For those who might not know, Sulome was one of Mona's best friends - and treated her like a sister, welcoming her to live with her for a period of time. A million thank you to Sulome for this touching article about Mona Daniella. Our entire family is so moved by Sulome's friendship and thoughtfulness. As they say in the Middle East, "Sharafnah" Sulome (= Arabic for "it's an honor").
From Sulome's twitter account (3 posts): "In 2015, I wrote a piece for @TheAtlantic about psychiatrists being unwilling to take on chronically suicidal patients. I used one of my best friends, Mona Haddad, as the primary subject, "Margaret." Mona killed herself last September. I miss her terribly. It's taken me over a year to be able to discuss this publicly. Mona was a brilliant, strong, passionate person. She wrote beautifully and cared deeply about justice. Had she lived, she would have been at the front of every protest today. More on her here http://www.monadaniella.com As she put it in my piece, "Nobody wants to work with someone like me. It’s a risk." I hope her story will continue to raise awareness about the difficulty of finding treatment for chronic suicidality. The world lost a very special light when Mona died & she should be remembered."
Mona Daniella, gone one year. We miss her more than the day her life ended suddenly and in a tragic way. Mona Daniella loved the French Musical Impressionists' phase, and played Erik Satie frequently; her favorite was Gymnopédie. This is not a French piece, she liked it. It is serene like Mona used to be.
In these pictures Mona's face glows and shines like diamonds; you can see her beauty right through. Her smile is - simply Mona's smile.
Mona Daniella was very close to her maternal great-grandmother, she is with her in the South of France; back in the US in college - in Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts (pictures courtesy of Franny Forer, one of Mona's closest friends, and her room mate in Mount Holyoke) ; in New York, at home in her Prom dress.
Mona had seen the dress in Vogue Teen and had fallen in love with it. We couldn't find it in the US. To cut it short the manufacturer in Italy had decided not to make it. We called their flagship store in Milano, Italy, then the factory. We wanted to buy the sample but they couldn't find it. We didn't give up until they finally found and we bought it. It took a while but we got it. As a sample the cost was low, they shipped it to the US, and Mona was the happiest girl in the prom.
There is a family picture in Italy; Mona in a swing with her brother Mac in Spain (she loved swings); with her dog, Mona named it EMMA - E for Esther, M for Mona, M for Mac, A for Alan) - in its first day home.
And finally you will read a beautiful dedication that a very good friend of Mona Daniella, Ariella Michal Medows wrote in an article in her memory, in the Harvard Law Record's Fall 2017 Orientation article.
To say that Mona was a beautiful kid is an understatement.
We believe Mona Daniella would have liked this interview with Kit Harrington (one of the biggest stars in the Game of Thrones) released yesterday, on August 7, 2017.
Mona Daniella was an activist who believed that mankind should work hard to Stop and End Stigma around Learning Disabilities, and Mental Health in general. Around a year prior to her death, Mona Daniella had been diagnosed correctly; she had OCD, and Non-Verbal Learning disability. This was after years and years of "wrong diagnosis/wrong treatment" and the "worse, worse, worse treatment for her condition" - as per her last medical team. Mona Daniella had told us that as parents of a child with a Learning Disability, and a mental health disorder, we had the duty to fight Stigma. The correct diagnosis and correct treatment helped Mona turn around and live a fulfilled life in her last year. She accomplished so much.
May she rest in piece, my late paternal grandmother, who was very wise, used to tell us this French saying frequently: "Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait" (If youth knew, if old age could). How true. We have learned a lot in the past decade. If we only knew a decade ago ...
Like Mona Daniella, we do believe Stigma has no place in this day and age and needs to end. We live in an era where it is easier, more than ever, to get educated about learning disabilities, and mental health in general. The vast resources found in the Internet give people access to an industrial quantity of information. It is by learning that people can understand and hopefully have empathy.
Mona Daniella, a few months old in the swings at Carl Schurz Park, which she adored. This is where she played growing up. Sometime during winter 1990, New York, New York | USA
Mona Daniella on her 18th Birthday. She had the most beautiful hair with natural highlights. When I had asked the hair colorist to dye my hair to match hers, she had said "Not in your dreams, not even in my dreams, and I would have loved to match her color", 2008 New York, New York | USA
Mona Daniella's last New Year's Eve; January 1, 2016, 12:00 AM. In Elio's, the Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, whereMona had been going since she was new born. It was a family tradition to go there for dinner after watching the New Year's Eve concert in Carnegie Hall, which Mona loved. She had started that tradition.
Mona Daniella was a sensitive, gentle, kind, and caring person. She epitomized "Chessed", Loving-Kindness. She fought extremely hard. In a 2014 email I wrote to her that she was the bravest, the brightest, the most determined and the most resilient. Indeed she was. And much more.