I am a 36 year old mother of two beautiful girls, but I will always be the little girl whose mommy died 11 days after my 4th birthday.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was pregnant with me. She had a mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy and other treatments. She fought to live for my older sister and me, but 4 years after her diagnosis, on August 16, 1979, she became my guardian angel. And on that day, I became a member of a club that no one wants to be a member of – a child who has lost a parent.
My father was amazing and never shyed away from talking about my mom. He was the most wonderful father and attempted to fill the void of a mother as best he could, including taking us prom dress shopping. I also had many supportive friends and family surrounding me as I grew up. However, even with all of this support, there were many times throughout my life when I felt alone because, aside from my sister, I knew no one else my age who had lost a parent. This was particularly evident during middle school and high school. I also remember struggling with having to explain “why” I did not “have a mom” and then being faced with the uneasiness of others at the topic of death.
When I first heard about Kate’s Club, my initial thought was how much I would have benefited from an organization like this when I was a child. And how wonderful it is that the kids of Kate’s Club have a place where the word death is not taboo and they are surrounded by peers who truly understand their journey of grief. As I’ve experienced in my life, grief is definitely a journey with ups, downs and suprises, but with support and validation, the journey is made easier.
– By Cindy Schoell, Kate’s Club Board Member
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