In those first mad days after the girls’ death I knew I couldn't contemplate Abi’s coffin. I could not. I would not. No mother should ever have to choose her daughter’s coffin. Fortunately I didn’t have to: Trevor and Lexi (Abi’s godmother) took that role on. They found a plain looking casket made from natural wood, so we didn’t have to endure a terrible Gothic-looking monstrosity, and I asked Lexi to make it look beautiful.
“Do something Abi would have loved”, was the very basic brief.
Abi adored Lexi for her exuberant, eclectic style and utter obsession with accessories and colour. Otherwise known as Alex Fulton (Dulux Colour Ambassador, guest judge on The Block, Abi’s favourite home-decorating show, and all round design guru) Lexi, her husband Jeff, and gorgeous daughters, Isla and Violet, sprinkle colour throughout our lives. And now - thanks to her decision to paint Abi’s coffin white and cover it with hundreds of beautiful brightly coloured dot stickers - her love of colour is spreading far and wide as people plaster “Abi’s Dots” throughout their own lives.
It started here in Sumner, when the owner of our favourite local coffee shop, Glenn, ordered three packs of dots and covered all four walls of Coffee Culture - even the coffee machine. Walking in the next day simply blew us away: it felt like one long virtual hug.
Fuse, the local youth club, then contacted me to say they'd painted one wall white and wanted to stick up dots to remember Abi and Ella.
Over the past months these little discs of colour have cropped up on cars, clothes, phones, garden tubs, surfboards, ski helmets, chair lifts, desks, park benches, railings, snow skis, boats, rugby clubs, frontdoors, roof boxes, tennis bags, paddle boards, stairs, skirtings, laptops, letter boxes, headboards, guitars, and even celebrity chefs. Search up #abisdots on Instagram to get the full picture.
Last week I received photos from one of the Sumner girls who has recently graduated, fled the nest and is now living in London. She’d stuck “abisdots” at the Louvre, next to the Eiffel Tower, and on the mast of the yacht she sailed around Croatia. Last time I spoke to Lexi she’d sold 409 packs - given there’s 90 dots in every pack, that’s 36,801 dots out there in the world! There've been sightings in Bali, Fiji, France, Croatia, New York, Ontario, Los Angeles, Australia, and Singapore - and I hear they've just reached British shores, sold on line via our dearest friends at Roo's Beach.
Someone once asked me if this level of contagion might somehow lessen their impact for us. It hasn't. Every time we see some of Abi's Dots we feel her love. But more than that, we feel others' love too. Spotting dots on an unknown car or gate post makes us feel supported, the empathy speaking volumes, as though people are saying, "we get it, we feel your loss". The pain feels less solitary; her legacy of love, fun and colour lives on. Beyond that, thanks to Lexi generously contributing $12 a pack to Make-A-Wish Foundation, she recently donated an amazing $4,908 to helping grant the special wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. By remembering Abi we collectively bring hope, strength and joy at a very challenging time in other children's lives.
So, I want to thank you all: mainly to the wonderful sister-act that created them, and donated that first batch - Kirsty and Kate at KM2Creative; to Lexi for realising their potential and unleashing them to the world; to Glenn for being that early adopter and running with it! And to all of you out there, spreading the love far and wide, whoever you are, wherever you be, whether you knew her or not, we trust that you will sprinkle Abi's Dots over your life and make a promise to love and be loved, live and laugh, and cherish life for all that it offers.
Enjoy connecting the dots. We do.
Photos may only be reproduced with written permission from the author.