Touched By So Much Kindness (…and now I’m back!)

Touched by so much kindness…

Heart and soul, she’s still with me. And I can even have my very own “Flat Stanley” version of her too! (I can feel her smiling…and rolling her eyes… at me right now as I take this photo!

As many of you know our family has been riding the emotional roller coaster since my oldest daughters passing on January 18 from breast cancer. It was the hardest thing I have ever faced.  After taking time off to recoup and regroup, I tried to jump back into work as a form of therapy which worked good for the most part but of course, there were “those days.” One such morning I awoke at 4:30AM unable to get back to sleep. I padded out to my front room, crawled into my favorite chair with my favorite mug of my favorite herbal tea and started to scroll through emails to get a jump start on my day. As I did so, I came across an email from a woman I did not know who is a follower and fan of my work. She expressed her condolences in the sweetest, most heartfelt and sincere way. In her note she reminded me that like my daughter, I too was “Crazy Brave & Wicked Strong” enough to get through this without ever letting anyone “Dull My Sparkle.” (Thank you Beth!)

The tipping point…

Not that every message I received didn’t touch me, but this particular note at this particular moment became the tipping point for me moving forward.   I was suddenly overcome by the kindness that had been extended by so many people who had reached out. I had kept them all, from day one. So that morning I reread them all, I was touched to the point of tears at the kindness of people I didn’t know who acted on the prompting to reach out to me. The familiar tone in their words I realized were because they felt that through my writing, they knew me. They had each quoted, one way or another, a line or title of my writings that got them through a tough day and were now there to throw my words right back at me!  What surprised me the most was that I felt I knew them right back.  These wonderful, wacky, women all over the globe were in fact a whole lot like me and were compelled to reach out to a sister in need.

Kindness is so underrated.

In a world that, if you believe the news, is filled with hatred and anger, selfishness and conceit, we each have the opportunity to do something to make a difference in someone else’s life. I’ve heard stories of lines of people offering to pay of the coffee order of the person in line behind them. (I heard in Seattle it went 9 cars deep!)  I’ve seen countless volunteer hours being given at youth centers, thrift stores, school and charities. I have witnessed an outpouring of help at events we have sponsored and I am continually stunned by the selfless acts of charity I see. Yet today, as I read through these notes I am struck by how simple and easy it is to simply act on the prompting to write a note to someone who more than anything, needs the balm of kindness. Because in a world where we can be and do anything, the most simple, inexpensive and effortless thing we can do is be kind.

You Lift Me Up…

As I write this short, quick blog post I have tears running down my face but they are tears of joy. I am so grateful that my art and writing, my family and friends and spiritual faith has truly given me a life worth loving despite the trials I have faced. But the blessing I am most grateful for it that God didn’t expect me to face them alone. He gave me you and your unending endearing kindness. From the bottom of my wild, wacky heart, thank you so much.

You’ve Inspired Me!

By the way… I feel like “I’m back!” I find myself now laughing at the fun memories of my daughter and hauling around this goofy paint stick with a cut out of her on it. I’m having fun having “her” show up in the most unusual places!  And I am more committed that ever before to not only consciously embrace kindness as a way of life but to spread it around like glitter. (An you know me and my passion for glitter! Rob, my art director here at my studio just hid the can of spray adhesive from me in an attempt to spare himself from leaving the studio today with a glittery coat of sticky goo all over him.!)

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Pamela Moore

    I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. It is a pain I haven’t experienced in the same way . My sister, whose name is also Suzy, lost her 34 year old son to drug addiction 4 weeks ago after an eight year battle. Her pain is almost unbearable at times. I have shared your sayings and art with her before and need to do so again. She could use a little joy. Thank you for sharing and for brightening the world. I hope to see you in Venice this weekend.

  2. Robin Phillips

    Your work lifts me up everyday. I can be sad and silly (your gift of fun in all circumstances). Grateful for you.

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Thanks Robin. I too am choosing to embrace joy today in my own silly way! (Silly is underrated too. Sometimes being goofy is just what I need to pull me out of a slump!)

  3. Bonnie Fowler

    Suzy, thank you so much for the reminder that a little kindness goes a long way. Even a smile can change a not-so-good day to a day where you are willing to pass that smile on to the next person.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I lost my husband 11 years ago, and sometimes I am still overcome by the “waves of grief” that unexpectedly knock me over like a giant wave at the shore. There I am “struggling to get my breath and to stand on my two feet” while in the grocery store, or driving in traffic, or in a movie because I have just been whammed by a memory, a song, a person, or the realization that I don’t need a table for two anymore. Those moments still come, but they are less frequent than they once were. The Lord will send people into your life to help you when you need it. I know your personality from your writing and your sweet thoughts with your art; I know you may hide under the bed sometimes, but you will crawl out, and that is what matters. My prayers are with you.

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Thanks Bonnie. I do accept that i am still in “process” and their will still be slumps ahead. But I am bracing myself for them with friends like you who have walked the same path and are also determined to continue to live a life worth LOVING! …Suzy

  4. Lorraine giannini

    I’ve just learned of your loss. My heart is full of prayer for you and yours. Loosing a child has to be a hard thing to bear. Glad you are doing better at this point. She of course will always be with you. Your saying is on my shelf and it helps me everyday. “Don’t let any one dill your sparkle. Hugs to you and strength for you on your journey. A follower.

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Oh good, Lorraine… we can keep sparkling together!…Suzy

  5. Linda

    Your art work has been a special part of my life for many years. The loss of one’s child is so difficult, however you have a great soul and outlook on life to help carry you through; plus lots of people who are sharing your sorrow even though you don’t know us. (Though I did get to meet you at the Albuquerque balloon art festival years ago.). Now there is no more pain for your daughter, and what joy in heaven as she feasts at the Lord’s table this Easter. Peace surround you. 🙏🏻❤️

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Indeed, Linda, I love the thought that she is pain free, surrounded by the glory of her incredible life she lived. God is great and I know HE has my back in this journey…Suzy

  6. Debra Diane Richardson


    1. Suzy Toronto

      Thanks Debra… I’ll keep shining if you’ll agree to shine with me!…Suzy

  7. Ann Foster

    Your writings got me through the storm after I lost my husband. That is when I became a fan and have not left since then. I truly love your drawings and cannot throw my calendars away. I recycle them by using them on recycled creations that I enjoy in my 1966 vintage trailer and girl trip suitcases. Thanks for all the happiness you create….keep some of it for yourself!! So sad to hear of you daughter’s passing.

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Thank you Ann..and now I wanna see your travel trailer, suitcase and other girlie stuff. I’ve seen the trailers that Sisters in The Fly create and I’m almost ready to learn how to fly fish just to join them…Suzy PS…Send me some pics, please

  8. Lori Gangelhoff

    I didn’t know how to send you a note till I saw the link today. I too have had to weather the storm of losing my husband so I wanted to send some love to you as it is now you need it the most. Maybe all of us can be the Lighthouse in your storm and let you know you will pull through this but it sure helps knowing others care. I do and send my prayers to you. Your truly sparkle even in the midst of your pain.

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Thank you Lori… I love the idea that you can be my lighthouse on the days that Im struggling to shine. …Suzy

  9. Karen Purner Sandy

    Suzy, first I wanted to let you know that EVERY email that I receive from you brightens my day. Your positive, vibrant outlook on life is contagious and I wish more people were like you. I’m hoping to come to one of your shows sometime and meet you. Most importantly, my condolenses on the passing of your daughter, I hope God continues to give you the strength to make it though each day. I cried when I read that she had passed.

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Thank you Karen…and I would love to meet you at a show. Please please please, if ever in Florida, come…and be sure to tell me who you are!!!! Your post here just made my day …Suzy

  10. Sandy beggs

    Dear friend
    I am so very sorry for your loss, you are in my prayers.

    1. Suzy Toronto

      Dear Sandy, I am keenly aware of every prayer being offered in our family’s behalf. This is a blessing I do not take lightly….Suzy

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