We lost Liz to a lifelong battle with depression on January 2, 2018, a week before her 28th birthday. It has been a whirlwind of a year trying to process this tragedy and navigate the everyday "whys" that we’re sure will never pass from sight. The only sense of comfort we have is her soft and gentle spirit that still surrounds us, knowing she is in a better place, mended, and free from this inconceivable pain. Even so, our hearts ache every single day, wishing she was here, wishing we could have done something to change the past and everything that followed.
Liz has always been compassionate and charming, a true lover-of-all. She wouldn’t hurt a fly ― in fact, if she saw a fly with a broken wing she would take the time to nurse it back to health (who does that?) She loved her animals (all the rescued kitties), horses especially. She began riding at a young age and was a natural from the start. Instructors were always impressed with her horsemanship, but even more than trotting, cantering and jumping, she loved taking care of these creatures ― grooming, grazing, finding a deeper, spiritual connection with each horse she rode, letting them roam free. She has too many first place ribbons and trophies to count, but even when she stopped competing, she still held trail rides and her time at the barn close to her heart. She always felt free on “Pepper,“ “Missy,” and “Whitey.“
Since childhood, she was soft-spoken yet inquisitive, wise and witty beyond her years. We always say Liz was the type of girl and go-getter who could file her taxes at age 12. She was studious and responsible, intelligent and creative. Liz earned her Bachelor’s degree on her own, and graduated with honors that led her to a promising career. She loved music and knew every word to every Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd album ever released, grew up loving the Beatles, played the flute, and later mastered the violin. She was a trivia genius and could spew random facts that no one knew (or should know). She had the most interesting mind ― just another reason everyone loved her company. Never a dull moment with someone so bright.
She was always searching for peace and serenity, and found a strong sense of balance in yoga. She practiced weekly, sometimes on her own. She once rented a yurt in Michigan (by herself) to find an escape from the world and feel closer to nature. She would do yoga on its wrap-around porch, among the trees, sounds of the nearby river streaming through. She collected feathers from nearby trails and created her own dreamcatcher, and would read books in the yurt’s loft to fall asleep.
Liz loved to cook, and would always bring everyone’s favorite dishes to holidays. Bacon brussels sprouts, Mediterranean couscous salad, her very own “Holy Macaroons,“ that were always absolutely delicious. She loved a good craft beer, but even more, she loved her whiskey ― would always opt for a Manhattan over a girly glass of wine. Her taste was unmatched.
The way Liz treated others and the way she left a positive mark on everyone she crossed was something truly special. It didn’t matter how much time had passed, friends from years back always felt an intense and lifelong connection, even if they reconnected with Liz once every few years. She had friends from 2nd grade who’d lost touch but still considered her one of their best, someone they could always turn to for advice, comfort and love.
Liz had always advocated to love and save mother earth; she requested a green burial, which emphasizes simplicity and environmental sustainability. Forever teaching us something new, we learned how to mix and plant her ashes with a white oak seedling. Liz, the nature-lover she was, is giving her molecules “back to the earth” in the form of a beautiful, white oak tree―a tree we can visit and watch grow with time.
In addition to watching Liz grow, we’ve chosen to honor her life by joining a community of nearly 250k people walking in hundreds of cities across the country in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. There is no single cause to suicide. It often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Depression is ugly, more widespread than we’d ever imagined, and, unfortunately, on the rise. Our goal is to raise as much money as possible to help fund research to improve interventions, train clinicians in suicide prevention, bring awareness to the issue of post-operative depression, and advocate for policy that will save lives ― so that no family has to endure the pain of losing someone to suicide, and so that people affected by mental health conditions know there is a way and will out of this darkness.
We hope you’ll join us in these efforts by joining our team and walking with us, in honor of Liz and so many others who battle the deep and dark depths of depression every day, or donating to one of our team members. All donations are 100% tax deductible and will help bring AFSP one step closer to achieving our collective and bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025. ©
Peace, Love & Liz ― Lisa & Ally