SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- It's been almost two years since Jody Rice lost her daughter to suicide. Now she is raising awareness while keeping alive her daughter's passion for helping others.
"My favorite memory of Kyla is probably when we went to Florida, and the beach and just spending time with her," said Jody Rice, Kyla's mother. "Me and Kyla took that trip together, just the two of us and we had a wonderful time."
Kyla was only 20 when she took her life the day after Christmas in 2015.
"Kyla had beautiful eyes and a beautiful smile," Rice said. "She lit up the room whenever she came in, and now looking back at the end before she did it, there was a change. There was a complete change". "She started withdrawing. At Thanksgiving, she wanted to leave right away after we ate, which wasn't like her."
After losing her youngest daughter Rice found the strength to help other families recognize those changes before it's too late and help youth know there is the help. And she is doing so by giving life to one of Kyla's passion.
"My daughter was a helper, a giver, she liked to help everybody," she said.
Kyla collected items to give to her friends who were single mothers.
"When she passed away I told the girls that I was still there for them if they needed help," Rice said.
Donations kept coming in and Rice's garage eventually got too small. Kyla had a car she left for her older sister, who gave her mother the idea of selling the car and using the money to open the thrift store.
Rice found a place along West Commercial Street and opened up Kyla's Kloset Everlasting.
"It's helping me heal," Rice said.
Customers like the variety and the prices. Most of the items are donated, and clothes and shoes cost $1.
"She's got a lot of different clothes, different kinds, different sizes," said Sofronia Fahey, a customer. "It's really nice to find somebody who is not only doing something for themselves but something for everybody else,"
The money Rice makes now covers the bills. She hopes to eventually make enough to donate to the group Single Momz Rock and to suicide awareness through NAMI, so other parents can be educated.
"You need to specifically ask them that question, not how they are doing, you need to ask them if they're thinking about hurting themselves," she said. "And to youth, I want to say that you're not a burden, life will not be better for us without you."
Those words, she knows from experience.
"Kyla thought that life would go on without her. That we would just be better without her," Rice said. "I live with it every day, it rewinds in my head every single day."
For now, she will keep her doors open for shoppers, and for anyone who might need help.
"It makes me feel like somehow Kyla's heart is beating inside of me when I help other people," she said.
- - -
Kyla's Kloset Everlasting Facebook page
NAMI Southwest Missouri
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Fall Has Arrived and It Sure Feels like It! --
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Kyler Murray threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to…
Karl-Anthony Towns is getting a new deal from the Minnesota…