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3 Essentials to Focus on When Preparing for the Death of Your Spouse

We all need love to thrive, and when you’ve found the love of your life, it’s hard to imagine losing that person. While we know that everything precious has an end point, it can be a difficult reality to face head on. This can be even more difficult when you’re facing the loss in a young family.

 

We’d rather live in the clouds and float away from the haze of despair, but darkness has a way of slithering in and smothering the fragility of peace. Losing one’s spouse is a devastating burden that can wrench a family apart. In the event of a terminal illness, it’s important to make preparations so that your loved ones can support each other as much as possible after the inevitable.


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Marriage Vows - September 2016

Carrey, a wife and mom with ALS, originally shared this post here on August 4th.

 

On this day 15 years ago, Eric and I vowed to unite as one. We joined at the altar in a small, white, Little-House-on-the-Prairie-type chapel. We stood side by side, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no fancy flowers, no fancy musicians. My dad did all the readings, Eric's dad officiated the ceremony, and we filled the little chapel with our family and closest friends. Having Eric by my side made it a real dream wedding. As we stood at the altar and shared our vows, it would take almost 15 years to fully understand the commitment he made to me.

 

Carrey and Eric in 2001
Carrey and Eric in 2001

 

"I will love you forever, and under all circumstances.
I will stand by your side always.
I will have faith in you and encourage you in everything you do.
I will be here to listen to you, to laugh with you, and to hold you.
I will strive every day to make our relationship stronger.
I will love you, honor you, respect you, encourage you, and cherish you, in health and in sickness, through sorrow and success, for all the days in my life."

 

What that meant was:

 

I will enjoy all of our friends and family with you, socializing, meeting new people, tailgating, and going to our favorite restaurant with you.
I will join you as your doubles partner in tennis and snow ski down the mountain with you.
I will support you leaving the work force to raise our children as you support me as my career developed.
I will be the behind-the-scenes guy for all of your party planning adventures.
I will support you with all your volunteer work.
I will give you free reign to decorate our home just the way you want it.
I will travel around the United States for all of your doctors' appointments.
I will remodel our home to make it accessible for you.
I will bathe you, wash your hair, and shave your legs.
I will scratch your head and eyebrows every time they itch.


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How to Help Someone Who Is Grieving - November 2015

Sheryl Sandberg recently shared movingly about what she has learned about motherhood through grief. But how do we help someone who is grieving?

 

We don’t know what to say. So, too often, we say nothing. Or worse, avoid.


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Donor Spotlight: Sandy Huffstetler

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Sandy Huffstetler gives to Inheritance of Hope because she strives to be intentional in how she lives each day.
 
“The emphasis IOH places on living intentionally really resonated with me. Love is a verb. We should always be asking ourselves what we are doing to show love.”

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A Letter to be Read at My Memorial Service

October 26th, 2016, marks the fourth anniversary of Kristen's death. She revised the letter below in February 2012.
 
Dear loved ones,
 
Click to watch nowAs I write this I admit feeling a little sad. Sad because my greatest earthly desire was to grow old with Deric … 17 years of marriage was not nearly long enough. Sad because it is a mother’s job to be there to comfort her child when that child experiences her first broken heart, or when he sits on the bench during a much-anticipated game. Sad because my heart hurts to think I will not be there to share in my children’s joys and inevitable accomplishments, their weddings, or for the births of their own children. Sad to leave my mom and my sister with yet another loss after the premature death of my dad. Despite the sadness this illness has brought, when I consider my life I quickly realize that God has blessed me abundantly … how can I feel anything except overwhelming thankfulness?

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Thankful for Legacies: Larisa Gjivoje, Team Inheritance of Hope

Our founder, Kristen Milligan, left a profound legacy with her family and the families we serve. As we approach the second anniversary of her death, we showcase members of our Inheritance of Hope family and what legacy means to them.
 
Larisa Gjivoje ran the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon with Team Inheritance of Hope. She raised $8,301 -- more than enough to send an entire family to a Legacy Retreat®
 
The Legacy of Love: My parents created a loving home environment. We told each other "I love you" when leaving for the day, ending our phone calls, going to bed, and many other times. My husband and I do the same in our family with two young children. Expressing love for each other is powerful and everlasting.
 
The Legacy of Family Togetherness: My family usually ate dinner together, which was a tough feat. Because both of my parents worked, it was late sometimes. But the trade-off was priceless; it was an important tradition to share each other's day and be connected. My mom even insisted on candlelight during our meals. My husband and I follow this legacy with our children –- and even use candles!

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Christ's Tenacious Love - April 2013

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   – Romans 8:35, 37-39

What good news! Nothing in this life


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Life's Lessons: What Cancer Taught Me as a Caregiver



Several years ago in 2005, my wife Heather was diagnosed with cancer. She had malignant pleural mesothelioma, a very rare and deadly form. It was devastating to our family, particularly because we had just celebrated new life. Just three months prior to her diagnosis, she had given birth to Lily, a beautiful baby girl. We thought that we would be spending the rest of that year celebrating the holidays with our new bundle of joy, but we were in for something much different.


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With Open Hands: Part 3

He loved us, before He knew us. 

My hands feel very full right now.

I have a son who just turned 4 years old, a 20 month old son, & a 6 week old daughter. My maternity leave just ended so I'm jumping back into the "real world" a bit this week. My to-do list is growing & growing. My responsibilities seem to have tripled in this new exciting, yet daunting season for our family. in short, I feel out of control in many ways.

My natural tendency when my hands feel full is to also feel overwhelmed & to want control of all aspects of my life. Ironically I want the most control, when I have the least. Do you ever feel that way in your life?


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With Open Hands: Part 2

Entrusting our kids is not easy.

After taking some time to process the tragic shooting at the elementary school in New Town, CT & speaking to some some IOH families over the holidays who recently lost a parent, it makes logical sense to cling to those we love even more. Yet,  I'm still reminded of the idea of having "Open Hands", even in such a time as this. Again I ask the question, how do you savor those around you without holding too tightly?


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