It’s hard to believe that one month from today marks Dani’s 4th wing day…. four years since losing my firstborn to her tragic death by suicide. Each day, week and month marks a new point in my journey. I say journey and not recovery, because until we are reunited for eternity, my recovery will not be complete. The journey has ups and downs, good days and bad, hysterical sobbing and uncontrollable laughter. An endless rollercoaster of emotions. If you lost someone very close to you, I know you can relate to this part of my journey.
It has been 1,430 days since we have seen her magnificent, bright shining light and heard her loud infectious laugh. Over 204 weeks have passed since my passionate, tender, successful, brilliant and strikingly beautiful daughter listened to the lies depression repeated in her ear during the wee hours of that morning.
Looking back on the many sleepless days and nights she had endured, it’s no wonder that when the darkness prevailed she paid attention to the cruel voice in her head reminding her she was a burden and had nothing left to offer anyone. The voice told her she was worthless, weak, crazy and had no control of herself. It told her she hurt people and is making their lives miserable. It convinced her the entire world would be much better off if she were gone. Ultimately this lie made her send a final message of how much she loved her people and that “no words could ever describe what we mean to her.” She simply asked us to be sure to love and take care of her precious fur babies; and then… silence.
She silenced the voice and the relentless agony she felt, undoubtedly, every day of her adult life. She silenced the depression and anxiety she had lived with since her early teens. She silenced the PTSD that haunted her during her vulnerable times, reliving moments of physical and emotional trauma too burdensome to forget. She silenced the dormant eating disorder that reared its ugly face during the final weeks of her life as she was letting go of the nicotine habit she battled for years.
She silenced the tragic, unforgettable memory of losing the love of her life when he was the same age is her, only 33. She silenced the senseless loss and vivid memories of the friends who died of their own mental health challenges and somehow left this world way too soon, leaving her alone and broken. She silenced the terrors and noise that caused her own torment and finally silenced the false truths which would never ever be able to speak to her again. And ultimately, if only for a brief moment upon hearing the news of her death, Dani silenced the hearts and souls of every one of us who have known and loved her. But again…only for that moment.
What Dani could not silence, however, is the bright light she left with all of us. The unending love, hope and inspiration she imparted on every single person that crossed her path in her 12,339 days on this earth. The stories of kindness, laughter and selflessness brought to light after she passed, and now shared by friends, family and people she barely knew, will always remain. The accounts of generosity, mentorship and advice that was given with a pure heart of gold, is now being paid forward because of who she carefully chose to pour her life into. The tearful messages shared live on reminding us that Dani put her own needs last in order to help a person overcome their own crisis or personal battle.
I can clearly remember standing near Dani as she met an acquaintance in a restaurant. The young girl turned to her boyfriend after hugging Danielle and said, “Honey, you remember Dani—she’s the girl that saved my life!” What a legacy.
I still talk about the young woman’s life Dani literally saved by using all her strength to pull her off the edge of a balcony as she was holding on by only her fingertips, ready to drop to her death. She was trying to end her life because of an abusive relationship and Dani rescued her and sat with her until help arrived.
Her life was filled with countless moments of valor and bravery. The joy and hope she gave to others will always be remembered. In retrospect, her final days on earth seemed to leave her personal “resilience bucket,” the strength in which she found ways to help others, empty. All the effort and energy she used for her family and friends, all the love in her heart constantly overflowing with kindness, advice, gentleness, laughter, financial help, a kick in the butt or a huge dream building gift, suddenly was gone. This left her with no reserve in which to fight her own final personal battle or give her the power to ignore the lies she believed were reality. Those of us remaining are blessed to have our own buckets full of gratitude for the life she lived along with the curse of a shattered heart for the lifetime of emptiness we will endure without her.
Please keep your own bucket full and take care of you first. This is a lesson we can learn from Dani and a way for you to pay forward so you can be here for all those who love you. It sometimes takes more energy to say no that to say yes.
Dani may be gone but she left her powerful force in this world! Only those who really knew her can truly understand this, but she did. She was somehow able to silence the noise in a world full of challenges, difficulties and brain pain and open doors to allow us to shout out the victories in her memory. Because of who she was, how she lived and the huge dreams she believed would become her reality, she can now trust in those of us left here to love and cherish her existence as well as fight the fight she ultimately died for. Dani may be 33 Forever, but I always knew from the moment I held her in my arms, no matter what came her way, she would never be silenced.
#fight4dani #BeHereTomorrow #pleasestay #33forever #suicideawareness #mentalhealthandrecovery #griefandchildloss #youmatter #silencethenoise