. He is at peace and helped others in the process.

Posted by: stephanie snipes


I believe that my faith is the only thing that carried me from day to day after my husband passed away. and although it has been six years I still have to lean on god and my belief that he is taking care of my every step. I would have never made it to where I am today without being carried on many days. My pain is still with me and my longing to be with my husband is not lessoned but knowing that one day I will be see him again is a light that shines bright.

Posted by: Jaynie Turner


When I lost my 27 year old son to an overdose of drugs I didn't want to live either, but through it all I learned to trust God so much more. God helped me in so many ways to go throught this. About 2 weeks after Chris died we found out he had a four year old son, that he didn't know about and neither did we. It was such a gift from God, it was just like God gave us a part of Chris, we are now raising that grandson. He is 15. God gave us so many different things to help us through the grief. It has been ten years now and through those ten years my faith has grown so much. Thank the Lord from whom all blessings flow.

Posted by: Freda Lowery


Yes, my faith kept me going. I was angry and hurt but knew that God never promised us a perfect life. So many people said that God will not give you more than you can handle, well, sorry - I did not want to handle my son's death, however, I knew that I had not been dealt any more than others. My son was in a safe place and I hope to be there someday too!

Posted by: Ann Sechrist


When I lost my husband, many years ago, I also lost my faith in God, in heaven. But the loss of my son, 15 years ago, brought my faith back stronger than it ever was. The devastation of losing a child, is overwhelming. And unless it's happened to you, many will never know what it does to a parent. Someone guided me through that devastating period in my life. I felt them, I sensed them. And the only one who could ever know the loss I was experiencing was God. Did he send Angels to get me through? Did he send his son to get me through? All I know for sure, is he sent someone and renewed my faith, my strength to go on. Losing our loved ones is very difficult on so many levels...the questions, the guilt, the pain. But I believe that God does hold a special place in his heart for those of us that have lost a child. And to all the parents out their living through this nightmare, may God bless you all, may you feel His presence, may you find His light around you through your darkest hours. I never would have made it through if I hadn't felt His love comforting me through this. And believe me when I say, I am not a religious person by any means..but I no longer have any doubt of where my son is now. God Bless all of us.

Posted by: Brenda Warner


Faith is interesting concept. We each have some interpretation of what our "faith" is and how it works for us. I believe that is why is is so important to have faith. It gives life meaning where there is none. So in answer to the question, yes my faith gave me support, reason and the ability to continue in a world that had changed so very much. My belief is that I do not know the why and my faith tells me its okay to not understand the why. I am very glad to have my faith. It carries me when I cannot carry myself.
Thank you.

Posted by: Brenda Cervantes


Where Faith Has Taken Me
On March 18th, 2012 my 18 year old son Quinn Alec Hoover died in a single car accident after he fell asleep. Do you know how much your faith can be tested when two state troopers are standing at your door at 2 AM? I was lost, crushed, devastated, I didn’t even think about God. I was a practicing Christian but I didn’t give witness. I tried to lead a good life, but I sinned. Then came the crushing blow, my child, my buddy, MY BOY was lying in a hospital bed …. Dead. As I knelt on the floor beside him, I was lost in my own world of grief. Completely surrounded by family and friends, more than the hospital has ever seen and I was alone. Completely lost in utter darkness, my soul ached for the loss of my son.
Questions ran through my head. How could this be? Why my son? Is there any hope? What can they do for him? I can’t lose him. He is a supreme athlete. He is too strong and too stubborn. HE’S MY SON. He can’t just die. But all was lost, too much trauma, too much damage, too much swelling and he was gone. Nothing left but an empty shell being powered by tubes and machines. I was as far down in my life as I could get. I didn’t want this once powerful youth and faithful child of Christ to be kept alive by a machine. THAT…is not life. So we faced the question, how long do we let this continue?
I finally asked myself “…. God…what am I to do?”
From out of nowhere, my wife says, “I want his organs donated,” something the medical staff had not even considered discussing with us yet. A brilliant light came on inside my head, I said “YES.” In that moment, as if God himself said “Here is the answer and the Hope you asked for.” My son’s life was not going to be wasted. His death would not be senseless. He would die a hero, a Life Saver. His young athletic body would give Hope and Life to other families so they didn’t have to face this day too. Someone told me they saw this transformation from a torn and beaten soul to a man of conviction and strength in the darkest of hours.
I have continued to grow as a Christian since that day. I openly pray and witness. I share the word and the hope of my faith with others. I have seen how the faith of my son has changed the lives of others, including my own. Without my faith I would be lost in the darkness. I am thankful each day for the blessings God has given me, not bitter and negative about what has been taken away. I raised a hero and for this, I THANK GOD!
Tom Hoover
11/13/2012

Posted by: Tom Hoover


When my son died, I remember wondering if I'd lose my faith. I remember wondering how I could possibly live another day, knowing I'd never see him again, hear his voice, or feel his warm embrace.

One of the most powerful testaments to my faith, was realizing and coming to believe that God is ultimately in control. Chris' death allowed others to live a fuller life, through his desire to donate his organs. I believe then, as I believe now, that there is a reason for all that happens in this world. I don't begin to understand the depth of this, but, I accept the knowledge of it.

It was hard to go to church the first few months, as all I did was cry. Yet, my tears were filled with gratitude, that God had blessed me with my son, and given me 30 years with him.

Over the years, my faith has grown, and many times I've been honored to share faith, and grief, with others who have lost a child.

This year marks my seventh year without my son, who died just before my birthday and Christmas. His death was the hardest thing I've ever experienced. There is a saying, "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." I am stronger, more gentle, more forgiving, more loving, more tolerant, more accepting of others.

I am grateful for my faith, and grateful that my son chose to be a donor.

Posted by: Sandi Babbitt


Tear Drop Nights.

They come to me and say, How are you so strong?
You do it every day, speaking to the throngs.

My strength comes from you, the tears upon your cheeks.
Helping you get through these mournful laden weeks.

I could talk about pain, the sorrow and the loss.
I rather talk about the gain and the power of the cross.

But in the still of night, or reading through a book.
Many tears blur my sight, because my world was shook.

Writing and speaking is my way, of dealing with the past.
Knowing what I do and say, will make the healing last.

Have faith in God above, find comfort in what I write.
It is written with all my love to get through tear drop nights.
T.Hoover 4/6/2012

Posted by: Tom Hoover


My faith was never challenged by the death of my husband. I remained grounded by this faith and was able to think rationally enough that we should donate his organs. By giving others a chance to lead normal lives, I felt my husband's death was, for some a miracle! Just knowing that part of him lives on gives me satisfaction that he did not die in vain.

Posted by: Alice Dycus


My faith supported me, as well as my many friends at church. I marveled at how God, in His infinite wisdom, had allowed Brenda, who at 39, had never walked or talked or fed herself due to a brain disorder, to contract breast cancer (which did not cause her to have pain until the last week of her life). It was swift, painless, and a merciful end to her nonproduc-tive life. But her life was not for nothing; the church was full at her funeral of people who cared for her, loved her, grieved for her. And by donating her eyes, she made her life a tribute to God.

Posted by: Ruth (Barber) Bateman


I lost my Son, Travis "Teddy" on July 20 2012. I am still trying to come to terms with his accidental death. He was only 23yrs old and was such an old soul. He saved 4 lives with his Organ Donation. My son lives on this earth and is with the Lord. I could not have even began to deal with this incredible pain and sorrow without my faith, loved ones and amazing friends. My Tragic Loss Support Group is such a huge spiritual support. God has given me the joy and peace as I learn to celebrate my "Teddy's" life in a new way.

Posted by: Bea Sizemore


My husband died in January of 2005. We had only been married for 5 short months. His kidneys were donated to two others. I know he lives on through them. I know God will reunite us one day. My faith has helped me through each day, especially special days such as his birthday, our anniversary, the day of his passing, and holidays. I will always keep my husband in my heart and love him always.

Posted by: Virginia Vaughn


I lost my husband on 3/1/2004 to a massive heart attack in his sleep and my son was murdered on 5/7/2004. Yes that is within 2 1/2 months and it was Mother's Day morning at 9:00am when I was told that organs had been harvested and they were turning off. The very next day as I was writing a check for my son's cremation and realized it was 5/10/2004 which is my birthday.Without my church family I would not be here today. They held me up and supported when I could not even walk. They provided the prayers that I needed and the arms when I needed a hug. It is only through God's love that I am here today and living a somewhat normal life. It is the blessings that I receive everything that I need. Without Him I would not have lived through 2004. He is working on me for a big project but I do know that I will be able to handle it because He will hold my hand and will be there with me.

Posted by: Marilyn Logan


Absolutely, my montra was Faith, Family, Friends, Fortitude. Missing any one element would have been very bad.

Posted by: Carol Troost