LAMENTATIONS

Issue 92

middle

June, 2005


Father’s Day

Mark Carmody is a bereaved father and wrote the following:

Letters to My Son  - A Journey Through Grief  is a very powerfully written book about death, grief, loss and recovery, hope and a stalwart belief in miracles. Authored by a grieving father whose 9-year-old son died following a two-year battle with a recurring malignant brain tumor. During the months that followed his son's death, Mitch Carmody wrote letters and poems to his son posthumously, as a catharsis for his grief. A compelling story of love, loss and recovery that will grab your heart, nourish your soul and open your eyes. A must read for anyone who has experienced a great loss and is trying to find some path out of the darkness of their despair. Beautiful poems and illustrations by the author are woven throughout the text. Fathers in Grief, a Paradox for Today’s Male.

The loss of your child can be crippling and leaves deep scars, it changes who we are and how we look at life and how we relate with the world. Five or six years out is still early in the spectrum of child loss but close to the point where positive rebuilding can begin. One thing that I have discovered that helps pull you out of the canyon of despair is compassion for others, it is giving that we receive and in healing that we are healed.

In the first few years it is hard to even help yourself much less others and we mechanically maintain, weep a lot and lick our wounds while clinging desperately to everything of our child and in secret wish to join them. We rejoin the real world at our own time and it happens when it right for us. Every ones journey is different, but what remains the same is the huge void that is left in our lives. How we fill it is up to us. I believe we need to fill it with something positive for others that creates a legacy of good in our child's name. We now become their legacy and we substantiate our child's life by the way we live ours.

In our "modern day" society it is especially difficult for fathers to grieve openly, caught in a catch 22 of how to express the deep pain we our experiencing. Men don't cry, men do not emote, men do not hug (maybe at the funeral) men don't go to support groups, men don't call in sick because they are screaming inside, we are the man of the family. Fathers are the fix it guys, the protector, the strength and the rock the family needs for support. More times than not people will ask a father" how is your wife doing? This must be hard extremely for her".

The modern male is now given (by women and therapists) license to show emotions, to cry, scream, hug and express their deepest emotions and fears, to let it out. The Irony of this is if he does emote and the family has never seen this behavior, it is taken as a

sign of weakness and the spouse and other family members feel they have lost their safety net, their rock of support, and feel even more helpless and rudderless on this journey of pain. If this happens he may again 'clam up' to help with his family and deal with his own pain later. He finds that 'letting it out' is an axiom of sophistry and in doing so he feels he is letting his family down. Indeed a paradox for the wanna-be sensitive Dad.

Most men cry alone in their cars on the way to work and they explain that the red eyes are due to allergies, or a late night. When my father died when I was age 14, my Mom told me I was the man of the family now, I did not cry, I did not grieve. It was not until years later and my losses became overwhelming did I finally let it out and express my emotions for the loss of my father. It has been 16 years now since Kelly died and I still cry with my wife when we feel our loss together or even when I hear a special song like'Wind beneath my Wings' and I do not care who is present, you love hard you grieve hard and it is supposed to hurt. When you recognize your own pain and express it, you automatically become more empathetic to others in similar pain and can help relieve theirs. Hell, now I cry at Hallmark Card commercials, I can't help it.

When people tell us to find closure, or move on and don't dwell on it. We can, but not how they think we should. We find closure in what will never be, let go of the what ifs, the shoulda -woulda -couldas and move on with the knowledge that our children are forever by our side, only in a new relationship. We live in one sphere of existence, our loved one who has died in another, but with faith, undying love and the desire we can connect at the seam where our two worlds meet. Love never dies.

In America we are allowed a few weeks to "get over it" and get back on track. The dead are wrapped up neatly so to speak and put away and their names unspoken. I find this totally unacceptable, it has been almost 16 years and I still talk about Kelly everyday and always will. We will always be bereaved parents but we will not always be experiencing the pangs of grief. Like arthritis we learn to live with it the rest of our lives, and also realize we shall still have flare ups of pain and discomfort as we move on through the years.

Love and light

Mitch Carmody 2004

You can reach Mitch at his website:

www.heartlightstudios.net

Grief Grafts

Jan Lehman’s son, Bryan David Holl (4-18-75), was killed in a motorcycle accident, 7-25-95.

Jan has great news to share:

I went from high school right to nursing school - diploma graduate, and have been an RN since 1968.  After Bryan died, I felt the loss of his education plans so I went back to school and got an Associates degree related to the data analysis job I was in.  I have recently completed my Bachelor's degree and Graduate!!!!   this Saturday, May 7 with a BS in Organizational Management.  I can hardly believe this is true.  On my last night of class, I found a bright shiny penny as I exited the classroom - after passing back & forth in that area earlier that evening with no penny visible.  I believe God has given me a gift of this degree - a gift to me from Bryan and for Bryan.

Jan often finds pennies from Bryan.

Bryan’s symbol is an eagle.

Jeanne Lucke’s son, Nick (6-3-80), was killed in a terrible auto accident, 7-23-04.

Jeanne shared:

I was divorced in 1986. Matt was 10, Kris was 9, and Nick was 6. I raised my three boys on my own. I held a full-time job, was chauffer, Cub Scout leader, PTA, lunchroom, classroom help, etc. The boys were my life. Their father is bi-polar and at that time he was not much help to me or them physically or financially. I raised 3 very good boys by myself and am very proud of them. None of them have ever been in any trouble.

I remember when I first started back to work after my divorce. I was a stay at home mom until that time. Nick had just started kindergarten. I used to have to take him to a neighbor’s house to get on the bus. And the minute I walked into work, the phone started ringing and it was Nick crying, “Mommy, please come home” over and over and over again; I will never forget that. There are so many things about all three of them that I will never forget and I love them with my whole heart and soul. Nick was always, always the happy one. He was born with a smile on his face. And he never changed. His baseball coaches used to yell at him because if he struck out they would say “Nick, don’t walk away from the plate smiling when you strike out.” He had a heart of gold and never met anyone who was not a friend. Nick was loved by everyone who knew him. He had over 350 people attend his funeral. He had a huge heart and would do anything for anybody. When the tornado hit here, he was there doing everything he could to help his friends and family. He was always there for everyone he loved. He loved life and lived every minute to the fullest. My last conversation with him which was a couple of days before he was killed, he was playing Texas Hold-Em, he got up from his game just to talk to me, and he told me he had made some changes in his life and was the happiest he has been in a long time. A couple of days later he was gone. He always, always had a smile. One of his friends told me that “Nick’s smile was a reflection of Nick’s genuine kindness.” There was never a stranger he met, always a friend. Nick will never get married. Nick will never see his 8-month-old niece grow up, even though he was there the day she was born. Nick will not be able to live the life that he was meant to live. Matt and Kris (my two other sons) have lost their best friend and their youngest brother. And it breaks their hearts, and mine. They are having a really hard time and there is nothing I can do to make it better. We will never see his smile again. Tears are shed every day, the memories, the deepest pain I have ever felt, the hole in our hearts, things we have to learn to live with daily. And I’m not doing it well. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life. And now, all I see is him screaming in the back seat of the car for JJ to slow down, the fear on all those kids faces, the telephone pole hitting him first on his right side, and his body wrapped around the tree head to toe. You are not supposed to bury a child; they are supposed to bury you. I will miss him till the day I die, and I just pray for the day that I can finally live with the fact that Nick is gone.

At the time of the “crash,” I was living in North Carolina. I had moved there 3 years prior to that. I was renting a house, and was employed full-time. Since the “crash” occurred, I have moved back to Ohio. I am currently living with friends, and I do not have a job, I do not have insurance. I can not afford any medical help or care. I gave up my house, my life, my job, in order to be back here with my family so we can help each other deal with the loss of my youngest son. The financial hardship of traveling back and forth, moving back here, no income, has been devastating, but I needed to be here for Nick, the trial, and my two other boys. My friends were also laid off from their jobs, but they took me in anyway. Karen is now working; Dave has not found a new job yet. But they have been my angels.

Nick had been in some trouble a few months before his death. He had gotten a DUI. He did not have a license. He depended on his friends and they were more than willing to help him out. I remember when he got the DUI, I called him up and said “Nick, what do I have to do, come home and take care of you?” I was semi-joking, but he said “yes mom, you do.” Well, I didn’t and I will never forgive myself for that. But I do realize that I could not have prevented the crash. The night of the crash, he did get a ride, but it was not with a friend, it was his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend. His girlfriend was also killed in the crash. My son Nick knew that knew that J.J. (the driver) was bad news. J.J. used to beat her up and Nicki was also bi-polar and not on medication. That's why my son was in that car, to protect her. In case you hadn't heard the driver of the car got 80 years in jail. Judge Dinklelacker told him he had never seen anything like this and has never seen anyone with no remorse and no consideration and no feeling for anyone except himself. J.J sat there stone-cold the entire time, never an emotion, an apology or anything. I know kids mess up. And if that was all it was, I could forgive him. But it wasn't. All he cared about was saving himself. He had 3 outstanding warrants against him when the cops pulled him over. He had a loaded gun; He had drugs in the car. If my son knew any of this he would not have gotten in the car. J.J. only thought of himself when he ran from that cop. And only thought of himself as he ran from his 4 dying friends. I heard in court that my son was found wrapped around a tree --- head to toe. I totally lost it when that news came out.

The day it happened, my oldest son Matt called and said 5 words to me. “Mom, are you sitting down?” I broke down immediately. I knew in my heart without him saying anymore. You see of all my kids, Nick has always had the worst luck in the entire world. If anything was going to happen it would happen to him. He had been in a car accident 3 years prior with someone else driving. The driver drove through the side of a house. Nick spent a week in the hospital and had emergency surgery to have his spleen removed. I never left his side. Well, when I got that last phone call, I was 800 miles away. I started screaming. I walked through the house screaming and crying. I was helpless. I tried to call my boyfriend and he didn't call me back for 4 hours. I had no friends there. I was alone, terrified, couldn't think, couldn't act, all I knew was I needed to get home. After a couple of hours I got a hold of some friends and family in Ohio. My brother made my arrangements to come home. I asked my boyfriend to come with me. He refused. He did drive me to the airport and yelled at me about stupid stuff the whole 3 hours. He wanted to drop me off, but I made him come in with me. I didn't want to be alone. The airplane trip back was a nightmare. I couldn't stop shaking or crying and I felt so stupid. When I got off the plane Kris was there to pick me up and I just fell into his arms. The rest is pretty much a blur. The arrangements (my ex had to fight every decision I made), the visitation, the funeral.

Once all that was over, my brother told me he would help me move back here. I knew I needed to be here for my other two sons. He lives in Florida and I was in Ohio so I met him at the airport in Norfolk, he rented a truck, and got all my things back to Ohio. I have since been living with friends.  So on top of Nick’s death I have a lot more to deal with just trying to get back on my feet. Some days are OK, some days are not. I'm having a hard time concentrating on any one direction in my life. I have applied with the Victim’s of Crime for help with getting some counseling. But as of yet, I have had my friends to talk to but not anyone that has ever lost a child, so it is hard for them to understand. Sometimes I hear from people --- Get over it ---- it's been long enough --- you have 2 other boys--- etc. etc. I know they mean well, but it hurts.

My dad died in 1993. My mom died in 1997. I thought at that time that was a horrible thing to go through. It was, but this doesn't compare. Nick is buried close to my parents. I just turned 50 and I am starting my life over. I wish I had a plan. I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters and all but one sister live out of state. So there isn't a lot of family around anymore. I wish I could see butterflies. I wish I had a sign. From my mom, my dad, and Nick. But nothing ever comes.

Nick was with some friends. They went to a neighborhood bar. He got a ride from JJ with 3 other kids. As they pulled out of the parking lot -- right in front of a police car -- someone threw a bottle out of the car. The police pulled them over. JJ stopped, looked the cop right in the eye with a horrible look (as the cop testified later, he will never forget that he looked like the joker in batman movie). JJ then floored it, knowing he had a loaded gun, outstanding warrants, and drugs in his car. The cop pursued. The cop stopped his chase when he lost sight of them. JJ continued to run. He drove over (they estimated 114 mph) on a residential 25mph road. He made it a couple of miles and then hit a telephone pole. The car literally split in half --- it was split right at the backseat passengers knees from side to side -- right where Nick sat. Nick was found wrapped around a tree head to toe... JJ's friend (24) was lying in the grass dead, Stacey (Matt's girlfriend’s sister; 15 yrs old) was found in the grass, dead. Nicky (Nick's girlfriend 24 yrs old) was found alive in the driveway at the house next door. JJ was nowhere to be found. Nicky died at the hospital a couple of hours later. JJ was found about 6 hours later claiming he had a bicycle accident and denied being in the car. A few scratches here and there, that’s it. Anyway, he was brought to trial. He was found guilty of eight separate counts of vehicular homicide, having a loaded gun, drugs, DUI, fleeing the scene of an accident etc.etc.etc. He got 80 years in prison, sat stone-cold faced throughout the trial. Never an apology or a tear for his friends or family.

It was a very violent terrible crime and if not for JJ's looking out for only himself, none of this would have happened. Three kids lost their lives for a stupid, stupid selfish person. I can not even call him a man.

Sorry I guess I'm still very angry....

You know even now, 9 months later, when I think of the gut piercing pain and shock (people think they know shock? they don't until something like this happens. I couldn't think, move, drive, or even take a shower without being told for a couple of weeks). But that pain now even though I lived is something that seems so unreal. Maybe it's because I don't ever want to feel that way again. Or maybe it's because I don't accept it all yet. I don't know yet. Nine months is not long enough to deal with all the issues. I found that things came in stages. One day I could deal with this part, one day the other part, but never and still to this day can I think and deal with the whole picture.

This was my impact statement. I couldn't read this; my sister read it for me.

12/8/2004

I have been asked to write a statement of how the death of my son has impacted me, my financial losses, and the sentencing recommendations. I am also going to try to speak in court. If I am not able, I at least have this on record.

Nick was loved by everyone who knew him. He had over 350 people attend his funeral. He had a huge heart and would do anything for anybody. When the tornado hit, he was there doing everything he could to help his friends and family. He was always there for everyone he loved. He loved life and lived every minute to the fullest. My last conversation with him which was a couple of days before he was killed, he was playing Texas Hold-Em, got up from his game just to talk to me, and he told me he had made some changes in his life and was the happiest he has been in a long time. A couple of days later he was gone. He always, always had a smile. One of his friends told me that “Nick’s smile was a reflection of Nick’s genuine kindness.” There was never a stranger he met, always a friend. Nick will never get married. Nick will never have a child to know his love. Nick will never see his 8 month old niece grow up, even though he was there the day she was born. Nick will not be able to live the life that he was meant to live. Matt and Kris (my two other sons) have lost their best friend and their youngest brother. And it breaks their hearts, and mine. There is nothing I can do to make it better. We will never see his smile again. We are having a really hard time dealing with all of this. The tears are shed daily, the memories, the deepest pain I have ever felt, the hole in our hearts, things we have to learn to live with daily. And I'm not doing it well. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life. You are not supposed to bury a child; they are supposed to bury you. I will miss him till the day I die, and I just pray for the day that I can finally live with the fact that Nick is gone.

At the time of the “crash,” I was living in North Carolina. I had moved there 3 years prior to that. I was renting a beautiful home on a canal, and was employed full-time. Since the “crash” occurred, I have moved back to Ohio. I am currently living with friends, and I do not have a job, I do not have insurance. I can not afford any medical help or care. I gave up my house, my life, my job, in order to be back here with my family so we can help each other deal with the loss of my youngest son. The financial hardship of traveling back and forth, moving back here, no income, has been devastating, but I needed to be here for Nick, the trial, and my two other boys.

As far as the sentencing recommendations, I sat there through the entire trial. The hardest thing to watch was J.J. There was not one emotion, there was not one apology, and there was not one tear. There is no heart there. They say the eyes are the mirror of the soul. I saw no soul. I understand kids mess up. But what J.J did, and his reactions were beyond making a mistake. He knew he had outstanding warrants; that’s why he ran. He knew he had drugs and a gun that’s why he ran. It was not any of the others kids’ fault. He only thought of himself when he pressed that gas pedal. And he only thought of himself when he ran away from his 3 dead friends and left another to die. That is just cold-blooded, cold-hearted, and selfish. And that I can not forgive. I believe that J.J. should be sentenced the maximum amount (I was told 112 years), so he can not hurt anyone else. Because of the fact there is no remorse, there is no feeling, there is no regret, and for anyone to be that cold-hearted doesn't deserve the chance at life ever again. My kids were always taught to be responsible for their actions. I believe this is the only way J.J. will ever be held responsible for his actions.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

In remembrance of Nick

Chuck and Cheryl Adams’ daughter, Carrie (10-5-72), died from an eating disorder, 5-4-95.

The family sent this note out to friends and family:

Dear Family and Friends,

As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of Carrie’s passing, we want to thank you for helping us pass through the door of grief and pain, and enter the light of faith and hope.

Thank you for the sympathetic words, prayers and hugs; they have made our journey a bit easier.

Thank you for helping us through our heartache; please stand by us as we learn to celebrate Carrie’s short but beautiful life.

Love,

Chuck and Cheryl,Courtney, Mark and Ben 

This is Carrie’s symbol:

 

 

 

Tom and Carol Stork’s son, Thomas (9-29-86), died from PNET cancer, 12-7-96.

These pictures that Thomas wrote have been used by a charity raising money for children with cancer and their families. “Zig the Pig” referred to in the piece is a mascot for the charity, called Children’s Chance.

 

Thomas’ symbol is a lion.

Erica Beltz’s son, Luke (8-11-99), was killed when a steel beam fell on him, 1-4-05

Erica shared the greatest way Luke told someone he loved them:

Luke had a little bit of a speech problem, but it was too precious to fix. My mom used to tell me when I was a little girl " I love you 2x2 " Don't ask why, but it stuck. So I started saying it to my kid's. I would ask Luke how much he loved me back and he would say he loved me 50 pounds. Wow that's a lot buddy I would tell him. Then quickly he started on his own to tell me he loved me all the way past God!  Who knew just how huge of a statement from such a little guy. Talk to you soon!

All the way past God,

Luke’s symbols are “Amazing Grace” & God’s Perfect Work.

Barry and Cyssi Rinck’s daughter, Jaymi Crystin (5-6-89) died from complications of Down Syndrome, 2-2-90.

Let me tell you about my beautiful daughter Jaymi.

She was born May 6th 1989...  With Down syndrome and a hole in her heart.

The doctors wanted to wait until she was a year old to perform the operation on her but she got weaker by the day until she was no longer to sustain her weight so they had to move the surgery date up. She was 9 months old. Feb 2nd 1990.

They took her into surgery and in a few short moments they realized her condition was much worse than they had originally thought... they struggled to correct the problem with her heart and they succeeded. They came out and told my husband and me that we could come back and see her in 45 minutes to an hour... but after a few hours they still hadn't come after us... I got terribly sick... physically sick, throwing up etc... And then the doctor appeared. He said that Jaymi had come through the surgery with much struggle and seemed to be doing fine... BUT they couldn't get her off life support... She passed way Feb 2nd, 1990 due to complications of heart surgery. Jaymi was such a precious, loving child, she smiled all the time... I took her to physical therapy every week and by the time she was 9 months old, she was sitting and playing almost like any other child... She tried three times as hard as most babies, just to be able to do what a 'normal' child could do easily... *sigh* Perhaps that's why she was so weak and couldn't breathe on her own...

Cyssi Rinck, Editor
the Angel Connection
A Newsletter For Bereaved Parent's Since 1995

Website:
 
Come by and meet my daughter Jaymi

  http://www.angelfire.com/blues/jcr/main.html
 
Yahoo Group:

 
Come and join The Angel Connection.

Make friends, help others and perhaps help yourself along the endless journey of grief and learning to live again.  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheAngelConnection/


"We wish you peace in the silence

We wish you hope in the desperation
We wish you light in the darkness
We wish you comfort in the sadness.

We walk with you and beside you as
you mourn and remember the child who
should be with you today, and everyday.

Death does not end a Parent's Love."

Pam Baker’s daughter, Elizabeth(1-2-80), died 7-6-01.

Pam shares her thoughts:

The following is a description of Elizabeth that I wrote in the early morning of the day of her funeral. The youth director of our church had asked me to describe her so that he could use it as a testament to her love of the Lord and of life. Sleep was not much of an option during those first few days and writing was an emotional outlet for me.

A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF ELIZABETH BAKER

Whenever I think of my daughter, Elizabeth, there are many things that come to mind. First of all, there was her smile. Elizabeth just didn’t smile with her mouth and teeth; she smiled with her whole being. Her eyes sparkled; her cheeks glowed red with warmth and kindness, her voice sandy with joy and her infectious laughter. She was always ready to welcome the next new friend she had yet to meet and embrace the ones she already had.

She was a VERY busy young lady and being Mom, I was the one responsible for getting her there. In high school, there was the academic team, the Advance choir, the Chamber choir, voice class, the Science Olympiad, the foreign language club (Latin), the National Honor Society, the National Beta Club, tutoring after school, tutoring during school and Fellowship of Christian Athletes to name a few of her extracurricular activities, which kept me busy burning up the road to get her. She was also the football homecoming queen her senior year in high school. And, I admit, sometimes I was exasperated, feeling like a private taxi service. Then there were her church activities: Sunday School, Children’s Choir, Children’s Hand bells, Youth Choir, Youth Hand bells, Gas, Acteens, Youth Missions, World Changers, Vacation Bible School Volunteer.

Between her school and church commitments, I often wonder how she found enough hours in the day to be able to graduate sixth in a class of 203, with honors. But she did and her high school graduation was one of the proudest days of my life. She had scholarship offers from several schools, including a full, four-year scholarship to Berea, but she chose Cumberland College, a small Baptist college in Williamsburg, Ky. She had gone there in her junior and senior years for the Science Olympiad State Competition and had fallen in love with it. The faculty, staff and students there were so kind and made her feel welcome in a Christian atmosphere that she felt compelled to go there. She was convinced that this was the place God had chosen for her and she was right.

Once she was at Cumberland College, she didn’t slow down. She took between 18 and 20.5 credit hours per semester and kept a 3.4 average (She wanted to take it easy her senior year). She was a tutor for three years at the ARC, a member of the Cumberland College Singers and on the Academic Team. She was also a justice and last year, a Chief Justice for the Student Government. She had been vice-president of the Math and Physics Club (she was a math major, chemistry minor) and was President-elect this year. She was involved in Mountain Ministries and the Baptist Student Union at Cumberland College and regularly attended the first Baptist Church of Williamsburg, including participating in the Adult choir there.

As you can see, Elizabeth was a VERY BUSY young lady, but she was never too busy for the Lord. She always went to church, not only on Sunday morning and evening, but also Wednesday night and any other occasion when there was an opportunity for sharing Christian fellowship and her faith. This continued even when she went away to college, when Elizabeth never strayed from the path. She lived the type of Christian life that God wants us all to live and she was happy and had FUN!!! She had found the inner peace and joy that comes from knowing and loving the Lord and wanted to share it with everyone she came in contact with. That’s why she had such an infectious laugh and that sparkle in her eyes. She knew the happiness of her Life with The Lord and was generous with song, but most importantly, with her daily life. Every day, just through the simple process of living, Elizabeth was an enthusiastic witness for the Lord and no one called her a “Jesus Freak.” She was just being Elizabeth.

We were all very fortunate to have Elizabeth in our lives for 21 years. She touched many, many lives, whether she knew it or not. But God did. He sent her here so that we could see the wonder and warmth of His Love. And the joy and laughter that comes with it. He brought her home so that she can be there to meet us with her loving smile and open heart. We were blessed.

Pamela D. Baker

July 11, 2001

Pam’s symbol is a 64th note with a smiley face.

Bob and Ellen Conroy’s son, Robert (8-17-63), died from a heart aneurysm, 2-1-98.

The Conroy family has a foundation in memory of Robert. The family reports what has been done this past year:

Hello to everyone and we hope this letter finds you doing well and in good health. Believe it or not, this is the seventh year of The Robert A. Conroy, Jr. Foundation and the need is greater than ever and your assistance makes it all possible. Here’s the recap:

The Foundation assisted 3 widows who were left to raise their children alone with no where to turn for help. We also provided assistance by way of paying bills and giving food to families whose father or mother lost their job and were down on their luck.

We receive regular requests for help from Maria Regina Outreach Program as well as St. Martin’s Outreach Program. The following is a partial list of aid given: Gift certificates to purchase back-to-school clothing for 10 families; gift certificates for 8 families to purchase spring outfits and Communion attire; our customary Christmas spectacular for 10 families which include gift certificates to their favorite stores, toys and other surprise presents for the children. Many thank yous letters from these families expressed that “Christmas would not have happened without the generosity of the Foundation.

Do you think all food pantries are created equal? Not even close! This Foundation provides kid-friendly food for Maria Regina, elderly-friendly food for St. Martin of Tours (including meat) and anything for Good Shepherd Hospice. For your information, the pantries are also stocked throughout the year.

The Sixth Annual Robert A. Conroy, Jr./James Macchia Memorial God Outing sponsored by the Back Page Ale House was a gorgeous day on the green. Approximately 100 men played at Timber Point Country Club and headed back to the Back Page for great refreshments. An awesome leather duffle bag bearing the “Robert A. Conroy, Jr. Foundation/James Macchia” logo was provided to all the participants. This event made over $5000 for the Foundation.

Selecting two students to receive the Robert A. Conroy, Jr. Foundation memorial scholarship at Massapequa High School, each in the amount of $2000, is challenging but rewarding. Every application for these scholarships, provided to the Senior Awards Committee, is read by this Foundation.

The Seventh Annual Robert A. Conroy, Jr. Foundation…Oh, you know what we’re going to say… IT Rained- what else? However, the mood was light with no one seeming to mind the maddening mist. The 8 new tents make the difference and the day was great. The raffles were unbelievable with many people adding to the lengthy list that same day. The amount raised was over $5000 and will be put to good use.

The following is a list of other charitable acts provided by the Foundation throughout the year which made a significant difference to the grateful recipients: We sent care packages to soldiers serving in Iraq and contributed money to a needy battalion also in Iraq; a wig was purchased for a cancer patient; a CD player provided to the John Theissen Children’s Foundation toy drive; contribution to L.I. Advocate for helping autism; microwave oven purchased for a school in Huntington; assistance to 5-year-old suffering from debilitating strokes; assistance to a child suffering from neurofibroma and glaucoma with no insurance; continued assistance to 3-year-old who suffers from severe facial scarring; continued assistance to All Island Handicap Sports, an organization consisting of children suffering from horrible handicaps both mental and psychological; two children were sent with suitable gear to Kamp Kiwanis in the Adirondack mountains for a week of camping.

We would like to thank all for partnering with us in our endeavor to carry forth our mission of keeping Robert’s memory alive by being a presence for the need and hurting of our community. God Bless.

Robert’s symbol is a crow.

Nim & Clara Patterson’s son, Luke (9-18-78), died from an accidental gun shot, 9-12-94.

Nim and Clara are involved in an interesting project:

Nim and I are part of a Motorcycle Association that has a goal of raising awareness of the drug in SE Kentucky. We are called UBAD (Unite Bikers against Drugs). We are supported by Operation UNITE started by Hal Rogers and almost every weekend we have several rides or rallies we are on, through the summer.

Our hearts and minds are with you and everyone at J.I.M.'s picnic. J.I.M.'s picnic is a very wonderful time and helped Nim and I so very much when we were really searching to find our place. Please forgive us for missing again this year, but UBAD is a large part of us as well and we are needed on the ride June 3-4 weekend.

Luke’s symbol is a basketball with wings and #00 on the basketball.

Faye Martin’s daughter, Lisa (9-23-65), died from a self-inflicted gunshot, 4-22-91.

Faye wanted to share her exciting news:

I'm proud to announce that my daughter, Lisa, will have a two-page memorial in a memorial book that is soon to be published.  Finishing touches are being put on the book right now and they are taking orders.  The book is full color, hard cover, with pages 8 X 11.  It is over 150 pages with around 100 memorials.

It is to honor the lives lost to suicide and, hopefully, to educate people about the illnesses that cause this tragedy.  The memorial pages are absolutely gorgeous!  They were done by professional designers who donated their time.  The whole book project was put together by volunteers.  It will have inspiring articles as well as the memorials, plus lots of information for suicide survivors and others.  It is also a tremendous resource book for those who work with survivors, teachers, ministers, and anyone in the mental health field.

You can order a copy before June 30 for $25.  After that, the cost goes up to $30.  This was not a fundraiser; there are no profits.  Everything goes towards offsetting the cost of the book.  Below is a link that will take you to a webpage that explains it better than I can, and gives you a link to an order form.  If these links don't work, please copy and paste to your browser.

http://www.angelfire.com/my/grievingparents/FAQ.html

Lisa's memorial is shown on Page 6.  You can get to that with the URL above by clicking on "Memorial FAQ's," or go there directly with the URL below:

http://www.angelfire.com/my/grievingparents/PAGE6.html

The book is being created by members of "Parents of Suicides," and "Friends and Families of Suicides."  These are the largest suicide support groups on the Internet, with hundreds of members from all over the world.  If you would like information on those groups, that URL is below.

http://www.parentsofsuicide.com/

I hope you will join with me in celebrating this beautiful book and the lives of our children lost to suicide.  For those whose computers will allow it, I'm putting Lisa's two pages in this post.  If you don't see them here, then go to page 6 of the link above.

I hope you will visit the three lovely websites below that I've had made for Lisa.  It helps me to keep her memory alive by knowing that others remember her with me.  My love for her did not cease when she died.

Thank you so much and blessings,

Faye Martin, mother of Lisa

lisalamb3@aol.com  (Post me if you have questions.)

http://www.lisalamb3.com/ 

http://www.geocities.com/angelmomfriends9/lisaxmas1.html

http://www.geocities.com/pammispages5/lisaanniv.html

Lisa’s symbol is a lamb.

Ron & Debra Baker’s daughter, Tammy Smith (3-29-81), was murdered 1-30-03.

Debra wanted to share this with us:

Wanted to send everyone the information about the "Take Back the Night Rally" that was held on Friday, April 15 at 4:00 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers at the Allegany County Court Building during Crime Victims Week...........  Meant to send this to everyone weeks ago.....  (This was done in the town of Belmont.... Allegany County is a rural county in western NY, along the PA border).

I presented District Attorney, Terry Parker, with a 3-fold picture frame, holding 9 pictures.... 8 of these were victims that are now in Heaven that he has defended during his 2 terms (8 years) as District Attorney.  

  Please click the link below this paragraph to view the Picture Frame, the pictures (which are in order from the left side of the frame and down, the center and down, and then the right side and down), and the POMC Angel Bear. Terry now has the picture frame, along with the bear sitting next to the frame, in his office.

  Once you are at the website.... click in the left hand column (as shown below) under Take Back the Night Rally 2005, double click on the 1st picture to enlarge and view the pictures in order by hitting the next button.

 

What's New

 

Messages  

 

Pictures  

 

Chat  

 

Calendar  

 

Documents  

 

Links  

 

Take Back the Night Rally 2005  

Click the link:  http://groups.msn.com/TammyReneeSmithAlbum/_whatsnew.msnw

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

This is what I said before presenting Terry Parker with the Frame and Angel Bear

In the last couple of years there have been many crime related deaths in this county, whether it is from drunk driving or homicide.

Terry Parker has been the prosecutor on these cases and has been a great comfort to many families grieving the loss of their loved one. As their families we are able to express our sincere gratitude, but for those who are what I call....... "Terry’s Defended Angels in Heaven.... they do not have an earthly way of showing him their appreciation.... So we as their families would like to present Terry with this picture frame.... inside the frame are the pictures and names of all those who have died because of someone else.....In the center of the frame is a picture of an angel holding a cross and this is what is written on the picture:

Dear Terry, we can never thank you enough for all you have done for us and our families. Your Defended Angels in Heaven.... God Bless You!

This bear was purchased through Parents of Murdered Children; he has adorable angel wings and the red/black ribbon that represents homicide victims sewn on his chest. How the Victims Memorial Ribbon was first conceived is on the 2nd page of the handout that was given to each of you when you first came in.

Terry.... you have done so much for the people of Allegany County and have brought much comfort to those of us who have had to bury their child way too early. Your compassion and empathy to homicide victims’ families is tremendous.

Thank you for your commitment to seeking justice for the angels that are now in heaven....

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

We chose Cheryl Allen (Darin's Mom - Darin was Tammy's boyfriend of 6 years) as the award recipient for service to Crime Victims.... below in black is what I said before presenting her the award plaque.  I also gave her beautiful long stem flowers; the award plaque that Shannon Ozzella, (Crime Victim's Coordinator for Allegany County) chose was an 8 x 10 wooden plaque and was absolutely gorgeous:

For Cheryl:

This year’s Victim Services Award is going to a very special person, someone who finds more than enough time to help others who are suffering the most unimaginable pain....

She has helped with every balloon release and candle lighting, has attended everything that has been done for Tammy, and has helped other families in our area who have suffered the loss of their child...

She has devoted a tremendous amount of herself and her time to help others even though she has suffered as a victim too. First I would like to read what the plaque says:

God blessed you with precious gifts...

tender hands that comfort easily, for

being kind, helping out...for taking care

So in Loving Memory of my daughter...Tammy Renee Smith.....we are honoring Cheryl Allen... Cheryl

This is the hand-out given to everyone at the "Take Back the Night Rally"  If you could, it would be wonderful if you wrote to your congress people too. 

 A True Day of Remembrance

September 25th was chosen as the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims in honor of POMC founders, Robert and Charlotte Hullinger, whose daughter Lisa was bludgeoned with a hammer and died on that day in 1978. There have been over 520,990 non-negligent homicides in this country since POMC was first founded.

As a project of POMC, we think it would be appropriate to establish a true day of remembrance in our country for victims of homicide, by having such a resolution introduced and passed through the United States Congress. In memory of Lisa, who was murdered on September 25, 1978 and the profound work that her parents have done for all victims of homicide across this country, that the day of September 25 be called the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.

We would like to thank Congressman John Shadegg for his leadership on behalf of POMC and our members. We are asking all members and others to contact their own congressman or congresswoman and U.S. senators to request they join Congressman Shadegg as co-sponsors. We are also asking our members to contact Congressman Shadegg with letters of thanks for his support, his address below.

Except for some minuscule printing cost, it won’t cost the taxpayer a dime and there is not a more appropriate way to honor the memories of homicide victims throughout the country.

 Address:     Honorable John Shadegg

                   US House of Representatives

                  306 Cannon HOB                                       

                  Washington, D.C. 20515

                  Phone: (202) 225-3361 Fax: (202) 225-3462

In Allegany County a Balloon Release is held on the weekend closest to September 25th for families, friends, and the community who are also victims of homicide, this also includes victims from surrounding counties.  It is done in Loving Memory of Tammy Renee Smith, missing for 2 months and 1 day... found on March 28, 2003.  Tammy had been shot, beaten and manually strangled on January 30, 2003.

I encourage each of you to write or email your congressmen.

Tammy’s symbols are a dolphin and a rose.

Carl & Barbara Kinne’s son, Joe Frank Banks (10-30-77) committed suicide,

7-17-01.

Barbara has a great idea that I am going to copy:

I made special business cards with the web address that I give out to friends. I leave them on airplanes, in airports, at restaurants along with the tip. I post them on community bulletin boards when I am in different cities. The cards are beautiful. I have little computer skills but I was determined to do something for Joe Frank. I self-taught my way through it. I really felt a sense of accomplishment when I succeeded. I hope that he is proud of it.

Barbara has made a beautiful website in memory of Joe Frank and has written all the poetry.
Please visit Joe Frank’s website: http://www.joescloud.com

Joe Frank’s symbol is “I Love You” hand sign for the deaf.

Some thoughts to ponder...

If I eat equal amounts of dark chocolate and
white chocolate, is that a balanced diet?
Don't they actually counteract each other?


Chocolate has many preservatives.

Preservatives make you look younger.

Q. Why is there no such organization
as Chocoholics Anonymous?
A. Because no one wants to quit.

If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top
pantyhose.
An entire garment industry would be devastated.

Please visit the website and let me know if you see any omissions or errors:

http://www.ucumberlands.edu/lamentations/joininginmemory.html