Happy 18th birthday, honey! I have to say that although each day and year passing that you are gone it has been hard but this year seems to be harder than the others. I have no words of explanation why other than, it just is. All the words of encouragement and birthday wishes that have been received, well -- you would have been happy to have seen and read the words and stories. Amazingly, there is such inspiration and hope out there from the many that want to share it. And sharing is something that is a MUST.
The months of October, November and December are ones that I don't look forward to but they are a part of life (and the calendar). I should have written this letter to you way sooner but I just couldn't, not that today is any easier a day to write it. With every message I see, it just makes me miss you all the more. I now totally understand the saying "gone too soon" because Amanda my princess, you definitely left too soon out of our lives.
People have asked "how will you celebrate?" or "what will you do on her birthday?" It's the same way people ask me "Why are you not so mad at the world?" I have no answers. Celebrating to me seems so wrong but in another person's wise words, it can be a day of 'celebrating' for the reasons of what you have done in the world. How you sparked it? How you made people sit up and notice what was going on? I am not saying ALL people, but you have made a pretty good dent. There are people all over the world that continue to write and message. You have made your snowflakes start to fall all over and funny enough, when people see them, they think of you and how snowflakes are all unique, individual and fragile, just like every human being on this earth. And every snowflake put together makes a ball of snow that becomes stronger. I wonder how many balls of snow you have made in the past two years?
This year will be more contributions to your legacy that will have impact. This is your graduating year. An event that you talked about and looked forward to since you were in grade school. Because of the number of times you changed schools, you never got even your middle school leaving ceremony for which I am sad. And your life was cut short for your grade 12 one. Your legacy will make sure that kids in their grade 12 year get to do the things you never go too (e.g. Project Enchantment).
How is it that your story has impacted us in this way? Some may differ in opinion but it was so brave of you to make and put your video out for the world to see. Even if your intentions was just a small world. You took courage and strength to do that. Unfortunately, you got knocked down with words such as 'attention seeker', 'psycho', 'crazy person', 'porn star' and more. None of it true (in your family's opinion or those that cared/care about you). There are still those out there that harass for pleasure. But I use those as examples so we can learn from them.
(I am not talking today to write about those that bullied, cyberbullied or sextorted you for obvious reasons. This is your BIRTHDAY!)
Do you remember when I asked you what you wanted to achieve by making the YouTube video. You said you just wanted to get your real story out there -- in one place -- in one way. Then you added that you 'wished' that it would go viral and one of the big shows would find it. I am sure you meant either Ellen or Oprah or Dr. Phil. Well, I guess your wish came true. Your story actually gets to be aired on Dr. Phil one day after your birthday. For me, that is your birthday present my sweet girl. Anyone who watches Dr. Phil will see your story with photos, etc. Your wish came true! (As did the wish about Demi Lovato and Toronto and New York. I wish you had been with me in the physical world but I know you are there spiritually!)
For your birthday this year, there are 18 roses for you. This year in pink, next year in purple. Your family here will 'celebrate' quietly and reflect on the ways you have made impact on how people view the world. Next year you will be 19 and there will probably be a different kind of reflection. I hope that where ever you are today, tomorrow, and the next day, you are looking down on us and seeing all the things we are thinking and feeling. Also, the people you have somehow helped and made stronger.
There is no way that I could even count or begin counting but, with their permissions, I will start to share the stories because I feel they are important. In your memory, we will #SayItWithSnowflakes every day of the year.
Happy birthday Amanda! You will always be my angel!
Love Mom, your family, and everyone else in the world that knows and loves you,
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