My father died when I was 7 years old and my mother brought me to A Caring Hand. Now I am 14 years old, In a few months I will be going to school in Vermont and it made me think about my journey in the past 7 years. When my father died it felt like a drastic change. It felt like nothing would ever be the same in my life. At the time, I was doing things 7 year old kids usually do, I did karate and I loved doing puzzles and building things with Legos. Because it seemed like everything else in my world changed when he died, I didn’t want to change anything else. I wanted to stick with my karate and Legos. I was scared and I didn’t want to do anything new. I didn’t want to meet new kids. I didn’t want to go to a group. It seemed like it would be too much and be more change. My mom took a Leap of faith, because she didn’t not know anyone either. She said, “I just heard it will help you get over daddy’s death.” That’s about all you can say to a 7 year old and it worked. I didn’t think it would help to talk about my dad. But I was 100% wrong.
At A Caring Hand it was new but consistent. It helped to know where I was going and to have the same pizza each week. When my life felt like it was turned upside down, it helped to have things you can take home that bring A Caring Hand home. I still have my daddy box and my picture pillow case, and heart lollipop attached to it from Valentine’s day.
Seeing everyone else who went through something similar made it relatable. And it made it easier. Outside of group I got sympathy but in group I got empathy. It made a huge difference. One of the most important things I got from A Caring Hand is that I developed my own empathy.
If someone loses a goldfish instead of a parent: I can say it will get better. If it’s something worse, I can tell them about my loss and how I dealt with it. I know how to break through their wall with confidence. Once I do it I’m pretty satisfied.
Now I expect the best but prepare for the worst. I already lived through the worst and I know I can get through it. When I think about going away to school, sometimes I think about what a drastic change that will be and being away from my mom. And I think maybe I want to keep things the same just like after my father died. Then I remember that I know how it feels to be scared of change. I realize that at A Caring Hand I learned that things do change. But I also learned that I know how to cope with it and I will be OK.