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SE 28 | Overcoming Loss

 

Experiencing the death of a loved one, especially your child, is devastating and sometimes makes you wonder how to cope with grief and live through it. Cara Martinisi, founder of Love from Heaven, talks about her grief from losing her eldest son to a tragic accident that she witnessed. Cara shares how the incident had changed her and her family as they move on, overcoming the loss and dealing with pain and trauma. Founding a non-profit organization in memory of her son, Cara tells us about Love from Heaven which aims to provide resources, support, and hope to families who’ve lost children unexpectedly.

Listen to the podcast here:

Broken Hearted But Not Broken with Cara Martinisi

Overcoming The Loss Of My Child

I am honored and thrilled to have Cara Martinisi. Cara is a wife and the mother of three boys. Her oldest son lives in heaven. She is the Founder of the non-profit organization Love From Heaven. She’s also the contributor to The Mighty, The Peace Journal and the SelfSufficientKids.com website. Cara writes an inspirational blog about her journey through grief, offering the melancholy side as well as the post-traumatic growth found in the aftermath. Cara shares her unique outlook on child loss at www.ChristiansRedBalloon.com. Cara, welcome to the show. Can you tell us your story and how everything evolved?

Thank you so much for having me. I’m honored to be on the show. It was July 3rd and it was a beautiful sunny day. I was outside in the pool with my children. We had only lived in our house for a few months. We had just moved there. My boys were six, three and one. We spent the whole day in the pool and as the afternoon started to unroll, the clouds started to come in and it got gray and dark. I said to my boys, “Come on and let’s get out.” We heard a weird thunder and that was it. We got out of the pool. We did not want to chance anything being in the water, we went into our home. We went through our normal routine. It started to rain, a little bit more thunder. We had our dinner. My husband came home, we ate dinner. My husband and I put our three children to bed. Right after I came down from putting my youngest, Nicky, to bed, I heard a sound and it was a deafening loud boom. I was unsure what it was. My husband came down and he said to me, “Is something burning?” I looked in the toaster oven. We had a piece of toast in the toaster oven. Lo and behold, we quickly realized it was not the toaster oven, but rather that our home had been struck by lightning. It ignited a fire in our master bathroom. He is a volunteer firefighter. He ran upstairs and you could see the flames coming out of our bathroom.

Immediately, I grabbed the three boys who had fallen asleep. It was pouring outside and I ran across the street to my neighbor’s home and they let us in. In the meantime, the fire was raging in our home and although the fire had not grown terribly large, we called 911. The amount of water that was needed to put out the fire totally destroyed the interior of our home. We knew we had to rebuild our home. We spent the whole summer saying, “Thank goodness we’re all together. Everything can be fixed.” I even recall on July 4th. I live in a small town and they do a 4th of July celebration. Someone was saying to me, “I can’t believe you’re here at the parade. If that had happened to me, I would be overwhelmed.” I said, “If anything had happened to any one of the five of us, I would not be here, but everything can be replaced. My children are here and my husband is here. We’re safe.”

Fast forward about a month and we needed a place to live. We found a house in the school district where my children were going to school and my oldest was attending first grade. That was the biggest priority that he got to go to the same school. We moved into the house, lived in there for a few weeks, and on a Thursday evening and it was exactly eight weeks, almost to the time. My children and I had come home. I let out Anthony and Christian, my six-year-old and my three-year-old at the time. Christian was taking up the garbage can. Anthony was taking the mail and I followed behind slowly in the car. As I got to the top, they left the garbage can outside. They went into the garage and I started to get out of the car to get Nicky out of his car seat. I heard a deafening scream and I turned around to find a concrete supporting pole lying on the ground next to my son, Christian. My son Anthony was the farthest away from me. He was closest to the door to get into the home. Christian was on the ground, not moving clearly in a bad way. I knew, at that moment, my life was forever changed in a second. I remember screaming and calling 911 but being frazzled and shocked. It was traumatic.

A kind of stone in my own right, I sit at the grave of my children and weep so thoroughly that when I walk away I am once again whole. - Amanda Russell Click To Tweet

It’s unfathomable to most people I would think.

You live with it day-to-day and you find a way to carry that with you. He’s with me constantly, but it never goes away. Anyone who’s experienced this grief knows that.

I’m a Vietnam veteran, I’m a former Marine and I experienced that there. Nothing is like losing somebody that you love. I can’t imagine a child. I lost my wife to ovarian cancer in 2006. We were married for 35 years. I look at the blessings from it because I got 38 years. We dated for three years. She left me with many gifts and many things. My first thought is when you lose a child, you bore that child, and you carried them for nine months and all those things. It’s at the forefront of my mind outside of Austin, Dripping Springs, the little town where I live and have my ranch. We had flooding and one of my friends lost her 55-year-old son in the flood. He has been across that water crossing up literally thousands of times and never had it happen. We never know what’s coming.

My grandmother, who is Christian’s great grandmother, turned 103. We celebrated her 103rd birthday. A mere few days before he passed, he said to my mom, “I think grandma TC will be the first one to die. She’s the oldest.” My mom said, “You never know.”

There’s no way to prepare for it. The other part of it is you can what if it to death? What if I had pulled in a second? What if I had turned right? What if I had turned left? One second later, ten seconds later. What it does is it gives you a greater sense of things that we can control and there are things that we can’t. Some things are in God’s hand. I wanted to read something to you and I hope this gives you some comfort. It’s by Mark Batterson who printed it and it comes out of the Bible. It says, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the call.” Christian got qualified. He’s sitting in his way with Vicki, my late wife, and she’s taking care of him. He’s in good hands.

A lot of times after you lose someone, you hear all of the wonderful things. Some of them you didn’t even know about. That’s what happened with Christian. The music teacher would tell me that when children were having a bad day, they would somehow gravitate towards Christian. They would sit next to him and he was the one to help them and make them feel better. He was kind. Those are the things that you’re grateful for. I try and I’m sure you try to keep that part of them alive.

The thing that I’ve always understood and tried to make sense of it, that there is a vast difference in preparing for death when you know someone has cancer and then losing somebody to the accident. It’s sudden where everybody says, “When you have cancer, you can prepare, you can say the goodbyes.” That is stolen from you in a way. That makes the whole grieving process more challenging.

It’s a different grieving process. If you know someone is sick and their life is coming to an end. One of the things I struggle with is I never said the words to him again, “Christian, I love you.” I was traumatized and in shock. I could go back and see, “What if I did it?” It doesn’t matter. He knew I loved him and I have to live in that idea.

There are things that we can and can’t control while some things are in God’s hand. Click To Tweet

That is something that people can learn from that you have the ability to teach other people. I’d like to talk a little bit about the grieving process. For me, I was not nice in grieving. When I lost my wife, we had this service and everything was quick. Her twin sister and sister had come from New Jersey and Oregon. They had already been here a week in the process. When she left, everybody left and left me alone. I didn’t need to be alone and I started drinking and not being a nice man, which was out of character for me. It wasn’t until a few years later when my kids came over and slapped me across the side of the head and said, “Dad, you promised mom you weren’t going to do this.” I had another revelation and started completely going back to who I was and creating and all that. Did you experience after the service that people left you alone and you almost felt you were being avoided?

We are blessed. When it happened, we went and moved in with my parents. I could not go back to the rental home. Our home was gutted and my parents and in-laws both live five minutes away. My parents have a little bit more space, we went and lived there. My sister, who lives in Florida and my niece, who brings light into any situation, lived there with us for a few months. My niece was the same age as Nicky. We were surrounded by a community that constantly checked in on us and was around us. I didn’t have that experience that is a common experience that after everything you feel like, “It’s over.” I think for me, part of starting the foundation, Love from Heaven, it stems a lot from the support that we got. I know how much that meant to my family and me. We had a meal train. He died at the end of August. We had meals throughout the year. The community raised a lot of money and built a playground in his memory. His preschool built a memorial. It went beyond that for me.

It was the everyday people checking and saying in the text, “How are you doing?” and calls. I used to joke, “If we need something up here, we need to call anybody in our town and we’ll get it in five minutes.” People stuck by our sides and I feel that support. There was a time, the first holiday season is devastating. We had a four-year-old and a two-year-old. You can’t cancel your holiday season because you are dying inside. Our community shopped for us, made gifts for myself and my husband, even the adults. An amazing friend of mine and another friend had organized a project where each family in the school district created a handprint snowman ornament. It’s one of the most beautiful things because we put it on our tree and we see that’s the love that lives on. On Mother’s Day, they did a beautiful project for us. On Father’s Day, it was a birdhouse and packets of seeds and a message from each family and friends. We are grateful for the amount of support that we had and have. It’s an outpouring.

That’s a great sense of community to have that and share that. This is something for everybody to think about. Maybe it’s when we get older. People think we can handle it better. When a child passes, it affects you. We’re used to older people dying, car accidents, all the different things that happen, but the grieving isn’t any different from them than it is for anyone else.

Overcoming Loss: “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the call.” – Mark Batterson 

When Christian passed away, a lot of my family lives close. Some of them have moved to Florida, but my cousin who was ten years older than me and I adored my whole life. When she was little, I used to follow her. She came to the house and she was around the family and she seemed fine to me. She did not attend the funeral and it was odd. Come to find out she was sick. She had cancer. Christian passed away on August 28th. On October 28th, she passed away. She was 45. The difference in the support that you do get when it’s a child and they’re young and the support that you get when a grown child passes away is not the same, yet no matter what age a child passes away, their someone’s child. There are parents that are somewhere living beyond their child and living with it daily. It is something to examine and for people to be a little bit more conscious of.

Was Christian’s death harder on you or your husband?

It was hard on both of us the same amount. We still grieve vastly different. That’s a big part of something that we’ve learned is that we have to respect each other’s way of grieving and also try to help each other through it. That’s a challenge.

I’m glad that you said that because people have to understand that we all grieve differently. It is a different process for each one of us. Did he look on you for leadership?

Getting help is never something to be ashamed of. Click To Tweet

No, we both put our heads down and were in such shock. I, being a female, it comes easier for females, in general, to talk through things. I would talk to anyone and everyone who would listen about Christian. He has friends that he could talk to, but in that situation, as time went on, it got a little bit harder. When it first happened, anyone and everyone would listen. I do believe they still would and will, but it becomes a little bit harder. I do feel he felt that he needed to be strong. It’s easier for the female to break down. He didn’t allow that for himself, but he’s learned a lot and I’m proud of him for how he has worked through his grief.

The experts say that it usually takes five years for grieving to get over a death. I don’t know that it’s true for me. We’re going on year thirteen. There are some things that trigger and I bawl my eyes out and then there are other things that bring me pride when I hear it. You go through all these emotions. The biggest thing about grieving is what we learn from it. When we go through these tragic events, God places them before us as learning tools. We’re supposed to learn something from them and move on. I’ve learned to honor and what I’d been blessed with is I’m remarried and my wife is such a blessing.

My kids love her, my grandkids love her. She had never been married. I was 63 and she was 53, I married a younger woman. She has never had children. She has taken on my kids as her own. She cares about them. What a blessing, and I know Vicki would be honored to have Beverly as her replacement. Beverly always tells people he came well trained when he came to me. I always felt honored that she married me because she had lots of opportunities to marry doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs. Getting back to grieving, did you ever feel you were victimized by Christian’s death?

I don’t think I ever had that experience.

Overcoming Loss: God is always trying to teach us lessons to make us better down the road and to have an impact on people.

Some people what if it to death and it creates that woe is me thing. I can understand it.

Earlier on I may have felt that. How did this happen to me? Unfortunately, when you look at the statistics, child loss is not as small as I thought it was. I spent a long time angry at God. I was always a Roman Catholic and that’s how I was raised. After it happened, in that sense, I felt victimized more by God than anything because one of the prayers we had said every night with Christian was, “Please keep our family safe, healthy and happy.” How did this happen? I was angry and I still have anger. It’s lessened a lot. Despite being angry with God, I knew that I wanted my children to make their sacraments in the Catholic church. It’s something I felt. My middle son, Anthony, made his first holy communion. It was honestly through his learning about the church and religion. I’m not sure I agree with everything in the Catholic church, but one thing I know is that he loves us and God is with us and Christian is with us.

Those are the things that have helped me to come through. Even in church and having the ceremony for Anthony’s first holy communion, it was a heart-wrenching feeling of, “Christian never made his first communion, and how could that be?” In that sense, I do think why did it happen to my family? Why then a couple of months later did I lose my cousin? A beautiful ray of light. Why two deaths within a couple of months? Over time, the why or the what if’s doesn’t bring you anywhere except for more anxiety.

One of the things that being in Vietnam taught me is that there are some things that are explainable and there were some things that are not. I couldn’t ever understand why I could walk over a piece of ground and be fine and maybe ten guys would walk over it, they’d be fine and the eleventh guy would step on something and get blown up. We never knew. I was raised Catholic also. I don’t know that it can be explained out of faith. I don’t think that religion, in general, explains it well either or has an explanation for it. We could talk about free will and all those different things that we have, but it still comes down to it happens and we have no control over it.

The whys and the what ifs do not bring you anything except more anxiety. Click To Tweet

It’s always how we come out of it. That’s why for me, I’ve always looked at everything as a learning experience, that God is always trying to teach us lessons to make us better down the road and to have an impact on people. I always think about I might say one thing that makes sense with somebody that opens up the whole new world to them. A whole new way of thinking or processing something, or even heals them to get through something that they’ve been challenged with. That’s what’s meant to be for us. With that being said, your website is probably one of the most informational beautiful testaments to your intellect and to your creativeness. I’ve read it and I keep going through it and I keep going back to it. There is so much wisdom in it. You need to go to Cara’s website and it will enlighten you and educate you to a beautiful world that she’s brought to us and I’m grateful for it.

Thank you so much.

One of the things on the website I want to ask you about is you talk about dreams.

I’ve been a dreamer. In fact, when I was younger, I used to have the recurring dream that my house would burn down. I will dream and dream and it feels real. Since Christian has passed away, they’ve only gotten more intense, more frequent. Sometimes I’ll wake up and I’ll say, “I think I’m becoming psychic.” This intuitive knowledge is being brought to me through my dreams. It’s a beautiful thing. My dreams sometimes are great and sometimes they haunt me. I find with my middle son also, he’ll tell me he dreams a lot and he has connected with Christian that way. He’ll say to me, “Mom, last night Christian and I were playing soccer or I dreamt about Christian doing something.” I know that that’s Christian. I know when I have these dreams that they are coming to visit me. A few months after my cousin Tanya passed away. For years she came to me in dreams and she would be there. Not that she said anything. She had told me before she passed away, “I will watch over Christian, I will be with him. I will take care of him for you.” I do know I put a lot of stock in dreams.

Overcoming Loss: The hope lies in our expectations.

I cannot remember my dreams. I know I dream. I wake up in the morning and my wife will say to me, “I had an amazing dream.” She can go into detail about everything in it and I’m standing there going, “I can’t even tell you what I dreamt about. I have no clue.” I wanted to ask you this question. The other children, how did they handle it all?

Anthony was three when it happened and he, unfortunately, witnessed it all. He has had survivor guilt. When it first happened, they didn’t understand any of it. He was almost four and Nicky was almost two. I remember my husband and I said, “We’re going to sit Anthony down and we’re going to tell him that his brother has passed away and that he won’t be coming back,” and thinking he’s going to have this reaction. He took it matter-of-factly and walked away and we looked at each other. We know that that’s normal, he didn’t understand.

As time has gone on and he has been in therapy since it happened. He’s talked about it in school. He’s a matter-of-fact spoken about it yet. “My brother Christian is in heaven.” We talk a lot about signs from Christian, he finds him constantly and he connects to that. As he gets older and his awareness and understanding evolve and he matures, it changes. Sometimes we have to revisit it and we’re always working on it. It’s not always at the forefront of what’s going on, but it does come up sometimes and in the forefront. His therapist and from a teacher’s input that he is well-adjusted and we’ve always had the open doors of communication. That’s one of the biggest things. We’ve never ever shut down a conversation. We’ve never tried to not talk about Christian or talk about Christian. We take cues from them. If we’re talking about Christian, clearly their body language and they’re showing that they’re not interested and they’re changing the subject. We stop, we don’t force it on them.

As far as Nicky goes, he started to say, “I didn’t live at the same time that Christian did.” He never realized that they were alive at the same time. He learns all his stories through us, through pictures. He definitely has some anxieties that we’re working on. I’d like to believe and sometimes, I have a fear of what’s to come later in life, but I like to believe that they are both well-adjusted for everything they’ve been through. We continue to keep that door of communication open and keep reading their cues because that’s all we can do.

Surrender to the pain and hurt, and then rise up and become a doer. Click To Tweet

Therapy is one thing that I want my audience to know. It’s always a good idea and there is nothing wrong with going to ask for help from people that can be there to help you. Not necessarily can be a therapist. It can be life coaches. It can be your friend. It can be your parent. It can be anything. Specifically, when you chose to go to a therapist, did you find it extremely helpful? Did it help you get through things?

Yes. In the beginning, my husband and I started with a therapist that we liked. She was great. For whatever reasons, we did not see her anymore and I found a trauma therapist for myself. The work that I’ve done with him has changed my life. We do something called CRM, which is a little bit different than EMDR trauma therapy. It’s a little bit softer and it has a lot of resources. We work on our spirit animal, we work on our earth breaths and all those things which helped me immensely. We’ve gone back to the root of the trauma. We’ve done a lot of work with that. Something that shocked me was when you go through a trauma like this or a life-changing experience, you no longer have the reserves to deal with the little things that you can handle. I’ve been insecure all my life. I used to live through that day-to-day. When I don’t have those reserves because all of my energy is going towards grieving, I need to get to the root of this, I need to work on this and work through it. That has helped me immensely. My children, the same thing. It gives them an outlet, a place where my middle child tends to be a people pleaser. He doesn’t have to please anybody.

His therapist is an equine therapist. He’s working with horses and I love it. Nicky, my youngest, we started with him. He is with an art therapist and movement therapist. It’s geared for his age and his personality and he’s learning a lot about those feelings that come up. We’re working on naming them and letting him identify what he’s feeling in his body. My husband and I also see an amazing couples’ therapist and she’s helped us work through things. Getting help is never something to be ashamed of. Whether it be from a life coach or your parents. When we first lost Christian, we had so much help. I remember people saying, “It’s good that you reach out for help.” There was no other way I could do it. It’s important and nothing to be ashamed of.

The unfortunate part of it is that there are people out there who tried to go it alone and don’t seek help. We live in a society that does not encourage it and does not facilitate it by making it available through insurance and other things. That’s the sad part of it. In reading your website, there were several more things in there that resonated with me. One of them is journaling. I believe journaling is important. Anytime you write anything down and you get your thoughts down, not only does it give you the ability to remember them, but it gives you the ability to reflect on them and digest them in a whole different perspective. Did you journal a lot during the process?

Overcoming Loss: Good will come out of everything when you put your heart and soul.

I definitely journaled a lot. It helps you reflect on the process. It helps me to see a lot what I’ve grown, how things have changed, where I was a year ago. Journaling is such a great thing because no one’s judging you. You can get your feelings out there. As a mom, sometimes I think, “I got angry with Anthony. All these other moms must be looking at me.” How could she get mad at that when she lost a child? Some of that judgment is obviously in my own head. I struggle with my own inner voices. I like to yell at me. When you journal, it’s freedom. Personally, I love the feel of a pen or pencil on the page. Even that to me is a relaxing and freeing sound and feeling of letting go.

One of my other questions that you wrote about was about gratitude. I believe that there are two important emotions. All of our emotions are important. I research and work with expectations because I believe that it’s the seed that God planted in every man for us to grow and to deal with daily life. Once you learn to expect, you can rid yourself with depression and anxiety and a lot of things because it gives you focus. Being grateful is a healing tool. It is not for the people around you. It is for you. Can you expound on how it worked for you?

In the beginning, my therapist suggested, “Find one thing that makes you smile each day.” After losing my six-year-old son. I was horrified. What do you mean to find one thing that makes me smile? Nothing makes me smile. For some days, nothing did make me smile, but that simple practice of one thing a day. That was a positive thing. That’s what started me on my healing process. It started me to have hope again. My kids were a motivator. Even if I wanted to stay in bed all day, there was no opportunity to do that. They got me up and moving. There was so much joy in their living and their being. Although some days still are bittersweet for me to see them doing things Christian never got to do. I couldn’t help but find that, thank God. I’m grateful that not all three of them or two of them even. Anthony was in the garage, had that poll struck him as well. It could always be better. It could always be worse. Reminding yourself of that is an important thing. Each night as I tend to lie in bed with at least one of my children at night. I go through the day in my head and I recount everything that happened. Sometimes it’s like, “Thank you, God, for hearing Nicky laugh.” That laugh enlighted my soul, and it touched me. Those are the important things, when we look at it is those little things.

It’s what brings you the joy and hope. Hope lies in our expectations. That’s why when you have negative expectations, it’s like positive and negative ions go back and forth. Positives attract and negatives repulse. It’s part of the whole human way that we work. Hope is such a major part of having a positive attitude. There’s the other part of it, faith. Having faith in what we don’t know. You talk about being grateful. Part of gratefulness is being hopeful and thankful for it all. I’ve got to ask you this one. How did you manage your expectations through all of it?

Every one of us is destined for a different journey. You can't walk anyone's journey for them. Click To Tweet

It’s a daily thing, I want to say. In the beginning, it looks like, “How am I ever going to get through this?” I wrote a blog on this. I would hear the words, “I want to die,” but it wasn’t coming from a suicidal place. It was coming from a place of, “I don’t think I can stand this pain.” I did anything and everything. I did a talk on creativity, helping you move through grief. One of the things I said at the end to this group of people who are grieving and they were grieving all different losses is, “Don’t be afraid to try anything. Try anything that you think might give you some hope and some peace. If it’s for fifteen minutes out of your day, you have a little bit of a brighter spot in your world.” When you lose anyone who you love dearly, those initial period right afterward is painful and dark.

In the beginning, I thought, “I’m never going to get through this.” Expectations were when a parent loses their child, they don’t get through it. They wrap on up and that’s it. They pretty much fall off the face of the earth. I couldn’t do that, and obviously, that doesn’t happen because we know lots of people who lived through it. Each time I could feel a little bit more positivity or maybe not even positivity. In the beginning, I could feel a relief of pain for the shortest amount of time, I realized, “The more I can do this, the more I can keep going with this. Anything is positive.” I will get through this because his life can’t be lost in vain. If I give up on my own life, his life was lost in vain. I will carry on and I will carry through, and I will mother these two living children the best I know how. I will mother my angel the best I know how by honoring him and keeping his spirit alive. I will hold my family together and keep my marriage strong with my husband because I love him and I love my family. They’re one of the things I’m most grateful for and it gives me the most hope.

What you said is powerful and I hope everybody feels it. I always worry about the suicides that are going on with our youth. What has happened with them is that they’ve lost hope that their life is ever going to be worth anything. This is what I can tell you from my experience of Vietnam and where hopelessness sometimes seemed it was the current running through everything that we were doing. There is always hope. We never know what joy that God has waiting for us around the corner.

On August 28th, you lost the greatest gift that he gave you, but he replaced it with a new meaning and new beginning to help others and create. You never lost hope and you never lost faith. You’ve had this expectation that everything is going to work out. That’s what I learned in Vietnam was that no matter what happened, everything always worked out. It’s almost like giving up control, but yet still retaining it. I know people are not going to understand it, but you almost have to surrender to the pain and the hurt, and you rise up from the ashes and you start being positive, creative and become a doer. That’s the beauty in it. If there’s something to be gained from it, that is it.

You can’t go around it. You have to surrender to it. You have to live in it and realize that things working out doesn’t mean it’s going to be the way you thought it was going to be. Aside from that, there will always be hope and there will always be something that you can find to be grateful for, but you have to work at it.

It doesn’t just pertain to tragic situations. I deal with people who are affluent, wealthy and extremely unhappy. You can have the same feelings that we’re talking about out of joyful experiences. You have to learn how to manage the good with the bad and it becomes a process of learning how to manage all the expectations and all the journeys that were put on earth to have. Every one of us is destined for a different journey. None of them are the same. If they were, we would be a bunch of robots. That’s exactly what we’d be. That’s another lesson out of all of it.

We all have our own journey and sometimes you have to discover it. Sometimes it’s maybe a simpler way to discover it rather than the things that we’ve gone through and having to see the deaths in Vietnam or losing my son. We all have a different journey and that’s the other thing also about grief. You can’t walk anyone’s journey for them. When I worry about my children, what’s happening with them and I get anxious about what they’re going through. Even my husband, my mom or my mother-in-law, I can be there and walk next to them and help them as best I can, but I can only walk my own journey.

Providing support and tools to others that they have to face it on their own and they have to work through the challenges that it presents because they are totally different. I do want to give you some time to leave us with any wisdom and also tell us where all your websites and all your social media are, how people can get ahold of you and what you’re doing next.

Part of gratefulness is being hopeful and thankful for it all. Click To Tweet

Our not-for-profit, which is called Love From Heaven – Christian Martinisi Memorial Fund. We were approved in a formal nonprofit status, which I’m excited about. It’s something I’ve known I wanted to do since the day we lost him. It’s a nonprofit fund formed in memory of him. Basically, I was speaking about with the support, the resources and everything we had when we lost Christian, I found the real value in it. What the nonprofit aims to do is to carry that on. When a family loses a child and we are made aware of that, we aim to send a care package to the family with basic resources.

Here’s what I found that’s worked for me. We have not sent any out yet, this is all new. One of the things that we will be including is a book that I used, which was called Mom’s One Line A Day. It was what helped me start with gratitude. Each day I wrote down one thing. It could be a basic notebook if you need it. Resources help. I aim to create a community of parents. Maybe you’re not comfortable going out and going to a grief group, but maybe you’re comfortable online. There are many places where you can be online. Support and direct one-on-one with myself to help people, and that first holiday season to provide gifts for the family. That’s the two that’s part of the nonprofit. We will down the line be awarding scholarships to memorialize Christian’s love of learning. He was a curious, amazing little boy who loved learning, loved reading. We don’t want to let that go. He had a lot of potentials, as do all children in some way. I know every single child has potential and he could outwit me sometimes. His sense of humor, he was like a mini adult sometimes.

I’ve also been working on a local grief group, which has met once and we’ll be meeting on a monthly basis. A resource and a place for people to go and talk. In this grief group that I’m facilitating, each time we meet providing them with a different tool to try. The first one was the journaling. I handed each of them a journal and I said, “If you’re comfortable with it, try it. See if it helps you. It may help all of you. It may help none of you. It may help three of you.” If it helps one person or one thing, I say help somebody or get some thinking or healing. That’s an amazing thing.

Each month we’ll be working on a different tool because that’s part of it. I call it my toolbox of hope. I have all these things that I’ve tried throughout the years and they’re important for each person to have for anything, not just grief. My blogging, I have that going on. I try to blog about once a week. That’s a variety of different situations that I go through. Sometimes I don’t even expect, I don’t know that something’s going to happen and it inspires a blog post. It’s about life and living after this trauma and this is a loss. That’s over at www.ChristiansRedBalloon.com. It’s a red balloon because we release red balloons in memory of him. The website for the nonprofit is www.LoveFromHeaven.org. At Twitter, you can find me @LightOfGrief. I do some posting over there on Twitter.

It’s been an honor having you on the show. You’re a special person. God has gifted you with being able to intelligently talk about your grief and help others work through theirs. Good will come of everything when you put your heart and soul as you have into it. I’m thankful that I met you.

I am as well.

I will always be here to help you in any way I can. If you need any help with anything and that my audience knows that this is my heart. I care about people deeply. I’m here for you, just so you know that, your husband and both the boys.

I thank you for this opportunity. When everything happened, I knew that it could not happen in vain and I do believe that he’s with me in all of my writing and in everything I’m doing. This is Christian in God’s message and it’s coming through me. It’s something that I’m grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to shine a light on a horrible situation, but hopefully adding some hope to it. Thank you, and I’m grateful to speak with you. I enjoyed it.

Thank you. People out in Shower Epiphany Land, Cara, all of you, thank you. This is awesome and there’s tons of information on Cara’s website and on this show that you can learn. I want you to take it away and learn from it. Keep your expectations high and do everything that you want to do and don’t let fear stop you.

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 About Cara Martinisi

Cara Martinisi is a wife and mother to three boys. Her oldest son lives in heaven. She is the founder of the non-profit organization, Love from Heaven. She is also a contributor to The Mighty, The Peace Journal and Selfsufficientkids.com. Cara writes an inspirational blog about her journey through grief, offering the melancholy side as well as the post-traumatic growth found in the aftermath. Cara shares her unique outlook on child loss at www.christiansredballoon.com.

 

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