Scattering CJ: a mother's quest for her son

8:45 PM, Jan 3, 2014   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Three years ago, Hallie Twomey had her heart broken by the suicide of her 20-year-old son. Now with the help of social media, she is honoring her son's memory through a most unusual quest-- sending his ashes around the world.

Two weeks ago, Hallie Twomey donated her kidney on behalf of her father who received a successful heart transplant and on behalf of her son, C.J. whose organ recipient she met after he died.

"Hugging him was so hard because it's my son."

For three years, Twomey has been tormented by the suicide of her son. Moments before he stormed out of their home and shot himself in his car-- she and C.J. had an argument.

"It's my single biggest regret. I didn't hug him and tell him I loved him," says Twomey. "Even if the outcome had been the same... If had said I love you, I think I would hate myself less." Twomey has sought counseling and support groups. Nothing helped, she says.

"We just felt this urge, this need... John and I needed to find the answer to deal with his ashes." A plea initially to Twomey's Facebook friends to help C.J. "see the mountains that he never got to climb, see the vast oceans that he would have loved" -- has become an international effort and tribute to her adventurous son.

"Literally what I believe is that his ashes are C.J. That he is still here," says Twomey. "It's not a spiritual thing, it's a very physical thing for me. And now he's in South Africa."

On Facebook, the pictures and videos chronicle the places: From London to Mumbai, Okinawa Japan and Fenway Park.
200 packets of C.J.'s ashes have been sent to be spread.

"They all find little beautiful little places for him to go to. He's been to the Caribbean. He went to Ground Zero." Requests from 5,000 strangers since the Facebook page went up November 11.
Some asking for just a photo of C.J. to capture him where they live or on a trip they take for vacation.

"I'm so humbled and thankful," says Twomey.

Because of the overwhelming response, the Twomey's are having to be selective with C.J.'s ashes.

Supporting organ donation gives Twomey a sense of purpose, she said. People can sign-up online at

There are people standing by at the Maine Crisis Hotline all of the time. Call this number 1-888-568-1112.



Most Watched Videos