‘Scattering CJ’ Documentary Makes Debut in Camden International Film Festival
I have known CJ’s mom, Hallie, for a number of years. I met her because of the ‘Scattering CJ’ project. The idea was born from a heartbroken mom who was looking for some way to cope with the suicide of her 20 year old son CJ.
CJ shot himself in his car after an argument with his parents at the family home in Auburn, Maine. CJ had been going through some bumpy times but his parents had no idea the depth of his pain. If they did, they would have done anything to have helped their child. Hallie, as you can image, struggles with the loss of her eldest son. (Sidenote: I can tell you this is a pain you NEVER get over, I think the best one can do it work to accept your new normal.)
One day Hallie reached out on Facebook to ask for people to help her give her son the world. People agree to take a small amount of CJ’s ashes and scatter them in any way they saw fitting. Hallie asked us to document the event and had a few words she wanted said at the time. Thousands and thousands of us did that for her. I did mine in New Orleans.
As a result CJ’s ashes have been spread ALL over the world and even made it to space.
Here is the synopsis of the movies from the Scattering CJ movie website:
“Scattering CJ is the story of brokenhearted mom Hallie Twomey’s mission to do one final, amazing thing for her elder son CJ following his suicide. She put a singular call out to the world on Facebook: a request to honor her son’s memory and love of travel by helping scatter his ashes in as many places of beauty and meaning as possible. That call launched an initiative called Scattering CJ. Hallie's request resonated beyond her wildest dreams. It galvanized a global community via social media that would scatter CJ’s ashes in thousands of different locations, creating a vast archive of stunning imagery and moving testimony. But it would cause thousands more—many affected by suicide or mental illness—to come together online to support each other and encourage Hallie to become a community leader in the fight to raise awareness and end the silence and stigma that has contributed to escalating rates of suicide year after year. Employing hundreds of clips chronicling ash-scattering pilgrimages worldwide, combined with intimate interviews and vérité filmmaking, Scattering CJ explores the devastating effects of suicide as well as the extraordinary generosity of strangers and one troubled family's attempt to find peace.”
I have not seen the movie...yet. I want to see it as much as I don’t want to see it. Hallie is my friend. This is not just an interesting movie…it is the life of a family I know and care about. I met Hallie after CJ died so I only know this version of her. But she has taught me so much about life, love, loss and humanity.