Three years ago, I was searching for something. My kids were nearly grown, and while I was a few years into the worst grief I had ever experienced, sadness still left me raw most days. In an effort to fill my time, I decided to volunteer. I began working with Family Lives On and very soon, my search for a distraction turned into one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.
After I attended a training program that centered on the Family Lives On Mission, my volunteer position quickly grew into assisting with monthly Tradition Coordinating and helping in the office. There was so much to do and plenty to keep me busy. We received enrollment forms daily from grieving families, applications from kind people who wanted to volunteer and of course, there were so many tasks in support of raising money! The work was new to me but the story was familiar. Anyone who has loved someone who died can relate to the despair and longing for relief from the pain. And at the end of the day, we are all seeking a way to hope for comfort in the struggle to live without our loved one.
The Family Lives On Tradition Program gives that comfort and hope to over 300 children and their families a year. And as we support Traditions annually until that child turns 18, there are many opportunities for the family to remember and celebrate together. Grief never leaves us, but by continuing Traditions, the children we serve have a real chance to heal as they grow into adulthood.
I’m still keeping busy as a Family Lives On Volunteer. I help with as many Traditions as I can and support the fundraising events like the upcoming Race for Traditions. To say that I’m “done grieving” my personal loss would be untrue. I miss my sister every day. But helping others and being a part of the incredible team at Family Lives On has truly helped me rise through my sorrow and discover an unexpected joy. – Susan Fedoris