Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Passing of a Warrior

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

~ Robert Frost



The world and I lost a dear friend today. We lost a true warrior for what is Right and Good in this world. Words and poetry alone cannot express the depth of loss I feel right now.

I knew this woman, this warrior.

Today, I honor the memory of Denessa Smith, who passed last night.

Denessa had a beautiful daughter, Tempest. Young Tempest had been bullied and harrassed since second grade for being different from other students in her Michigan school because of her religion.

Tempest was raised Wiccan, an honorable and benevolent religion that honors all living things as Divine. It may not be my choice of path, but it was hers and her mothers and she walked it with beauty, practicing in a quiet, family-based way that caused no harm to anyone.

The bullying reached such a crescendo that this little girl felt she had no other choice but not to walk among those who would make her life here so miserable and devoid of compassion any longer. Sadly, at 12 years of age, Tempest committed suicide.

As a mother, I cannot imagine the heartache and fury Denessa felt at this terrible tragedy and loss. In time, she took that energy and channeled it into gaining the skill sets that would help her in building a foundation to benefit other youngsters who were persecuted, harrassed and bullied. She created the
TempestSmithFoundation.

I have donated to this foundation, participated in the fundraisers, spoken several times at length with Denessa, danced, drummed and celebrated by her side. We talked parenting mostly, she was always interested in my kids' experiences at school.

She was an incredible woman with a passion for creating understanding and raising awareness of bullying with teens and adults alike, so no one else had to suffer as her child did.

Denessa Smith was a warrior for tolerance in every sense of the word.

She was one of those people you "felt" walk into a room, the energy and drive was that high around her. Yet she always made time to talk with you and share a smile.

From the Tempest Smith Foundation
website:

When Tempest died, Denessa donated her daughter’s organs to the Gift of Life Foundation. She has since become a registered spokesperson and greater advocate for the Gift of Life and does work with the National Kidney Foundation. Denessa is also a registered candidate for bone marrow donation with the National Marrow Donor Program.

For the last five years, Denessa has become actively involved in several community organizations. She joined DeMolay with her son and became an Advisor for the Masonic youth group. She also joined the Order of the Eastern Star to show more support for the Masonic organization.

Through the Meals on Wheels program, Denessa has brought together people from many organizations and multiple communities.

In September 2001, PaganPride.org created a Memorial Page in honor of Tempest. Thousands of people from all over the globe have pledged themselves to being part of the resolution against intolerance. By reading this, you, too, have become a part of the bigger picture — a grand portrait of tolerance, where you can be you and Tempest is free.
***

Today, I honor the passing of a Warrior.

Denessa,

Fly Free. Your son is safe and loved. Your work will continue. Be at peace with your daughter. Rest a while and enjoy her company.

4 comments:

Spiral said...

Have you heard what took Denessa? I know that she passed, but I haven't been able to find out why or what happened.

Astaria66 said...

She was taken due to complications from surgery. It was very sudden. We invite all those who cannot join the community to send their thoughts and comments to the family at www.mec-mi.org.

Denessa Smith Memorial Celebration

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
7pm to 10 pm
7:30 pm Ritual
Bishop Park, Wyandotte, MI

Please join the Pagan community to honor Denessa's life and work. Come raise your voices with Michelle Belanger, Dorothy Morrison, Coventry Creations, Cov/42 Productions, FOCAS, MEC, Pagan Path Community Center, Pagan Pride Detroit, Undeniable Entertainment, Witches of Michigan and members of the Tempest Smith Foundation along with tributes from Christopher Penczak and Kerr Cuhulain.

Denessa was able to bring hope out of tragedy, and that will be our goal with this group ritual.

This ceremony is going to be a memorial, but it is also going to be a celebration. Denessa was a woman who drank deeply of wine and pleasure and flesh and joy, and, accordingly, we ask that people bring their best desserts and other favorite sweets and drinks to share (as it's a public park, no alcohol). Please also bring a chair. If you have not shared comments for the family at www.mec-mi.org, feel free to bring a single page with a blessing, comment, or prayer for Denessa that will be passed on to the family.

If you would like to make donations to the family or to continue Denessa's vision, you may bring a check made out to Annette Crossman or follow the instructions on the above website.

"JEANNELLE" said...

I'm sorry to hear of your friend Denessa's passing.....and Tempest's tragic story.

Deb Estep - Proud AF Mom said...

In Memory of Denessa and her daughter....


The Other Side

I'm over on the other side
where life and death softly divide.
Left my skin and bones behind
now I'm over on the other side.

Can you feel me there with you?
My breath is gone but I'm not through.
Loved you then and i still do
from over on the other side.

I can fly. really fly.
below the earth ... all through the sky.
Tell em all I did not die.
I'm just over on the other side.

It's good here on the other side.
The sweetest songs...the bluest skies.
Thank you for the tears you cried
but it's good here on the other side.

I can fly. really fly. below the earth...all through the sky.
Tell em all I did not die.
I'm just over on the other side

The world is smaller than a needle's eye.
Where life and death softly divide.
When you leave your skin and bones behind
I'll be waiting on the other side.

I can fly. really fly. below the earth ... all through the sky.
Go tell em all I did not die.
I'm just over on the other side.

Paradox of Grace - CD
Credits:
Don Conoscenti: all instruments, lead vocal, high vocal at end
Ellis Paul: harmony vocals
Released 2001


http://www.donconoscenti.com/index.php?page=songs&display=9