Scattering CJ

On April 14th, 2010, CJ Twomey took his own life in a shocking and heartbreaking episode. He was 20 years old.

CJ’s mother Hallie, father John and brother Connor were destroyed by the loss and, as is so often the case, Hallie blamed herself. Already wracked with guilt, Hallie was further haunted by thoughts of the things her son would never do, the places he would never go.

Two years later, Hallie hit upon an idea to force back the darkness that had swamped her family for too long. On Facebook, she put a call out to the world: would anyone take a tiny amount of CJ’s ashes with them on a trip somewhere beautiful or significant, and while there scatter his ashes, tell him how much his family loves him and chronicle their experience?

Hallie hoped for a dozen responses. Instead she sparked a phenomenon, creating an online community of 21,000 people all touched by her incredible strength and emotional honesty. It has become a refuge for those affected by suicide and encouraged a wider dialogue with those contemplating it – as it so viscerally demonstrates the damage suicide wreaks upon tens of thousands of American families every year.

From Fenway Park to the Great Wall of China, from the Great Pyramids of Egypt to Rio de Janeiro, CJ’s ashes have been scattered by nearly a thousand people in a hundred different countries – each with their own inspiration for joining the movement.

Scattering CJ is a meditative film about journeying: emotionally for the Twomey family; physically for the ashes; and for the participants on their own individual pilgrimages, a little of both. And now, as the project comes to an end, Scattering CJ chronicles how far they have come and looking toward what lies ahead.