Our daughter Samantha was the single most kind and gentle person that I have ever known. Growing up, she was so happy, always laughing, quick to see the humour in things, and always the first to reach out if she saw someone in need.
I remember when she came to build houses with us in the Dominican for families that had nowhere to live, and later to a school in Haiti that we helped to build and fund for children that had never gone to school before, she always had the local kids hanging all over her, on her back, sitting on her lap, coloring with her, Samantha’s heart and smile was like a magnet to those around her. She was full of love and full of life.
And then a few years ago, unbeknownst to us, a few kids in her class started to bully her relentlessly, and without mercy, and for no reason other than she was vulnerable. Because she didn’t have a mean bone in her body, she couldn’t understand how anyone could direct so much hatred at an individual for no reason. She felt it must have somehow been her fault, that she was deserved of the hate and abuse. Unfortunately her classmates chose to be bystanders and ignore what was happening to her, which only confirmed in her mind that she really was worthless.
Of all the atrocities in this world that we as a human race inflict on others, there is nothing so terribly evil than stealing the joy, and the dreams, and the hope, of an innocent and loving person.
I’d like you all to close your eyes for a minute, think of all the things in your life that make you happy, everything that gives you joy, and then imagine the utter despair you would feel if all of a sudden people started to tell you how worthless you were, how stupid you are, and that every person you know turned their backs on you and did nothing, left you feeling completely isolated, alone, and all for absolutely no reason at all.
In Loving Memory Of Samantha Evelyn Joan Mason(Left)
In 2015, Samantha ended her life, a life that in a very short time went from utter joy and happiness to a feeling of complete despair and worthlessness.
As human beings, we all go through stages as we grieve. One of the things we do is look for some kind of meaning in the death of a loved one. Some people give their lives fighting for the lives and rights of other, such as our military and armed forces. Others give their lives in the line of duty saving others, firefighters, police officers and such. I’ve struggled to find meaning in my daughter’s death, as her life wasn’t given, it was taken from her, through ignorance and hate.
Shortly after her death we found a note on her phone which said quite simply, “goodbye”, and “I wonder if anyone will remember me?”
So, I ask you all, please remember my daughter Samantha, and while doing so I ask that you make a conscious decision to do everything in your power to put an end to bullying.
Those of you who bully, stop, show everyone how strong or how cool you really are by standing with someone who needs you rather than ostracizing them. Show your strength through love and compassion rather than through the cowardice of hate and ridicule.
Those of you who have witnessed bullying and have chosen to be a bystander, stop, befriend someone that needs your strength, your friendship, reaffirm that their lives matter, that they are important. They will become the best friends you could ever have.
And for those of you who are or have been the victim of bullying, know that you are worthy of all the happiness and joy that life has to offer you, and know also that this will not last. It may seem like eternity, but this is a very short moment in your life, things will get better. Reach out and speak to someone, get some help in working through this, talk to your parents. Remember you have your whole lives to look forward to.
When I think of all the things that Samantha will never do, her first date, her first kiss, her first dance, falling in love, having children, all of this was taken from her.
And so I ask all of you from the bottom of my heart, fulfill Samantha’s last wish and remember her. you are the only ones that can create something positive from this tragedy, let us all learn from it and once and for all put an end to bullying.