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Family Lives On Foundation supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering, creating a safe haven for grief, communication and celebration.


maryIn November 1996 Mary Murphy was diagnosed with cancer. By August 1997, it wa​s evident that the disease had progressed too far for her to expect a remission. Mary talked with her ten-year-old son Bryan to prepare him for life without her. Together they came up with the idea of Bryan continuing their tradition of making butter cookies at Christmastime. They felt that repeating an activity they had enjoyed together for many years would comfort and support Bryan during his grieving process.  

With vision and courage, Mary realized that all children whose mothers had died could benefit from continuing the traditions and simple pleasures they once shared. She incorporated Mommy’s Light Lives On Fund® in October 1997 to help facilitate traditions for maternally grieving children, teens and their families. Mary died two and a half months later.

In the fall of 2012, the organization successfully launched Daddy’s Light, officially expanding the Tradition Program to include children grieving the death of a father. To reflect the expanded mission, Mommy’s Light Lives On Fund officially rebranded as Family Lives On Foundation on March 1, 2013. 

Family Lives On will continue to work to adopt new practices in the field of child bereavement and to change the social conversation about death and childhood grief.


Healthy grieving isn’t about forgetting, it’s about remembering.