- Donations to Noah and Chloe's college funds. I can't even express the right words that would appropriately reflect the amazing generosity of all who've contributed to our children's college funds. With the contributions made by Matt's company, his co-workers and our family and friends, Noah and Chloe are guaranteed a continued education beyond high school. I am completely in awe that all this has been made possible with the good hearts of many and it is something I know our kids will appreciate and cherish forever. And to the person who set up the entire fund in the first place... you are amazing!
- Cute and fun clothes for Chloe! Someone Matt and I went to high school with started a children's clothing line and was kind enough to send me a bunch of adorable samples. Something fun that lifted my spirits a lot. :) Just to know that we're being thought of and pampered a little bit here and there helps to make it through another day. That also includes the meals and goodies that were brought over to our house right after Matt died. Incredible support... incredible generosity.
- Our landscaper has taken over caring for our yard for the remainder of the season since I am not down in North Carolina to care for it. Free of charge.
- A friend of a friend made a beautiful cross for us to put up at the site of the accident. I've never even met him.
- Speaking of people we've never met, some traveled to Matt's funeral and his memorial Mass; not short distances by any means, either... to offer their condolences in person. And a group of girls whom I've never met sent a gift basket of goodies to me. That kind of support will never be forgotten. None of it from anyone will ever be forgotten but something about receiving so much love from people who have never met us is really special.
- All the notes to Noah and Chloe, the books, the cards, the messages and emails, phone calls, shared memories, songs. They all mean so much to me. I especially love hearing memories that other people have of us that even I have forgotten. Even when other people have dreams about Matt. I love to hear about them. Just anything about Matt. It is nice to know that he will never be forgotten.
-All the beautiful flowers. I walked into the funeral home and all of those beautiful flowers surrounding Matt's casket... I honestly wish I had a picture. It was lovely to see how many people were thinking about us. The flowers were a representation of all the prayers and support... and I know that was only a fraction.
-Photo creations. My cousin put together a photo montage for the visitation. Just recently (as in, I received it today), Matt's cousin created a wonderful photo book filled with bible verses, pictures and quotes from Matt... things he said about being a dad. I love it.
I hope that I have been able to respond to everyone's messages. Quite honestly, a lot of things that happened in the first couple of months is a complete blur. But I have read every single one and they've all spoken to me and touched my heart in a special way.
Some things I never knew before this: Sympathy cards are one of the single most uplifting things after losing a loved one. They are so simple but they speak volumes and mean a LOT. One of my very favorite things that we have gotten are Mass cards. And I love receiving bible verses. Bible verses provide so much peace and comfort. Don't know what to write? A bible verse works wonders! Think it's too late to send a card? It's never too late. There is no such thing as "too late" when it comes to sending a sympathy card. Truly. It is nice to know that people are still thinking about you even months or years after the fact. Because it never goes away.
It's safe to say I never knew how much love there is out there in the world. But now I have seen it for myself. As the holiday season approaches, all of that love will be carried with me and give me strength through what will most likely be an extremely difficult, if not the most difficult, time of grieving.
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful." Colossians 3:12-15