HGTV Star Shares Heartbreaking Tribute to Beloved Sister-in-Law


Pixabay Votive candles lit at a memorial

Nearly three years after the tragic death of her sister-in-law, HGTV‘s Mina Starsiak-Hawk posted an emotional tribute on social media to Stefanie Hawk, who died in March 2020 at age 31. Mina and her husband, fitness trainer Steve Hawk, have faced multiple losses over the past years, beginning with both of his parents in 2018 and then the death of his sister.

In her post commemorating what would have been Stefanie’s birthday, Mina said she struggles with wondering whether her sister-in-law would be proud of their family today. The next day, she also revealed on her new podcast that their family’s grief has prompted her young son to start asking questions about death and dying.

Mina Starsiak Hawk Pays Tribute to Her Sister-in-Law

On January 16, 2023, Mina posted a black and white photo of Stefanie on her Instagram feed and shared a poignant poem that she previously shared in January 2021, after finding it saved in her phone. Here is the poem, which Time of Peace credits to writer Christy Ann Martine:

She’s in the air you breathe with every breath you take.
She sings a song of hope & cheer, there’s no more pain, no more fear.
You’ll see her in the clouds above, hear her whisper words of love.
You’ll be together before long, until then listen for her song.

After sharing the poem, Mina shared that it was Stefanie’s birthday but wrote, “We’re not celebrating Stefs birthday today, she probably wouldn’t let us celebrate even if she were here, but we’re thinking of her. We talk about her with the kids. We tell them about her and how much she loves them. We see her in Charlie every day.”

Mina was expecting her second child, Charlotte, whom they call Charlie, at the time of Stefanie’s death. In an Instagram post on January 3, 2021, Mina shared how devastating it was for their family, which had also lost Steve’s mom in May 2018 and his dad six months later, according to Distractify. Though Mina has not confirmed Stefanie’s cause of death, she alluded to the deep sadness she had been experiencing at the time.

Mina shared, “Right as Covid hit hard, we lost Stef; way too young, far too soon for what I needed her for and far to soon for what my family needed her for. She was a bright light for us in a time she herself didn’t see much light. Losing her parents, Rick and Sally, affected her deeply. It did all of us, but Stef in particular.”

Because of lockdowns during the early days of the pandemic, the Hawk family couldn’t hold a memorial service for Stefanie. In her latest tribute to her sister-in-law, Mina reflected on whether or not Stefanie would “be proud” of her, their family today and their business today.

“I often wonder what she would think of me, our family, Two Chicks,” she wrote. “Would she be proud. Would she approve. She was never one to pull a punch. Not sure if she’s proud just yet, but I’m working on getting there.”

Mina ended her tribute by writing, “Even though you’d hate it, we’re still talking about you Steffie. You are love and you are missed.”

Mina Starsiak Hawk Says Family’s Grief Has Her Son Worried

Fans flooded Mina’s latest post about Stefanie with messages of sympathy and assured the host her sister-in-law would be proud of her.

One person wrote, “She was proud. She was always proud of you and your husband. Always.”

Another fan commented, “Lovely soul filled share…. I can only imagine how close she remains to those who loved her and who she loved… many well wishes.”

“She’s proud and looks over you, your boo and your children. She is with you everyday,” another fan wrote on the post, which received over 13,000 “likes.”

Mina has said that her kids — two-year-old Charlie and four-year-old Jack — have motivated her and Steve to keep going through the grief because they bring them so much joy on a daily basis. On the second episode of Mina’s new “Mina AF” podcast, released on January 17, Mina shared that they’ve been open with the kids about missing their family members, and often tell stories about Steve’s parents and Stefanie. But she also said she suspects these discussions are what inspired a recent deep conversation with little Jack while driving him to school recently.

“So we’re driving in the car and he says, ‘Is Dad gonna die soon?'” she exclaimed.

“You know, we attach a lot of grief to that, but Jack doesn’t yet because he’s, like, young and pure,” she continued. “But then you go down the rabbit hole.”

Mina said she told Jack his daddy wouldn’t die “till he’s really old,” but then Jack wanted to know when he’ll be really old. So Mina said she told him it would be after he’s married and has his own kids, but then Jack decided he didn’t want to get married. The conversation spiraled from there, she laughed.

Mina said, “No clue why, but we just went down this massive rabbit hole. And it’s just the best. I was sitting in the car crying, as we’re pulling up to his school, because he’s just so pure and joyful and happy.”

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