This is dedicated to my gold, my love, my Lily. It is also dedicated to those who have lost someone to suicide, those who've had to bear the unbearable and accept the unacceptable and find a way to survive.
 And finally, to my incredible son Rowan, who gives me hope for the future and is my purpose for living. 


This was written just before Thanksgiving 2018...

We are at the time of year which has always been my favorite. The family, the feasting, the love, laughs, and celebration of all our blessings have always brought me the greatest joy. This year it will be different. However, with my family this year, I am creating a way of honoring and giving thanks for Lily and for how grateful we are for the time we had her with us... for all the joy she brought, and all she taught us with her love. 

As a teacher, I took every opportunity to instill gratitude in my students. This was also true of my mothering. Gratitude is something quite lacking in our society, yet has an incredible power. Appreciation is rooted in valuing others and paying attention. Gratitude helps make clear the things that matter most in life and connects us in a web of giving and receiving - shared kindness. 

Gratitude has helped me endure this journey through The wasteland of this labyrinth of grief, which I've wandered since my daughter's suicide. I am utterly and forever grateful to the many people who have held my hand, wiped my tears, fed me, supported me, offered guidance when I felt lost, loved me, held me up so I could collapse with grief, and inspired me to survive, to live... to re-engage with this life. I would not have survived this without you.  My heart sings out... Thank you! I must note a specific THANK YOU to Brittany Rapp, my friend and coworker for the past two years. Thank you for being our midwife through grief after lily died. Thank you for taking care of everything so we could just hold one another and try desperately to keep going. Your friendship has been a blessing in so many ways, and I can never repay you for all you did for me and my entire family through all of this. I love you dear friend!

This website and moving forward with the work of spreading awareness and educating people about kindness and keeping ALL of our children safe, would not have happened without a truly amazing, kind, generous and inspiring family. The Walter Family. When Lily died, Isabella - a friend of my son Rowan - created a 'Go Fund Me' page in her honor and to offer the community a way to support us through this tragedy. This helped us in countless ways. Later when I was beginning to create a website, Isabella and her dad, shon, took time to talk me through creating a site, issues to consider, preparation, troubleshooting, and areas to focus on. When I realized that the site I'd chosen to build my website through was too complicated for me, Isabella offered to help and created this website for me. Again, this was simply out of the kindness and goodness of her heart. I could not have done this without her help. I would've become frustrated, or it would have taken too long, and I would have given up. Her kindness and generosity with her time are the reason it has come to be. 

When I was struggling with my fundraising video, Isabella's brother - Carlos, offered to help me refine and edit the video. Truly, this family amazes me! Shon and Rossana have raised two truly compassionate, kind and giving children. This is clearly a result of their modeling and parenting. And I shout out my soul's appreciation as loud as I can,... with all of me... a huge thank you for their genuine goodness. They give me hope for their generation and that of my son, and for our community and culture as a whole. Although meanness abounds in our society, there are people like the Walter Family, who are good, kind, honest, caring, empathic, generous and simply big-hearted! These are the people planting seeds of empathy and kindness in the world. I am so deeply grateful for them all and blessed by their presence in our community and in my life.  I will truly never be able to repay you for the myriad of ways you have helped me and impacted my life. I can only offer these mere words...THANK YOU!!

In addition to the walters, there have been others who have helped me along this painful journey; those who have helped me to transform my grief through working to create change. To Julianna Christie for connecting me with people who would help me make critical decisions, for helping me listen to myself more clearly and for always offering support, guidance, and love... you inspire me and bless my life! To Ryan Anderson for helping me navigate the layers and structure of power within the state school system, for encouraging me when I want to give up, and fanning the flames of hope in me... especially when it feels they have gone out entirely. To Molly Marcello for being dedicated to ensuring Lily's voice and her call for people to 'WAKE UP!,' is not swept under the rug, and for patiently and sympathetically allowing me to cry when needed in our interviews. To my therapist Bonita Kolb, who has offered me insight and guidance through the most difficult years of my life. Your wisdom and support have helped me more than you will truly ever know, To my current therapist Nancy Anderson, for creating and holding a sacred, safe space for me to deconstruct, for understanding my process and my soul and guiding me through the darkest days of my life. Most importantly for helping me to accept that this process will never end and that I must continue to surrender every day. For helping me to find the strength and love to move through each step of this new life. 
To my dear sister Jenifer who was like a mother to Lily and has suffered being at the mercy of these waves of grief with me. There are no words to express how deeply grateful I am that you are my sister and that we have had one another through this horrible reality we have to accept. To my sweet Mother, for instilling in me qualities without which I would not be surviving; primarily self-reflection and the strength to turn to therapists for help when we are stuck, struggling or lost in the darkness of pain.  To all of my family and friends, near and far, who remind me of my reason for living. 
And my love Christopher. Thank you for being truly the only person who can find a way to make me laugh - even at my lowest. You have lifted me up, surrounded me with love and helped carry me through this heavy heart and dark time of suffering. ..Thank you for loving me enough to always allow me to BE in whatever part of this process I am in.. You are my love and my great blessing! 

The Gratitude Campaign
spreading our appreciation for others and the ways they impact our lives with kindness, helps us pay more attention to what we do and give to others and thus impact the world around us. Consider how you can instill and spread gratitude and kindness. There are many ways this can happen and opportunities to practice the way of kindness present themselves at all times. An important area for expanding this is in our schools, through: what is included in the curriculum; how schools deal with, address and prevent bullying; How schools create a culture of respect, value and non-discrimination - and the connection to how bullying is dealt with/perceived. Teachers and all persons working with children can consider including  Gratitude in the Curriculum - Teaching Empathy through Gratitude, and how gratitude and kindness are reflected in policy and practice. 

Coming Soon...