Our Grief Journey Into Hope

A big part of how The Andrew Mistler Foundation developed was out of our family’s grief process we went through when we lost Andy.

If it weren’t for the enormous support we received from family, friends and the HOPE Parents Grief Support Group “(Helping Overwhelmed Parents Endure)”, this visual arts scholarship project would probably never have come into being.

We share some of the grief resources we learned about here as a mission and in hope that our experience will be helpful to other parents and families.

National Children’s Memorial Day

National Children’s Memorial Day is held on the 2nd Sunday each December to remember and honor all children who have died from any cause. This is an international event which happens at 7:00 pm in every time zone creating a symbolic ring of light that encircles the globe.


Signs from Above

by Michele Mistler (August, 2006)

It’s been two years since a car accident took the life of my seventeen year old son, Andy. I can’t believe it’s really been two years, it really seems like yesterday. However, I can remember the details of that week and I know I’ll never forget them.  Read more…

Helpful Resources

“Always in our Thoughts, Forever in our Hearts”

This book was created to help those who have experienced the grief of losing a child find solace, peace and comfort, and also to provide help to the family and friends of those who have lost a child.

Free copies of this book are available; please contact us if you would like a book.


Hope Parents Grief Support Group
ST E Grief Support

Children of the Dome

“Space Between Breaths” Documentary

Heaven’s Eternal Angels Remembered Through Sharing

Grief support group to parents who have suffered pregnancy or infant loss. Information at HEARTSNKY-owner@yahoogroups.com

The Power of Goodbye
Article by Mavis Linnemann

Lamentations\JIM’s – Journey’s in Memory Support Group

The Compassionate Friends www.compassionatefriends.org


Hope Stories

October 22, 2008

Today is Andy’s birthday, and we received an email from Dinah Taylor. Dinah lost her son Jim due to a car accident when he was 18. She took it upon herself to start LAMENTATIONS\JIM’s – Journeys In Memory, a grief support system for parents who have lost a child.

Every year on Andy’s birthday and anniversary of his death, she sends us a note. Today, we received a birthday message, and I was particularly moved by the note she included. I want to share this with you.

To Jim and our angels on their birthday

Today is your birthday…
And how I wish that I may…
Have one more moment, one more day.
But what more words could I possibly say?

I know I would say “I love you” one more time
To be able to say this to your face would be sublime.
What would you have to say to me?
Would it be, “If only you could see?”

I knew you nine months before others
You were my only, but now you have brothers;
Brothers and sisters who celebrate your birth
I’m sure much more thrilling than we did here on earth.

You are my inspiration, my inner soul,
And at times when I get sad and low,
You lift me up, you give me reason,
To look forward to another year, another season.

You are the reason I continue to write
And to maintain the Joining In Memory website.
May you celebrate the birth date of the one remembered today
Have a party and tell them they are remembered in a very special way.

-Dinah Taylor

The link to her web site is http://www.ucumberlands.edu/lamentations/.

Handling the Holidays

The holidays are among the most difficult times for bereaved families grieving the death of a child. Below are some helpful suggestions that may aid you in surviving the holidays.

1) Call a family meeting and discuss your plans for the holiday season, understanding that it would be unusual for you not to feel emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained. Don’t set your expectations too high or you may find yourself disappointed.

2) Well intending friends and family may want to include you in their plans, believing it best for you to “get away” from grieving your loss. They do not understand that you cannot escape the grief that you feel. There is no obligation to say “yes.” Only participate if you truly want to.

3) Try to take care of your health. It’s important that you eat and drink properly, exercise, and get plenty of rest.

4) Take time to do the things you as a person want to do. You may want time alone to reflect or to write your thoughts.

5) Consider eliminating such things as the festive decorations, cooking, and baking that you may normally enjoy. People will understand if you’re not in a merry or joyous mood or simply don’t have the energy. You may try placing an electric candle in your window in memory of your child. Don’t feel obligated to send out holiday cards.

6) If it is necessary for you to buy gifts, consider ordering them over the Internet or by phone. Most who are bereaved find it draining to go out and fight through crowded stores bustling with holiday cheer.

7) Many families that are in mourning may use the money they would have spent on gifts for their child to buy gifts for a child who would not be able to celebrate the holidays otherwise.

8) It is not unusual for you to want to include your child during the season. You may want to do something like: Ask friends and relatives who knew your child to send you a story about your child that you may not have known; Ask friends and relatives to create an ornament or remembrance of some type that reminds them of your child so that you can place it around the house or on a holiday tree. If it was your tradition, include placing a stocking with those of other children in your house, even if you do not fill it like the others—this is a symbolic gesture in memory of your child.

9) If you have other children who normally celebrate the holidays, you may consider continuing to do so to create some sense of normalcy in the house and so they will not feel forgotten.

10) Consider attending a Compassionate Friends meeting or a memorial event such as The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting. Most families find some comfort by being with others who have experienced a similar loss.

11) Remember that the anticipation of a holiday is often worse than the holiday itself.

12) Be kind to yourself.

13) It is okay to cry.

The Compassionate Friends, Inc. is a national self-help bereavement organization that supports families emotionally during the difficult grieving process following the death of a child. Call 877-969-0010 for more information or visit www.compassionatefriends.org.

©2008 The Compassionate Friends/USA