Friday Favorite: The Family Lives On Foundation

Locating Resources / Locating Resources : Litsa Williams

We’ve been shaking things up on Friday Favorites lately and, today, we’re expanding the feature into new territory: We’ll be focusing on an organization doing great work that we think you should know about.

Last night at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel bar, we were lucky to meet the new Executive Director of a fabulous organization called Family Lives On.

Now, those of you in the field of death and dying are probably assuming our presence at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel bar would indicate we attended ADEC this week. That would be a fair assumption, considering their conference just so happens to be here in our hometown of Baltimore at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel. But we’re poor and conferences are expensive, so instead we waited until the end and came by to pick up the leftover handouts and agendas and stuff. (ADEC, for those of you who are completely lost right now, is the Association for Death Education and Counseling).

Just kidding, we just loitered around the hotel bar in hopes the happy hour would be especially grief-y.

Just kidding again, we had plans to have coffee with a new friend from out of town and who are we to turn down coffee… ever?

Okay, now you have way more background information than you could ever have needed regarding how we became acquainted with Family Lives On. What this organization does is pretty amazing, and we immediately knew that some of you would love their services.

The best way for me to explain what they do is to refer back to my tragic holiday post from last year, in which I attempted to make my grandmother’s Christmas cookies and epically failed. When I say attempted, I mean I got my hands on the recipes. As many of you may recall, I never even bought the ingredients. Other than 3 pounds of butter, which then lived in my refrigerator for the next six months.

When a mental health professional and grief blogger can’t manage to execute a continuing bonds activity in memory of her grandmother, it becomes clear that keeping traditions alive can be harder than you may think (at least that’s what I tell myself to make myself feel better).

Here is where Family Lives On comes in. If you know a child who has lost a parent, Family Lives On will work with that child to identify their favorite tradition that they did with their parent. Then, the organization will give them all the tools they need to carry out that tradition every year until they turn 18… And it’s free! Why don’t more people know about this?

So basically, to use the example of the Christmas cookie tradition, Family Lives On would have interviewed me about every last detail of my tradition. Then, come the holidays, they would’ve sent me a box with all the ingredients that I needed for the Christmas cookies—along with the recipe—so that my family and I would be able to execute this tradition with ease. Sadly, even if I had known about this organization at the time, I would not have been eligible for their services since I’m not child. Believe me, if they had an adult program, I would be shamelessly signing myself up.

For the many of you who do have children in your lives who have lost parents, this is one really amazing organization. They will help a family execute their tradition no matter where the family lives, and have helped many children continue all sorts of different memories and traditions. And did I mention it’s free!? So, we just have one recommend today for our Friday Favorites: Get on over to family lives on and check out how you can sign up the child in your life who has lost a parent.

Update (2021): Unfortunately, Family Lives On closed their doors on March 1, 2021. Nonetheless, they made a huge impact:

In our long and successful history, you have helped us support over 1500 families in their own special way as they honor the legacy and memory of their parent.  This is no small feat.  Please look back on the organization with pride and a sense of accomplishment knowing that so much good was done over such a long amount of time.

Family Lives On

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4 Comments on "Friday Favorite: The Family Lives On Foundation"

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  1. Eleanor  April 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm Reply


    Booo…I’m so sorry we missed you. Where did you guys come in from? Was the conference good?


  2. Eleanor  April 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm Reply


    It was a pleasure! You guys are doing great work.


  3. Chris  April 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm Reply


    It was so great to meet you and Eleanor. I love your blog – your authentic voices and points of view.
    I hope we can collaborate in the future. For the present – thank you so much for sharing the information about our services.

    Family Lives On supports the lifelong emotional wellbeing of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering creating a safe haven for grief, communication and celebration.

  4. Lisa  April 26, 2014 at 8:02 am Reply

    Hi Litsa,

    What a wonderful organization.
    Thank you for sharing them with us.
    They are deserving for more people to know about them.

    We were at the ADEC conference.
    The happiest group of grieving counselors I’ve ever met!

    I would have sprung to treat you to a drink or coffee!

    As alway, thank you for your wonderful, thoughtful blog.


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