Turning Grief into Positive Work
The Next Chapter - My New Path
On March 16, 2017 my daughter Hillary had a seizure and died in her sleep at the age of 28. It was the darkest day of my life and left me feeling as though my heart was torn from my chest, a feeling of disbelief, a hope that I would awake from a terrible nightmare. I was lost for words; I was angry, very angry and felt that the lord cheated me by taking away one of my most valued treasures in life. Once Daddy’s Little Girl, now Daddy’s angel.
Hillary’s zest for life was contagious and it showed in her work, friendships, and life overall. As a child Hillary was active in sports and many school activities. Always putting her all into everything she did. In her short 28 years, she touched many lives both young and old. Those that knew Hillary will attest that her loving and caring nature, her smile, and her laughter would bring joy and happiness to all.
Hillary’s professional life was that of being a teacher and tutor of children with autism. When she was younger, Hillary also volunteered several times at Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine as a counselor. Camp Sunshine is a retreat for children with life threatening illnesses and their family.
As we planned Hillary’s funeral, I kept asking myself how I was going to go on without her. No parent should have to bury their child. It is a feeling that words can’t describe. As I observed the hundreds of people that attended her service and I listened intently to the words spoken by the priest at our church, I found my answer. It was when he said that “tomorrow is not guaranteed” that I knew he was right and I decided I could either stay angry and sad and do nothing or that I could get busy keeping her short legacy alive. The night of her funeral I could not sleep. I was awake thinking, reflecting on the 28 years I had with her. From the day she was born until her death, she was my baby, my little girl, and now my angel. I was determined to carry on her work, that is what she would want me to do. Not that I could be the teacher or tutor she was, but I knew how to make a difference and turn my grief into positive work.
The Next Chapter - My New Path – Hillary A. (Bartlett) Newsome Foundation, Inc. has been formed. This is who we are:
Our mission is to continue Hillary’s work in changing the lives of children with autism, special needs, and life threatening illnesses, by offering Hope, Courage, and Acceptance. Our work will be diligent and tireless, but rewarding to those we serve and our team.
To provide long term financial assistance to children and their families that are affected by autism, special needs, and life threatening illnesses, in an effort to enhance their quality of life by inspiring people to help us make a difference.
This is my story of Turning Grief into Positive Work. This is Hillary’s continued story as carried out by those who loved her.
Take a look around at our site and join us, get involved. On our blog you’ll find updates on what we’ve been up to, on our events page you’ll find next fundraisers and community events we’re attending, etc….. check out our online store etc ..join us and volunteer with us etc..
With Warmest Regards,
Dan Bartlett (aka PaPa Dukies)