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Bringing an Angel to Westhope

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One Westhope woman is using a personal tragedy to inspire hope in others.

Sixteen year old Jenna Tolstad was an active member of the Westhope community. She was a loving daughter and a trusting friend. “She did everything she could to, I don't know, just spread joy, ”said Robin Tolstad, Jenna’s mother.

But seven years ago, tragedy struck the Tolstad family. Jenna was killed in a car accident. “The hole that is left when you lose a child is huge no matter what their age is,” added Tolstad. Through the support of family and friends, the Tolstad's were able to come to terms with the loss of their daughter. But many other parents go through the same situation.

Robin Tolstad wanted to do something to help other families cope with the loss of a child, young or old. “The fear a parent has is that their child will be forgotten. As the days pass, the months, the years, everybody is doing their own thing and you always wonder, do they still remember my Jenna,” she said.

Inspired by a book by Richard Paul Evans, Tolstad started an effort to bring a Christmas Box Angel to Westhope. It's an angel shaped monument dedicated to parents who have lost children. It will be a place of hope and peace for families. Tolstad stated, “I have two sons and Jenna was our only girl. So after we lost her I wondered, do I still have a daughter. You wonder how do you answer questions like How many children do you have,”

The Christmas Box Angel will be a place parents can address some of those un-answered questions. These monuments can be found through the country, across the world, and here in North Dakota. “We couldn't be happier to say the 4th one will be here in the Westhope Cemetery,” she said.

Robin Tolstad hopes any person that visits the monument will walk away with this message: There is always something better the next day, sometimes it's just hard to see it.

The Westhope Christmas Box Angel will be installed this fall. If anyone else is interested in donating towards their effort, check out the Westhope Area Angel of Hope group on Facebook.

 

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