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Issue 16-114 — November 26, 2016
Starshine Galaxy Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help sustain the memories of children who have died. To this end, we support the Tributes to Lost Children Community Page on Facebook as a place to post, share, and comment on activities to honor our departed children and to celebrate their lives. This biweekly Tributes Digest presents highlights from this community page along with other items of interest. Please feel free to forward this on to others you know who might be interested, and direct any comments, questions, or concerns to starmaster@starshinegalaxy.org.

HIGHLIGHTS:
(click on title to link to the original post)

CHEERS TO ANNA –
Thank You for Being My Light for the Past 10 Years (November 18) – We’ve shared stories about Tom Robinson and Susan Dieter-Robinson before – three years ago, their daughters, Anna and Abigail, were hit by a car as they played in a pile of leaves. In response to their overwhelming loss, Susan and Tom started Love Rocks, a movement that aims to spread joy and love to every corner of the globe. Anna was six when she died; November 13 would have been her 10th birthday. Here’s part of what her mom wrote on the big day: “Today is Anna’s day! My girl is 10 years old and that’s a pretty big deal. I am so grateful that this girl made me a mom 10 years ago and, ever since her arrival, she has been my light, my love, my joy and has brought me so much happiness ~ she is and forever will be my girl… Love Rocks Community – please join us in celebrating Anna’s 10th birthday by sharing love and joy with those around you and by drinking a milkshake – Anna’s favorite flavor is vanilla.”
SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL) –
This is Jesse’s Message: Nurturing, Healing and Love (November 14) – On the morning of December 14, 2012, Jesse McCord Lewis stopped to write ‘I love you’ in the frost on his mother’s car before they headed off to school. Just hours later, Jesse was senselessly murdered in his first-grade classroom. He was one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Days prior to the tragedy, on the kitchen chalkboard at home, Jesse had written a prophetic message: Nurturing, Healing, Love. Those words help define the mission of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement. Jesse’s mom, Scarlett Lewis, is the founder and driving force behind the organization, which helps young people learn how to navigate the world with courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion. “This whole tragedy stemmed from an angry thought,” Scarlett says. “And do you know what? An angry thought can be changed.”
 
ORGAN DONOR HELPS 60+ PEOPLE –
Part of My Son Is Still Alive (November 15) – When Levi Schulz applied for his driver’s license, he asked his mother, Lisa Swanson, about organ donation. She explained the meaning of becoming an organ donor. “He was leaning on the counter,” she recalls, “and he said, ‘Mom, who wouldn’t want my awesomeness?’” In late 2012, Levi was hit by a passing truck as he changed a flat tire on the way to school. He was 18 years old when he died. Levi’s decision to become a donor helped save or improve the lives of more than 60 people. Recently, Lisa got the chance to meet Terry Hooper, the man who received Levi’s heart. Through Terry, Lisa heard her son’s strong heartbeat once again. “I get happiness and sadness,” she says. “Sad that my son is not here but happy that he was able to help Terry. Part of my son is still alive."
HONORING PAST, REBUILDING FUTURE –
Because I Remember, He Will Never Die (November 17) – Bereaved mom Nan Zastrow knows the power of words – she often writes to keep her son, Chad, present. Chad was 21 years old when he took his own life in April 1993. His grieving fiancée also committed suicide 10 weeks later. “Neither death made sense,” Nan wrote in 2013, “[But] the fact is that both have died, and no matter how they died, it wouldn’t make any difference. We have lost the beauty they brought into our lives.” Nan and her husband, Gary Zastrow, founded Wings, A Grief Education Ministry to honor Chad’s memory while bringing hope to other bereaved parents. They began by publishing a newsletter to support those grieving the death of a loved one. Soon, they were sponsoring workshops, seminars, and support groups. “Honoring the past and rebuilding the future” is their philosophy for healing. For Nan, that means writing about her son. “I repeat these stories of Chad because these are the memories that allow us to go on when life seems bleak,” Nan writes. “It is the stories that keep us motivated and remembering how perfect and beautiful it can be … Because I love him, I remember. Because I remember, he will never die.”
 
RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF DISTRESS –
Grant’s Legacy: Helping Someone Who Really Needs It (November 16) – In early November, NPR reported on a hidden epidemic with an alarming trend – for the first time, more middle-school aged children are dying from suicide than from car accidents. The Grant Halliburton Foundation is dedicated to reversing that trend. The organization empowers students, educators, and parents to help prevent young people from committing suicide. Several of the many programs it offers are designed just for middle schoolers – they’re designed to help people recognize the signs of distress or suicidal crisis in a young person, and lead them to help. The Foundation itself – started by Grant Halliburton’s mom, Vanita Halliburton, in 2005 – is described as a living memorial to Grant, a gifted young artist and musician who battled depression and bipolar disorder for years before he took his life at the age of 19.
DO YOU HAVE TRIBUTE INFORMATION TO SHARE?
Post it here:
Click to access sign-up form.
The complete netbook version of Tributes to Lost Children – a snapshot of how 147 families have honored their children who have passed away – is publicly available for FREE. Click on the cover image above to navigate to this powerful, heart-warming compilation of tribute stories.
Based on results of the Tributes Survey, three general motivations anchor bereaved families in their tribute activities. See the organizing Tributes Framework that serves as the backbone of the new book Tributes to Lost Children.
Copyright © 2016 Starshine Galaxy Foundation, All rights reserved.


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