CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – A tragic loss is not keeping a Canfield native from spreading love around the world.
Susan Dieter-Robinson’s story is heartbreaking but her message is healing. It comes through a simple gesture — passing around Love Rocks.
She made Love Rocks with her two daughters, Anna and Abigail, as wedding gifts in 2011. Two years later, the girls were killed when a car hit the pile of leaves they were playing in.
Now, Susan shares the story of her daughters through the painted stones.
The idea is to share your love or hold love from someone else.
“What a Love Rock does is it’s a tangible gesture, something you can hold onto. So if you don’t understand love or if maybe you’ve never felt love, there’s something about holding something that is given to you. That’s important,” Susan said.
She didn’t want the tragedy of one second to be the focus of her daughters’ lives. So on Valentine’s Day in 2014, Susan made Love Rocks for her children’s friends and heard from one of Anna’s.
“That was her favorite valentine and when she held it, she felt like she was holding Anna’s hands,” Susan said. “That was the moment that was like, okay, this is what we need to do.”
Love Rocks has grown, even spreading around the world.
The 1991 Canfield graduate has been a teacher for almost 20 years in Oregon but on Thursday, she was back home making Love Rocks with students in Canfield and Youngstown.
“We need to be models of love and joy, and any opportunity that we can find to bring that into the schools is important,” said Michelle Walsh, a literacy coach at MLK Elementary.
Any painted design works. The power is in the giving and knowing the message attached to each rock.
Susan said the Love Rocks project has helped her grieve.
“You don’t heal from this but there’s a process you go through in a journey of grief that’s everlasting, and so this does comfort that.”
She chose love when she had a right to be bitter at the driver, a teenager who made a bad choice.
“One choice I did have is how to respond and how I wanted to live my life as a parent with my children in heaven,” Susan said. “Forgiving her has given me freedom.”
She now understands the catchphrase “love always wins.”
“It’s true. Coming from someone that knows deep, deep sorrow.”
Susan, now the proud mom of a 1-year-old, is headed to Poland on Tuesday to spread more of that message.