This is Mental Health Awareness Month.
I had started out last weekend with the grand idea of blogging every day this month to raise awareness, to inspire and encourage others. But Sunday was my baby girl’s 12th birthday and we got pretty busy with church and celebrating her. It was a lot of fun and I am so happy for who she is and who is becoming.
This morning I thought of writing again, about depression, anxiety, broken marriages, grief, hopelessness, addiction, bullying, trauma, violence, stress, disconnection, pain, porn, entitlement, failure…all the problems I hear about, every day and I just got overwhelmed. I questioned whether I could say anything, write anything, that would make a dent in the darkness. That would make a difference to anyone.
I got discouraged at all the awful things I’ve seen recently in the news and on social media.
But then I saw this Facebook Event: #ForTheLoveOfOtis
Here’s what #ForTheLoveOfOtis is about:
In ten days (on May 8th, which is also Mother’s Day) will mark the occasion of what should have been Otis’ second birthday. For weeks Otis’ family have been trying to figure out what they can do that would mean enough – something that would somehow capture the depth of they love for Otis…something that would buoy their spirits just enough to get them through this upcoming impossible day.
They cannot do it alone. We live in a beautiful world where using social media allows us to spread the word so quickly and easily. Their wish is: “To invite you, and everyone you know, and the whole entire world, to join us in remembering beautiful Otis and honoring his life through a generous act #fortheloveofotis.”
Here’s how it works: “Anytime from May Day (May 1st – a traditional day to leave flowers on someone’s doorstep) to May 8th (Otis’ birthday and Mother’s Day), would you do some small kindness for a stranger, or an anonymous kindness for someone you know, and share it via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter #fortheloveofotis? Would you consider sharing this, and asking for a wave of love and generosity to be released on behalf of our boy?”
I wanted to write some amazing essay on grief and hope and love but if you click on the event and read what is happening so far this week that would say so much more than I could.
Social media has the power to expose us to the worst of humanity but it also has the power to remind us of the good, to renew our hope, to help us grief, to help us make an impact and love one another.
I haven’t met Sarah in person yet. She’s a fellow therapist her in town and we’ve connected over the past year or so on FB through mutual friends. I’ve enjoyed seeing her posts of her beautiful family. Otis was one of the world’s most beautiful boys – just look at his face, those eyes! I get teary almost every time I see his face now. I’ve been so inspired and awed by Sarah’s posts on how life and grief have been since losing him. And also amazed at seeing the power of the support and love from her friends. She’s an amazing lady. And this is such an amazing way to remember and honor him.
Even though you don’t know the Cases, I hope you’ll join them in honoring Otis with some small kindness for a stranger, or an anonymous kindness for someone you know, and share it via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter #fortheloveofotis(I’ve chosen to donate to GriefShare.org and The Dougy Center – two organizations that help families with grief – in Otis’ name)
Maybe it would be a tribute to a mother in your life or a way to support a family who’s had similar loss.
Or just away to bless a stranger and make this world a better place this week.
And if you pray, could you join me in praying for the Cases and Sarah this week on Mother’s Day?