Meet the Team: Kathleen


Looking for Answers

It was October 2013, and there I was, sitting in my car in the parking lot of a church I had never been to before. I was a bit uncomfortable and quite a bit nervous.

It was cool outside, but I like the cool weather.

I slowly breathed in the fresh air and felt a little better.

It was refreshing to my soul—just for a moment.


But I was exhausted. I felt as if I'd cried an ocean of tears from losing our Bethany, age 18, who died by suicide. That day at that church, I wasn't quite with it—but I was present to support Bethany's mother, my true sister-friend of more than 24 years. This support group I was going to, well . . . honestly, I was really praying that what they had to share would bring answers to my prayers because I was worn out. My need was to find a place that could offer me some soothing answers to the endless questions in my mind:

What do I do now? When will the pain subside? When will the "normal" return? When will I breathe normal again?

I was suffocating—or at least felt like I was from the depth of the grief I was feeling.

The Journey to Stories from the Trenches

This support group session was called "Surviving the Holidays after Loss." During the meeting, they showed us video of others who had come through or were still going through their personal journey of loss of a loved one. It was insightful, but they were on film—I wanted someone to be right there in the room. Someone, anyone, who had the strength, wisdom, insight on how to do this thing—this thing called grieving.

I hated it.

Not the support group, but that place that is indescribable to those who have never traveled down that trench, that path of misery.

But during the intermission, I met a woman who had a spark in her that was so different, unique. She spoke her mind with no reservation. She expressed for so many of us just how we were feeling that day. We all had different types of losses, but she had the bravery to not withhold exactly what she was feeling and what she needed. Her name is Jen, but the name that stood out the most was baby Eli. (Read Eli's story here.)

From Jen's journey of having to say goodbye to baby Eli way too soon, Stories from the Trenches was birthed. I am happy to be part of this organization because I completely understand that whirlwind of regret, pain, sorrow, and engulfing grief. And I am learning from these women: we not only can make it through our many trenches, but we have—so that we can give hope and strength to others.