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To Amy Bleuel, Founder of Project Semicolon

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Dear Amy,

My name is Haley. I am 18, I love raspberries, I have an odd love for cats, elephants and sloths and Disney movies are a form of self-care for me. Now, I don’t know you, and you do not know me. Today, I came across an article that told me the founder of Project Semicolon had died. Let me pause for a moment, because there is more to me than those silly facts I listed. I have my battles. I talk about them, I have support, I’ve received help, but they will forever be my battles. I have ink on the inside of my left wrist.

Last September, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I got a tattoo and I participated in your project. I wanted to personalize it. The word “inspire” faces me to remind me of the people I inspire by sharing my story and the people who inspired me to keep going. You were one of those people, I just didn’t know it at the time. The second “I” in my “inspire” is a semicolon.

When I clicked on the article, the headline left me speechless and I read your name. I did not know you, but my heart sunk in my chest.

I looked down at my wrist, and I’m not going to lie, I asked myself if it would still have the same meaning. If that semicolon would be just as powerful. I looked back up at the article to a picture of you with a bright smile, and I knew — I just knew — it would be. I am sorry you are gone. I am sorry to those who did know you and love you, because I’m sure you had silly facts about the Amy you are, just as I have about the Haley I am. Lastly, I’m sorry you were hurting so badly, where you would give anything to not hurt anymore. I want to thank you though. Because of you, and because of social media where your project has reached people of many backgrounds and many different battles of their own, your message found its way to me. Because of you I have a permanent reminder we all fall down, but you must keep going. Because of you, I am reminded my story isn’t over.

I wake up and see the semicolon when I am brushing my teeth or putting my hair in a ponytail. I am reminded I am not alone, as you have formed an entire community in this world all with the same mark in common. You are gone, but I just know you wanted the project to carry on. I am writing to you to tell you I will do my part in making sure your message lives on.

To your strength, bravery, resilience and long fight, may you rest in peace.


Haley with your semicolon tattoo.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Photo via contributor.

Originally published: April 7, 2017
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