View Full Version : Disney helps with our tragic loss

05-14-2007, 04:58 PM
I just wanted to share my story with people who might understand what my family is going through...
On January 9th my brother-in-law was killed in a car accident. He was just 25 years old. his 26th Birthday would have been just 2 weeks later. He was a wonderful, caring, and funny person. He always had a smile on his face that made whoever was there want to smile too. He was also an Iraqi War veteran and had returned home from war two years ago only to dies 2 miles from his home when he lost control of his car and crashed into a tree.
In addition to this unspeakable tragedy that we were faced with, my husband and two young children, 6 & 8, were supposed to go on our "dream" vacation to do the "Land & Sea" trip with Disney 4 days in Orlando 3 Days on the Cruise. We never thought we would be able to go on this trip since the cruise is normally very expensive. We had booked it only the week before when we saw the amazing discounts Disney was offering at this time of year. we were all set to go airline booked hotel, cruise, and NO traveler's insurance. You never think something bad is going to happen to you... we lost my brother-in-law and had his funeral the same weekend we were supposed to leave on our trip.
Of course we cancelled those dates, but Disney couldn't refund our money since we didn't purchase the insurance. they were happy to re-book our trip for any other time but we would have to pay the difference in price, which unfortunately wasn't an option for us at the time. We made the decision that we would still go on our trip. It was bittersweet...we were dealing with such a tragic loss I don't even know if we were making rational decisions at the time everything was really a blurr. We arrived in Disney in a somber state but we knew we had to make the most of it for our kids. We tried our best but there were a number of emotional breakdowns while we were there. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside for 4 days and then went on to our 3 day Disney Cruise.
When we arrived in our cabin we found a wonderful gift bag of beach toys from our daughter's teacher on our bed and a tray of food from guest services. Later on that day someone arrived with another tray of food and a letter for us that we had been chosen as "The Family of the Cruise" out of over 2,000 guests! the letter went on to say that we would be able to order any of our meals from the restaurants on the ship and have it delivered to our room. We were so surprised! I knew that it was "The Year of Magical Moments" at Disney I rationalized that was we were chosen, but deep in my heart I felt that someone must have told Disney what we were going through and they chose us because we needed a little "extra" magic in our lives.
Disney really did more than I could ever ask for they brought us snacks to our room of cookies and fruit, gave us a tour of the bridge, gave us certificates for beach rentals at castaway cay, signed pictures of all of the characters, toys, pins, the works. And on the final night after the show we took the kids backstage to personally meet all of the characters from the show. Afterwards, we spoke to the woman at guest services who had arranged for all of this and come backstage with us. We shared with her what had happened to us and could no longer hold back our tears. You could see it in her eyes that she already knew. We really just wanted to disappear into the crowd on this ship and go unnoticed. We didn't really want to have this extra attention especially for the reasons it happened. But now that a few months have passed. I wanted to express how grateful we are that someone cared enough for our family in our time of need to reach out and lift our spirits. I see it now as my brother-in-law's last gift of magic to our family, pushing us to move forward and live life the way he did...happy, loving, laughing.
I miss u .R.I.P 1/9/07

Mackey Mouse
05-14-2007, 05:30 PM
What a wonderful gesture by Disney, they truly know how to make dreams come true.. I am so sorry about your tragic loss but am glad that you went and somehow Disney helped to make it a little better for you with all that they did..

If you have not already written Disney, I certainly would and thank them for all that they do. Everyone is always there with the bad things, this is certainly a beautiful story of how wonderful and caring Disney and their castmembers can be.


05-14-2007, 06:01 PM
yes i do plan to write a letter to Disney to express my thanks to them, honestly though this was this first time I could bring myself to write down in words what happened and it come out somewhat coherant. you know? It is difficult to talk about grief and loss because you are never sure if your feelings are what others want to hear. Thank you for listening to my story. I really appreciate it.

05-14-2007, 09:01 PM

05-15-2007, 08:09 AM
I thought I would share some pictures from the cruise:

Backstage After the Show~

The CM from Guest Services who arranged everything for us~

The Tour of "The Bridge" at port in the Bahamas:

05-15-2007, 10:02 AM
How wonderful for Disney to give you that extra 'magic'...They are amazing at what they do, and are angels in disguise..

What a tragic loss for you family, I hope the coming months give you strength:grouphug:

05-15-2007, 11:14 AM
thank you everyone for your words of support

05-15-2007, 09:02 PM
:hug: I am crying reading this. I am so glad that you went on that trip. I think it was meant for you to go. I love Disney. Disney always makes you feel better for some reason, I am at peace when I am there. God Bless you.

05-16-2007, 09:11 AM
:hug: My thoughts and prayers are with your family.We went to Disney just four months after beloved Dh passed(it was planned with him and he insisted
I go no matter what) The children and I had a very hard time but we also had moments of joy and we felt his presence there with us.

05-16-2007, 02:56 PM
so you went soon after your DH passed away? then you know how it feels, you are overcome w/ sadness at times and find hapiness with the people you love that are there with you. I belive that is what my brother-in-law would have wanted us to do. Even though, I wish some more time would have gone by before we went just so that our emotions wouldnt be so raw.

We are going a trip back to Disney in August. we convinced my mother-in-law and father-in law to join us when we told them about the free dining plan. They are not big Disney fanatics like we are and their youngest son who is 9 has NEVER been there. I am looking forward to spending some time there with them and showing them why we love Disney so much! We already made advance reservations at some of our favorite restaurants and decided what parks we will go to each day. I saw on another discussion board a link for printing kids "Disney Journals" so I think I will surprise all of the kids with that on the plane. I was also thinking of having T-shirts made for the entire family with a picture of my brother in law's last trip to disney with my husband. Do you think that would be a good idea or it would just make everyone more upset? Everyone, Please let me know what you think or if you have any other suggestions. Thank You!

05-16-2007, 06:46 PM
I am big on journals. I love journals. And I love the idea of T-shirts. I think that no matter what you do will feel right because it comes from your heart. Listen to your heart.

Mackey Mouse
05-16-2007, 07:34 PM
I agree with luvsmm said, do what your heart tells you..

Thanks so much for sharing the pics with us, you have a beautiful family.. Hugs and take care of them!!!!

05-17-2007, 10:52 AM
oh ok i will do the journals and tshirts then. everyone, thanks for everything!

Princess Bella Luna
05-17-2007, 04:06 PM
I AM sorry for your loss but dare I say, I am a little jealous of all your special treatment. :guilty:
I'd like that kind of stuff happen to me and my friends if we ever go. Nothing special has EVER happened to me all the times went. It seems like everyone else gets showered with prizes and riches.

05-17-2007, 06:37 PM
I am so sorry for your loss. I know the power of Disney magic when dealing with a death. After my husband died my kids and I went to Disney for the first time.

It was wonderful what being at WDW can do. I saw my kids be kids again. My 9 year old at the time was being told he needed to be the man of the family. When they saw Main St. it was priceless.

WDW was the perfect place to grieve. My late husband had never been to Disney but he would have been thrilled to know we had found a place to forget the pain for awhile. We blended in, no one knew we were missing someone.

Thanks for sharing your story. Time will make it softer but talking about it really does help so keep posting here.

05-18-2007, 01:23 PM
I am so sorry for your loss! :grouphug: I lost my beautiful sister 3 years ago, it was also very sudden, she was 22. My DH, myself & our 2 boys went to Disney the following year. My sister never got the chance to go, (I'm from a big irish catholic fam. 7 kids) so I did what I knew she would want me to, I was the happiest Mom in the world all week. :love: You would think a year later,I would have a lot of good days, but I didn't (even though I didn't it to show my kids) Now that more time has passed, my grief is a more managable, but you always have that before & after feeling following such a tragedy.
I will pray for your family & I'm so happy that Disney could reach out to you all like that! That is real magic!
p.s.~ my sig. is from a bumper sticker we had made for our family & friends who helped our family so much & for having my amazing sister w/ us for 22 wonderful years.

05-18-2007, 03:35 PM
thank you for sharing your stories with me, somehow I feel that I am not alone with what our family is going through by hearing from all of you.

I am so sorry about your losses. although I did not know your loved ones, I do know what it feels like to lose someone special and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

I am studying to be a teacher and have two children of my own. I have noticed being around children how intuitive they are to their own feelings and how brilliant they are at expressing EXACTLY how they feel. One day I found a poem in my 8 year old daughter's notebook from school. She said she wrote it during her free time at school. I thought it captures not only her feelings but also her compassion for other's who may be going through similar circumstances. She gave me permission to share this poem with all of you:

~Someone, Somewhere~
It's like I feel nothing, just clear, no ones in the room. I rose up looking...no where.
I float in water, feels like nothing.I can't live, can't see, can't hear. My life, it's nothing.
When I pray in school I'm with him the whole time, can't think about anything else but him. It hurts, I feel like someone is yelling at me and they never stop.
Without him my family, they're very quiet. Nothing to do without him, it's just quiet.
Everything he did was special, he went in war, played with his brothers and me and my brother. He was also very good at break dancing and computers. He was just starting his life. He had lots of friends. They have lost one friend, a good one, a special one.
Everything is blackened out, everything is gone...except Ricky, he said he will always be with me. When I'm on the bus or going to the mall, he is always with me.
It still feels like someone is yelling at me and never stopped, but I know that he is right beside me. He will always stay in my heart no matter what.
When I'm with my friends we have fun but they don't know what it's like to have an uncle dead.
So if you have lost any close relatives or maybe even friends, then I know how it feels. Everyday I ask the same question, "WHY?" It happened out of nowhere. Bad things happen in life. This is one, one of the worst.

Mackey Mouse
05-18-2007, 03:46 PM
She is 8 years old??? Pretty powerful and caring for such a young one...I am so glad she let you share it with us.

Hugs to you all!!!!

05-18-2007, 04:08 PM
yes her words surprised me as well! at the time she wrote it I was personally unable to put my feelings into words and i thought she did a wonderful job of expressing how we all felt.
we started a journal at the wake that friends and family members were able to write their feelings down. I suggested she add it to this journal and she did.

05-18-2007, 07:26 PM
Thank you for sharing her poem. She is wise beyond her years.