In Loving Memory of Mariah LeeAnn Montileaux
January 3, 1995 ~ November 18, 2009
I am thankful beyond words for the young people of the Pine Ridge Reservation (and their families) who have been my friends and family for over twelve years now, and who occupy a huge part of my heart. I have learned so much from them about love, life, giving, and perseverance. I am so very proud of all of them!
On this day four years ago one of these children chose to take her life. She is greatly missed by all of us that loved her dearly. I hold precious the photos of her radiant smiles, and the letters she sent me signed "Mariah the Cat Lover." She knew that I loved cats as much as she did.
I am thankful for the courage of Mariah's mother, who has chosen to turn her pain into something positive in Mariah's memory, and to use this day as an opportunity to celebrate Mariah's life by giving Rez youth an opportunity to speak out against suicide and encourage each other to embrace life.
While I cannot attend the Poetry Event being held in Mariah's memory on the Rez tonight, my heart will be there. I know that Mariah will be there in spirit too, and she will be smiling. I am thankful for the opportunity to help support this event.