NEW JERSEY (WTXF) - A New Jersey family is dealing with a situation that no parent expects to face, the death of their child. In the darkest moments of their life they realized that there void may never be filled but they may be able to help others. They told our Bill Anderson that to try to cope with their pain they decided to remind all of us of the importance of living our lives to the fullest, filled with kindness.
“August 4th of 2015 my son passed away. He died by suicide."
No one is ever prepared to lose someone that they love but parents are especially unprepared to lose their children. So when it happened to a New Jersey family they struggled to figure out some way to try to continue their son’s legacy.
“For a long time, way over a year we really weren’t able to do much other than care for our other two children. It was a struggle every day, just dealing with the day," Dennis Vassallo told FOX 29.
As we can all understand, the death of their son, 17-year-old Dylan, gave the Vassallo family a different set of priorities and a different view of what truly matters in life. They withdrew from a lot of insignificant things like social media because it just seemed unimportant.
Dennis was spending more time in prayer and meditation and decided he wanted to do something that his son would appreciate. Dylan was extremely socially active volunteering with everything from Jersey food banks to home building in Honduras. His life inspired his father.
“One of the times I came out of meditation the thought came to me about a Kindness Challenge. Ya know, they have the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Mannequin Challenge-- I don’t even understand," Dennis explained.
The Kindness Challenge Facebook group launched less than 2 weeks ago and already has nearly 30,000 members. They share stories of random kind acts, ask for help with their issues, support each other and they never forget that the agreed goal is to be kind daily.
“I can say to the cashier, 'How was your day' or they can buy a coffee for the person behind the and people have gone out of their way now to check on their elderly neighbors. This has been going on forever but maybe we forget some of these things.”
The Kindness Challenge page or really nothing else can heal the Vasallo family.
“That void isn’t gonna be filled by anyone or anything. We have a hole in us and it's Dylan shaped," Dennis said.
But their loss has inspired tens of thousands to remember that life can be too short to be anything but kind. Simply put, we should all take the Kindness Challenge for goodness sake.