The holiday season can be an even tougher time for those who have lost loved ones; a feeling felt for nearly two years by the Wasilewski family in West Bridgewater.
The family lost their 20-year-old son Cory after a fatal car crash in February 2017, and were forced to celebrate their second Christmas without him as 2018 neared its end.
"This one hit home," Tom Wasilewski said. "The first one, we were in shock."
As the holiday neared, a time meant for joy spent with loved ones turned into a harsh reminder of their loss.
"That's when you realize the loved one is really gone," Wasilewski said.
This year, however, the Wasilewski's decided it was time to start living again for Cory, and thought lights and ornaments would help heal them.
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Cory's father Tom covered his home in his son's favorite colored lights, hoping to spread joy in his honor.
Then, the generous members of the West Bridgewater community came together to show the family what the holiday season is all about.
"All of a sudden, the Bridgewater fuel was bringing 125 gallons to the house, no charge," Tom Wasilewski said. "And then, people started adding to that. And then other people started messaging me, 'Do you need anything? Do you need food, dog food, just anything?'"
Just like that, the family's home had heat, and strangers stopped by with gifts, cookies, grocery store gift cards, cash and even a fresh-cut tree.
"I gave up on everything, they definitely picked me up out of the gutter," Wasilewski said. "They really did. I could never thank the people in this town for what they did. It's impossible."
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Cory's father called it a Christmas miracle, as the people in West Bridgewater stepped up when they knew the family was suffering.
"They brought us into their homes, they brought Cory into their homes," Wasilewski said. "They've opened up their checkbooks, their houses, their hearts."
The family said they plan to pay it forward for everyone else in the community that falls on hard times.
Cox Media Group