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Last Wish by Daniel Cole 

When a parent dies, you lose your past; when a child dies, you lose your future.

The Toledo Children’s Memorial, established in 1999, recognizes that many who have suffered the loss of a child feel a bond with others similarly bereaved and we wish to extend a hand of compassion, and let them know that we too grieve for their loss.

 When I started The Toledo Children's Memorial after the death of Cassie Jones and Maggie Hayes in 1999 the main impetus for my decision was the fact that my own son Matthew James Cole, 17 at the time, was graduating from Bedford High School in one week.  Cassie and Maggie were graduating from Start High Scool. I remember saying to my wife "What would we do if that happened to one of our children'? 

In the fall of 2008, a few days before Thanksgiving, my fears came true. On November 24, 2008 a coroner came to our front door at 1 AM to give my wife and I the tragic news- our son Matthew had died accidently. That year was the first time I did not decorate the Toledo Children's Memorial for Christmas. 

Every year since the founding of the memorial, the site would always be decorated for Christmas with  lights and ornaments, some placed by family members that had lost a child. Parents seem to appreciate that there was a specific site that recognizes their lost child-providing them with a little ray of hope and compassion during the toughest time of the year-the Christmas Holiday Season. 

That Christmas season, instead of decorating the memorial, I, along with my family, were mourning Matt's death. We also were organizing efforts to honor his last wish.

                                                         LAST WISH

My son Matthew had expressed to my wife and I the evening before he died his desire to provide for a family in need during the upcoming Christmas holiday. Instead of the traditional exchange of gifts between our family members he wanted to find an underprivileged family and brighten their Christmas holiday with food and gifts. That night we all immediately agreed that it was a wonderful gesture and began planning for the cause. Now left with a huge void- and desire to honor 'Matt's Last Wish'- our family set out to fulfill his heartfelt aspiration.

Our family contacted our local church for suggestions on finding a needy family. We were given a list of 5 families. How to decide which family to select was heartbreaking to say the least. With God's will, once word got out about 'Matt’s Last Wish'- money began flowing in to support his cause. No longer did we need to choose a single family from the list- we had acquired enough funds to buy food and gifts for all 5 needy families.
Matt’s last wish was fulfilled that year and now every Christmas our family provides support for other disadvantaged familes in his honor. Many of our close families and friends have also taken up the cause in Matt's name and continue to support needy familes each Christmas. 

Matthew Cole's compassionate Last Wish continues to live on in his name.

                                     Matthew Cole with his son Logan- Summer 2008

              If the Toledo Children's Memorial touches only one grieving family and provides    
                 them with an ounce of comfort- then my mission will have been accomplished.







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