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
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":
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
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
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
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
Justin on your
7th Year away
Ten Years Away from Home
A Place in My Heart (from Geraldine)