In December 2013 a good friend of mine sent me a link accompanied by the words:
"Are you familiar with this story yet? if not, let me warn you it's a very emotional page which has brought me to tears".He was right: this Facebok page has totally been worth following since, and it had brought me to tears more than once - as well as my audiences in my various talks, lessons and lectures since.
CJ Twomey was 20 years old when he had a fight with his mother, Hallie. She thought it was just a mother-and-son argument - but he walked out of the door and shot himself.
Hallie has been dealing both with losing her son and with knowing the last words exchanged between them were harsh.
This page came into being in November 2013 by sharing a post originally created by Hallie in her profile:
The original post had 40 shares from the page and 400 shares from the profile. Here are some quotes from it (John is her husband, Connor is her younger son. The phrasing of the request has been altered since somewhat, but the essence of her original request remains the same):
"Our son did not get to see the world as he might have if he had lived. Our son did not experience travel as he might have if he had lived. Our son did not experience adventures as he might have if he had lived.
He just didn't. And it breaks my heart.
And it makes me want to give him these things if I can.
John and I want our beloved Shmoops to see the world, to BECOME part of a world he didn't get to see.
We believe that CJ would be happy to know that caring and sensitive people, both friends and strangers alike, took him on an adventure and sprinkled a small portion of his ashes in places worth seeing.
We've scattered some of his ashes but we have a lot left.
Would love to have people, through the power of social media, spread this post to see if anyone out there would be willing to take some of our son's ashes and show him the world. To show him a beautiful place he never made it to and to scatter his ashes at that location.
All I ask is that you promise to think of my amazing son even if you didn't know him. That you think about all the lives he saved through organ donation. That you tell him that his mom will always love him. And that's she sorry. YOU MUST AGREE TO SAY THAT. Because I am and I need him to hear it as the last thing he hears before he takes off.
AM I CRAZY?
Are there people out there that are willing to help this heartbroken mom give her beloved son one last adventure?
SUICIDE IS A BEAST.
I can't let the beast win.
I MUST find a way for my son to soar across the universe".
The page has been liked by more than 21,000 people since.
The (very long) list of the places where CJ was scattered at can be found here (Tamar, I would love for you to please get in touch). Pictures can be found here and videos here, as well as on Youtube and Vimeo.
In April 2015 I was able to supply CJ with another resting place, as I scattered him in Yerevan, Armenia. I was nervous the envelope won't get to me in time, and then I was nervous someone at the airport might question what I carry in my bag, and then I was nervous someone might say I can't scatter him, so I didn't tell anyone what I was going to do until the deed was done.
Turns out the only thing I didn't worry about and should have, was the weather: I couldn't postpone it any longer, which is why I scattered CJ on a cloudy day when the beautiful mount Ararat behind me was completely concealed.
This is what the mountain looked like that day - or to be more precise, didn't look like:
This is what it looked like from that exact same spot on another day (later, after I left Armenia back to Israel):
The album from my scattering in can be found here and the video can be found here:
Social media has definitely worked its magic with Hallie's request - but this was a mutual, reciprocal process, as Hallie doesn't sugar-coat her grief, pain and guilt over her son's suicide, and in so doing, has touched a lot of hearts. Here are a few examples:
Social media can be a source for feeling alone and lonely - and it can also bring people closer and make them feel connected. Scattering CJ is definitely of the later group.
May you find peace, CJ - after death, and Hallie (and John & Connor too of course) in life.