Tag Archives: College

finish line

Clouds - Pittsburgh 12-2-2015One of my college friends died suddenly last night.

Amidst the maelstrom of emotions still swirling since The Husband’s medical situation on Thanksgiving, this loss has me shaken. There are too many similarities. The timing of this. It’s too close.

We hadn’t been in touch for years but that’s the thing with our college — it doesn’t matter if you last spoke to someone yesterday or 25 years ago.  We were there at a time when our school was small enough to know everyone. You became family.

I kept up with him through his twin brother.  After all, if you knew one twin, you knew the other. They were inseparable, always together. They were legendary on a campus where we were so close-knit, connected like family. We all felt like they were our brothers. They just had that way about them.

And now? Well, now it’s impossible to think of a world where they’re not together, confusing the hell out of everyone because they looked and acted so much alike. Jokesters.  Always ready with a smile, a laugh.

They were cross-country runners and in a way, that’s what makes this such a shock. Because it doesn’t seem possible that someone with that kind of endurance, who was a champion competitor, could be taken so quickly and unexpectedly.

Somewhere, there’s a picture of both of them in my high school yearbook, in the background during an invitational meet that my school hosted every autumn.  We would discover this coincidence a few years later. There we are, my friend said, pointing out himself and his brother in grainy black and white. A snapshot in time.

My memories of that time can sometimes seem like that.  An image, a moment, a visage of what we were and hoped to be. A random capture, like the photo I snapped today of the changing clouds that greeted me upon leaving work at the end of this heavy day. A burst of yellow light, a streak of pink. A feathery wisp.

More and more often, that’s what this life seems to be like sometimes.  Fleeting. A flash and a blur. Our finish line around the corner, always just out of sight.

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Helping Youth Express Themselves Through the Arts

Gabrielle S. Cerminaro was a talented artist, an incredibly creative and giving spirit. As the website for the foundation that bears her name states, “Art was her second passion. Making a difference was her first.” 

She came by these traits naturally: getting her beauty and artistic talent and compassion from her parents. I was lucky enough to work with Wendy and Sam many years ago, right around the time when Gabrielle was born. Probably even before. They were (and still are) generous and fun, business leaders who were supportive of students still finding their way, mentors enthusiastic about our lives, and so damn creative. They danced with The Husband and me at our wedding. They are – despite decades and distances later – people we are proud to call friends to this day.

When Gabrielle passed away in August 2011, my heart broke. For my friends as friends and parents, of course, but especially for the loss of a vibrant young woman and for those who would not get to know Gabrielle and her art.

I also knew that her family and friends would find a way to honor Gabrielle’s memory while combining her twin passions of art and giving back.

When funding gets cut for the arts (as it often does in our schools, or our nonprofits, or in our communities), it reduces the promise of young people who have tremendous talent. Gabrielle’s Arts Foundation is changing that; their mission is to help give youth opportunities to express themselves through the arts.

Since the Foundation has been established, the grants have already started to make a difference. Here’s what it has accomplished in just the past year:

Gabrielle’s Arts Foundation has supported St. Augustine Academy for Girls in Norristown, PA by sending a number of girls to the Wayne Art Center for summer art camp. These girls have little hope in their lives and the camp helps to make a difference.

The Gabrielle Cerminaro Memorial Award
Each year through the Wayne Art Center there is an award given honoring Gabrielle. This award is given to a student during the juried student show. This award enables a student to continue their pursuit of the arts.

Wayne Art Center 
Through the Wayne Art Center, Gabrielle’s Arts Foundation gave two scholarships for freshman students at Conestoga High School (CHS). These students were selected by the faculty of the art department at CHS keeping in mind the mission of GAF. Both students were “thrilled to be recipients and [have been] propelled into a life of art.”

Tyler School of Art  
Joining forces with Tyler School of Art (TSA) and CHS, GAF was proud to sponsor a senior to experience TSA’s summer boot camp. CHS faculty selected this student, supporting the mission of GAF. Students immersed themselves for two weeks spending time creating images for their portfolio that will distinguish them as an exceptional artist. They learn what admissions counselors look for in a portfolio and how to present themselves! This program helps to encourage and support an 11th grade art student to pursue their dream of art school.

Just as Gabrielle did, by pursuing her passion for the arts.

Just as Gabrielle would have undoubtedly continued to do.

Gabrielle’s birthday was yesterday, February 19. She would have turned 22. Instead of mourning her loss, her family is celebrating her life and legacy this weekend with a fundraiser this weekend for Gabrielle’s Arts Foundation.

We are celebrating Gabrielle’s 22nd Birthday
February 24 from 4-7 pm, upstairs at the Berwyn Tavern.
625 East Lancaster Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312

Free appetizers, drink specials, and amazing giveways from local businesses.Bring whomever you would like! We will have a donation bucket – every dollar counts to help youth express themselves through the arts. 
Donations may be sent to:

Sovereign Bank
Attention: LuAnne Lunger
123 West Lancaster Avenue
Wayne, PA 19087
610-688-7330
Your donations to the foundation are tax-deductible.

For more information: 
“To Thine Own Self B Tru”
mural by Gabrielle S. Cerminaro 

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Book Review: The Years, by Virginia Woolf

The Years
by Virginia Woolf
Harcourt, Inc. 
1939
435 pages

“Tell me about William Whatney,” she said. “When I last saw him he was a slim young man in a boat.” Peggy burst out laughing.

“That must have been ages ago!” she said.
“Not so very long,” said Eleanor. She felt rather nettled. “Well -” she reflected, “twenty years – twenty-five years perhaps.”
It seemed a very short time to her; but then, she thought, it was before Peggy was born. She could only be sixteen or seventeen.” (pg. 205)

We’ve all experienced this, haven’t we? This somewhat unsettling realization when something that we perceive in our minds to have occurred “not so very long” ago really happened more like two decades (and then some) in the past.

Nice to see that Virginia Woolf understood that even in 1937 when she wrote this novel.

I mean, I fall into this mind trap ALL THE TIME. I still, on more occasions than I care to admit, think 1990 was ten years ago rather than (gulp) 23 years long gone. I chalk this up to approaching my mid-40s, but after reading Virginia Woolf’s novel The Years, now I’d like to look at this differently.

“They talked as if they were speaking of people who were real, but not real in the way in which she felt herself to be real. It puzzled her; it made her feel that she was two different people at the same time; that she was living at two different times in the same moment.” (pg. 167)

Yep. That’s it exactly. We are two different people at the same time, living at two different times in the same moment. We’re a combination of our present and our past. (“What is the use, she thought, of trying to tell people about one’s past? What is one’s past?” (pg. 167)

Virginia Woolf’s second-to-last novel The Years is a commentary about the passage of time, which she brings forth for the reader by showing her characters – members of the large, well-to-do Pargiter family and their extended family – through 1880-1918. (The last chapter is titled “Present Day,” which I suppose is 1939, when the novel was published.) The Pargiters live in London, and at the beginning of the book, are in that sort of odd stage when you’re just watching and waiting for a loved one to pass away. (In this case, their mother.)

Not too much happens in The Years. People visit each other, talk about their life and their travels. They sometimes die. It’s a reflective, thoughtful sort of novel, and truthfully, this takes a little while to get used to – especially if you, like me, are not generally a classics reader or one who doesn’t normally read novels set in this time period. (Woolf’s passion for the semicolon is also more than a bit distracting.) It isn’t until almost halfway through the story that you begin to see the connections among the characters, the passing of time as evidenced by the changing seasons and the weather.

Honestly, up to that point, I kind of considered abandoning this, but then I started gaining an appreciation for what Woolf was trying to say. With the exception of Mrs. Dalloway, which I absolutely loved right off the bat (kudos to Dr. Young, one of the most awesome college English professors ever), I’m finding that this is my typical reaction to Virginia Woolf. I start off a little perplexed, a little lost and confused, and then I get immersed in the story.

Just like life, no?

“My life, she said to herself. That was odd, it was the second time that evening that somebody had talked abut her life. And I haven’t got one, she thought. Oughtn’t a life to be something you could handle and produce? – a life of seventy odd years. But I’ve only the present moment, she thought. Here she was alive, now, listening to the fox-trot. Then she looked round. There was Morris; Rose; Edward with his head thrown back talking to a man she did not know. I’m the only person here, she thought, who remembers how he sat on the edge of my bed that night, crying – the night Kitty’s engagement was announced. Yes, things came back to her. A long strip of life lay behind her. Edward crying. Mrs. Levy talking; snow falling; a sunflower with a crack in it; the yellow omnibus trotting along the Bayswater Road. And I thought to myself, I’m the youngest person in this omnibus; now I’m the oldest … Millions of things came back to her. Atoms danced apart and massed themselves. But how did they compose what people called a life?” (pg. 366-367) 

copyright 2013, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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In the Face of Inaction, Kristin’s Call for Change

I have to wonder how many members of the House of Representatives ever downloaded a text message like this from their 21 year old daughter’s phone, after she had been murdered (stabbed more than 50 times in her own kitchen) by her boyfriend.

I’m guessing not many.

If they had – in an odd, bizarre, twist of fate way – then Tuesday night might not have happened. Or, maybe it may have happened a bit differently.

That’s when the House of Representatives, in the midst of the fiscal cliff craziness and blocking federal aid to devastated Hurricane Sandy victims, made yet another unbelievable head-shaking move. (One that leads us a bit closer to living in A Handmaid’s Tale land, but that’s another post.)

By allowing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to die without a vote on Tuesday night, the House of Representatives basically told victims of domestic violence and their families that they don’t matter.

I’ve written about Kristin Mitchell’s story before – here, and here, and here. And I will continue to write about Kristin, because this story is so deeply personal to me for reasons only a handful of people know.

The reality is that domestic violence still carries a stigma and real people are still living in fear. Despite the statistics, we don’t want to believe that people we know are being abused.

Your coworker in the next cubicle with a never-ending supply of Hershey Kisses.

Your best friend since kindergarten.

Your younger sister, who cheerfully wore the hideous maid of honor dress in your wedding.

Your neighbor up the street with the gorgeous lawn.

Your kids’ bus driver who always waves as she drives away.

Your college roommate.

And when it comes to domestic violence on college campuses? In teen dating relationships?

We want to believe that everything is as picture perfect as it appears on prom night, that we’re all slow-dancing happily ever after, and that domestic violence – and teen dating violence, in particular, doesn’t exist.

It’s not. Young women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of violence at the hands of someone they know.

Think about that for a second.

Now, think about your representatives who decided on New Year’s Day that this wasn’t important enough to do anything about.

That THE VERY LIFE of your coworker, your best friend, your sibling, your cousin, your neighbor, your babysitter, your child was not important enough to vote on.

So where do we go from here?

Since their daughter Kristin’s death in 2005, the Mitchells have been a family that have transformed their profound tragedy into incredible change

The Mitchells are doing something about dating violence. They’re helping to lead the way when those in charge fail to do so.

Through the Kristin Mitchell Foundation, grant funding is available for projects that help to raise awareness among young adults and teens about Dating Violence Prevention.  Preference is given to projects designed to raise awareness among college-aged young adults.  However, proposals will also be considered for projects designed to reach high school students.


Funding requests for each project can be up to $3,000. Projects with a total budget of more than this range must show, in the application, where additional funding will be drawn from.

The projects should focus on one or more groups of young adults within the Greater Philadelphia area (Philadelphia and/or Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Bucks counties), and/or the following areas in Maryland: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, and Charles County. Consideration will also be given for projects in other counties in PA and MD, provided that funding from the Kristin Mitchell Foundation is available.

Proposals submitted for consideration in March must be received by February 15th. Proposals submitted for consideration in September must be received by August 15th.  

Click here for more information, including the official KMF Grant Funding Application and additional details. 

As shown by the House of Representatives actions this week, our elected officials don’t seem to want to be the leaders for the change we need. Now more than ever, it’s up to us to be that change at the grassroots level, by initiating the projects that can help make a difference. 

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copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.
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25 Years Later, It Gets Better

Fancy boutique where I did a work event.
Photo taken by me ~ March 2010

My 25-year high school reunion was Friday night.

I wasn’t there.

Now, 25 years ago, if you had told my 18 year old self that I would not be at this milestone event, I would have probably rolled my eyes, flipped back my hair, and said something like, “Ohmigod. There’s a shocker. Like, tell me something I don’t know.”

And if you had told me that I would have REALLY WANTED TO BE at my 25 year high school reunion, I would have been convinced that you had me confused with somebody else.

You see, our high school was not a four year affair. Ours was a small, suburban, very affluent school district where the kids you stood with at the bus stop on your first day of kindergarten were the same kids you were crossing the graduation stage with 12 years later.

There wasn’t any room for mistakes. What you did would long be remembered, would haunt you. Escape was a long way in the future.

If you moved into the district in, say, 5th grade (as my family did), you had a particularly tough time. Friendships and cliques were formed early and bonds were tight. And if you didn’t live in one of the “right” neighborhoods, or wear a certain brand of designer clothes, or find a brand new car of your own in the driveway on your 16th birthday, it was very, very, very difficult to fit in.

To feel accepted.

Academically, you didn’t have it much easier. This was a competitive pressure-cooker and you were expected to excel. In everything. All. The. Time. It was so easy to feel less-than, that you didn’t measure up.

Some people cracked.

It’s a miracle more didn’t.

I deliberately only looked at colleges where not a soul from my class was considering. No matter that I didn’t stand a chance in hell of getting into even one Ivy League university – much less all of them, like several of my peers did. When senior class rankings came out, I went around telling people that I – right there, ranked smack dab in the middle of our grade – was “the valedictorian of the dumb half of the class.”

Because that’s how I was conditioned to see myself.

I selected a college that was the complete opposite of “Cheers,” where no one knew my name – at least, not at first.

And then I exhaled for the first time in years, allowed the healing to begin.

But despite that, the old black feeling still creeps in.

It’s here right now, in the midnight hour as I write this, as my inner teenage self wonders about the reaction of my classmates to this very post (some of them read my blog now, for gawdsakes) while my 43 year old self knows that I’m different and that I shouldn’t give a damn. About what anyone thinks.

It crept in the night of the 25th reunion, as I sat home refreshing Facebook for photos, watching the series finale of iCarly with my twins who had just turned 11 (the same 11 year old kids I was told in high school by more than one doctor that I would probably never have). I looked across the room at my husband, recovering from cancer surgery. Had I been back in Philadelphia, I wondered how I would have answered the “so, what do you do now?” question from my still-overachieving classmates. Somehow, “I’ve been unemployed for nearly six months and am working on getting a freelance writing and consulting business going,” would not cut it with this crowd.

I might have lied.

For you can build a life, conquer demons, add a bunch of accomplishments to your resume – but throw a couple months’ rough patch ‘atcha and it is enough to bring that old black feeling right back.

As the weekend rolled on and as the recaps and updates from my former classmates were posted on Facebook, something started to happen.

People who once seemed to have it all (and it all together) were admitting that…they…really…didn’t.

“I know, I know, I was such a loser….”

“…it was not always easy to see that [the good in people] in high school – when you are so self absorbed.” 

HIM?  HER?

*
Back in the 80s, some of my classmates had a math class where they created a paper computer. Believe it or not, it was supposedly cutting edge (no pun intended) for its time.

I wasn’t smart enough for that class.

Twenty five years later, I would never, ever have imagined where that paper computer would lead – that something called Facebook would make it possible to finally understand that there were others (maybe more than a few others) who felt the way I did, too. Who were insecure, who were unsure, who felt like losers, who were just trying to find their way.

I’ve been thinking and remembering a lot over the last several days, and I keep coming back to this:

What would it have been like, had we known? What damage could have been prevented? How different would we have been? How much fewer scars would we have had, then and now?

We’re on a post-reunion high, an adrenaline surge. I’m expecting us to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” at the 30th. The other day, one of our classmates posted a video of his band to our class’s page. It’s good. Really good. He wasn’t one of the popular guys, but I always thought he was nice enough.

“Weren’t you always quiet in high school?” one friend wrote.

“Just unheard,” he answered.

And that’s it, I realized. In the end, that’s all we wanted back then. To be heard.  For myself, that was it. Like everyone else, I just wanted to be noticed not for what I lacked but to be applauded for what I had and could do well. What a difference that would have made.

That was my writing. It was, at times, the only thing I had to hold onto.

Sometimes, these days, it still seems like it is.

Back then, all I wanted was to be recognized for it – and I wasn’t. That craving eventually backfired in a prank that wound up hurting a lot of people in a middle school bullying incident that, to this day, at age 43, I still deeply, deeply regret. I don’t need to go into specifics. More than a few will know of what it is I speak. Suffice it to say that if you recognize yourself in this very long-overdue apology, know that I am truly beyond sorry and that I hope you can somehow forgive me.

We live, as we all did.

We learn, as we all did.

But now we know a few things that we didn’t know then.

There are others with us along this lonely path.

Most likely, they’re hurting too.

And no matter what – no matter what – it gets better.

It really, really can get so much better.

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photo and text copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Martha, My Dear

Cabrini College
Taken by me on June 6, 2010 during Alumni Weekend
In the background is the Mansion, the building we worked in and which Martha
worked tirelessly (and succeeded) to get on the National Register of Historic Places.

There are, in this world, people who through their work become so connected and so synonymous with a place that after many years (decades even) it becomes impossible to think of one without the other.

We all know just such a person, though, don’t we? If you’re lucky, like me, maybe a few such gems have fallen like stars into your life.

Martha was one of those gems, one of those shining stars.

* * *
Back in the late ’80s, our part-time jobs in the Office of Public Relations at our small Catholic college were to do whatever was needed. And whatever was needed included such glamorous tasks such as typing memos (on actual typewriters!) and stuffing envelopes until our fingers became serrated from paper cuts.

Sometimes we were sent over to Alumni Affairs to help them out if they were busy – which they also often were. This became more than a job, more than busywork, more than a much-needed paycheck for our … ahem, only-the-good-die-young Catholic college weekend pleasures.

I had no way of knowing it at the time, but the people surrounding my 19-year-old self would become my future references and my touchstones who would keep me personally and professionally grounded.

Martha was all of those.

As the Director of Alumni Affairs of our small Catholic college for nearly 30 years, we kind of knew it was Martha’s job to pay attention to us as students (and, later, of course, as alums) but we kind of forgot it was her job. She made it seem easy while making us feel special. Always with a warm smile and an abundance of time for the students, no matter how busy she was, Martha took a genuine interest in our classes and our love interests. She was as much immersed in our lives as if she was our roommate. For years afterward, whenever we met, she would share in our college memories as if she lived them alongside with us.

That’s because she did.

Another thing that I had no way of knowing at the time:

I never expected to become a Director of Alumni Affairs of a small Catholic college, one that fiercely competed with my own alma mater, no less. Like many people of my generation who became fundraising professionals, I’m one of those who “fell into” the profession – as if it was something of an accident, as if the job is akin to quicksand, ready to devour you and sink your soul.

In my days as an alumni director, the mid-late ’90s in development and fundraising found us all on the cusp of change. We tried making sense of it all. We needed a little help from our friends, as The Beatles famously said – but not just any friends. No. Friends who understood the intricacies and the demands zinging from many, and the long hours and the behind-the-scenes-but-always-on nature of the work. We needed friends who had the same issues, who invented and reinvented all the wheels and who knew the names of every one of the spokes. We needed help flossing through the murk and the ethics and assuaging our personal emotions and profound hurt amidst the hubris of others; we needed to see others who endured, who came out the other side tested, a bit battle-worn but stronger for the fight.

As the seasons shifted on our respective stately, mansioned, and rotunda’ed campuses, we became known as The Catholic 7, representing the alumni directors of seven small Catholic colleges in the Philadelphia suburbs. Ours was a sorority of sorts (with a guy or two thrown in) and our quarterly meetings ones where we gathered for sustenance of every kind – food, laughter, and the comfort of knowing there were people to help us work through our unique professional challenges together.

The Grande Dames of the Catholic 7 were, we all knew, women who had held the role of alumni director at a small, Philadelphia area Catholic college each for decades.

Mag.

Grace.

Martha.

And then me, just a year or two into my job.

Collectively, they had lifetimes of experience on me, yet they welcomed me to the roundtable. Theirs wasn’t an exclusive club. My ideas were listened to and in turn, I soaked up their words of advice and wisdom as if it were the Holy Spirit speaking.

They mentored me, taught me all I know about donor relations and stewardship, but no one in the Catholic 7 did this moreso or better than Martha. Of all of them, it was Martha with whom I had the strongest connection, for this once-her-student worker-stuffing-envelopes-now-professional-colleague relationship was a unique concoction. One part bemusement, the other part pride, in that circle I was hers: a graduate of her college, a product of her office. All I wanted to do was to make her look good, to make her proud.

Martha died yesterday morning and I felt a part of myself crumble. I was sitting in a hospital as The Husband was undergoing surgery as the news streamed through my cell phone from college friends. I realized again how lucky I was to have known Martha in the different roles I’ve played – a student worker, an alumni volunteer, a professional peer and colleague. I thought of my days with the formidable women of The Catholic 7 and hoped that their institutions of Catholic higher education, like the one I’m a proud graduate of, realize just how many riches untold and uncounted are owed to their alumni director. They stand today on the seeds sown by these often unsung women.

As we mourn Martha and share our memories and heartbreak, we remember how special she made us feel. And we realize that in our sadness, she has stealthily done it once again. She has made it seem so easy. By connecting us in our grief, she has strengthened our everlasting and unchanging bonds to each other – for in the end, that’s all any of us have – while bringing us right back to our roots and to where we spread our wings to fly.

 

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Still Remembered

Kristin Mitchell, on her
May 15, 2005 graduation day
from Saint Joseph’s University.

We were in the ladies room before our afternoon presentation, making the type of small talk common to business associates that have just met.

“So. Where are you from, originally?” my counterpart asked, correctly detecting that my accent was not of Pittsburgh origins.

“Philadelphia,” I answered.

My colleague nodded, affirming what she had guessed.

“Where exactly, in Philadelphia?”

I answered with my hometown and, for good measure, my college alma mater.

“Oh, wow,” she said. “I went to St. Joe’s.”

A round of NoKiddingSmallWorld commenced. I asked when she graduated; she answered with a year so far enough removed from those of any mutual friends we would possibly have in common. She mentioned a year.  I drew in a breath. I did, as it turned out, know someone who attended St. Joe’s around that time.

“Did you happen to know Kristin Mitchell?” I asked.

A pause.

“Oh ….” An intake of breath. “Yes. I did. She was two years older than me.”

We went quiet.

“I know the family,” I said, by way of explanation. “I never actually had the chance to meet her, but I’ve met her family during a few events at my previous job with a domestic violence program.”

“It was her boyfriend, right? Who killed her?”

Text that Kristin Mitchell sent to her boyfriend.
She would be killed just a few hours later.
It would be her father who would retrieve the text from his daughter’s phone.

“Yes.”

As I drove home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how improbable it was that I would meet someone in this tiny hamlet on a mountain who also knew Kristin and her story.

I thought about how this week had brought another anniversary to the Mitchell family, that of 7 years since her parents and brother last saw Kristin, on her graduation day from St. Joseph’s University.  It would also be the first time they would meet her boyfriend, the same one who would kill their daughter just three weeks later on June 3, stabbing her more than 50 times as Kristin attempted to break up with him.

I thought about how different things could have been – should have been – for Kristin. How she should have been leading a life like that of my business colleague and myself, with a career and a family.

I thought about my 10 year old daughter I was heading home to, about how the conversations in our house are changing, about how we are talking a lot about healthy relationships and how someone should treat you in a relationship. I thought about how much I want her to know.

I thought about how much I wanted Kristin’s family to know that even in this tiny, rural town, hundreds of miles from where they last saw her, that afternoon Kristin was most definitely remembered.

From “Forever 21,” written on August 24, 2010 (Kristin’s birthday):

At 21, Kristin Mitchell had her entire life ahead of her. 

She had a brand new college degree from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. A family bursting with pride, with love. A wonderful job lined up with a well-known international food company.

And a boyfriend who killed her – three weeks after this photo was taken.

Three weeks.

Her entire life.

Kristin was in the process of ending the relationship when her boyfriend came to her Conshohocken, Pa. apartment. He had some possessive tendencies.

Kristin didn’t know trying to leave him would leave him so violent, so enraged that he would stab her more than 50 times in her own kitchen. She didn’t know what domestic violence experts know, that statistics show that the leaving is the most dangerous time in a relationship.

She didn’t know that she was, at 21, a victim of domestic abuse.

It is because of the efforts of her friends and family, who established The Kristin Mitchell Foundation in her memory, that many more people now know what Kristin and her friends tragically did not. That dating violence is real. That it is prevalent. That there are warning signs. That there is help. 

That it can and does happen on idyllic college campuses to 21 year old students whose whole lives are ahead of them.

We worry about our kids as we let go, as we send them on their way to begin their lives whether it is on an innocent playground or an idyllic college campus. We worry about  who they choose to accept into their midst. 

We worry about what they don’t know.  

We worry about what we, as their parents, don’t know.

And even if we’re not parents, we worry about what lurks, who is plotting harm, who we know (and who we don’t) that has the capability to stab us 50 times, in our kitchen or randomly on the street in broad daylight.  

Sometimes, as in the tragedy that befell the Mitchell family, our greatest fears and those we didn’t know were our greatest fears actually become our own personal reality show, one with reruns nonstop on every unchangeable channel of our lives.  

And then it is back to the beginning, of trying to prevent and spread awareness and educate and inform of the dangers we know are out there.  Of keeping vigil and remaining vigilant, of keeping hold while letting go.  

Click here for more information about The Kristin Mitchell Foundation, Kristin’s Krusade, as well as what to do if you suspect someone is a victim of dating violence and domestic abuse. 

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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