Three daughters who lost their mother to suicide launched a kindness campaign

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Three daughters who lost their mother to suicide launched a kindness campaign and sent more than 10,000 blankets in their mother’s honor.

Nurse Annie Varney, 35, committed suicide in March 2015 while her daughter’s Angela, now 22, Christina, now 20, and Mia, now 11, were in the house.

She suffered from depression all her life and went to see a therapist, but died by suicide in the basement of the family home in Boston, Massachusetts.

Angela, who was just 15 at the time, discovered her mother’s body.

Nurse Annie Varney, 35, committed suicide in March 2015 while her daughter's Angela, now 22, Christina, now 20, and Mia, now 11, were in the house.  Pictured, Annie Varney with daughter Mia

Nurse Annie Varney, 35, committed suicide in March 2015 while her daughter’s Angela, now 22, Christina, now 20, and Mia, now 11, were in the house. Pictured, Annie Varney with daughter Mia

Angela, who was just 15 at the time, discovered her mother's body.  Pictured, Annie Varney with daughter Angela

Angela, who was just 15 at the time, discovered her mother’s body. Pictured, Annie Varney with daughter Angela

Annie suffered from depression all her life and went to see a therapist, but died by suicide in the basement of the family home in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  Pictured, Annie Varney with daughter Christina

Annie suffered from depression all her life and went to see a therapist, but died by suicide in the basement of the family home in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Pictured, Annie Varney with daughter Christina

Student Angela said: ‘For a long time after that I was in shock. I think I was so traumatized that I delayed my healing and it made me feel so far away from her.

“It was worth going through the pain and trauma to build a relationship with her even after her death.”

Christina, who was 14 when her mother died, said she thinks daily about the night Annie died.

‘That night plays through my mind over and over again. Suicide is so hard to turn your head around,” she explained. “We didn’t really have a good example of how to grieve — we’d never experienced a death before.”

Six months after the tragedy, Angela, Christina and Mia made 35 blankets with their great-aunt Barbara Buckley, 56.

Annie's three daughters have since launched a kindness campaign, sending more than 10,000 blankets in honor of their mother.  In the picture, Mia with a few blanket bags

Annie’s three daughters have since launched a kindness campaign, sending over 10,000 blankets in honor of their mother. In the picture, Mia with a few blanket bags

Six months after the tragedy, Angela, Christina and Mia made 35 blankets with their great-aunt Barbara Buckley, 56. Pictured, Annie Varney and Barbara Buckley

Six months after the tragedy, Angela, Christina and Mia made 35 blankets with their great-aunt Barbara Buckley, 56. Pictured, Annie Varney and Barbara Buckley

The family delivered the blankets, which represented each year Annie had lived, to patients at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth.  In the photo one of the blankets

The family delivered the blankets, which represented each year that Annie had lived, to patients at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. In the photo one of the blankets

The family named the blankets

The family named the blankets “Annie’s Kindness Blankets” and sent labels tribute to Annie’s life. Pictured, one of the labels inside one of the blankets

The family delivered the blankets, which represented each year Annie had lived, to patients at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth.

Barbara said, “We had to come out of the darkness and honor her somehow. We had to heal our hearts.’

Christina added: ‘We thought why not hand out 35 blankets on a certain floor to show people that they are loved and that they are not alone.

“I remember all the nurses and staff at the hospital being so grateful and happy. We started visiting more and more hospitals and people started making their own blankets in groups.’

The family named the blankets “Annie’s Kindness Blankets” and sent labels tribute to Annie’s life.

The labels read: “This act of kindness is to honor Annie’s life and to show how quickly kindness can put a smile on someone’s face. We hope this blanket keeps you wrapped in love and surrounded by kindness.”

The blanket drive took off with people making their own blankets and hosting events.

So far, more than 10,000 'Annie's Kindness Blankets' have been created and shipped to people completely free of charge.  Pictured, (LR) Barbara, Angela, Jack Glynn and Christina

So far, more than 10,000 ‘Annie’s Kindness Blankets’ have been created and shipped to people completely free of charge. Pictured, (LR) Barbara, Angela, Jack Glynn and Christina

Barbara said she hoped the blankets gave Annie the voice she didn't have in her life.  Pictured, Annie Varney

Barbara said she hoped the blankets gave Annie the voice she didn’t have in her life. Pictured, Annie Varney

One of these events was attended by more than 300 people.

So far, more than 10,000 ‘Annie’s Kindness Blankets’ have been created and shipped to people completely free of charge.

“We never intended to start anything. We were just looking for a way to make sure her memory wouldn’t fade and to let people know they’re not alone in their struggle. This was a really big step in our healing,” Angela explained.

“These blankets have touched so many lives. Kindness is so contagious that it continues to spread.”

Barbara added that she hoped the blankets gave Annie the voice she didn’t have in her life.

“We’re handing out these blankets so people know they’re not alone,” she said. “We’ve found that it opens up the conversation for people to talk about depression and suicide.

“We’ve always sworn to be Annie’s voice—maybe she didn’t know she had one then, but I think she knows she has one now.”

A team of eight women is now behind Annie's Kindness Blankets and the family is thanking the pay-it-forward campaign to help them cope with Annie's death.  Pictured, (L-R) Christina, Barbara, Mia and Angela

A team of eight women is now behind Annie’s Kindness Blankets and the family is thanking the pay-it-forward campaign to help them cope with Annie’s death. Pictured, (L-R) Christina, Barbara, Mia and Angela

The three daughters hope the blankets will inspire people to prepay for other acts of kindness.  Pictured, (L-R) Christina, Angela, Annie with Mia on her lap, and Barbara Buckley

The three daughters hope the blankets will inspire people to prepay for other acts of kindness. Pictured, (L-R) Christina, Angela, Annie with Mia on her lap, and Barbara Buckley

Annie’s daughters added that they want to pay tribute to their late mother.

“I loved her so much, she was a wonderful mother,” Angela said. “I still see her as the strongest woman I’ve ever met.”

The blanket drive caught the attention of a first responder who was present the night of Annie’s death.

Jack Glynn reached out to the family after seeing the progress of Annie’s Kindness Blankets and even delivered the blankets himself.

“He was a first responder at the house that night,” Barbara explained. “A year later he got hold of me and said he’d been watching Annie’s Kindness Blankets. He’s been a big part of our lives and he helps deliver the blankets.’

A team of eight women is now behind Annie’s Kindness Blankets and the family is thanking the pay-it-forward campaign to help them cope with Annie’s death.

Angela said, “Every time I hear that this has helped someone, it’s like coming up to breathe.”

They hope the blankets will inspire people to prepay for other acts of kindness.

“I once read that one act of kindness creates 12 others, so if we’re kind to one person, the pay-it-forward can be endless. People who receive the blankets often make a blanket for someone else.’

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