Betsy's Willow House Story
"On March 8, 2015, shortly after 6:00 PM, my granddaughter Kate called, crying on the phone. She said, “Mom’s lying on the floor in the bathroom and she’s not breathing”. Her brother had called the ambulance. I rushed to their apartment, arriving 10 minutes later. As we approached, we saw an ambulance leave, red lights were flashing and emergency vehicles were all over. I went to the door. A police officer met me and said that she was taken to St. Francis Hospital.
We waited for about half an hour in the emergency room, then they told us that they had not been able to revive her. I lost my only daughter. Kate (age 18) and Sam (age 20) and Simon (age 6) lost their mother. Kate and Sam still had their dad. Simon’s father had died just under a year ago.
My husband and I brought Simon home with us. None of us were prepared for what had just happened: we did not know what our lives would be.
We first went to Willow House for Simon. Although his school was very supportive, no one there had lost both their parents to death. At Willow House, he found other kids who had lost a parent to death. He didn’t feel alone. It meant a lot to him to discuss feelings and coping skills with other children who had lost their parent. Though he loves the Pizza at Willow House, I know that he wants to come back for other reasons too.
Now, I come to Willow House for myself as well. Willow House has given me a place where I can talk about the loss of my daughter with people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. It gives me great comfort to be able to share my feelings with this group of people, and also to hear about their losses. No one passes judgment. We grieve together; we share our hurt and our moving forward. I find peace in this community. None of our losses are the same, but we share much in how we move on.
As I write this, I hear Simon laughing as he plays with his grandfather. He is an amazing child. He will be OK. And so will I."
Willow House Chicago Family Member
Betsy shared her story in support of Willow House for #GivingTuesday. Use December 1, 2015, to support grieving children, teens, families, and communities by making a donation to Willow House or by sharing this story on social media. No effort is too small!
Because of YOU, Willow House will be able to continue providing support and assistance to grieving families just like Betsy's.
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“I firmly believe that as we look back on the pivotal, early years of our loss, it will be through the efforts of Willow House that we were able to move forward, not afraid to look back, fully understanding and accepting our loss.” - Willow House Father