Donor Family Voices Archive
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From the Spring 2007 issue of For Those Who Give and Grieve.

After the death of a loved one, the world often seems a changed place. Some people find comfort in their spiritual or religious beliefs. Some people may find themselves questioning their beliefs or seeking new answers, and others may begin to explore their spirituality for the first time.

Did your experience with death and loss lead you to question your religious or spiritual beliefs? Is your relationship with God (or religion, spirit, spirituality) different from before? Have you become more or less spiritual or religious than you were before? Have your beliefs changed in any way?

After my husbands death, I would questioned God all the time and ask Why? I had to know. My relationship with God did change and I became distant even though I would not admit it. As time passes, I feel that my faith in God is getting stronger. I think of all the things that Dennis and I went through and what I and my sons are going through now and I believe there is a reason for what happens and while I do not know exactly why or what. I do know that his destiny was one that he lived and died with,and that was his love of life and caring always for others. I know he is with God and doing good things.

Posted by: Patti Rivetti

When I was widowed at 30 years old, my husband was 41. I grew up in church, my grandfather was a paster. I turned away from church and God for a very long time. When I started going back into church I went to Catholic Mass rather than going to Christian Church. I beleive that God loves all people, no matter what specific religon. And if you believe in God and accept that Jesus died on the cross for you, you will go to heaven when you die. Be reunited with your loved ones once again.

Posted by: Heather Budinger

I never questioned my religious/spiritual beliefs prior to, or since our daughter's parting. My beliefs in God have held me up and kept me afoot. I have become less "religious" changing how I view being a child of God. I now am resided to a more simple approach knowing I don't have to attend church or be any particular religion to be "saved" and that I am loved and given eternal life merely because "I Believe". I love God with all my heart and always will. Our daughter age 9 was a cornea and organ donor in 1993. We always said we would never have to say good-bye, that our love was forever and we would be together forever, and we will.. John 10:28-29

Posted by: CindyJo Greever

When my daughter, Erin, passed away in 2003, I re-examined my faith. I had not been in my church for many years, but I still turned to God for support and guidance with my grief. My faith has been, and remains, the only consolation I have found in coping with the many changes that have occurred in my life since the loss of Erin.

Posted by: Macrina Ostrowski

Our 17 year old son died in an auto accident on Nov. 28, 2005. He was a born again christian. I too along with the rest of his family. This experience has brought our family closer to God. We experienced a peace beyond words and continue to experience this peace.Without the Lord's peace and comfort, there is no way we could have gone thru this and survived.

Posted by: Lavonne Story

After my son Adam's death, I found more strength and peace in my religion than before. I have always been a very religious person, but my faith took on a new, deeper meaning than it ever had before. I am deeply spiritual and find new meaning in charity and how I want to live my life. Adam's life taught me to love deeply, but through his death I have become more deeply committed to sharing the burdens of others and making a difference in my life, not just for me and others, but in loving respect for all that he taught me about unconditional love for others. There are tremendous blessings that have come from such a harsh intruder as death. Through death, I have truly been reborn and see life and beyond with new eyes. I am ever so thankful for the blessings I have received and continue to experience. I am so blessed!

Posted by: Lisa Osmond

Immediately after my daughter's death I was angry at God. My prayers to save her life were not answered so I vowed not to pray anymore. Well, that resolution lasted about ten minutes. It quickly became evident to me that if I didn't have God to help me through my grief, then I would be helpless. God has been faithful and ever present in my journey. I know that my healing has come through God and the people that God has placed in my path to help me. Whenever I cried out to God in pain, something followed to ease my misery. I know that my healing has been a gift from God. I am grateful every day that I have found ways to continue to live in the face of such a major loss.

God has also brought me comfort in knowing that my loved one is happy, free of pain and living a glorious existence in heaven. Although I miss my daughter very much, it eases my mind to know that she is happy and with a loving God in heaven.

Posted by: Lorraine Tierney

I found that my faith in God was stronger after my loss. I lost my two brothers, one in 2000 and another in 2003 so when Mom passed away in 2004 it was very hard. It would have been easy to wonder why, but the support I received from my church and christian friends and the peace of God helped me to become stronger in my faith. I now believe that no matter how hard it may be, with the help of the Lord I can face anything.

Posted by: Deborah Tutton

I lost my beautiful daughter of almost 20 years old, in a tragic accident. she was one of three kids that I adore. After praying for their sake and protection since they born to a god that I believed existed and was a good god, I am now a three years she is gone, without faith, feeling betrayed and positively sure that there's no god or at least no the one I thought.
People often say, god did not do this to your child, o.k. I said I understand that, but why he did not protect her? I begged him to do it, I have been a good person, a good wife, a loving and dedicated mother, why not protect my children, why in the bible say "Ask the father, he will give"????

No more belief for me, no more faith, no more religion.

Maria Zacarias
118 Church Street
Mahwah, NJ 07430
(201) 512-3066

Posted by: Maria E. Zacarias

When my son Cole died from an accidental gunshot wound by a friend from an "unloaded" gun, I think like most parents that have lost a child, I did question my faith and my relationship with God. I could not possibly see how he could let this happen to a young man of 18 who had so much potential. In 1991 when the accident happened, I did not know much about organ and tissue donation at all. When I made the decision to donate, it was because I knew Cole would have made that decision if I would have been able to ask him. He was such a loving and giving person and he loved helping anyone in need. When I heard that his heart recipient was an older gentleman, I again questioned my faith as I wanted a young person to receive and have a long and healthy life. But as I thought about more and more about it, I was very comforted because Cole was very close to his Grandpa and he would not have wanted anyone to grow up not knowing their Grandpa. The recipient was able to greet and enjoy his grandchildren which I know made Cole's day!! I think he smiled down on every day that was shared. I do think my faith and the faith I feel my son had and has in me makes my days much easier to bear. I have also been active in the Organ and Tissue Donor Network to get the knowlege out to everyone so their choice will be made easier than if the facts are not known. This has also helped my healing process and eases the pain every time I feel I have helped anyone in this situation in any way. Cole was a very special young man and left many great memories with many, many friends and relatives.

Posted by: Patty Rynearson

Prior to our son's suicide in Dec. 1995 I always felt I was a spiritual, but not necessarily a religious person. Matt's death caused me to rethink a lot of things. I hoped I would see him again in the after life. I questioned if I would. I did, however, find solace that he was able to be a tissue donor. Time is a great healer. After a lot of sole searching and prayers I now see goodness in most organized religions. I have faith I will be with Matt once again. I'm looking forward to that day.

Posted by: John Nelson

I lost my husband in 2003 and my 11 year old daughter in 2005. Their deaths have made my faith stronger. Luckily I never questioned my faith nor was I angry at God. My faith is what held me together and still gets me through.

Posted by: Nancie Guarrera

My dad died in 1981 in a car accident when I was 10. I was so very angry - at God, the world, my mom, everyone. My mom began going through the motions, but there was no depth to what she did. One day she noticed a neighbor stealing parts off dad's truck which was sitting out front of our trailor because she didn't know what to do with it. She wouldn't tell the police, she just kept quoting "vengence is mine, saith the Lord". Every time I heard it, it made me even madder. I didn't understand that in her sea of grief, the only thing she had to keep her afloat was her faith. I started to believe in the power of that faith about 3 days later when the neighbor's car had to be towed back to his trailor. The enging had caught fire - it was a total loss. Mom just happened to be standing in the front window & she stood there & laughed at it as he drove by in the cab of the tow truck. My mom passed in December of 2005 shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to her spine. In the week she was in the hospital I remember thinking that she deserved better than to be in so much pain, until I understood that it would be easier for my sister to let her go if it eased that pain. My faith helped me see why she was in pain. Mom's faith got her through losing Dad; my faith tells me that she's in a better place & that she's where she's wanted to be for over 20 years - with my dad, again. That knowledge gives me a peace about her death that nothing else ever could. It's a peace I didn't have with my dad's death because I didn't understand my own faith then. Losing my mom taught me that having faith is a gift from God. Understanding & learning why you have faith is a gift to yourself. It's one of many I owe to my mom.

Posted by: Sue H., kidney recipient

God has always been the strongest foundation of my life. Following the medical team informing me of the very grim prognosis of Christopher my first reaction was to pray. Asking God to protect and love my son as only he can, and to help me through this horrific event. God was gracious to my beautiful son, he took him quickly with no pain, yet allowing him to be an organ donor, my saving grace in the days, weeks, and months to come. My faith was strengthened as I realized that God is with me in my grief and has protected me from the world of unknown in this process of healing. I am blessed that God allowed me to have Christopher in my life for his short 13 years.

Posted by: Pam Colvell-Gleason

Our daughter, Telisha, was murdered so I was very angry at God for allowing this to happen to such a wonderful young woman.

Religion and spirituality were always strange to me. I believed in God but didn't practice believing. When Telisha was murdered I was so afraid that I would never see her again but a friend gave me the book, "Embraced by the Light" and it gave me hope. I am still not positive that I will see Telisha again but at least now I think my chances are better than they were before I read the book. I do have a little more faith now and hope.

Posted by: Sherry Shaver

Response being forwarded via email.

Posted by: Penny Simpson

At first after the death of my husband my relationship with God was very distant. I still went through the motion of attending church and reading the bible and praying but felt much of nothing. After some time and reading about so many griving families and so many people that have been helped through the loss of loved ones. When you hea those people that are still here and well b/c of your loved one shows you just how good God is. I am now closer with him than ever.

Posted by: Becky

My spiritual believe and my faith in God has always been very strong. It has been five years since my dad pasted away and every year we have a special mass for him and this has helped our family understand that God has a special plan for all of us. I do say to myself what if I had spend more time with him, what if, their are so many what if's. But my strong faith has helped me understand.

Posted by: Letty Magallan

Losing my husband changed my understanding of God exponentially. I am a Christian and at that point in my life, as a 34 year old married woman with a new baby, I thought my good fortune was a gift from God because of my good works. And then my husband died. It was difficult to understand how something this bad could happen to someone who loved God and was living the life of a Christian. I learned that I am not exempt from tragedy because I am good. Like Job in the bible, or Jesus for that matter, bad things can and do happen to good people. One lesson I carried away was that I was not going to allow this tragedy to take away my faith in God, my love for God, and my obedience to God. I struggle daily with the walk, however, even 6 years after my loss. I try to remember that I am on a journey to heaven. I need God more now than I ever have. It is difficult to lean on him, I find that I try to fix things myself, lean on myself which is not usually effective. It is more difficult now to trust him because I know that he will not always take my cross from me. I get scared. When I do relax and I do trust him it is always easier and I realize that I am not alone because He is with me.

Posted by: Margaret Klavins

When our 10 year old son Ryan died, I thought my world had ended, and in many, mnay ways it had.

Almost immediately I was taken to a small room in the hospital (not sure where or for what, I was in shock). This very nice man asked me if I was angry. "Angry, angry?" I thought over and over. "No, I said." I was angry. "You must feel like punching that door. Your son has just died." "No Im not angry." "But God has just killed your son." My immediate respsone. "No! My God doesnt kill 10 your old, little boys. My God, didnt not look down and say, "Im going to kill Ryan today." "My God is there for my son, he's there for everyone.

At that moment, from my own response, I realized how strong my faith was. Since Ryan's death I have been shown time and time again that there IS a God. A tangible, living, loving force.
I miss my son dearly, each and everyday of my life. But, when my life ends, I KNOW, that I will see him again. We will grab a ball and glove and play catch until our arms are to sore to play anymore. It may take awhile, but I know where my little boy is, and I know I will see him again.
Yes my relationship with my God is stronger...he's taking care of my son.

Peace and love.
Dale Doige

Posted by: dale doige

My husband Paul passed away in July 2007 of a sudden cardiac death which they told me was a ventricular fibrullation. we were on vacation traveling through Wisconsin and stopped at a hardware store. We were shopping and I went to look for him and found him lying on the floor. They were able to restart his heart but a total of 28 minutes had passed. He was transferred to the Univ. of Wisconsin and on life support for 5 days. They told me he would never wake up. The decision to donate was one that Paul and I had talked about briefly some time ago. We had both signed our drivers licenses and agreed if we could help someone else someday that is a wonderful gift. When it came to agreeing to that decision for my husband I thought about him and wanted him to live on by helping someone else. It gave me comfort. My relationship with God did change. We were both brought up and went to Catholic schools. We believed in God and I prayed everyday thanking God for my wonderful husband and family. After Paul died so young, so suddenly and with so many of our hopes and dreams shattered, I have had a very difficult time turning to God. I talk to him and just tell him I can't speak with you right now. I have found lately and have been reading so much that I have become much more spiritual in that I do believe in the afterlife. I have to because it is the only comfort I feel knowing I will be and see my wonderful loving husband again.

Posted by: Grace Isrow

When my son Johnny died, I would not have survived without my faith. Several months after his death,when the shock wore off,I did find myself questioning my faith. I was angry with God, but I think I had a right to be angry. I never stopped believing in God, I just had to step away for awhile, but returned to church a few weeks later. I realized that my belief in God and an afterlife is the only thing that keeps me sane.

Posted by: Karen Legieko

When our daughter Sarah got in an car accident on the 3/16/02 and on the 3/17/02 she stopped breathing and paramedics was able to get her heart started but it was to much time elaspsed and a week later she was brain dead.
In that week we prayed so much and when the doctors said nothing more can be done,i was so Angry with God and i wanted answers now, why take our beautifull daughter who loved life and wanted to be with people and was getting married the following year.
Time does heal and it took the anger out of my heart and the loss of my Sarah 5 years now and still asking god why.
I did always believe in God and will always now more than ever go down that stright path to see my Sarah in Heaven, and will be asking many questions to god Why,so my belief is the same before we lost Sarah but i'm challenged to understand why, by my beliefs in god, answers come in many ways that i hope i can understand. So my beliefs in god will get more stronger as time goes and that my Sarah is in a better place next to god, but as we are humans and are selfish emotions to have our child near us will keep my faith in god to connect the brocken chain in heaven

Posted by: Herlin Woolery

Did your experience with death and loss lead you to question your
religious or spiritual beliefs? Is your relationship with God (or
religion, spirit, spirituality) different from before? Have you become
more or less spiritual or religious than you were before? Have your
beliefs changed in any way?
We lost our fourth of five children, Alison, age 25, nearing 10 years ago. We entered into the world of organ donation totally ignorant of where this would take us, individually and collectively as a family. In retrospect, we managed our journey into and through the various emotions associated with grief and mourning. God was not cut any slack in these emotions. With the help of support group activity including but not limited to “donor family services”, we did reorganize our lives. In sharing with others in like situations, we came to realize that clergy in general are not adept practitioners of grief consolation except for the few that have walked in our shoes. Perhaps their profession objectivity serves to justify a certain manner of detachment (as in doctor-patient relationships) or perhaps they have not been trained in these matters. Consequently, any continuing relationship with God would become more personal and direct and less through the particular religion. We found that the spirituality of close friends, neighbors, and colleagues in their practice of the Commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” that God’s love had not abandoned us or others. That love was there, is there, and will be there. The one place where that love seems to be frustrated, however, is in the donor family-organ recipient relationship. We are hopeful that recipients will one day appreciate that the “Gift of Life” was and is a promulgation of God’s Love.

In tribute to
Alison’s life.

In the “gift of life” goes
the terrestrial essence of the
While most hold that the
soul leaves the body soon
after death,
the donor’s love transfers
with the organs out of the
act of charity.
It is that love, then,
That enables the recipient
To continue sharing their
Respective love with their
And the donor’s family.

Pat & Will Wesley, & family

Posted by: J. Willis Wesley

Yes, I questioned God. I think that's a natural response to the loss of a child. You question lots of thing during the grieving process. I feel closer to God. The only way my husband and I can deal with loosing our son is to depend more on our Lord. There are and have been times we simply could not hanlde the grief and thinking of living the rest of our lives without Andy, that's when we had to rely on God to see us thru. We lost Andy June 7th, 2002. We will deal with grief everyday for the rest of our lives and continue to cling to our Lord.

Posted by: Pat Capps

My brother Steve passed away 6 years ago at the age of 36 - when his wife was 7 mos pregnant and I was 5 mos pregnant. We had lots of questions about God and my own spirituality - not only as I greived for myself but as I watched her pain and the pain of my parents - that was almost unbearable. My relationship with God now - with 6 years of hindsight - is stronger. I beleive that Steve is in a better place and have now 1000 theories why he left this earth when he did - one being that someone in God's world just needed him more; another being that he reminded us that life here on earth is short so make every second count. My beliefs about God and death and organ donation have changed - I am more at peace with all of them. More accepting that there is a plan that is bigger than I can imagine and that I have a purpose here on earth.

Posted by: Lee Ann Milford, CT

After the sudden death of my son in September 2006, I have questioned God, prayed much, and vocalized my faith to many of my friends and family. I feel God has comforted me and my family through this ordeal, and although I have suffered alot, I feel an underlying sense of peace and hope. Hope that I will see my son again in heaven, and peace in my heart until that day comes. I think my faith has grown stronger--God is on my mind 24/7 and I can rest in the security that whatever may happen He will help me get through it.

Posted by: Penne Lambert

Josh..sat on the front row on Sunday's to his preacher grandfather..we worked at the church. Josh was 23 years old... just graduated with honors from college..was a nurse at a local hospital. I month later killed in a car wreck. His only brother then a senior in high a jr. in college..has forever changed his spiritual heart. He is private, distant, mad a God for the pain we all feel.

I no longer sit on the front row at church. I no longer work at a church. I got sick of people there telling me I was in sin to be depressed. I should move on...get over JOYFUL!!! Yeah right..THEY HAVE NO IDEA.
I now work at a hospital, like my son did. I work down from the transplant office and speak about ORGAN DONATION AND JOSH TO anyone who will LISTEN. I love the Lord...I cry often..I am HOMESICK to be with my son again. Nothing is easy now and I feel lost and sad.
I go on because that is what we do, but I am careful where I place my heart and with who I listen to on ..what sin is. My grief is not sin. It is just a part of the process.
I miss my son.

Posted by: K. Braswell

My husband needed a liver, we had been going through the channels of getting a pager, having a suit case packed. then we get a call.our 6 yr old nephew died. we go to the funeral, my mom had my phone number she was wacthing my 13yr old, and we get back home and my moms brain dead because of my husband needing a liver she use to say if i dieyou can have mine! and she made me promise to not let her go on machines she was holding both my hands as she asked me to do this. as hard as this was,when the day came.I asked GOD to give me strenth.Her kidneys liver and bone and tissue for 55 -75 people and her liver was donated .her liver macthed my husband, but due to our lack of money and medicad guide lines ,my husband was denied moms liver. i asked God why? i cried alot was GOD punnishing me? all these things went through my mind.that was in 97 My husband died in 2000. the same year they told me i had 5 ys to live i need a again what did i do GOD "i asked "to deserve this? in 2003 my son dies. brain cancer he was a donor but because he had cancer nothing could be used.I got mad at GOD i wanted to change places with my son. i tried to make a deal i die he lives...I asked for a mircale!! it didnt happen... i really was spritually paralized.I would read my give and grief, and still ask GOD why,and it came to me GOD loves us, he loves us he gave is son!!! everything!!. all love!and giving is a part of not mad at GOD im grateful I have GOD in my life today.and they say GOD doesnt put on you more than you can handle well GOD thinks im a strong person!through GOD all things can be endured. helen tyree

Posted by: Helen Tyree

When you loose a loved one your life does change. When my son died I became even closer to God, without him and my family and friends, I don't think I would be where I am today. I did start a grief support group for families who have lost children. In my opinion there just isn't anything more devastating. I rely daily on prayer.

Robb's Mom

Posted by: Chris

i never would have imagined that I would lose my only child to a tragic accident like i did on January 25th of 2006....i was at work when i recieved the message from a co-worker that my son was in an accident & that they were rushing him to the hospital....when i got to Mercy San Juan Hospital i realized that not only was Corey clinging to life but that his best friend was the one that Accidently hit my son with his car....Corey clung to life for 2 days and lived through 2 brain operations to relieve the swelling on his brain but we were also told he had a 5% chance of automatically i wanted to Donate his organs because several times Corey & i had talked about dying & that we both wanted to be Organ donor's and we had talked about the fact that Niether one of us was afraid of Dying we just hoped that wherever you go after this level of existence that the people there are kinder and that we wouldnt have to deal with all of this life's trials & tribulations that we deal with here....Corey and i had lost EVERYTHING we owned in a housefire on July 3rd 2004 while i was on vacation in Hawaii & Corey was staying at my parents and when i came home from my trip early to see OUR home in Ruins & Rubble it crushed me beyond belief and i Cussed "God" out and blamed him for what happened and it Really questioned my faith in this so called "God"....3 weeks after my fire i found my cat's body in the rubble of the fire when i was finally allowed into my home to see what we could recover...when i found my cat Josie's body in the rubble in Corey's room i freaked out & was overcome with Grief & felt i was ready to break...however Corey was there to hold me & comfort me and tell me that Everything was going to be OK...

I told Corey that moment that at least i had him and we had each other because i dont know what i would do if anything ever happend to him and we were Very close and never went a day without telling each other how much we loved each other....

but the day we recieved the news that Corey was not going to pull through i decided that i wanted to Donate his organs so that other's can live through him and what better gift to give to other family's that are on the verge of losing their loved one than to be able to help them live?

while Corey was in ICU and in Critical condition BOTH waiting rooms in the hospital were FULL to the brim and also the outside of the waiting rooms...i had 9 friends of Corey's come up to me & tell me that THEY should be the one in Corey's position because if it wasnt for Corey helping them through suicidal thoughts that They would not have been here....Corey had freinds that were "Cutter's & suicidal & some were Homeless teens or street kids" but they were still Someone's KIDS...and because of Corey & the way he touched so many lives he has been a huge inspiration to other teens & parent's too

when i found out that Corey was not going to make it i never Once cursed "god" or blamed "God" for taking my son because i dont believe "God" TOOK my son i know "God" WELCOMED my son and i do know that my son is in a better place than any of us down here in this level of existence are...

i can only hope that other people in this world we are in can be 1/2 the person Corey was & i can only Hope that other's too can help save live's by Donating too to help other's NOT have to go through what i & several other Donor family's have had to go through

i wish you all many Blessing and would like to Thank ALL Donor family's for the Gift of LIFE...

<3 Kelly Parker~ Corey Patrick Mason's <3 ~Momma

Posted by: Kelly Parker

After my daughters had their car accident on 4/12/03 and we were notified and left for the hospital, I immediately began praying and in my prayer told God I knew they were not mine and just on loan to me and I trusted in him and put them back into his hands. I prayed he would return them to me but it was not to be for my younger daughter Amber. After 5 long days and nights Amber, age 14, was pronounced brain dead on April 17, 2003, the same day her sister Alecia was moved out of the CCU room next to hers. I say God let her hold on until Alecia was stronger, as I honestly can’t say I would have survived loosing them both. They were so close at only 18 months apart in age and you never saw one without the other. We made the choice to honor Amber’s wishes and donated her organs so that others lives might be saved.

I have always thought I was a Christian and believed in God and his word but the death of my daughter Amber and the horrible physical and psychological challenges that Alecia and our family has faced has made me a much stronger and compassionate Christian. I now listen with my heart where before I listened with my head. I did go through the anger, disillusionment and heartfelt despair that all parents feel when loosing a child. I questioned God and everything I had ever believed in. Nothing made sense and yet there is a sense of the world continuing while your whole universe and all you believe in has unraveled and can never be put back into place again, yet we learn that there is a new world we have to face each day.

I feel that when one is knocked to their knees by such a devastating loss there is no way to continue on without looking up to God. God and his promise that I will see my Amber again one day are what keep me going day by day. Of course , there are days that the unyielding pain flows back in like the waves and you just have to ride it out until the tide goes back out to sea, yet you know it will return and continue to do so for the rest of your life. I also realize that God has a plan for us all and I have to trust in him.

The new Organ Donor family that we now have has made things more bearable and I feel that we have honored Amber’s life by following her wishes to help others. Amber was such a larger than life person who always rooted for the underdog and loved others.
In meeting some of her recipients, I feel that God has shown me that her life was so meaningful and has again reinforced my faith in him.

My sense of life has changed as I know now that none of us are promised tomorrow and we have to make the best of today and what we do have left.

Posted by: Tammy Sneed-Lockley

I knew my son was dead when my ex husband called and said he was critical. I knew right then. When I got to Califonia and I saw him I knew he was gone then too. I have not been to church since his memorial service. I feel closer to death now. I wonder if I died now would I be with my son again? Death does not seem so scary now, in fact I contemplate it frequently. Not that I am suicidal, I am not. But if I died, Oh well, I would get to help many other people live as he did. I am now more spiritual and less religious. I am aware that my son is near me often. Others tell me they can since him right next to me often. If there is a GOD, and I think there is, a spirit that is. Then my son is near me at times and we do still talk to each other. I believe much more in life after death now. Maybe I should say consciousness/awareness after death.

Posted by: Tawn Head

When my son died my faith was badly shaken. I still believe in God and believe that he has a reason for everything that he does. I still pray and read my bible everyday, but before my faith was unconditional. Now I have so many questions and and feel angry often. I am trying to get back to where I was because I know how much my son would want me to and how upset he would be it he knew what his death has done to me. I am trying, it is hard but I will get there someday.

Posted by: Anna Parham

My 17 year old son, Josh,was killed in a car accident in 2001. I have beena Christian for a long time. But his death drew me closer to God. I could not go through the week of the viewing and funeral without God's help.I would tell God that I could not go through this, I could not quit crying. I felt God wrop His arms around me and a calm feeling came over me. It was like God was saying that he was not going to leave me. I know that Josh is in Heaven. He was very active in our church and he testified the day before he died that he was going to heaven. What a testimony for a 17 year old!! That gives me comfort, today.

Posted by: Garcia Adams

Before my daughter, Laura, died in 1995 I certainly believed in a higher power but gave little or no thought to what happens after death. After Laura died, I sought confirmation of an afterlife. The thought of never seeing my daughter again was too depressing. I met with two mediums -- one from Long Island, New York and the other from Ohio. What they relayed to me gave me hope that there is another "world" after this where we will be with our loved ones. Did I become more religious? No, but more spiritual...yes. I firmly believe now that the earth we live on is our "school." Our "home" is in a different dimension....God's world....the one where I initially came from and return to after I pass on. I also learned from Laura's death that I am "here" to become a loving, compassionate, and spiritual individual. The world didn't change after Laura's death -- I did -- and for the better, I think!

Posted by: Debbie Brinkworth

The death of my two children brought on a deeper understanding and love of God because of what the priest, Father Jim of Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, had said to me. God is not the puppet master, pulling the strings and deciding who goes and who stays. He gives us the free will to make our choices, whether right or wrong, but He is there to pull us through whatever happens in our lives. Three days prior to the accident, I had told my kids not to go down by the road and gave them all the motherly instuctions and precautions that I could. They decided to go down to the road and were hit by a car while walking their bikes. I was very angry for a long time because they disobeyed me, but I know where they are and that I will see them again. My lifetime is just a blink in their eyes based on eternity. That keeps me going along with my faith and understanding that God did not do this to me.

Posted by: Sue (Steidle) Clones -donor mom

My mom died while I was 6 months pregnant with a baby with kidney disease. I have always been a faithful person but my first thought was "how can God do this to me?". There was no one I needed more at that time than my mother. I was very angry, not at God but at the unfairness I felt about my loss. I admit that I didn't talk to God for a long time. I didn't deny Him but I didn't pray or talk to Him. It wasn't until someone reassured me that I would be reunited with my mom in heaven that I woke up and had hope. I know my mom is in heaven, and I know I'm going there as well. If I was never able to see her again, that would be a permanent loss. But I will see her again and that makes the hurt a little less permanent.

Posted by: Leeann Bongiorno

When my father died suddenly at age 49, I questioned whether there is actually life after death. I found it hard to attend church, for fear of my thoughts. Once I accepted my father's death however, I came to the realization that I have to beleive in life after death. I have to beleive that he still looks upon my children's faces, that he has seem my son that was born after his death, and that he hears me when I talk to him. I feel like I am more spiritual now, than I was before the death of my father.

Posted by: Christina Roman

After the death of my son, I became very dependent on my spirituality. I know where my son is and that is a comfort to me. There are triggers of his memory that bring tears to my eyes and probably will for the rest of my lifetime here on earth. I believe that I will be reunited with him again. He lives on in others. His kidneys and a cornea were harvested. I have made contact with one of the receipient donors and would like to know the outcome of the others. I am blessed with other family and that is a comfort to me.

Posted by: Liz Followell

My religious views are a little different from the mainstream. I use an analogy of the baby in the womb, who is growing arms & legs for which it has no purpose in that environment. But once it is propelled into it's "next" life outside the womb, if it has not developed those arms & legs, it is crippled. So in this lifetime, if we do not develop the spiritual arms & legs we will need for the "next" life, we will be spiritually crippled - that's my definition of Hell. It became clear to me me after my wife Doris died of an aneurysm that she had indeed developed all that she needed, that she had learned all of the lessons she was obliged to learn, and no longer needed to "hang around".

It was also a comfort to me that I was able to communicate with her & that she was able to convey to me her spiritual progress & provide me with a few gems of advice. Of course I still had to work through the grief process in my own life, but certainly the experience cemented my beliefs in a very real way.

And having discussed organ donation previously, that agonising decision that some people face was not really a decision for me at all, & in fact was also a source of comfort to me in the months to follow.

Posted by: Rodney Fiddaman

On June 20, 1992 my life changed forever. My husband and two daughters were involved in an automobile accident which ended life as we knew it. My youngest daughter made it through with a broken leg, severe seatbelt burns and a concussion. Danielle, however, received a head injury that ended her life on June 22, 1992. Their father suffered from a broken vertabrae in his neck and emotional trauma that would cause much more damage in his life later.

All that said, God was and is an amazing presence in my life and in my living daughter's life (Whitney is now 18).

Before that day in 1992, I would define my relationship with Christ as someone who had given my heart to Christ, but not my life. It took some time after the death of my almost 5 year old daughter, but God was so persistent in reminding me of who He is and how much He loved me and my children. It had always been a goal of mine to encourage and appreciate children for who they are and to tell them - I love you. It didn't dawn on me that God wanted to tell me the same things and for me to tell others in my life (even adults) how much they are appreciated also. That He wanted me to look for the good in others...there is always something. He is so willing to show us the good in others, even when we are too stubborn to admit that there might be good in someone.

My heart before the loss of Danielle was harder, more materialistic, discompassionate, distant and self idolizing. After years of grieving, more loss in my life and more evidence of Christ's love for me, my heart is now more forgiving, less self exalting, more humble, and more self sacrificing in many ways. Although, there is much more work for God to do in my heart, He has changed me and my prayer is that He will continue to do so.

I have learned that my relationship with Christ is the ONLY thing that will get me through life and that He has created us to be in true relationship with each other - intimate, honest and accepting relationship with our friends and our family. Without that, it is impossible to live a completely full life.

He has allowed me to see the importance of each and every moment that we are alive on this earth. My prayer is that my life will make a difference in this world, in the lives of others and to live life to honor God, that He would be glorified.

Posted by: Daphne Mayer

When my sister was in the hospital preceding her death, we had many chaplains, preachers and spiritual family trying to speak to us. I was so filled with anger because of her death due to a drunk driver that I was not very approachable. The day before Kisten died a deacon from the church that my father had been attending, approached me and explained (using scripture) heaven and hell. He showed me that we all make mistakes and that my sister had given her life to Christ in her early years. He asked me how important it was that I see her again. He explained that we can be forgiven and receive the love of Christ in our lives. The most important thing I realized is that I knew where Kisten (my sister) was going and that God made a way for me to go to heaven also. I would be with her again, ETERNALLY! She was such an inspiration to me while she was on this earth and now she is still my inspiration. I am jealous of the peace she is living. I attend church regularly and I pray, read my bible and continue to grow in my walk with the lord. I know I am making her proud of me, because she was so family oriented she will be happy that I am raising her nephews up in a Godly household. My spirituality is another way that I can continue her legacy and give her honor. My church always participates in National Donor Sabbath as well as other churches in my area. When Kisten died, I lost my best friend and my sister. My two sons lost their only aunt. Our lives have changed and we don’t remember what “normal” is, but God provides our family with strength until we can meet her again.

Posted by: Stephanie Ratliff-Hamrick

I go through this journey one
minute, one hour and day at a time. I know that everything that happens in our lives is for a reason and one day we will understand why. Some people will say to me you are so strong but my strength comes from God He alone keeps me from day to day. I am so blessed, and I pray each day for everyone who havelost loved ones to suicide. God will continue to give us the strength to live on the memories and the precious moments our loved one spent with us.Having faith in God is our only hope.

Posted by: Enid Davis

My daughter, Susan, was the victim of a crime and died on September 1, 2004. Losing a child is the worse possible nightmare and when it becomes a reality, there are few choices to make; either you find a comfort zone in which to heal, or you become distraught and depressed. I have found a much deeper meaning of spirituality, and that has become my comfort. Losing Susan has given me a glimpse into something very powerful; I cannot name it, but I know it comes from a spiritual world. It is something more than those of us on earth can truly understand. When I look at the tree branches swaying in the wind, I feel her. When I look at the sky, it is brighter than it use to be, and I know Susan is talking to me. A sunset tells me she is okay. Her oneness with nature is a great comfort, for I miss her every hour of every day.

Posted by: Bobbie Boyer

From the time of my sons car accident until the day he died, all I had was my belief in God and His will. I just can't imagine living through that nightmare without my faith. I truly believe that I would never had servived mentally. As I live through each day of my first "not there" I remember my faith and know that God gave me 17 wonderful years with my "mericle baby" and now he's helping God to fight a bigger battle. My job now is to see his older sister and schoolmates through these dark days, and yes, my son is still with me in spirit.

Posted by: Sharron O'Buckley