Our daughter Lisa died on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the age of 33. She was bright, talented, compassionate and had a quick wit. She had worked hard to build a successful career and had a promising future in the business world. Six months prior to her death, she purchased her first piece of real estate---a 2,000 sq. ft. condo and a brand new SUV. To have so much going for her made her death all the more devastating for our family. Life as we knew it was turned upside down and plunged into numbness.
In addition to our faith, the most helpful gestures came from people---friends, family and neighbors. It was their caring, support, and presence at this dark time that kept us going. Kind words, prepared foods delivered, and cards became welcomed things, especially in the early days when everything blurred around preparations for the funeral or settling her affairs.
One of the most meaningful and uplifting experiences came from a long-lost friend who came to call on us. She brought a small gift bag that contained a book about grief, a touchstone for each family member and a list of grief counselors and grief support groups in the area. Even more significant however was her gift of time. She talked with us about Lisa’s life---our special memories, what Lisa was like and what we missed about her at that early stage of grief. We cried and we laughed. Her visit was such a first step in healing for us.
Lisa’s Legacy Kit is intended to encourage this same type of interaction between a caring individual and the recently bereaved. The contents of the bag are meant to be practical and useful at a time when often it is such a big effort just to function and complete tasks.
A second intention for the Lisa Legacy bag is to encourage support and interaction between the visitor and the bereaved family or individual. For those who find it hard to approach someone who has just experienced a tragedy this gift bag gives purpose and meaning for a visit. This bag could be given prior to a funeral time or in the days or weeks following the funeral. Rather than avoiding the family or individual, it makes it easier to bring the bereaved something that they can really use at the moment.
Lisa embodied caring and a genuine interest in the people in her life. She often expressed this through hand-written notes or emails. This bag is meant to personify what she enacted throughout her entire life. That is her legacy.
Ann and Steve Filler and sister Laura Filler