HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. -- The mother of a teenager who died last year received a special gift that helps ease her pain, at least a little bit.
Beth Colon now takes care of the menagerie of animals her 17-year-old son once raised. Jared Colon was killed in July by a teenager who punched him so hard that he died from the blow.
"Here's his car," she said. "Of course it's got dust on it now."
Colon spends a lot of her time looking at pictures. But she recently got a letter in the mail that reminded her just how much life came from the tragedy.
"I am the 37-year-old male kidney recipient of the precious gift of your loved one," the letter begins. "You have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your loved one and greatest thanks for a second chance at life."
In her grief, Colon donated her sons organs.
"He really was about helping others, great old soul he was," she said back in July. "He will give life to others,"
Four children benefited from Jared's gift, along with one slightly older father, who wrote, "It truly takes a remarkable group of individuals that can make an unselfish decision during their grief and think of restoring life into someone else. I will never be able to thank you enough for giving me a second chance at life, but I vow that I will cherish every moment and Carpe Diem. Sieze the day."
Organ donation is an anonymous process. The family of donors don't know if they are helping anyone at all, and if they are, the identities of those people or what their circumstances might be. It was that way for Beth as well, until suddenly it wasn't anymore.
The writer of the letter has six children, but he had been too weak to play with them because of his illness. But now, he could because of his new kidney.
"It changed everything," he wrote. "My kids say thank you for giving them hope. With all my heart, I wish you peace, love and faith knowing that this young man has restored life in me, and I will not take that for granted."
Every day now is a struggle, but some days, especially with a letter like this, are just a little less.
"It brings me some comfort and healing to know that he has done good," she said. "And he lives on in others."
Mother of New Jersey teen killed by deadly punch gets letter from organ recipient