Gifts Of The Afterlife

A touching story about a mom, her son & fabric


Neil is my first of two sons. He always had a big smile to greet you. He was an active child and on the go constantly. As he reached his mid teens, peer pressure introduced him to marijuana and that escalated to stronger drugs. He attended three rehab programs with the last one being suited to Neil. For two years he was earning a living and doing well.

Neil was determined to get me to marry my boyfriend. He would ask me when are you going to marry Ken? I would just say I didn’t know. Then he went to Ken and asked him when he was going to marry my mom? He continued asking me each and every time we talked on the phone. He lived in southern California and I lived in Northern California. Finally, he said for us to pick a date and he would be there. We picked March 9th 2002. He moved back to N. CA in January and wanted me to marry Ken without fail. I believe he had a premonition into the future.

He met some guys and unfortunately, started using again. Two of these guys wanted to use his truck for a robbery. Neil said he didn’t want any part of it. So, they took Neil to a beach where they handcuffed him to some construction equipment. The robbery was unsuccessful and upon returning they murdered my son. He was 23 years old.

I had many unanswered questions. That is when a friend asked if I would like to attend a reading with Karen. Of course I was excited about the possibility of having some questions answered and I wasn’t disappointed. Neil was very open and dominated the couple of hours we were together.

The second reading with Karen I decided to make tissue holders for everyone. I had a very dear aunt my husband and I visited in Hawaii and while we ewere there we met a good friend of hers. We had our sewing hobby as a true connection. She would send me patterns with samples of the pattern made up for me to see. One of these patterns was for the tissue holder. This is where it started and from then on, Neil would continue to nag me to make tisssue holders for Karen. He would guide me to certain fabrics either in my stash of fabrics or at the fabric store. I would just get a feeling for certain fabrics I had to use.

I remember Karen telling me she met with a mom whose son had passed. Karen remembered having one tissue holder remaining in her desk. Karen got the tissue holder and gave it to her and said it was from her son. The fabric was so meaningful to her she started to cry with joy. When Karen told me the story, I knew Neil and I could and would be making tissue holders to comfort many hurting hearts.

Every year, the first Sunday in December the Compassionate Friends have a worldwide candle lighting at 7:00pm for our children that have passed. I’ve made tissue holders for people attending.

The last time I saw Karen she told me Neil and I had been on her mind frequently and without realizing that, Neil had been nagging me to make Karen more tissue holders. I made 125 tissue holders and I hope it has made hearts a little lighter. Neil was also prompting her to get me involved in making some other items.

If you are reading this story and have received a tissue holder from meeting with Karen, we would love to hear about your experience.

Email your story to and in the subject line title it TISSUE HOLDER.

Thank you