Crying Out Loud

Valerie Randall's death, my grief, and the memorial gifts we made for her family

By nature, I am a private person and have a hard time baring my wounds—real and imagined—to the world.

Since July 2013, I’ve been in virtual hiding, and with few exceptions, choosing to leave the internet, and all its peccadillos behind. After spending an average of 10-12 hours a day, for almost 2 ½ years, invested in an online business, I was mentally exhausted; creatively spent. I needed time to rejuvenate, renew, and revive.

Valerie Randall’s unexpected death shocked me back into reality.

Now I find myself in a place of great discomfort. And I realized I need to welcome the sensation, hold it ever-so close, as discomfort is one essential element of dealing with grief.

For weeks, I’ve been mad at The Universe for stealing her away, jealous of those who last saw her. Longing for one last conversation or email or laugh. And it makes me want to weep.

A few days ago, I had a moment of clarity during an online conversation:

but one thing that’s helped me, in putting together the books and rereading her posts and journaling… she spent the last year and a half telling everyone goodbye. she went on special dates with all her CA friends before she left – weeks and weeks of it, then took a long time traveling across the states to stop every day and spend with a friend. she journaled on and on about dealing with the grief over losing her dad, her mom, her marriage, her job, and her aunt. in her own way, she was preparing us and showing us how, with grace, humility, integrity, and love, we could learn to live an even richer life than before.

That one explosion of thought, typed in a chat as if I were talking out loud, brought my grief to another place—that of Comfort. And of Peace.

 
As a tribute to Valerie, and her never-ending influence on our lives, the former Happy To Create team and our creative friends contributed to make two books as a memorial gift for her brother and niece.

 

 

digital scrapbooking book dedication

Valerie Randall was a born storyteller.

And hers was a story we longed to hear.

Using illustration, photography, and digital scrapbooking, Valerie’s open, honest sharing—telling her life story—warmed our hearts and opened our minds.

Facing life’s quirks with her trademark serenity, V used her talents in a symphony of creative expression—and enriched our souls as well.

This book is dedicated to V’s inspiration, artistry, and, above all, the love.

From her Happy Family,
Amanda Fraijo-Tobin, Amanda McGee, Ariadna Wiczling, Brandie Valenzuela, Caroline Kaiser, Erica Hite, Georgia Oliver, Heidi Dillon, Jan Hicks, Janine Buckles, Julie Hilscher-Enriquez, Karen Chandler, Kim Thompson, ‎Leslie Grassi, Marnie Adams, Melanie Johnson, ‎Rosemary Siewert, Theresa Kavouras, and Trish Yochum

 
photography book dedication

Everyone remembers the exact moment they met Valerie Randall.

Magic seems to work that way.

And Valerie had us under her spell from the start. As a mystic, mentor, and muse to so many, she bewitched us with her talent, her wit, and her mesmerizing spirit.

Through connections in person and in cyberspace, V conjured a family out of friends—the most potent magic of all.

This book is dedicated to V’s inspiration, artistry, and, above all, the love.

From her Happy Family,
Amanda Fraijo-Tobin, Amanda McGee, Ariadna Wiczling, Brandie Valenzuela, Caroline Kaiser, Erica Hite, Georgia Oliver, Heidi Dillon, Jan Hicks, Janine Buckles, Julie Hilscher-Enriquez, Karen Chandler, Kim Thompson, ‎Leslie Grassi, Marnie Adams, Melanie Johnson, ‎Rosemary Siewert, Theresa Kavouras, and Trish Yochum

 
P.S. I know in my heart, Valerie is smiling. My copy of her books arrived today, her birthday.


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