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The North Carolina Woman Who Never Forgot About Newtown

Ever since the tragedy in December 2012, a woman from Fayetteville has opened her heart to Newtown.

Mary Johnson and her dog Daly - Photo Credit: David H. Johnson
Mary Johnson and her dog Daly - Photo Credit: David H. Johnson

It was Dec. 17 when we first received an email from Mary Lieselotte Johnson from Fayetteville, N.C. She had written a poem and wanted to share it with Newtown.

Since then, Mary hasn’t forgotten about Newtown and continues to post on Newtown Patch. After Dec. 14, we received correspondence from all over the United States and the world. Mary is one person from afar who’s stayed all this time.


Bringing Comfort to Those Who Need It Most

“After hearing of the tragedy, I just felt in my heart I needed to do something,” she said via email recently. “I've been writing prayers and poems most of my life, since the age of 11 and I am a retired special education teacher with a degree in educational administration. I wrote the first prayer-poem for Newtown and sent it to Patch, hoping that somehow the children in the community and the families of the victims would see it to bring comfort.”

Mary wondered how she could help from so far away.

“Being down here in N.C., I thought and I prayed somehow to reach out to the families,” she said. “As a teacher for many years, I worked closely with parents and I've worked with all levels of exceptionalities and have implemented programs for the school system for children from ages of 2-22. I just had a strong empathy. Since I wasn't working physically in a school environment any longer, I could still reach out and instill some 'Random Acts Of Kindness’.”

She had never blogged before but mastered the process quickly. What happened next went far beyond the simple act of sharing a poem online.

“Once I posted that first blog post, I felt such tremendous peace and the belief in knowing that no matter where we live, how busy our lives are... you, I, we can make a difference, as I always felt when I was a special educator,” Mary said. “We all have gifts to share. Mine are my words… If they can bring comfort to the hurting, then I have done what I felt called to do.”


'We Can’t Abandon Those That Are Hurting'

“Once I started, yes ... I continued to blog, because we don't forget,” Mary said. “My concern [and] time in blogging is genuine and sincere and words cannot really be put on paper … We can't abandon those that are hurting, yet we must at all times respect their boundaries and their way and timetable of healing and keep trusting, hoping and knowing that people really can be good if we take the time to understand and look deep inside that person.”


A Call to Love

"We are all called to show love and to build each other up, especially when we are hurting," Mary said. "We don't forget nor abandon. When we love, as God Our Heavenly Father calls us too, it's sincere, it's heartfelt and we comfort so we can then move forward and find hope, joy and inner peace again, helping someone else. Goodwill for all of mankind. With random acts of kindness, we are setting good examples for all our children, whom are our precious gift: children of the whole world."


Let the Love Pour In

Mary’s mentality is that everyone has a gift to share and can touch anyone’s heart, even when they don’t know each other.

“If it helps and brings inspiration, then we made a connection and made a new friend...for life!” she said. “For really, if we all open our hearts and let the love pour in to fill up the empty holes in our hurting hearts we can then keep moving forward with strength, perseverance, fortitude and the trusting that all our pains, unbearable griefs in time, will make us even stronger to help someone else, and that alone, in each one’s precious time will bring a form of peace and even joy, in the knowing that we are truly living… Goodwill towards man with a whole lot of love to share towards our brother and sister of mankind."


To read all of Mary’s notes for Newtown, visit her blog. If you’d like to write your own, visit our Notes for Newtown board.

MJ December 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I am so touched, and it's beautiful and amazing how people can come together and be help each other, even if they have never met in person. Jamie, I was happy to call you tonight and thank you, for your belief in me. Giving me the confidence to reach-out to the ones I have never met. I'm humbled if I help bring light..we each can do that in some way. I'm not able to drive any loner, but with God's help, I found away after I prayed...to share a little gift of hope for the future. Merry Christmas to all and wishing you the entire community: sincere Peace, Love, a Joy and above all Hope to a bright tomorrow. We are all in this together, and helping each other...any one with a smile, kind word or action. "Rainbows, do Come After the Storm", as I be-friend Paula & shared along the way this past year. I'll continue to Blog and share my prayer-poems with you with joy...I believe too, deep down when I knew I wanted to be a Special Educator at the age of 15, once a Teacher, always a Teacher and Children and People working together in unity is what I always strived for. We don't always have to agree, but just be open to hear the other side and respect where the other is coming from. We really never know, unless we've walked in that person's shoes...so we try with our open eyes, ears, arms and heart. Thank you again, Dearest Newtown. God Bless You, remember, we don't forget and we bring comfort and support. Peace Be With You Always, Mary+
Paula Antolini December 11, 2013 at 09:59 AM
It is a blessing to have people on this earth such as Mary Lieselotte Johnson who have such goodness in their hearts and dedicate themselves to spreading love. Thank you Mary. I can't imagine how it is for the 12/14 families to get through this next weekend, and another Christmas, another birthday etc., and all of life's memory-making loving moments, without their loved ones present, but hopefully faith can bring peace and sense to it all.
Nana Miller December 11, 2013 at 01:09 PM
God Bless you Mary. Many of have also not forgotten the tragedy of Newtown. As for me, I try to remember the families in my prayers. Each day as I take my precious 6 year old grand-daughter to school I remember. Every time I turn on the news, I remember. The tragedy struck a deep cord in all of us--it has changed us and our country. Let us all continue to pray for the best change possible to come out of the loss.
MJ December 11, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Thank you, Paula for your wise words and be-friending me! God Bless You, my friend! :-)
MJ December 11, 2013 at 01:39 PM
God Bless You, too Dear Nana and I wish you a Most Peaceful Christmas! Thank you, for reading this article and all that you do...to help spread His Love. Know that many people support and are praying for Dear Newtown. Merry Christmas to your precious grand-daughter too! +
Jaimie Cura (Editor) December 11, 2013 at 01:40 PM
I treasure your gift of words so much, Mary. Thank you for continuing to share it with us!
MJ December 11, 2013 at 01:48 PM
It has been blessing to me Sweet Jamie to be able to inspire, even when we have our own limitations and set-backs in life, we can still reach-out with confidence in God's Love to help and we care. God Bless you, my sister, my friend! It was so good to talk with you on the phone last night! :-)
Paula Antolini December 11, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Let's not forget about the beautiful images/photos Mary posts too!
MJ December 11, 2013 at 02:07 PM
;-) That's sweet Paula & an honor coming from a photo pro, as you! I never did that before either as the blogging. Just toke the images from my phone camera, simple pictures of God's Artwork. God will always provide for us in all our needs. Everything, just falls into place, in his Divine Time. Thank you again! Peace!
conrad zimmermann December 12, 2013 at 06:16 AM
Mary, I have the same gift as you but not the words to accompany my goodwill and love for others. I do have a nice smile and try to make my corner of the world a better place to live by showing respect and courtesy to those I encounter
MJ December 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Hi Conrad! Thank you for reading the article and thank you for your beautiful comment. Keep smiling... :-) the whole world need more smiles, especially to a stranger. A simple smile, does wonders and brightens, up a hurting heart. Wishing you a very Blessed and Peaceful Christmas and Wonderful New Year 2014! Mary ;-)
MJ December 12, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Good Morning Nana! Keep your inspiring prayers for all Nana! It helps make the world a better place! Peace to you and your family! Mary
Jeanette Cottone December 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM
"For such a time as this" : Book of Esther. All of your joys, all of your sufferings, all of your successes, all of your failures have produced a true and loving light of love for all of the world to see and experience. God Bless You. Love Always. Jeanette
MJ December 12, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Thank you Jeanette! Your friendship is a true Blessing to me! I will see you very soooon! I love you, my Dear Sister In Christ! Peace, Love And a Joy to you and your family! Mary :-)

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