Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Sadly, a family lost their 20-year-old son in a tragic accident in August of 2019 when this project originally began, and we were approached to create 2 sympathy books.
1 for Lily, Ian's sister, and the other for Ian's maternal & paternal family to share.
Lily's mom was a classmate of mine from Devine High School, known by many of our Random Acts of Kindness Circle members, Julie Gallegos.
Ian's family loved him so much and wanted more people to live and carry out their lives in his honor by donating his organs to them, the most bittersweet decision they've ever had to make.
We were asked if we could please come together to help bring some joy to these families by creating Sympathy Books for them. We know this was not an easy task because even after over 1 year, we have only received 9 submissions in total.
But with your help and the help of your friends and neighbors, we can create two very special books of love that Ian's family and sister Lily will be able to cherish forever.
What exactly is a Sympathy Book?
Well, it's a book compiled of pages that I will make with your words that you'll email or send to me in DM's. They'll be words of encouragement, kindness or poems, songs, pictures, quotes, etc. I then either copy and paste the words into Word doc & print, or just print the pages out that you send, (depending on what you send me) and I put them in a binder that I make a nice cover for out of material that aligns with Ian's personality.
Sometimes these books can get very costly with the materials ( paper, printing, and shipping), so I may ask for assistance with any printing or shipping businesses who would like to help us. Since the Random Acts of Kindness Circle is not yet a 501c3, your donation will not yet be tax-deductible, so please know that going in.
What works as a submission? Let's start with what does NOT work!
Screenshots do not work. Not even a page full of small screenshots. Why not?
Because they are copies and very low resolution, I have yet to receive a nicely scanned document or screenshot that displays clean text. This is how all of them have looked before I even print them (with the exception of those that have looked worse).
What will work?
Anything that you type yourself or large files that will print well on an 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper. If you are worried that your submission is too short, please DO NOT WORRY!
I piece together multiple short submissions and put them on one page, and break them up with nice lines or floral arrangements, etc......
Here are some actual submissions for Ian's family:
I’d like to begin by offering my sincere condolences for Ian’s passing. I also want to thank you for being part of the decision to donate Ian’s organs. It’s a huge decision and it helps so many people! My sister-in-law’s best friend was recently the recipient of a donated kidney, after being on the donor for many years. It has changed her life in so many positive ways! Thank you all and Ian for the decision to help others.
We are holding you close in our thoughts as you honor your brother. A bond with a brother is so special and his spirit lives on in you and all of those that he has helped.
Most of the time, there are no words that can ease the pain of loss.
Sometimes time itself is the only thing that seems to bring any sliver of comfort into our lives. Sometimes time makes it worse, because you worry about forgetting the little things... but I want to reassure you that so much will never be forgotten. Ian is always with you, always beside you, and without any of the pain, sorrow or discomforts of our world. So I urge you to not be sad. I urge you to celebrate the life that you shared with a beautiful human. Remember him fondly and often; rejoice in the love and joy he brought into your lives, and remember that you brought that same joy into his. You made his life. You made his whole world. And I bet if he was here to tell you that, he would.
I hope you are finding moments in your day where the pain subsides, the sorrow lifts and the clouds part.... Just enough to see the rainbow. The beautiful calm after the storm. The happiness and the light that has been left behind, for you to always bask in.
I want to share with you my favorite poem that was shared with me during my darkest hours. It literally was the first time I had felt any joy since the passing of my loved one. I am so grateful for the words, and I hope it warms your hearts too. xx
IRISH FUNERAL PRAYER - 'DEATH IS NOTHING'
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away
Into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way
Which you always used to.
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of sorrow.
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all
Will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble
Of parting, when we meet again!
I hope now you will see that it isn't as scary or difficult to compile a few words from your heart or even find a poem that you like online to share with Ian's family including his sister Lily.
Please send your submissions to TraciWilkersonSteckel@Gmail.com.
Thank you all.
Much love to all as well.