Susan's Willow House Story
"On November 8, 2013, I lost my lovable Lenny after a 1 year battle with the horribly aggressive cancerous brain tumor, Glioblastoma Multiforme, or GBM. He was a wonderful son, brother, friend, husband, and most importantly father to our 4 children, Michael, Heidi, Gretchen, and Hanna. When he left this earth I was lost and struggling to move on and help my four young children grieve who were only 9, 4, 2, and 2 years old at the time. I searched the internet for grief support for children and I found Willow House. I could not believe that it met in a church in my hometown of Arlington Heights.
Upon our first meeting, my kids were instantly hooked and asking when we could go to Willow House again. They are with others who are in the same situation, not having a dad (or mom) anymore. They can open up and not feel strange talking about losing such an important person. They have fun and enjoy spending time with the other kids and eating the yummy pizza. I also enjoy meeting with the other parents on our own during circle time. It is nice to have others to lean on that are single parents and feeling the same loss I am feeling. I have gotten many resources, suggestions, and support on issues that are difficult to deal with after losing a spouse. My children and I have also enjoyed participating in the Remembrance Walk and Annual Holiday Remembrance Gathering.
These are special times that allow us to remember Lenny with friends and family. These past 2 years have been extremely difficult, but Willow House has been a tremendous help to me and the kids. Once a month my family can't wait to go to Willow House and spend time with peers and other parents who know exactly how we feel and help us through this journey no one wants to endure. It is hard to put into words how much Willow House has helped us. It is operated solely on donations and mainly volunteers and is free to all who needs support. It has been a saving grace to our family and I am forever grateful to all the Willow House donors, staff, and volunteers."
Willow House Arlington Heights Family Member
Susan 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 Susan's.
Please join us in sharing with your family and friends. Here's how you can help:
Share! Click the Share or Tweet buttons underneath the story. Send out an email to all your contacts. Encourage your friends to share too!
Donate! Willow House services are provided at no cost to families. Our ability to serve more grieving families in the greater Chicago area is limited only by invaluable resources of people like you. Donate here. Thank you!
“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