For the Love of Christi
Susan Cox, who calls herself the "Good Grief" woman, has an open heart, a sympathetic ear, and a knack for providing the practical support that people grieving for their loved ones need. "We will never leave you alone," are words she lives by.
In 1987 Susan and husband Don opened For the Love of Christi (FTLOC) two years after Susan's vivacious 20-year-old daughter, Christi, was killed by a hit-and-run drunken driver as she and friends walked in downtown Austin. "In the beginning, I wanted to die," Susan recalls. "My faith was shattered and my marriage was in trouble. The divorce rate for couples who lose a child is high. Don learned the best thing to do was to hold me and let me cry. Today in his work with grieving men, the first thing he tells them is, 'Throw your John Wayne manual away.'"
They decided that if they could not recover for themselves, they would do it for Christi. Today at the Christi Center in Austin programs include: support groups; help for people navigating the criminal justice system as they grieve; a telephone support line; retreats; community outreach; annual tree plantings; and holiday remembrance services.
In 22 years, FTLOC has served 70,000 people with a volunteer force of about 80 a year, many of whom were first served by the organization themselves. A low point for Susan is when a person comes in brokenhearted and a high point is "when that person finds a safe place to shed their tears and learns to love and laugh again." She's there with a world-class hug every step of the way.