This past year, Jennifer Lynn Perski of Wrights Corners New York, lost her beloved son Daniel to suicide.
Jennifer says that ever since the time he was a baby, Daniel loved to swing.
"Daniel loved his swing when he was stressed. Even at 18 years old, he would be out there in the winter with his ear buds swinging his worries away. Even on the day he died," Jennifer says.
Beginning when Jennifer was still pregnant with Daniel, she began collecting ornaments for him.
"All my babies got 'pregnant ornaments,' then one for each year. When they got a little older they picked them out themselves."
This year, Jennifer wanted to continue the tradition for Daniel, even though he was no longer with them. She knew that she wanted an ornament that would have a little boy on a swing, and so she let friends know.
Jennifer's dear friend Laurie Lenz wanted Jennifer to have the ornament that she hoped for, so Laurie recruited her daughters Jade and Shiloh, to help create one. Jade, an illustrator and art student, painted the lovely picture of the boy swinging on one side of the ornament, and Shiloh, a graphic artist, printed Daniel's name on the other side of the ornament, in beautiful calligraphy.
The Lenz family told Jennifer that they created the ornament to remember and honor Daniel. Jennifer says she was completely surprised when she received the kind and thoughtful gift.
Sometimes people are scared to give gifts to survivors of suicide loss, if the gifts are reminders of the person who has been lost. People are concerned that these types of gifts might exacerbate painful memories and grief.
But survivors of suicide loss, like all who have lost someone they love, usually appreciate these personal gifts that are sentimental in nature. We too, heal by holding on to the positive and happy memories of the person we loved.