“I lost my daughter Elissa less than two years ago, and life as I knew it changed forever. The pain was and is still so bad, so indescribable. I fell into darkness many times. They talk about the three stages of grief. Grief has no expiry date. Sometimes you go through all the stages and, all of the sudden, you’re back at stage 1 all over again. But I knew I could not hit rock bottom. I had to move on for my family. I sought different kinds of help. I decided to pursue a diploma in life coaching. I joined a porcelain painting class, something Elissa, being the artistic person in the family, had encouraged me to do. It started as a therapeutic session and grew to be a passion. I worked on bringing some of Elissa’s artwork to porcelain. During COVID, I created a cooking page in her memory and named it Bittersweet. Bittersweet was her senior year project in high school on milkshakes, helping people who had dietary restrictions like her, reminding them that “there is a sweet solution to every bitter situation.” I knew that life after December 22, 2018 was not going to be sweeter but keeping Elissa’s memory alive gave me purpose. That pure beautiful soul gone too soon.
She was full of life, determined and strong. She conquered all obstacles with perseverance. How can someone like her be forgotten when she inspired all those around her, including me? My biggest fear was that Elissa would be forgotten by others. I had the urge to keep her memory and legacy alive so I started an art brand showcasing her hand-painted artwork and called it “Inspired by Elissa,” making a dream of hers come true. I am still trying after almost two years to live my new normal - that there will always be a void in my life and forever a longing ache for Elissa. I have realized that I should stop trying to fix my broken heart and rather rewrite my story from within my brokenness and through the love I have for Elissa. I’m still on a journey of healing, building unfulfilled dreams of my beautiful angel and sharing her untold story with the world.” -- Dunia Daou, Mother & Entrepreneur.