Words seem inadequate to fully describe the experience of losing a loved one – with or without warning. And once we realize there won’t be more beautiful moments shared with them, no new memories for our collection… we grieve.
Unfortunately, my family is no stranger to loss and grief –
- I lost my father to lung cancer at 15 years old
- my husband, Tom, lost his father to a horrific accident at 9 years old
- I lost my brother, a father to my pre-teen niece and nephew, in an industrial accident 20 years ago
- and I’ve since lost my mother and sister
And when Tom unexpectedly lost his life to Covid in 2021, he left our two sons (Alex and Austin) and I stunned – paralyzed in utter shock, disbelief, and deep sorrow.
Each day, I found myself saying “just keep moving forward, Melissa.” I even created a bracelet to remind me what to focus on daily. I’d see my bracelet and think, “We won’t go backwards, become paralyzed with depression, or live unproductively… Instead, we’ll move on and make sure our lives and futures aren’t held captive to a lifetime of grief. We cannot let this define us.”
My daily objective was, and is, to provide our sons with needed support and care to rise above the challenges brought on by grief, so they can continue to fulfill their greatest potential. It hasn’t been easy. Triggers surface – seemingly out of nowhere and bring you right back to that moment of loss. Healing takes time. The grief process is complicated, and each path is unique to the person and their respective loss.
What’s helped us move forward? Here’s the best summary I can share:
- Maintaining our strong faith and walking daily with God
- Embracing the never-ending love and support of our wonderful tribe (friends, school and work colleagues, church family, etc.)
- Asking for and receiving help when needed
- Participating in counseling and targeted therapies (for processing trauma and grief)
- Adopting a “Wellness Lifestyle” – for a healthy mind, body, and spirit, including physical exercise, wholesome eating, adequate sleep, and supplements to promote immunity and vitality.
It was the unexpected loss of Tom to Covid that confirmed it was time to start KMFF. We believe that by helping others who’ve experienced similar life challenges, we in turn become stronger in our own way. KMFF will remind them they aren’t alone – that we understand and appreciate the difficulties they face. KMFF will provide support and services to assist children and young adults effectively process their grief – which positions them for healthy and productive lives moving forward.