***A message from Isaac’s mama, Christina, at last years first event, a benefit for the launch of the IJLF. Her message, shared with the supporters gathered around her, helps give definition to the mission of the foundation. The evening was almost enchanting, with the warm glow cast of love & barn swallows, and the sound of children laughing, and we still recall it with such affection.***
For those in attendance, thank you, for those who couldn’t make it but sent their love & support, thank you. It was a beautiful, almost magical evening. We raised more than $15,000 to begin the Isaac Julian Legacy Foundation–devoted to helping save someone else’s Isaac. This in and of itself is simply astounding~ an already generous and supportive community came out in full force to support “an idea”– a conceptual, loosely defined, still undetermined course of action with only our mission established. Grateful doesn’t capture the entirety of what I feel for this support, for your belief in me, in us, in this. But it’s where I begin.
As we approach the 10 month mark since Isaac left us, as well as his birthday in this same week, we are trying to catch our collective breath, batten down the hatches & hold on tight. Grief is many waves and not all at once.
I am beginning to arrange meetings and workshops for myself for the autumn and have been reading and creating a system to keep all this information manageable. We will also begin to put into place the structure of this organization, now that we know for certain that there is so much support for our mission here in our community.
My favorite part of the evening was probably observing the children’s tent, busy the entire time with happy sounds. Every time I looked over there I got goosebumps. I would love to hear your favorite part of that very special night! I have been asked to share my speech from that evening, by some who said that was their favorite part of the night, so I thought perhaps this was a good place for that and for all things IJLF. Thank you again for your continuing love and support.
My family, friends & I have discussed at length, since Isaac’s passing away, the tremendous feeling of clarity that has come to our lives in the wake of great loss. We were all living great big beautiful lives with busyness as our modus operandi~ but when grief comes to visit your home, you pause to take the time to let it in, greet it with some measure of grace, and see what it has to teach you. You listen with new ears and see with new eyes. Priorities shift, at first to the bare essentials required of survival, but with time, to make space for this guest you may never have invited, but who will be staying forever.
In the gloaming, there will come a time, in the middle of the night when sleep used to come, that the ache will just begin to dissolve and a plan will slowly start take shape, with what to do to begin to put one foot in front of the next. If you are lucky, as I feel I have been, enough prayers and wishes for comfort will find their way to you, will elevate and lift you up from the darkness, from the yearning to wake up from this nightmare, and take you to your trusty pen and paper, and you will sketch out a vision for yourself. A clear path will present itself. And you will hesitate, you will wonder if you can muster the courage to walk through the flames, if you can live your life according to this vision, if you can stop playing small and rise up, sister. And it wont be easy or pretty, but you will remember that nothing ever has been in totality so far. and you will do it any way.
And that is what this all is. This benefit that you are here to support is all about “what do we do now”. Now that we have lost Isaac, how do we work tirelessly to try to help others never know this ache. Not long after Isaac left us, his dear friend Avery told us he was going into the Navy so that he could help someone else’s Isaac. Those words ignited me. From the dark depths of my pain, it is not a coincidence that Avery’s words were like a life ring tossed out to save me from drowning in my tears. They helped me see beyond what surely felt like my right to surrender to the grief that was swallowing me whole. Instead, a light switch flipped. I knew, unequivocally in ways I have never known another thing before, that I would do something.
Starting a foundation isn’t yet doing anything. It’s simply claiming that I intend to. And I am here to tell you I intend to with all my heart, help save someone else’s Isaac.
The Isaac Julian Legacy Foundation is currently a think tank. But we will not stay idle. We will begin to research the best ways to make the conversation that often gets swept under the rug, stay out in the open, bringing light into the darkness of suicide, because I refuse to hold shame for Isaac’s desperate choice, I refuse to shame his memory, and I refuse to hide the truth, which is that we are all so fragile. We are all so vulnerable. We are, afterall, only human. But we are also resilient. We are also capable of healing by facing the hard truths of our humaness. We are made of love and it is love that will restore us in our darkest hours. But we have to get the truth and the love out there in full light. We have to all be beacons of love and light if we want to reach the broken hearted.
And that is where clarity comes in handy. Knowing what matters, truly, despite our human tendencies at times to mock or shame or blame or withdraw or unsee. We are here to see. We can all shine on. It isn’t a pipe dream, but it is a choice. We have to be willing to make the choice. I challenge each of you to make the choice. Tell the truth, Love Big, and Shine On so that others may learn from you how to do so.
The list of names to thank is long and I have done my best here to write them all down, all of you here belong on this list too. I cannot thank you enough in words, but I will honor this gratitude, and each of you, as I am honoring my beautiful boy, by showing up for the mission of this foundation and doing everything I can to help save someone else’s Isaac.
And now, I’d like to introduce to you a dear soul who despite a life & career changing opportunity this spring that occurred in front of the whole TV watching world, has generously donated his talents and showered us with love and support from day one of my humble request that he play at “a little party I wanted to have for Isaac’s benefit”. Last year at The Harvest Gathering, I watched Isaac watch this guy play his heart out and it moved him– his feet and his heart– the conversation it inspired on our drive home that Sunday evening assured me that Isaac was awake, in this world. The ways he paid attention and the reverence he had for music with a message touched my soul. It is truly a gift to have Joshua Davis play music tonight for all of us, here under the stars, reaching out toward the heavens where I just know Isaac is listening with all of his heart. Thank you Mr Davis, thank you all.