Thirty years is a long time to live without your mother.
It’s 30 years of missed birthdays, Christmases, weddings and grandchildren. I’ve lived so many more years without her than with her.
2018 is a milestone year for me, filled with milestones I never could have imagined would be here so soon.
April 22 marks 30 years since my mom died at age 44.
April 25 marks the day that my daughter will be the same age as I was when my mom died.
And December 16 is the day that I will outlive my mother. I want to be too young to outlive my own mother. I’ve had to figure out too much of life without her.
Death anniversaries are reasons to grieve, but they are also reasons to celebrate that I’ve made it when I didn’t think I would. I couldn’t let this year of milestones pass by without doing something to acknowledge them.
After my mom’s funeral, friends and family returned to their homes and their lives, and so did we. There was a new normal now and we tried to figure it out as we went. Tears were saved for the night when I was alone. We talked about my mom occasionally, but I think it was mostly too painful. I wanted to get back to life as a normal teenager, but there really was nothing normal about my experience. I didn’t ask for the help that I didn’t know I needed. Extended family offered practical support as needed, but there was no grief counselling, no one to provide much needed emotional support. This isn’t to place blame. It’s just how it was.
All these years later, I am undone once again when I think of a family living through this kind of loss without the resources to process the pain and grief. This is where the Kathy’s Lighthouse Legacy project comes in.
I was inspired to create something special to celebrate and remember my mom, so I reached out to a local custom jeweler, Monica of www.glamjulz.com, (who also happens to be a dear friend) who helped me to design a very special bracelet in memory of my mom. A friend told me about the Lighthouse – a local organization that provides support to grieving children, youth and their families (www.grievingchildrenlighthouse.com). Sadly, a support like this was not available to me when I lost my mom.
I hope to raise funds for the Lighthouse and to inspire others through Kathy’s bracelet. I have set a personal goal to raise $5,000. It’s an ambitious goal, but I want to make a big difference!
To receive a bracelet, I am asking for a minimum donation to the Lighthouse of $75. As a tribute to my mom, the bracelet is purple to highlight her favourite colour, and it has a few beads that symbolize her love of nature. There is also a lighthouse charm as a symbol of hope and healing through grief. You can see photos here and on the Facebook page.
The Lighthouse will accept donations for any amount and I want you to feel comfortable to give whatever you are able. $5, $20, $1,000 or anything in between. You can donate directly on the Lighthouse’s website even if you don’t want a bracelet; under Donate, select Kathy’s Lighthouse Legacy option.
There is also a more “deluxe” version of the bracelet that has a gorgeous purple Swarovski crystal (extra special and sparkly!). For any donations of $200 or more, you will receive one of these deluxe bracelets.
Donations can be made directly to me via e-transfer at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re unable to e-transfer, message me and we’ll figure out a different option. I will then donate a lump sum to the Lighthouse, who will issue tax receipts. Please let me know if you require a tax receipt, and make sure I have the necessary contact info (address, email address). Any amount is appreciated and welcomed. (Tax receipts factor in the cost of the materials for the bracelets).
I am so grateful for your love and support!