At the young age of 12 my mother passed away unexpectedly while I was sleeping.

I woke up in the morning expecting to see her and she was gone. I was filled with so many emotions. Hurt, shock, anger, and sadness, to name a few. Six months later I lost my grandpa with whom I was extremely close. Suddenly, life seemed to be filled with so much loss. Soon after, my brother and I were told that we would no longer be living with our stepdad because he couldn’t handle us, so we were placed in a group home for a short time. It was a group home for girls, but they let my brother come too so we wouldn’t be split up. Thankfully we both had wonderful friends who decided to take us in. We lived in separate homes but stayed close.

The next couple years were filled with attempts to acclimate to my new normal. However, I never did fully go through the grieving process after losing my mother and grandpa. I really began to struggle and started getting failing grades in school and making poor choices in friends. My new mom recognized that something was off and decided I needed therapy. For a now 15 almost 16 year old teen that was the last thing I thought I needed or wanted to do. Reluctantly I went.

At first it was awful. I honestly didn’t want to tell this person who I didn’t even know my feelings, or open up about anything. It took several sessions before I became brave and decided to be vulnerable and let her help me. The “her” was Pamela. We sat with legs stretched out on the floor of the purple carpet in her office, with pillows all around.  I cried a ton!!!  We cried tons together!! I felt all of my emotions, even the most painful and difficult ones to bear. I wasn’t alone. We would walk outside sometimes during therapy sessions, which helped me to be in my body and move through the toughest stuff. I could be all of me. Pamela became my soul-friend.

Looking back now, 30 years later, letting someone help me and walk alongside me, through so many downs and ups, was the very best thing I could have ever done to help in the healing process and move forward. I truly believe it shaped me into the person I am today. I was not alone in deep grief. Through our therapy I was able to find and develop the bravery tools that I needed to be able to cope and deal when bad things happened, knowing that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and a better tomorrow. I hope that you can know this too!

Just as I thought therapy was winding down, I found myself needing to ramp it up again. And I was so extremely thankful that I had an amazing therapist to get me through this next devastating chapter in my life. I was 18 years old, just graduated high school and pregnant. Therapy allowed me to navigate all the difficult decisions and process being a teenager and pregnant. We talked at length about all the options and in the end, I decided I was going to keep the baby. However, after carrying the baby to term and going into labor I received the devastating news at the hospital that the baby was stillborn.  The worst pain I have ever experienced and the lowest I have ever felt.

This is something I would’ve never gotten through without the support of my family and the work Pamela and I put in to get me through this loss. I am so very grateful for the relationship we had that allowed me to get through this most difficult time. It also taught me that therapy is an ongoing lifelong resource, should you need it. It can stop and start at any time. I still utilize some of the tools, and what I learned over the years in those therapy sessions helped me to become braver, and to get me through difficult times later in life.