“Just One Little Thing On this Day of Remembrance



During the aftermath of the unimaginable loss of losing our only child—Justin, a very dear friend Lynette, sent me a link to a story titled: How Grieving With Gratitude Changed Everything” from Maria Shriver’s blog: “Architecture of Change”. Reading it changed me… I quickly learned about Kelly Buckley and her movement: “ Just One Little Thing” (JOLT). I read about her unfathomable loss when her son Stephen died unexpectedly.   Despite this horrific loss, Kelly was still able to survive in the midst of misery. She found the lit candle in a room filled with darkness. Kelly has taught me (as I tuck away the pain everywhere I go, this companion and oxygen) how to “grieve with gratitude” and how to look for JOLT blessings every single day. For this, I am forever grateful.

“Just One Little Thing: Finding A Happy Life In An Imperfect World, One Moment At A Time”

The infinite trauma that Darrell and I  have endured has recently catapulted me to a higher understanding of how I am going to live my life in the days and years to come. I can’t imagine living this new life as anyone other than a determined, loving, and accepting mother as it is in sharing my story that I  have emerged with the reborn driving force behind whom I have already started to become. Also, even stronger than my own belief in myself, I have come to experience an indescribable “knowing” within my soul that I have many companions during this difficult journey from my chrysalis – a catalyst moving me toward finding my voice, and my wings, once again.

Justin’s 2nd Grade Butterfly Report Pictures drawn by Justin

Over these past 4 years I have become stronger, braver, more courageous, humble and very grateful. And I know that I am strong enough to take the first steps, brave enough to speak for those who can’t, courageous enough to take a leap of faith during this pivotal moment in my life, humble enough to say a sincere thanks to those for reinforcing my transformational journey by allowing me a chance for discovery of life beyond tragedy, and finding my voice through words so I can help others find theirs.

I will always be Justin’s Mom and Darrell will always be Justin’s Dad. Justin is the gift that keeps on giving.  We miss him every day and we will love and honor him forever with love.

I Gift from Felicia

Darrell & Susan at the American Heart Stroke Ball
Disney Concert Hall


Justin’s work in Kindergarten

Darrell and Susan on KCAL 9 News

Darrell and I will be on the 12:00 p.m. KCAL Channel 9 News tomorrow to talk about Justin and our upcoming event. The LIVE segment usually hits at 12:44 pm and runs 4-5 minutes.

We are very excited about having our guest speaker Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng. She is the Co-Founder of “The Ceeds of Peace Foundation” & Director, of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaii. She will talk about how we can make our immediate world better, build resilience in ourselves, and raise peace builders in our children. It is imperative that we build resilience for ourselves and for our communities.
Her book, “Ladders to the Moon”, will also be available. She wrote this book for her daughter who never met her grandmother. She shared the wisdom she gained from her own mother, Ann Dunham, who was also the mother of President Barack Obama

Click on the link for more information.


Thanks, Susan