5 years + 1 day after Oct 10, 2012

A month ago, I met a new friend. Her name is Cheryl Kathler and I found out after meeting her that she is a professional photographer. We met for coffee just to have a more personal conversation as she wanted to learn more about Amanda’s Legacy. We met and I shared Light Up Purple on Oct 10 – World Mental Health Day with her. She offered her talents and her time to go downtown last night to take photos and also to have a date night with her special husband who also spent last night walking with Cheryl and driving around to catch the best photos ever. I am sharing them here before I post them on www.lightuppurple.com (which was created by Egami Creative Agency with a special gratitude hug to Lisa Marsden). Also, huge thank you’s to Sandra J. Horton and her collaborators at the Women’s Collaborative Hub (which meets monthly in Port Coquitlam) for giving me a chance to share stories of my day yesterday. Everyone helped to make my already emotionally charged day and night calmer. Thank you also to the wonderful Legacy team who are always there to hold me up and spent the day sharing on social media and gathering photos, images and messages for posting. And for Dean Donnelly who keeps me grounded that everything will be okay. (And I can’t forget my son, his gf and my BBB for being there always – listening, giving advice (which I don’t always take) and cleaning the little bits that I can’t stand to see). This is what makes the world a #better place. xoxo

Link – http://www.photosbycheryl.com/lup2017/h98c21a17#h98c21a17 

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Guest writer – by Ethan Donnelly

I think it’s about time we talk about Mental Wellness.

It’s universal, we all want to have a positive sense of well-being; everyone wants to be happy. So why don’t our lifestyles reflect this?

We are all so busy in our daily lives. We rush from activity to activity, while trying to focus on school, sports, clubs, chores, and work. All of that includes the added pressure from parents & peers, which makes for a harmful cocktail of stress, sleep-deprivation, and anxiety. We are always running short on free-time, rarely taking time to breathe. For many, this leads to a state of physical and mental un-wellness. It’s no wonder that 1 in 3 teens in high-school are currently suffering from Depression or Anxiety.

So what can we do to prevent this? How can I keep my mental wellbeing positive?

The answers may sound simple, but they each are extremely important to staying healthy.

  • Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for overall health. Go to bed at a reasonable time, and shoot for 8 hours of rest a day.
  • Eat Healthy. Make sure you’re eating enough food to have energy to perform your tasks throughout the day. Try and limit junky processed foods, and instead eat more fresh and clean foods. They keep your body and your mind in a healthy state.
  • Get Active. Getting a good amount of physical activity each week reduces the chances of depression, and can help relieve stress and anxiety. Take breaks between studying to get moving!
  • Find your Zen. Meditation been scientifically proven to increase positive hormones in your brain and help reduce anxiety and depression. Other ways to find your Zen include taking a walk in nature, listening to calming music, or just taking time to breathe.
  • Seek Help. You’re not alone. There are many people who are waiting to help you. Find a trusted adult, or professional, and work through the struggles in your life. If you need urgent support, call Crisis Centre BC at 310-6789 (crisis hotline).
  • For Youth.  Call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.  KHP is Canada’s only national 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, web counselling and referral service for children and youth.  Their service is completely anonymous and confidential – they don’t trace calls, they don’t have call display.  You don’t even have to tell them your name if you don’t want to. Find out more.

Mental Health is important. Everything we do is affected by our mental-wellbeing.  If we all took some time for ourselves and focussed on our minds, we may just find happiness through the struggles.

#StayStrong and #MakeTodayPositive!!  www.lightuppurple.com

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Snowflake Stones

Dear Amanda,

I have to tell you about this exceptional young man I have gotten to know.  He actually started out as a trollish kind of person who actually said some horrible things that even you would have said out loud “‘WTF’ mom, who says sh*t like that!”  I often tell his story along with yours at the various things I speak at.  I do that because his story, like yours, turns from negative to somewhat positive.  I have learned through you that everyone has a story and everyone also deserves to be listened to.  I was the one who listened to his story.  One of my wishes in life is that I was able to share my story with you and also that I listened harder to your words and watched more closely, your actions and emotions.

Over the next few days, weeks, months, I will be sharing stories of this young man and others who I have met in this ‘new’ journey of life.  I think that it is time I got my writing hat back on.  As I prepare myself for the fifth October 10th since your death, many things keep popping up into my mind.  Some good, some sad, some funny and some horrific.  I will only share the good, sad and funny.  Not the horrific.

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Tomorrow I will go downtown and attend an event for World Suicide Prevention Day.  There will be an art installation where 500 pairs of shoes will be laid out.  The shoes will be empty signifying the lives that have been lost and the shoes that will never be filled by some of our loved ones.  There will be many that will think of you, especially me.  Maybe tomorrow, you will send a sign of a snowflake or something purple or even one of the dimes with the #10 that will signify 10/10.

Sweet thoughts of you,

Love Mom xoxo

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