When I found Hope After Project, my whole spirit danced and I eagerly wrote to the founder, Jennifer White, about my mother’s story. My mother requested for no funeral service before she died and we honored it. I could understand why she didn't want a funeral and yet I still felt called to do something-- I just couldnt figure out what. When I came across this incredible way to memorialize her life and her passions—I knew this would resonate with her.
Hope After Project, creates and “builds memorial community service projects to help those who grieve to find hope.” I am so grateful to have had the honor of them helping me to do just this, a year after my mother’s death. They created this beautiful video of a very special day that will forever live in my heart.
Everything that transpired from the moment I found Hope After, to writing to Jennifer, to speaking with her, the planning, the approval we got from Safari West, and the friends and family who made it—all of it was such a divine flow of miracles.
When you just trust in life and it’s divine timing, amazing things happen. This beautiful day turned into a memorial of not only my own mother, but we also memorialize the loved ones of all those who were with us. We honored the losses we all had experienced, some of the losses I knew about, but some of the losses that a few of my friends had experienced, was unknown to me. It’s incredible how grief and loss can bring us together and also how when you allow these things to be talked about and honored-- you may find it also allows us to discover new dimensions of the people we know.
Thank you Aisha for crying with me whenever I needed it and allowing my cries to feel safe to flow—I am forever grateful. Thank you Amanda, for listening to my stories and encouraging me to use my grief and creativity to write about her. Thank you Carmen Smith for showing up at my front door as soon as it happened and for sharing about the loss of your partner-- your friendship means so much. Thank you Jamie Leigh for opening up your heart and sharing your stories of your loss with all of us—your presence was so special, we all felt so much closer to you. Thank you Jennifer White for creating After Hope in honor of your own mother’s death, for creating a normalcy around death and suicide, and for being a pillar of strength and hope for all of us who grieve. Thank you Mike for bringing the Aloha spirit and sharing the loss of your incredible father with us—I felt like he was there with us. Thank you Nancy Harvey for being an amazing aunt and friend, I am grateful for our beautiful relationship and to be able to call you my ohana. I am so happy to have you near and to share life with you, thank you for bringing Grandpa’s spirit with you—so much love. Thank you Neshia Smith for flying to Hawaii to be by my side and every step of the way and speaking to her in your dreams—your Love moves mountains. Thank you Olivia Speranza for sharing so many precious memories with Mama and I, I am so grateful for the space that you always hold and for always gracing me with infinite and absolute Love. Thank you Sonja Kristiansen for being such a believer and a supporter, you inspire me in more ways than you will ever know—your presence is so powerful. Thank you Terra Juana for being by my side and for loving me when I was drowning in my sorrow. Thank you for sharing your family with me, for allowing me to be present at such a sacred time during Michelle's death and for showing up to Mama’s After Hope project just 4 days after losing your own mother-- I know Mama was there to greet her in the spirit world.
I am so grateful to be blessed with beautiful and loving friends and family. Thank you all of you for creating this day with us.