As we approach the five-year anniversary of my daughter’s death, it never ceases to amaze me “how love shows up.” We spent the last several months planning the Emily’s Hope Art Show & Auction and I’ve had so many people come alongside me to make it possible. Their giving spirit encourages me to give more, do more, and be more. Community members have donated their time, money, and talent to the mission of Emily’s Hope and that has resulted in tremendous growth, not only for the charity but for me personally. The experience of losing my daughter and starting Emily’s Hope has made me a more compassionate and giving person.
While I sometimes feel discouraged because overdose and fentanyl poisoning numbers continue to skyrocket, I won’t give up hope because every day I am reminded that love can triumph over hate and that even one changed life is enough. We had so many amazing pieces of art donated to our auction. Many of the artists themselves have either been affected by addiction or have lost people they care about in the overdose epidemic. Each donation and each story touches me deeply and reminds me to keep pushing forward with the mission of Emily’s Hope.
Love showed up in the middle of our big event last Saturday. Jewelry designer, Kristen Lund, donated “The Chariot Necklace,” which she made especially for us.
Kristen took the heart and wings from The Chariot Tarot card. This card is about overcoming conflicts and moving forward in a positive direction. According to the card’s meaning, “One needs to continue to preserve through sheer hard work and commitment and they will be victorious.” That seemed fitting to me. I have worked to turn my own trauma and devastation into something positive. It’s taken endless hours and commitment to start up a charity and see it through. As we set a record for fundraising at this year’s art show and auction, I can allow myself to celebrate this victory, knowing it goes to help others in my daughter’s name.
When Kristen showed “The Chariot” to our art show committee before the event, she said that the angel wings and heart are a reminder of Emily.
Emily always drew hearts with her signature and received accolades for Growth of a Nurtured Heart, which she created out of charcoal and pastels.
Emily posed as an angel in this photo of her at age three, which I insisted on bringing to her funeral because it seemed fitting that in death she had once again become an innocent angel.
Kristen said she created the necklace with the intention that someone would buy it at the auction and give it to me. I told her I appreciated the sentiment, but that I didn’t think that would actually happen. “The Chariot” went on the silent auction and people began bidding on it.
As the Art Show & Auction began to wind down for the evening, a friend excitedly ran up to me. “I know the guy who won “The Chariot” and he wants me to present it to you!”
Dennis Thurman didn’t attend the event, but he was bidding online. I was stunned. It seemed as if by putting it into words, Kristen had manifested exactly what she intended would happen. I didn’t know Dennis and was amazed that a stranger would be so generous.
The next day I reached out to Dennis and asked if I could meet him to thank him. We met for coffee and he told me that he has been following everything Emily’s Hope has been doing. He also said he was inspired to give the necklace to me because it was such a meaningful symbol of the daughter I lost. He had also experienced the addiction of a family member and felt lucky that he hadn’t lost his loved one. So many of us are touched by drugs in one way or another. We agreed that the universe works in mysterious ways when I told him that having someone give it to me was Kristen’s hope all along. I found Dennis to be a kind and generous man. Through people like Dennis and Kristen, I continue to be amazed at how love shows up!
Faith, Hope & Courage,
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