Author of Twentyone Olive Trees Suggests An Alternative to Therapy

Mother of Suicide Victim Says Random Acts of Kindness Can Alleviate Grief

SYRACUSE, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 9, 2021 / The CDC attests that most of us have experienced grief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grief is a natural response to any kind of loss, be it death, man-made or natural disasters, or even loss of a job or divorce. According to the Kubler-Ross model, those experiencing grief go through a series of five emotions: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

A 2019 study conducted by Amerispeak and WebMD found that 57% of Americans were grieving the loss of someone close to them. Photographer, artist, and trauma recovery advocate Laura Formentini says, "that means every other person you encountered was grieving."

In 2020 when COVID-19 started claiming thousands of lives in the United States and all over the world, Formentini was also in the depths of experiencing grief about her son's suicide. "Suddenly, everything looked, felt, and sounded different. I didn't know how to move forward." Now she does - thanks to a random act of kindness that occurred on the hardest day of her life.

While she was working in Ethiopia, Formentini suddenly received word that her 21-year-old son had taken his life on the other side of the world. While she prepared for her journey halfway around the world, a stranger stayed by her side for the whole day and held her hand the entire time. Formentini says, "he was a light in my darkest hour."

When she thanked him for his kindness, the stranger wanted no thanks, telling her that taking care of her was simply his "human responsibility." The random act of kindness not only saved her-it stayed with her.

Research shows that while psychotherapy and grief counseling may effectively deal with grief, being kind can go a long way toward improving emotional well-being. A 2019 study in The Journal of Social Psychology found that people who performed kindness activities for seven days saw a boost in happiness. The degree to which their happiness increased was directly tied to the number of acts of kindness they performed.

Formentini has been actively involved with non-profit organizations for her entire career and has been a child welfare activist and an advocate to prevent cruelty to animals all over the world. Her son's death has led her to add another mission to her life's work; promoting random acts of kindness.

We have witnessed kindness and people coming together throughout the pandemic, and Forentini believes it must continue for the world to heal. She remembers her son and his empathetic nature and vows to fight grief with positive deeds and encourages others to do the same. She says, "we are all in this together- when life seems utterly uncertain, random acts of kindness can save us and the world."


Laura Formentini is an author, non-profit photographer, and trauma recovery advocate based in San Francisco. Her upcoming book, Twentyone Olive Trees: A Mother's Walk through the Grief of Suicide to Hope and Healing, will be available in stores and on Amazon on January 11, 2022. For more information, visit Laura's Instagram or Facebook. For additional information, visit

Laura Formentini

SOURCE: Author Laura Formentini

View source version on