It has been six months since my dear daughter, Tess Jacqueline Tanner Meisel, transitioned to her new realm. During this season of love, I wanted to express my deepest appreciation to all who have helped, in myriad ways, to steer us through the changes embracing us as a family and community.

To my friends who helped the darkest hours of my being become illuminated in the Celebration of our PoeTess ... Linda's empathy and wisdom, that carried me to a place of gratitude and paved the first stone on the road to acceptance; Monique's wildflowers that graced Daniel's inspired, hand-hewn, cerulean archway to heaven; Deirdre's artistic eye beautifying and edifying Tess's poetic phrases on paper; Eileen's dependable, capable mind and heart, arranging for a most epicurean tribute to my young love's appetite; Joyce and Joe's dedication to be by my side for every need, every call, every notion. ... To the Rev. Frank Hall, who spoke so peacefully and admirably on the values of love, wending a gentle trail to the beyond. ... To Connie and Katie Zhou, whose virtuosity and melodic ribbons formed a musical helix to the heavens above, entwining our genetic codes with time and distance, rhythm and rhyme. ... To my son, Jacob, who concentrated every fiber of his human intellect and emotion in a heartfelt eulogy that will resonate for eternity. To Tess's friends, Vig, Sam, Will, Simon, Zach, Keenan, George, Jennifer, others ... who understand the "forever" part of BFF better than anyone and know that friendship can be practiced daily despite distance; to Jacob's friends who continue to surround him with a radius of warmth, understanding, caring and concern ... such goodness.

And to our community, which could not have been more supportive or responsive. I feel honored to live in a town where faces speak volumes in their empathy, sympathy, unity. Where individuals, helmed by Betsy, gathered to provide nightly meals to a family in need of nourishment for body and soul. Please know we appreciated every delicious spoonful of goodness, of kindness, of compassion. To the police department and our first selectman, who responded within minutes to a distress call; to Tess's teachers and school administrators, who flocked to honor a devoted student and spirit; to Karen at Vintage Virtuosa, for channeling Tess's color in fabric and form; to Cyrus at Flowerfall, for harvesting Tess's poetry in posies and sprays fit for a budding naturalist; to Cheryl at Millie Rae's for her core of compassion and flight of feathers; to John at Hardy Funeral Home for his sincere care; to Cocoa Michelle for her sips, savories and invaluable sisterhood; to Irene, Helen, Michelle, Beverlee, Carole, Dennis, Alana, Sarah, Iain, Sophie and all in GVI, Sunrise Rotary and beyond who keep calling; keep checking; keep remembering that the process of grieving has a beginning but no end. How can one ever give enough thanks for all that has been offered? In sum, I am greatly humbled.

Suzanne Tanner

Westport