My husband was an Illinois State Trooper Motorcycle Officer who was struck by a tractor trailer during a traffic stop. He was only 32 and our children were 4 years old and 10 months.
So many people came to me after losing Kyle to ask what they could do to help. I didn’t know what to tell them, because I did not know myself. The traditional gifts of flowers and cards were very kind gestures, but they slowly faded as the weeks turned into months. As grief consumed me, my brothers and sister were there to help with their support and love.
One texted me daily about silly celebration days, such as National Chocolate Day and then would occasionally arrange a hands-on surprise according to that day’s celebration. Another came by my house and visited every day to make sure I was ok, helped me with anything I needed and connected with my kids. My sister didn’t leave my side for an entire month, even though she was in the middle of medical school. I also received regular calls and texts from my brother who lived several hours away.
Illinois State Trooper
MY KEEPSAKE BOX
This is my personal memory box and the inspiration for me to create Comforting Keepsakes.
It is the gift I received from my brother, Keith, that has given me the encouragement and drive to create Comforting Keepsakes. Even though he was always near, my brother Keith is quiet and hadn’t said much after I lost Kyle. After a while, Keith presented a wooden box to me. He built the box, stained, and had burned my husband’s badge number on to the top of the box. Keith said to me, “I didn’t know what to do to make you feel better, but I thought you might like this box that I made for you. I thought it would be a nice place to store a few of Kyle’s things.” Almost 10 years after my loss, I still turn to this box for comfort.
SOME ITEMS I KEEP IN MY BOX INCLUDE:
A shirt that I loved on him
His wedding ring
Letters with his handwriting
His sunglasses and more...
The passion I have to help others who are beginning to walk the dark path of grief has led me to recreate this box and package together all of the items that helped me to survive after loss. I’ve never been one to keep “stuff”, but when it came to the personal items that my husband kept near him regularly, I wanted a special place to keep them. When I need to have my moment of remembering Kyle, I open the box, spray his cologne, touch his possessions, reflect, cry and grieve. I hope this box comes as a gift of healing and peace for anyone who receives it. Grief is never ending, but the gift of comfort can help along the way.
Much Love and Prayers for Healing,
We began this journey to comfort the people we care about and to pay it forward. We feel so blessed to have such a great support system from the law enforcement community, we want to be sure our organization gives back.
A portion of our proceeds from Comforting Keepsakes allows us to donate our gifts to the families of fallen officers, first responders, and military personnel. This way, comfort is being spread to everyone in the community, and our mission is fulfilled.