They’re called “conversation bags” and they include things like kleenex, soup, a candle and adult coloring sheets to help people cope with grief. The bags are put together by Lisa’s Legacy. Resident Barbara Hill is one of the recipients. “It is a very positive experience to have someone bring the bag and tell about Lisa’s Legacy,” said Hill. “It has helped in numerous ways and I think the best part of it was the coloring page because I did coloring anyway.”

“The adult coloring pages reflect Lisa,” said Ann Filler. Filler and her husband created Lisa’s Legacy after their daughter died three years ago from an eating  disorder. They sought counseling and then decided to work with grief counselors to offer the bags as conversation starters. ‘We did it to share some of the compassion that people shared with us.”

Named in memory of their daughter, the bags are designed to engage grievers and others in caring conversation by using different items to help people express their feelings. “We have made it so that it’s totally funded by donations because we do not want someone to not have a conversation because of cost,” said Filler. “It is free to the giver and free to the recipient as well.”

Lisa’s Legacy partners with a number of organizations including the Visiting Nurse and Hospice Community Grief Center at 5910 Homestead Road in Fort Wayne. “We’re one of three pickup locations in Fort Wayne for these bags,” said Laura Guerrero, a counselor at the grief center.

Guerrero said Filler drops off bags so the center can distribute them to clients and others who request them. In addition to coloring pages, kleenex, soup, and other comfort items the bag also comes with an instruction letter. “It explains how to use the bag and also has things to say,” said Guerrero. “As for our center, it is open to anyone in the community, for any adult who’s experienced loss due to death and we offer individuals counseling and different support groups and workshops.”

Filler said the Lisa’s Legacy bags provide comfort options in dealing with death and loss of a loved one that some people may not have thought about. “What do you do on their birthday, on the anniversary of the day your loved one died? Well that’s usually burn a candle and play soft music, perhaps meditate. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a death. It can be an difficult circumstance that some positive conversation would help,” said Filler.

“It’s like a meditation for me,” said Hill. “It has improved my overall well being since my husband died.” Additional information on Lisa’s Legacy “conversation starter” bags is on the Lisa’s Legacy website. The organization is always looking for volunteers and donations.