January 9, 2015

I received this message today from, Tawny Rae, and this is the energy which keeps me walking with those two beautifully encouraging words, LOVE LIFE, over my head:

I have to tell you, one day in Fremont, Ohio, I was driving along and I saw you and your sign. I pointed it out to my daughter and we looked up the Love Life sign as soon as we got home. I found so many beautiful articles about you and why you walk. I lost my father 11 years ago to suicide. He was a beautiful man but the not so beautiful things in his life got under his skin and that hard, working, happy, caring, 30 year old father of three became another statistic. This previous August 29th, the date he passed away in 2003, my daughter, husband and myself walked around town and handed out cookies, suckers and flyers to spread awareness about depression and where to go if you need help. We only asked that they too try to make someone smile that day. We did not get a good response from the community. Most people kindly refused and walked away or threw out the flyers as they walked away. Regardless to say, I was disheartened. We ended up going to the local homeless shelter and we were able to spread some smiles there instead. It made me happy to be able to do what he would have done himself.

Ever since the day that I was told of my father’s fate I have vowed that he may have felt alone in his last hours but I will tell everyone and anyone who will listen about him and how it changed me. How everyone should do whatever they can to spread happiness any way they can. I will not let his name die with what he did. I will take what he did and put meaning to it. I will save a life knowing what I know now. And as a bartender for 3 years I was able to save many! I often get depressed that people aren’t so open about problems with depression and suicide in the community. That even talking about it is considered taboo. I cannot tell you how much your story lifted my spirits! It’s so wonderful seeing people like you whom also have been dealt not so happy situations to cope with and turned it into hope. Giving people a smile that even in passing makes them think, “You know what? Maybe I can do this!” Thank you! Your mission gives me a reignited fuel to continue mine as well. I’m finding trouble with trying to find the right words to convey exactly what I want to say to you but if anything, life has taught me that sometimes simplicity is best so I’ll just end my note to you with a short and deeply felt “Thank You!” You’re helping bring light to those who feel devoured by darkness. I strive to be like you one day. Many blessings to you and yours my friend!