Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dedication Ceremony - Peter's Remarks

These are the remarks Peter made at the Dedication Ceremony:

One of the things that sustained us through this year was the kindness of Emma’s friends.  When we think of Emma’s gifts to us, one gift, which came to us after she died, was the gift of knowing better the people that Emma treasured in her school, at church, and in her various activities.  Those friends kept honoring Emma’s memory even after she left us.  And they did it by focusing on the living.  They paid tributes, they told stories, they supported each other, and all the while, the drumbeat repeating said, “This must never happen again.”

Those friends, many of whom are here today, did two things that really stood out for us: 

They seemed to know, instinctively, that suicide could isolate the survivors.  They didn’t let that happen.  They visited our house, they wrote thoughtful letters, they emailed, they facebooked, and they sang Christmas carols in our living room.  We know now what Emma already knew.  These are special people who think of others and know how to show their love.

This fall, many of Emma’s friends did another thing that just seemed so wise and so right.  They decided to work for a cause that they now knew was desperately important.  They organized a team to raise money for AFSP, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; they networked; they raised funds; they cooked and served dinners, and they brought people together for a walk called Out of the Darkness.  As they walked the trails at Sherwood Island, the message came through clearly:  We’re still here, we’re supporting each other,  and this must never happen again.

Those friends knew from their experiences, from their education, and from their hearts, that moving and doing reaffirms life and unites people.  They worked hard and raised thousands of dollars, but more than money, they raised spirits and awareness.  They focused on the living, and that is the kindest way to honor the life our daughter lived.  For those acts of compassion and strength and purpose, and for today, my family will be forever grateful.  But it is also our hope and our determination that a moment like this will never need to happen again.


  1. this was definitely the highlight of the entire ceremony, the power of his words were at least matched by that of the inflection of his voice. it was amazing to hear.