I was only three when it happened. That is, when I was three my father died. We never really imagine that our parents can die. It seems as if they will always be there, indestructible and permanent. Yes, everyone dies eventually, but when you’re a child, all of it appears far away sometime in the future.
The worst part was the shock and unexpectedness of it all. He was not sick, injured, or all that old either. He was a healthy fifty-seven year old man.
What I remember most is his love of the water. It was his favorite place on earth, especially the ocean. That is where he was the day he died, in the ocean scuba-diving. An air bubble from his tank somehow made its way to his brain and stopped the blood flow. I cannot express the loss I and my mother, along with the rest of our family felt. If you have ever had a loved one die, you can understand the emptiness and sorrow.
Soon after, my mother found New Hope for Kids. A friend recommended we go. New Hope became my home away from home. Everyone at New Hope makes you feel welcomed and the grief facilitators are amazing. The people there understand the journey you are on, and they are there to help. I remember the art room the best because it was my favorite room. I loved to paint pictures and express myself through art. New Hope for Kids helped me to work through my anger, grief, sorrow and rage, and helped me to understand that it was ok to feel happy again.
That’s why I came back. I want to help kids that are grieving, the way New Hope and the grief facilitators helped me. I know, personally, when someone says they want to give back, I roll my eyes and think, “yeah sure you do”, but I truly want to. I feel like New Hope has helped me so much, that I want to be able to help others and continue New Hope’s mission. So I have come back to New Hope, after ten years, to help the new generation of children who just want someone to listen to them and tell them, “Yes, I do understand how you feel and I’m here to help you.”