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From the Winter 2008 issue of For Those Who Give and Grieve.

Both tears and laughter are healing. Are there happy memories of your loved one that make you smile? Do you have any funny stories you like to share? When you're feeling especially blue, what cheers you up?

Damian was so precious, he always say mom I am going to die before you and you better believe it too. My responce to him please do not say those words you would never do anything to hurt your family. I did not know that this would come to pass.I miss him saying time for food when he was hungry. He would also take off my glasses and kissing me goodnight,he had a million dollar smile and a heart of gold. I miss his phone call every sunday morning asking what's for breakfast. I will always love him.

Posted by: Enid Davis


Our son Bryan helped seven people when he died. He died two days before his 28th birthday, August 25, 1997.

Bryan loved fall, he loved football and he especially loved Halloween. The memory I remember was when he and his brother rigged up a ghost on a pulley in front of our house with scary music playing in the background. The kids were so scared they didn’t want to come to the door for candy.

Even as an adult he still got a big kick out of Halloween. He and his wife always had a Halloween Party.

Shirley and Bill Breitenbach

Posted by: shirley and Bill Breitenbach


I think about my handsome Eric everyday! Somedays I am sure I can reach out and touch his face. Eric was so funny and paid the price for making everyone laugh. The grade school he attended called us on a regular basis to come and get him. The final straw was when he and a friend put a frozen hamburger patty in a classmates locker over Easter break. The smell was awlful. Again we were called to come and get him from school and while he was waiting on us in the principal's office to come and get him, he put a fake blood capsule in his nose. Needless to say it was suspension time!! Just thinking of all the funny things he did makes me feel so good inside. Whenever I see his friend they always talk about how he made them laugh. It makes me feel GREAT!

Posted by: Diane M Knotts


After a 4 year battle with primary peretineal cancer, my wife, Michele, died on March 16, 2007. About 2 weeks before that day, when she weighed 90 pounds, she said, "One night soon we need to light some candles, put on music, dance, and have sex." I agreed. A few days later we agreed that the time was right. We lite the candles in the living room, put on Chicago, and danced. She was weak and had trouble standing. We went to the bedroom where there were more candles. She asked me to undress her and we had sex. Her body was frail, and she could hardly move.
When I think of that night, I am both comforted and very proud of this person who was my wife for almost 37 years. It showed how wonderful she really was. It showed her ability to give freely and love unconditionally. When I think of that event, I am comforted by the fact that she touched and made a difference in so many people's loves.

Posted by: Jim Baldinger


A day never goes by that I don't think about my son Tommy and smile. There is always something that triggers a memory that makes me smile. He had a very dry sense of humor and most of the time I don't think he knew he was funny. One time he told one of his friends, " I have to watch what I do because my Mother is on a first name basis with God". I had a very dear friend who was going through a very difficult divorce. She and Tommy were talking and he told her to just remember that then God closes a door he opens a window. She said she always remembered that and it helped her through a lot of rough times. She told me this after Tommy died. It made me smile and I thought to myself, that's my Tommy always trying to help someone. He is missed by his family but we will all be together again someday. Until then I will always smile when I think of him.

Posted by: Anna Parham


This time of year reminds me of how much Bryan loved Halloween. It didn't matter how old he was, he was 27 when he died, he loved decorating for Halloween. I can remember when he was a child he and his brother made our house so scary the kids didn't want to come to the door for candy. They rigged up a pulley ghost and they pulled it from one end to the other end while scary music played in the background. Bryan got such a laugh out of it. As he got older he still loved decorating his house for Halloween and giving out the big bars of candy to the children. He was just a kid at heart. We miss him.

Posted by: Shirley and Bill Breitenbach


My Justy was the sunshine of our family. She was the youngest of my seven children and kept everyone smiling all the time. Her favorite things to do were to ride horses and make people laugh. She was two months away from turning nine years old when ironically she had a horse accident in 1998. So this year was a milestone for us, she was alive just nine years and she has been gone nine years. We talk about her often and laugh at her antics because she was such a kidder. I think of her every day. She always thought of others. Even when she went to the dentist at four years old she had to have stickers for her sister Sarah too "because it wouldn't be fair." Now I am able to talk to people about her, folks I have never met and tell them her story and talk about organ donation. It helps. I go to the schools with the organ education coordnator and share Justine's slide show on my laptop while telling the kids her story. It helps. I still see a little girl in a pink and orange baithing suit and do a double take to see Justy, or hear a mischevious giggle and look to see her, I smell the combination of hot sweaty kid and horse on a hot summer day and she is there all over again. These things used to make me cry all the time, now I smile and laugh at the fleeting "Justy moments" that are comforting. I feel we were the luckiest family to have Justine for the short time we did. She created a lifetime of wonderful memories to replay in our minds when needed.

Posted by: Mickey Rose


Any time we time of our son Andy we smile. He brought so much laughter to our lives. He had such an appetite! He'd ask his dad do you want anymore of this. He'd say eat what you want and he's really would be "Wrong choice of words Dad!!" When he lived on his own he would sometimes call and tell me "Goodnight and I love you." Lots of stories and things to bring smiles and tears.

Posted by: Pat Capps


My brother John died in a car accident Thanksgiving weekend of 1994; he was 20-years old. It's been 13 years this year...so many holidays have come and gone, so many tears shed. My family and I have so many memories that bring laughter and tears, sometimes at the same time. I wouldn't wish away a single tear or a smile though, because that is how we remember him and keep his spirit alive. For the past two autumns, I have volunteered for a local center for grieving children and their families, and that has truly helped me get through the fall months, which tend to be the hardest for me. Being a knowing and accepting shoulder for others who've lost a loved one is more healing than I can explain. I miss my brother every minute of every day... but I've learned to live my life so that his memory is always honored.

Posted by: Sarah


Katie Lynn was our angel and our little devil rolled into one! She was just 20 years old when we lost her in an automobile accident in 2005, and we thought our world would surely end, but it didn't. There are days when you think, "how could it be 2 years, it feels like yesterday"? Whenever a marching band comes on tv we think of our Katie marching with her beloved 110 and knowing she was having the time of her life while she was in college, doing what she wanted to do. She was beautiful, with a smile that would light up a room, and she did just that! When we see a frog or dragonfly, we think of our Katie, and that makes us smile. I still cry alot, but I laugh even more, thinking of Katie and feeling her with us.

Posted by: robin buskirk


My son Jason was a comedian - loved to make everyone laugh. Three weeks before I lost him, at his sister's wedding when the priest asked will you take this woman - Jason blurted out - "NO DOUBT" everyone laughed out loud even the priest. On another day, he visited his grandmother at the senior home where she lives, and they were playing bingo - from the rear of the room he yelled out bingo - everyone threw in their cards thinking there was a bingo - Always the joker, and to this day, after 8 years he still makes me smile. His friends remain in my life and continue to tell funny stories about the crazy things he did. I miss him more and more each day, but I know he's hanging out with the angels and filling heaven with laughter.

Posted by: Yvette Segarra


As we approach the anniversary of the death of our son and brother we sometimes laugh and sometimes cry. The Lord called Tony home on November 6, 2004. He was broad sided by two very young teenagers racing down one of our City Streets. Tony was only 24 at the time of his death.

We smile as we approach Halloween as this was one of his favorite holidays. He loved go trick or treating when he was young and then as he grew older he loved to hand out candy to the little ones in our neighborhood. Each year at our Church we have a Harvest Festival. Tony was always one of the first to sign up. He loved to run the duck pond game for the little one. We have to laugh because when the little one would pick up a duck he would fill there bags full of candy and stickers about Jesus.

We cry for ourselves as we approach this time of year. We know that God is watching over us. We miss him so much but we know he is in a Better Place and we all look forward to seeing him when we are called home. When we are blue we look at his pictures and smile knowing that those beautiful big brown eyes are helping someone else see and that that wonderful loving heart is beating in someone else.

We were so blessed to have had a child like Tony. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He cared for others and he always put the needs of someone else before he put himself. These are just a few of the wonderful memories we have.

Posted by: James, Diana and Erin Lynn Wooten


At age 20, Aimee was the total coordinated fashion package. She never walked out the door that her hair, make-up, and dress wasn't completely coordinated and perfect. We would all laugh and giggle with Aimee; even when going to the pool, her earrings, necklace, eye shadow, lipstick, bathing suit, sandals, beach towel and beach bag were all the same color!! Although it has been 14 years, we miss our perfectly coiffed blonde so much. We still laugh and cry at the same time.

Posted by: Steve & Leanne Doud


Yes, both tears and laughter are healing and they help me as I remember my 23 year-old-son, Julian Weston, who died after being ejected from a car and then run over by someone who must still be suffering from the tragedy. Julian was a gift from God who was on loan for a little while. He gave of himself and his time unselfishly and without desire of payment. God is still working in our lives.

What memories of Julian, my beloved son makes me smile? Where do I begin? One of the last memories of Julian was when he told his then three-year-old daughter, Tatiana, that she could not play with his model UPS truck. He placed the truck on the very top of a bookcase as Tatiana ran to her mother and said, “Daddy, what can Brown do for you?” He laughed with her and us that Monday and died on Good Friday. When we promised Tatiana on Sunday that if she ate her food then she could play with the truck, she said that she couldn’t play with it because her daddy told her not to do so. Julian’s daughter, his legacy, is so much like him with his quick wit and ready smile that I am comforted whenever I am around her. She still has conversations with her father and tells me that he tells her things. I don’t doubt it and am comforted because she remembers him and he lives in her.

Do you have any funny stories you like to share? Julian was always wearing my husbands clothing. In fact, my husband would leave gifts of clothing boxed in hopes that he would find them still new when he looked for them. Our first Christmas (2006) without our son, Sam hung some new shirts in the closet and turned to me and said, “I wish that Julian would come and wear these shirts.” I understood. Another time, we went on a picnic during the summer with other members of highway victim families. As we released balloons on a clear summer’s day, a rainbow appeared in the sky surrounding the balloons. We all felt the hand of God and we were warmed my His touch. Julian loved people and it seems that where ever I go I run into someone who will say, “Are you Ju-Ju’s Mom?” One young man turned and showed me a tattoo with Julian’s name emblazoned on his back. Another young man took more than two hours of his time to rebuild my cell phone so that I could retrieve photos that Julian took on my camera and that I used to take photos of Julian’s grave. My memories of my son are warm memories of him bringing friends home and going places with his mom. No matter where he was or what he was doing, he always put family first. I am so honored that God shared His precious flower with us for twenty-three years. Those who received a part of our son’s tissue and bones are forever a part of us and him.

When we’re feeling especially blue, Julian’s friends and former co-workers cheer us up. These wonderful people still remember us and call or come by to check on us. Two of his closest friends call us Mom and Dad. Stephen, who has since moved to the state of Washington called and left us a voice mail message to Mom and Pop. His voice sounded like Julian’s. He said, “Hey Ma. How are you doing?” I almost lost it because it sounded so much like my son, Julian. I saved that voice mail message and play it when I am feeling particularly blue. My husband and I have learned to read each other during the “blue days” and we will ask each other, “Did you talk to Tatiana today?” Then, we pick up the phone or go get Tatiana and the day becomes brighter. We are blessed that Tanesha, Tatiana’s mom, is our daughter. She allows us to be active participants in Tatiana’s life. God blessed us with family and friends to ease the pain of losing our only biological child.
What a mighty God we serve!

Posted by: Barbara Weston


Love the times we got to travel together and enjoy looking back at all the pictures we took. I can still hear him laughing at the silly things I did.--Like stepping in a snow bank in Minnesota and he had to help me out. What cheers me up?? Knowing that he is with God now and free from all pains. And hoping that one day I will be there also. God's Blessings to all. Thanks.

Posted by: Anne Wiener


Are there happy memories of your loved one that make you smile -
Yes, there are many happy memories about Josh that make me smile. When I’m missing him: I listen for his laugh; I envision his smile; I remember the way he attempted to take care of his older brothers and sisters; I think about the Thanksgiving’s he instigated food fights and wrestling matches, I hear his beautiful voice singing our favorite love song and I reminisce about the multitude of other wonderful memories and the legacy he left us.

Do you have any funny stories you like to share -
When Josh turned 18 he decided to go and spend time with his oldest brother in Florida. Since he is my youngest son it seemed especially traumatic for him to be leaving home if even temporarily. As was tradition in our family, I gave him a copy of Robert Munsch’s book Love You Forever. He said “No, mom, you have to read and sing it to me like you did for everyone else.” So, reluctantly (because I knew I would loose my composure) I did. As I read and sobbed, he laughed and held me close. By the time I was finished everyone was laughing including me - in between sobs of course.

When you're feeling especially blue, what cheers you up -
I go to the waterfall where he died (it was also one of his favorite places) with his brothers and sisters and all of the grandchildren and have a picnic, play in the mountain stream, climb the falls and write him love letters either burning them and watching the smoke rise toward heaven or inscribing them on helium balloons and letting them go.

Posted by: Mary Tate Elbell


Remembering Bob's Big Fish Smile...
An afternoon in September many years ago, we went fishing with Bob, my
Godson. The fish were not biting and signs of rain were in the horizon.
We reeled in the lines and were ready to go. "Oh! Bite on the Line"...It was
a big one..."Get the net"... "I can't reel anymore, your turn." We all took
turns and Bob reeled it in 22 lbs 7 oz. As it came out of the water and
into the boat we all cheered, laughed and smiled. We had all caught fish
before but none were with as much fanfare. I recently saw the picture of
this event and could not help but laugh again. I can still feel Bob's Smile
today.

Posted by: Katherine Golden


My son Matt loved to play jokes on my mother and Christmas was his favorite time of year, hence his most ingenious trick. My mom always decorated her sunporch with a specific color of candlelights. Each year she would choose a theme and all the candles would be one color to coordinate.She would be so proud to plug the lights in and we would enjoy cider in the glow of whatever color she was doing that year. It never failed that she would go to the porch, plug in the lights and one odd color bulb would stand out like a sore thumb. It would always be a glaringly bad note in a symphony, and it would move from candle to candle. She never caught him at it and sometimes she never even knew he had been there but that glowing wrongcolor bulb would always remind her that he was thinking about her. Now that he is gone one of my nephews has taken to doing the same as a way of letting her know they are thinking about her.

Posted by: Linda Ross


My dad,Robert L. Turner, was one of a kind. He taught me and my 3 sisters compassion, integrity,love of sports and laughter. He passed away on March 1, 2001, after suffering a major stroke on a golf course and he always wanted to be an organ donor.Upon his death we discovered large envelopes made out to the 4 of us.. Each contained a personal letter that had been written several years ago, savings bonds (becauses he was such a stickler about saving for the future), a poem he had written called "DONT CRY FOR ME" and most importantly he had saved ALL OF THE CARDS AND LETTERS WE HAD SENT TO HIM SINCE WE WERE KIDS. What a wonderful feeling it was as my sisters and I read aloud things we had written to my dad over the years. When I explained to the transplant team what he had done and what type of man he was even they got choked up..
So, whenever I am feeling blue, I re-read some of the things I had written to him and it definately helped with the grieving process and though I miss him everyday I still feel he is so close and I remember all the great times we had through the years.

Posted by: Margie Boudreau


My dad,Robert L. Turner, was one of a kind...He taught my 3 sisters and I compassion, integrity and laughter...He passed away on March 1, 2001 after suffering a major stroke on a golf course.Upon his death we discovered large envelopes made out to the 4 of us.. Each contained a personal letter that had been written several years ago, savings bonds (becauses he was such a stickler about saving for the future), a poem he had written called "DONT CRY FOR ME" AND THE MOST

Posted by: Margie Boudreau


Yes, Virgil is here all the time. Even my license plate is 12 V, Aug 12 is his birthday date, and V is for Virgil. The border, which is books,in my family room, shows one of the book title's being "Virgil". He has never left!! Students that he taught for over forty years still talk about him. So he is still with me after nine years. I don't mind.

Posted by: Alice F Petrik


When the weight of the emptiness of my sons death gets too much, I listen for his laughter in the wind and I can hear him call me Marium (why, I'll never know) and tell me he loves me; that everything will be okay. Some how, I believe that he is with me; I can almost feel his hug. That makes me smile.

Posted by: Sharron O'Buckley


When I'm feeling blue and missing my husband, I think back to our first date and our first kiss. We were both so shy. We met on the strip everybody cruised on.My friends pulled over to talk to him and his friends and we gave them our numbers, well he mixed up the numbers and asked me out .I was suppose to go out with his best friend even though he thought I was cute his friend had first dibs. Well we were both to embaressed to cancel the date when we figured out what happen, so we went ahead and went out.I should say cruising the strip with every other teenager. He ended up getting a flat tire that first night and that is what finally broke the ice. I thought wow this guy has luck like I do I felt so bad for him he was so embaressed about the flat tire. At that moment I thought he was the sweetest guy in the world, he treated me like a lady. It took three months of dating before we finally kissed and it was magical, yes I saw fireworks. Ha,ha. From that day on he said he was going to marry me, but I said we needed to graduate from High School first. We were married 21 1/2 wonderful years before he was taken away from me from a heart attack.He was very special he always made me laugh and smile when he was around , I always felt his love when he was around. People said that we always acted like teenagers in love no matter how long we had been married. I will never forget him. He was my one true love.

Posted by: Michele Simmons


My son was always laughing, he had a beautiful smile. One day I went over to pick him up from school and he was talking to a friend's father. I noticed from the car that he was enjoying the conversation but when he saw me he just told him that he had to leave, and when he got into the car I was laughing because I knew he was pretending he was enjoying the talking, so he just looked at me and we started to laugh like crazy and he said "On Mom, you kill me", he always said that when he was pretending, and just giving an adult some respect. When I'm feeling blue I always remember his smile and his "Oh Mom, you kill me", as a joke. It's been five years and I'm still missing his beautiful smile.

Posted by: Eva


Minutes before the car accident, my daughter was eating sunflower seeds, like Dad. She was studying her girl's basketball playbook. When she played basketball, she was ALWAYS looking for a team member to throw the basketball to. She was always a team player. Doesn't surprise me that when she died on her 16 th birthday, minutes before a suprise birhday party, that her death brought life for a second change for many others. Yes even in her death, she was willing to pass the ball ( her life ) to others. I know that she is still studying that old playbook, looking for ways to help others. When you lose a loved one, you should think about how her life and memory can carry on through the living.

Posted by: Larry McMillin


when his class included me in his graduation..his honorary dipolma, a tree dedication, how they all wore his name on their cap & gowns.. and knowing that this yr 2008 he will have a float in the rose bowl parade.. those things make me smile.. he lives on

Posted by: donna field


MY 112 LB 5'7" DAUGHTER,LISS, GOING TO WEIGHT WATCHERS AND GETTING TOLD SHE WAS TOO THIN, BUT BEING IN FILMMAKING SHE NEEDED TO LOSE. THE NEXT WEEK, SHE SET OFF TO A DIFFERENT WEIGHT WATCHERS DRESSED IN A SWEAT SUIT OVER WEIGHTS IN HER BRA AND ON HER WAIST AND LEGS. THEY ACCEPTED HER. I THOUGHT I WOULD LAUGH FOREVER WHEN SHE ASKED IF I KNEW HOW HARD IT WAS TO DRIVE WITH 10 LBSWEIGHTS IN YOUR BRA. I ACTUALLY SHARED THIS AT HER WAKE AND WE ALL HAD A GOOD LAUGH AT A TYPICAL "LISS THING"
WHEN I FEEL BLUE, I JUMP INTO WORKING WITH CHILDREN IN THEATRE, DOING THEATRE, AND WORKING WITH THE SUPPORT GROUP I STARTED FOR PARENTS WHO HAVE LOST CHILDREN,"REDEFINNG NORMAL-LIVING THROUGH THE LOSS OF A CHILD" SOMETIME, I WILL WACTH SOME OF HER FILMS.

Posted by: JUDI KAYE