23 years ago today ….

What can I say that I haven’t already except that another year has gone by.  One that is filled with loss of a child but also a year that is filled with HOPE seeing how Amanda’s story continues to filter through the others in hopes of making a difference.

23 years ago today, I gave birth to Amanda at 12:59 pm and there was snow on the ground.  Never imagining that 23 years later, I would never get to wish her HAPPY 23RD BIRTHDAY AMANDA face to face.  As parents, we always have the belief that our kids will outlive us. In this case, it didn’t happen. For me, her birthdate is much harder a day than her date of death.  I am sure it is different for everyone who has lost a child, but for me, that is my truth.

What do you say to so many who remember who Amanda is and remember her as a 15 year year old?  I say THANK YOU for remembering her and for the thoughtful messages and comment posts on social media.  These kind gestures warm me up and help me to remember so many of the memories I had with my daughter.

WHAT I MISS ABOUT AMANDA

I miss Amanda and her spiritted nature.  Although her spirit was often what got her in deep doo doo at home when she was younger.  She was always the child who wanted to switch the sugar and salt and see the reaction. She was the kid who decided she wanted to paint TODAY and then found the paint to make her art.  Ummm.. Amanda, that paint doesn’t wash off ‘anything’. She was the kid that wanted to help others. As a family, I taught both my kids about kindness and compassion since they could walk and talk (sometimes not at the same time).  They knew about how to treat others and what NEEDED to be done. But like all humans, mistakes were made on that path but we learn from our mistakes (whatever they may be).  

It is here that I want you to think deeply about the mistakes that Amanda made in her life (as you might know them) since joining her story.  Those that knew Amanda in life remember stories from the different years. If you have one, please share it!!!

WHY HER LEGACY LIVES ON

Because people are remembering what Amanda went through and if you have raised a 15 year old, one never knows how their brains are processing information or if they rationalize at all.  All the words of advice in the world can be told to them and only a small portion is aborbed.

I came home tonight from an amazing graduation ceremony at the University of BC to this message:

Dear Amanda, 

I never got to meet you while you were alive. I did watch your YouTube video and saw your cries for help and mercy. I felt connected to you in a way that can’t be explained other then I knew our paths would cross one day. When I heard you just couldn’t go on anymore, despite everything your mom tried to do, I cried for hours. Your death had a huge impact on how I handled how life unfolded in our own family with our girls, mental illness, bullying, disabilities and daily life.  Thank you for your courage in making a video to bring awareness to the cruelness and despair that’s out there that so many face everyday. It breaks my heart that you couldn’t find what you needed to keep going. I want you to know so many of us have picked up that torch and are carrying it for you. You are not forgotten. 

I had a dream about you last night. You were sitting there with my baby brother he would be almost 27 if he was still with us on earth. The 2 of you were laughing together, talking about your families down there. Taking turns making shooting stars for us to see.  The smiles on your faces made my heart so full and I felt such peace. No more suffering or pain for either one of you. 

Remember when I said I just knew our paths would cross? Well it wasn’t really you and me, it was your mom and me! 2 momma bears doing whatever we can for our cubs! I never knew how much strength I had until I had kids and then a kid with special needs and mental health challenges on top of it all! Your mom is a hero to me.. someone I respect and honour highly. She’s in the trenches, the arena of life and is doing it with such incredible courage, vulnerability, love, compassion, kindness and tenacity. She is someone I can lock arms with and soldier on, to embrace life with. Your light didn’t go out when you crossed over.  And you have your mom to thank for that. Countless lives are being changed because of you, your journey, your story, your mom and her daily choice to keep going no matter what, when you couldn’t any more. Your spirit lives on and I’m a recipient of it! 

Happy birthday beautiful angel!

The words written above means so much to me on this day.  And I hope somewhere in this universe, that Amanda can see it and know that she is loved and missed.

With humbleness and appreciation for all those support me,

Amanda’s mom

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October 9, 2018 – by Justin Preston

Written by Justin Preston.   Twitter – @JustinPrestonn    Website – Rise Against Bullying

In a few hours it will be October 10th. One of those dates I could never forget. Not only is today #WorldMentalHealthDay but on this date, my dear friend Carol Todd had lost her precious daughter due to bullying whose story impacted the entire world.

Her name was #AmandaTodd…

In 2011, I also shared a cue-card story on Youtube inspired by a girl named Jade not knowing the impact I would have made speaking about attempting suicide and the pain I endorsed in my past.

In 2012, Amanda also had the courage to share her story which is very heart-breaking and eye-opening. I created a campaign not knowing it would grow within the few years but what really bothered me during this tragedy. I had some people who highly supported me for what I did but seconds later would laugh and post meme’s about this poor girl who left us all too soon. When you’re doing anything in your power to remind people of there worth and values, it’s devastating when you witness close friends joining in this trolling that had lasted years.

In 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting with Carol who came all the way from Vancouver. It’s people like her who believes in the youth making change. It’s people like her who reminds us that raising awareness to mental health and bullying should be done everyday and not just on one particular day.

The fact that always makes my head spin is that this inspiring women. Wakes up everyday with courage, strength and a smile on her face. She goes out in this world and uses her voice to speak up for the voiceless and spends hours and days changing the lives of so many across Canada and the world.

If you’re somebody feeling alone, lost, confused, not feeling loved enough, worth enough, appreciated enough.

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, that’s anonymous and confidential 1-800-668-6868.
www.kidshelpphone.ca

I once thought I would be better off but I want to simply take a second to remind anyone reading this that your life is so special. It’s never easy to over-come the battles nobody knows nothing about. But never be afraid to reach out to somebody you trust. You matter, your feelings matter, your life matters and never forget that.

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October 5, 2018 – Dear Journal

Today is Friday. The last Friday before Thanksgiving. The last Friday 6 years ago that Amanda was alive and happy. Her school had a Thanksgiving lunch and she went to it (even with her anxiety). She shared with me that she actually ate and sat with kids who were now her friends. After the lunch, she came to my office and waited until it was home time. We shared stories and laughter. There was lots of HOPE because I saw it in her and heard it in her voice. The next day after would change her life and our lives forever. When kids can be mean and thoughtless.

2018 brings the with it, the same days of the week back in 2012.  Each day is the same as it was back in 2012.   This year seems more difficult for me with emotions than it did in previous years.  Do I know why, my answer is ‘no’.

My mind is filled with the ‘WHAT IF’s’.  What if I had done this? What if I had said that?  There are way too many ‘WHAT IF’s’.

I am filling my days with business and doing things that (I hope) will continue to create a positive effect to what Amanda’s legacy is all about. I also think that after 6 years, her life and her story is still out there in the world.

This week, a young person from the east coast of the United States shared with me that Homeland Security did a presentation at their school about the Internet and what is out there. Amanda’s name and story were presented. That is a good thing.

I also received an email from another young person who just completed his dissertation and chose “Bullying and the effects in Adulthood” as his topic. He shared with me that before he heard Amanda’s story, he was in a darker place. He had been bullied when he was in middle school. But after he pieced through Amanda’s story and thought about her and what he could do to change the world, his path got brighter. He spoke about a fountain (with colours) that he went to often – to think about life and the way it was. This young person forged ahead, went to university and is now working in the field of psychology counselling. He wrote to thank me for sharing Amanda’s story and how it changed him and steered him in his career path. I am proud of him and will keep this story in my heart.As I sit here writing this … and I will be writing lots in the next week or so … the words that are swirling “Amanda, if you only knew what has happened in the world since the night of October 10, 2012″xoxo

Love you all … Carol Todd

 

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