picture of flowers picture of Jill picture of flowers

The Empty Room was formed in October of 2009 out of the desire to make a difference in what I believed to be, and still do, “A Parent’s worst nightmare, The Loss of a Child”. My daughter Jill was born with some physical challenges. In spite of her difficult life, she achieved more in her short years than many of us achieve in a life time. When Jill was about 6 years old, one morning getting ready for school she looked at me and said “Mommy, I wish I was never born!”. My heart sank, but I understood because she was teased all the time because she looked a little different than everyone else. The only thing I could think to say was: “Honey, I know you have had a difficult life, and the kids make fun of you, but It is not what happens to you in life, it is what you do with what happens that will make the difference. It can either make you a better stronger person, or it can destroy you…. But It is your choice”. She never said that again…..Through her difficult life she defied all the odds. The Dr.’s would predict and she would persevere. Her dream was to have a floral shop and to work with Brides, naming her shop “Give Thanks” from her favorite song at church. My son Shawn enabled her to realize her dream at 22 by opening up a Garden Center & Floral Shop. During those years Jill started having some health issues and we actually found out she was allergic to fresh flowers. Rather than let her dream of working in the Bridal industry be shattered she researched and taught herself to create handmade porcelain flowers, embellished with Swarovski Crystals and at 26 patented the product which we still hold the patent on Jill's Web Site. In spite of Jill’s problems she persevered. When she started having some new lung issues they could not figure out what was going on. She could not breathe. After a week they had to hit her with massive doses of steroids to save her. After about 6 weeks she was able to come home. She ended up through the next several years to continue to decline with 7 relapses, mega doses of steroids and many other drugs, along with oxygen and wheel chair dependency. Jill still never gave up. When she would be in the hospital all those times even in intensive care, we would carry everything into the hospital and her and I would fill our wedding orders even up until the day she died. During Jill’s first intensive care stay she said “Mom I’m not ready to die yet”. Her courage and strength and perseverance were something to be admired. I know I am who I am today because of my both of my children (Jill and Shawn)!!!
After Jill died I thought life was over. I do not need to tell you how devastated I was. There are times when it still feels like it was yesterday. We can and do learn and grow through death just as in life if we allow ourselves. After a while I started hearing Jill say to me “Mom it is not what happens to you in life, but what you do with what happens that will make the difference”. My words came back to bite me in the butt…like so many times they do. I would actually stand in front of her empty room, shaking my head, crying and say to her how the heck do you ever make a difference from the death of a child. One day standing there at her room it was like a light bulb came on!! That’s it I will start a support group for parents who have lost children and call it “The Empty Room”. The rest is history……I have learned so much through my groups and life coaching. Everything in life is a choice from the moment we wake in the morning till we close our eyes at night. Although we cannot control the circumstances around us what we do control is how we react to those circumstances so once again it becomes a choice. Thank you.
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