Weekly Newsletter

Good morning, Trench Dwellers!

Beautifully Messy March continued this past week with two more beautiful, brave stories. We introduced you to one of our amazing editors, Nathan, and his desire as a father to give his best to his son, Z, who has cerebral palsy. Then you met Deb, who shared about her eye surgery and how her community wrapped her family with love and helped care for her special needs son while she was recovering. You can read their stories on the blog and head over to our special needs parenting message boards to share thoughts, concerns, and stories with other parents.


This coming week, we will hear from Katy and Debra. Katy's story centers on her complicated, dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Katy shares her vulnerable heart and what it feels like to be rejected by the woman you call "Mom." Debra then turns us to the topic of child loss, as she shares about the love and loss of her daughter, Ruby, as well as the joys and pain of the disease that eventually took her daughter's life.

If you have lost a child or a parent, we hope you will join the conversation in the loss message boards this week. Share how you are getting through your grief, encourage one another through your current struggles, and ask questions of those who have also experienced loss.


As I mentioned in our newsletter last week, we are beginning to plan some local events this summer. Are you in the Chicagoland area and have a talent for event planning? We would love for you to come join our team as we move ahead with summer events. Email me at jen@storiesfromthetrenches.org for more details.

Also, we would love to hear and share your Trench Story. Are you moving through grief after a loss? Are you suddenly a single parent? Will you be an empty-nester for the first time this fall? Get started on our story submission page.


We will be launching an Additional Resources page, a place to collect and share all of your recommendations and suggestions. If you have any books, music, apps, or websites you would like to recommend that helped you through your trench, please send me an email!

Jen G.
Founder, Stories from the Trenches

Jen's Journal

This past weekend, my oldest daughter participated in her last swim meet of the school year season. I'm incredibly proud of her for so many reasons, but I'm truly in awe of her focus and determination. She has terrible allergies, which can lead to weeks of coughing spasms. Last winter, in the middle of one of these awful allergy seasons, she announced she wanted to try out for swim team. I just wasn't sure how that was going to be possible. But her determination and hard work in the pool and for her allergies led her to being in the top three for her age on the team. She amazes me and inspires me to be as determined and focus as she is.

Who amazes and inspires you?

Featured Forums

This week, we will be hearing stories about the trench of loss—both the loss of a parent and the loss of a child. But the stories are just the start—continue the support, conversation and encouragement in the blog comments and in the forums:

For the sake of privacy and safety, we ask you to log in or register for a free account to view and participate in our community conversations.

Recent Stories and Resources

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Additional Resources: Special Needs Parenting

This week, we heard stories from two people who have experienced trenches as parents of special needs children—stories of hurt but also stories of growth and healing. We hope these additional resources offer strength and encouragement to those who are also in this trench, no matter how far along you are. Please feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comments!

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Wheeling Out of Denial

Denial. It's something I wrestle with continually at various stages of life. As a parent of a child with special needs, it’s always a factor. It ebbs and flows, coming in and going out like the tidal waters of the ocean.

One of my major moments of denial centered around getting a wheelchair for my son, Z.

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Communities and Kaleidoscopes

I would guess not many people can say they have been blind in one eye. Or have had to lie on their side for thirteen days, only getting up for twenty minutes every six hours (plus necessary bathroom breaks). I have survived both of these things, but it took an army of girl power rising up to help keep me and my family going.

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