My daughter, AVA, committed suicide two months ago after struggling on so many levels:  fighting chronic severe depression, being bullied at work, exhaustion from college, worry over money  and pushing for nothing short of perfection in every performance, especially her career as an opera singer.

As a very serious, devoted opera geek and full lyric soprano, every note, every syllable, every dialect, every language (German, Italian, French, English, Czech, etc.) had to be studied over and over and over until every molecule of her body vibrated and celebrated the aria, the opera and the passion of the moment. Truly a revolutionary woman not only in her own words but of those who were privileged to hear her perform but who love her and call her friend (present tense intentional).

How do I know all this? I’ve just spent eight weeks listening to every single recording of every single lesson she had over the last several years and being embraced by each of those wonderful performers who love her and call her friend. I feel more at home in Vegas with these wonderful men and women than I do in my own state.

As a public speaker, I know what it’s like to put your all into what you’re doing behind the podium or on the stage but certainly not to the level of performers who put their guts on the stage when they get up there to entertain the public with their jokes, magic, singing, comedy, acting, music, voice… They are exceptional, loving individuals and a clan of their own…a true all-for-one-and-one-for-all group the likes of which I’ve NEVER experienced before. They are not only Ava’s tribe but mine as well.

It is that reason why I am driven, yet again, to not just step outside my comfort zone but leap into mid-air off a bazillion foot cliff to start AVA’S CORNER.ORG with an associated Hotline, initially in Vegas, to be that source for these extremely sensitive, loving people who may feel the need to search for assistance regarding a concern or want a caring person on the other end of the Hotline to listen to whatever it is they need to say with understanding, acceptance and assistance.

Ava’s Corner will trump every negative site my daughter searched that fateful night. It will be the FIRST place a person goes when searching all topics related to “suicide”. It’s my belief we should always dream in terms of a perfect world and work backwards so all you website people are cringing over the task, I only know that none of my previous experience as a commercial real estate title insurance underwriting, real estate law or consulting work ever prepared me for this and I’m just gonna’ jump in with my whole being because there is a need! Tell me what you CAN do…not what you can’t do!

We’re creating an album to be called “all things AVA”. We (Ava and all who has  written a song, a poem or a melody to go with Ava’s lyrics or anything related) are collaborating our love and our efforts to raise money for our efforts to assist with mental health resources and to help prevent as many suicides as possible in the performance industry with the power of positive influence. Every performer will receive full credit for their work including a Bio with photo of each artistic contributor of this beautiful collaborative effort will help fund AVA’s Corner & Hotline.

So far, we are hoping to have AVA singing art songs and arias “Trials and Tribulations of Love”, along with Jenni Kearns orchestrating melodies to Ava’s lyrics, performances by Mirjana Milovanovic, Marisa Johnson, Carmen A. Woodruff, Susanne Knauf’s melody, Beauregard Higgins performing his original song he wrote for Ava, Vital Germaine’s poem with his painting of Ava on the cover, Scott Gordon’s poem, Charly Urso performing his original song, Mirjana performing her original song and anyone else who has an original piece written for Ava. You just need let me know so we can review it.

I want this to be a collaborative effort of all of us to share and enjoy for a long time but also to give credit to some beautiful and talented people who love Ava dearly and will always feel that way. All proceeds will go to the Trust (or non-profit organization…haven’t decided which was is best yet) which I will form when I’m back in Georgia that will fund Ava’s Corner & Hotline.

I have plenty of artists (of all persuasions) but I don’t have a person to assist in creating the website. If you need money to do this and you’re the right person, contact me and I’ll see what we can do to come up with $$. Without the website (the right one, that is) this will never leave the ground. The web creator must “get” what we’re doing and feel passionate about its creation. As the focus will naturally be Vegas, I would love to have a Vegas creator who understands performers.

We’re rapidly building our team! If you feel the callin’ to join us, please reply to this message. Even if you can’t join us but have ideas, bring ’em on! If you can’t do either, support our efforts with love and appreciation for all those performers you’ve enjoyed.

Although I’ve been immersed dealing with this unimaginable loss and with giving all her possessions away to friends, family and loved ones from Vegas to Montreal to Florida, I have one last task. Ava and I were to go camping in the redwood forest where God lives in northern California. It’s a bitter-sweet expectation. I’d told her about this place for over 15 years and, this year, was the year. I cry each time I think about not having her with me on this next Great Adventure and I doubt if I’ll ever think about it without a tear no matter how many years pass. But, rest assured, I’ll be working diligently on this project as well as the big picture of a greater good.

Ava’s last head shot taken in Austria summer, 2011.

I also tear up at how amazing each of her friends embraced me as their own family as they did Ava…how hugging, loving and accepting of us both. And, as each of you pick up the pieces of the lives you had before all this happened, know that I know you haven’t forgotten. It’s just a necessity of living. I’ll be back soon!

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