Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Passing of a Pillar

Seven years ago a young girl named Tempest Smith took her own life. She had been bullied at school for many years in many forms, not the least of this included religious persecution, as she was a Wiccan child. From her death came life and hope.

Her mother, Danessa first donated Tempest’s organs to the Gift of Life Foundation. But this was not enough. No, she wanted to make sure no other child need suffer and no other mother need feel this pain. After reaching out to her local Pagan community, including FOCAS and WOM, Danessa formed the Tempest Smith Foundation, dedicated to promoting tolerance for all religions and backgrounds and combating bullying in schools. Danessa has been tireless in pursuing this goal of tolerance, as well as working with many other local nonprofit and social organizations, both Pagan and secular, in her community.

Yesterday, Danessa left this world to join the beloved daughter who inspired her to do so many things. She was a pillar in so many ways. She rose up strong out of heartbreak- the worst thing that could happen to a parent- and she allowed it to bring out the best in her and encouraged it to bring out the best in others. I did not know her personally though she was part of my local community. I knew of her, I heard of her activities frequently but one degree of separation, it seems, kept us from meeting. I am sure I would have liked her. I hope she is resting now, with her daughter in her arms.