Justin's GardenAnniversaries are important and we should celebrate them as we feel we need to. To me these times are sad but I believe we need to remember, to celebrate and honor the life that we shared with our loved ones.

In the weeks before the 1st Anniversary I thought long and hard about what would be appropriate for the day. Justin had planned a cycle to the Wicklow mountains which he never got to do with his friends so I decided it would be a great tribute if his friends went for the cycle.

A girl Justin had met just weeks before he died, who is Canadian, came to Ireland to be here for the 1st Anniversary and even she wanted to join in the event. Rather than being a day of doom and gloom, it would be an active day of remembrance.

Songs which Justin had liked were chosen to be sung at the Mass. Not only were these songs he liked but listening to the words they were messages from him to us. I had some amazing experiences with "You are not Alone" by Michael Jackson and Whitney Huston's "I will always love you". At times of great sadness for me, if I had a radio playing in the background, these songs would be playing. Other songs which his friends knew he liked were chosen also. "The Dance", "Wind Beneath My Wings" and others.

My awareness of the Life Force energies, the interconnection of everything as pure energy, my connection with the pain of every mother who grieved for any of her children, everyone young or old who felt pain, I felt an empathy with them and so the Life Force Energy was giving me comfort in a way I would know that the message to me was that Justin was and always would be part of the Pure Life Force Energy.

In many ways I let myself be guided by gut instinct for the 1st Anniversary. We made a list of all the things that reminded us of Justin's time here with us and we decided what we would bring to the Church as offertories. Someone remarked that all we were missing was his bed.(smile) Each young person decided what they would carry to the Alter.

I bought a bible and began to study it. I wanted to pick out readings which would get messages across to people, to comfort and celebrate. I chose "What is love":

I Corinthians 13
Love is patient; love is kind.

Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way: it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And now faith, hope, and love abide, and the greatest of these is love.

I wrote something for my daughter to read from me as I did not feel I would be able to read anything from the Alter.

Thank you all for joining us here tonight to remember Justin. Thank you also to all the young people, to Justin's sister and brother, for for helping to make this such a memorable day.

The message we would like to give you all today is that we should not dwell on that one moment in time when Justin departed this life, we should remember every moment he lived, all the joy he brought, the fun we had together with him, his bravery and his achievements in his short life.

I hoped this would be a chance for the young people, for my son and daughter and for others to acknowledge their grief and see that here we were a year later and although everything had changed that the impact Justin had on our lives would not be forgotten. I wanted to show that we actually owed it to Justin, not to forget but to take example from him.

Also on that day I had ordered a Garden bench and a brass plaque with an inscription on it for the vet's garden where Justin had worked the two days before he died.

The inscription reads:

"In ever loving memory of Justin Raymond Gittons, through his love of animals he learnt about love and kindness.
The Justin Raymond Gittons Animal Trust Fund"


Everyone will be feeling grief to one degree or another but it is important that those who raised and lived with the child who has passed over, get to acknowledge their pain and grief rather than them having to be the ones to be strong and comfort others. In some situations there will be immediate family members who, through their faith, their experience or age, will be very capable of making all the decisions to be made, but even he/she will need help.

Immediate family members who are suffering great trauma do not need to hear who is doing what, they do not need to be involved in squabbles and power struggles between extended family members. They just need to know people care. Showing you care does not mean taking over, nor does it mean using the grief and trauma to get what you want for yourself, let this be attention, sympathy, time away from family so you can do what you want, showing you care is about just being there with no set agenda's, no wanting to show how much you are doing and how little someone else might be doing.

Showing you care is allowing the immediate family space, time alone together, acknowledgment of their relationship with the person who has passed over. It is respecting their privacy and their feelings. Showing you care is being there, not as a guest, but as someone who sees the little things that might need doing around the house and doing what you can without making an issue out of it.

Do not be afraid of speaking the name of the deceased person.

I would describe how I felt in the days after regaining consciousness as being totally raw, it was like every nerve ending was exposed and I could feel energy levels from people as they came and went from my room. I would describe this time as a time when the Holy Spirit is Enlightening the immediate family, some are opened to it, some are not. If you do not feel as I describe I felt do not think there is something "wrong", everyone experiences different things at different times.

Be kind to yourself and do not try to be what others want you to be, go with the flow, remember to cry and remember also to smile about the happy times. Remember - the opposite to "expression" is "depression", you need to express in whatever way you feel you need to.

Justin's Anniversary Messages
To Justin on your 7th Year away from Home

Ten Years Away from Home

A Place in My Heart (from Geraldine)

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