Interview | Ellie's Way - Part 2

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Interview with Jessica Kelley Jessica and Henry   Jessica, what is your loss story? Nine days before Christmas, my 4 year-old son took his last breath. His life ended due to a brain tumor that was discovered less than three months prior. That was in 2012. But little Henry’s story starts well before that. I married my husband, Ian, in 2000. Though I’d always longed to be a mother, we put off having children for eight years. We just wanted the timing to be perfect. We wanted to be financially ready and to have Ian settled in his career. I wanted to stay home and savor every second of being a mom. Finally, on July 15, 2008, Ian and I had our first baby, Henry Joseph Kelley. That’s when I realized that some of those seconds would be really hard! Some of those moments were messy and exhausting, but so many were beautiful beyond words. Henry’s bright-blue eyes and contagious laugh won over the hearts of everyone he met. Industrious and intelligent, affectionate and gentle, Henry taught us the incredible depths of parental love. In 2010 Henry met his new best friend when our daughter Miriam was born. For the next few years our lives were chaotic but fun. Henry and Miri taught us all about patience, self-sacrifice, and the joys of watching little ones explore their world. In the summer of 2012, Henry began experiencing a cluster of symptoms such as trembling, loss of appetite, and sleeplessness that gradually […]

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Interview with Keri Cannella-Moye Introduction We met Keri and her family under very difficult circumstances. We reached out to her after a tragic loss, and we’ve kept in touch. Her service to others and faith have been so inspiring to us. We have learned more about her at our GriefShare group. Her positive spirit shines through while walking through such a difficult time. Thanks for sharing your story! -Todd and Kristen Keri, what is your loss story? It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, on April 7th 2013. I was riding on the lawn mower in my backyard hoping to get my yard looking nice for spring. Both my 11-year-old son, Logan, and my 16-year-old daughter, Rachel, had a friend over for entertainment. Logan, not surprisingly, was inside showing his friend his new video games. Rachel, being much less keen on sitting still, was outdoors enjoying the sunshine. To escape the possibility of being delegated to do work, Rachel and her friend decided to walk down to the lake not far from our house. In order to get there, they had to walk through the woods in our backyard and down about 200 yards. I remember telling her over the roar of the lawn mower to have fun and don’t be gone too long. Little did I know, that was the last time I would see my daughter as a vibrant teenager as she smiled at me before disappearing into the woods. Rachel and Keri In the next couple of minutes, […]

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Jim Sitton’s Story Jim was asked to speak at a GriefShare support group, and this is what he said: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, SO that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves received from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 I’ve been told that when folks hear what we’ve been through and they see that we are still standing, they begin to feel that maybe they too can survive the valley of death and eventually overcome evil with good. So I’m not here to be pitied or to appear super human. I’m here to encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of the other until you can learn to trust God again and find rest and comfort in Him. Many times my wife would ask me “How are we going to do this? (return to our house, attend funeral, testify in court, design headstone, have Thanksgiving, celebrate Christmas, see Makayla’s friends) I would say, “Honey, place one foot in front of the other.” It’s the only way. That’s how I got up here on this stage! That’s how I will tell you what happened to us Thanksgiving night, Nov 26th 2009. After dinner and singing around the piano I put Makayla in bed. We then all went into the kitchen area to pack up […]

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Interview with Dean Synan Introduction Dean is one of those people that you can’t miss. I found him on Facebook in a Grieving Fathers group. He provides much needed support to so many. I asked him if he would mind answering a few questions, and he responded, “If you think this will help one person, I am happy to share my story.” Well, mission accomplished! His story inspires me and I hope that it blesses you. – Todd Dean, what is your story? This story started in 1974 when I walked into a new school mid-year and sat down. I looked around the room and there she was, the most beautiful girl that I had ever seen in my life!!! There was something about her. I had no idea how an amazing and tragic story that I was about to begin. The next year, she asked a friend to let me know that she wanted me to ask her to go steady. I almost ran all the way to her house after school that day. It was short lived and we broke up and life went on. I was so not ready for what was to be. We went on to high school and I always stayed close to the family through her younger brother. As the years went by, I got to teach her how to drive a stick shift and I would play basketball with her brother, until she came outside. She was a varsity cheerleader and the […]

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Interview with Connie Bowman Introduction Did we find Connie purely by chance? We don’t think so, and know that there was a purpose in our meeting. Todd was trying to find some voice professionals to do some work for Ellie’s Way, and Connie heard our story and quickly offered to help us in any way she could. It turned out that we had both lost a six-year-old daughter. Connie’s huge heart and compassion for others stand out and we’re so glad our paths crossed. Connie has just completed her first book, Back to Happy: A Journey of Hope, Healing and Waking Up. Connie is an inspiring leader and example to so many people. She has overcome one of life’s most difficult challenges. She’s found a way “Back to Happy” and candidly shares her story. Connie’s book is a much needed survival guide when life gets tough. – Todd and Kristen Connie, what is your loss story? Meghan was our first child, born at Emerson Hospital at Old Road to Nine Acre Corner in Concord, Massachusetts. I love that she was born so close to the family home of Louisa May Alcott – and that she was named Meg, after the first child in my favorite childhood book “Little Women”. Meghan Rebecca Bowman March 26, 1985 – May 5, 1991   Everything about her birth was normal except that she had some breathing problems after swallowing some “maternal blood” and so she was kept in hospital for a couple of extra […]

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Interview with Leslie Wachter McDonald The McDonald Family Introduction Do you ever hear about a situation that just grabs your heart and mind? In March 2011, a schoolmate of Kristen’s, Leslie, and her family were in a terrible accident. We talked about it for days, and did not sleep well after hearing about it. After losing our little six-year-old Ellie, many people reached out to us. Leslie was right there with words of encouragement. This meant so much to us, because we knew her story. We knew that she was still physically healing and grieving the loss of her husband and son. In the midst of her suffering, her heart was full of love and compassion for us and it gave us hope. We can’t thank her enough, and we hope that her story inspires you. Thank you Leslie for sharing your story with us. -Todd and Kristen   Not easy to read. Wasn’t easy to write. Wow, what a feeling to do it! -Leslie Wachter McDonald   Leslie, what is your loss story? On March 22, 2011, my family was on Spring Break vacation in Durango, CO. We were returning from a day of exploring when we were hit drivers side to drivers side, head on, by a retired police officer who was addicted to and high on prescription medications. The accident resulted in the death of my husband, Robert, and my 10 year old son, Jaden. I was knocked unconscious and awoke to my 12 year old son, […]

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Deborah Anthony is an inspiration and a friend. I’d like you to meet her. She is a bereaved mother since December 6, 1984, when her firstborn, Little Miss Erin, died as the result of a school bus accident. She was struck, run over, and killed by the bus she had just exited. She was six years old. Deb has managed to find her way back to restoring happiness and recapturing her joy of life. It took twenty plus years to do so. She feels blessed to have had a successful conclusion to her grief journey and is passionate about others achieving the same. Deb enjoys quotes, and here are a couple of my favorites: “The only constant thing in life is change. The one thing people despise the most. However, change comes more easily when it is accompanied by its partner ~ courage. You cannot manage one without the other.” – © Deborah Anthony “Use the inner light you were born with not only to guide self, but to also re-spark another’s when it becomes extinguished by any event which causes it to go out. You will never regret it.” – © Deborah Anthony I saw her letter to Erin on Facebook and was moved by it. Writing is so healing, not only to ourselves, but to those we share it with. Thank you Deborah for lighting the path through the valley of grief for those that follow you! Erin Margaret Anthony, a little someone who shone her light on […]

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After losing our little Ellie, I didn’t sleep very much. Searching for answers while trying to get through each night, I found several support groups that Angie started. It was helpful to know that I was not alone and be a part of a group of people with similar losses. She has done so much for so many. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. -Todd Angie, what is your loss story? I started to experience loss at the age of five. I found my baby sister deceased in her bassinet. I also feel that was the first time I would lose my mother. She was in the world of grief. At the age of twelve, I was informed by my mother that my father was not my father. Today, I still have no clue who my father is. At the age of fifteen I was pregnant with my son. When I informed the father that we were going to have a child, he left me. I gave my son up for adoption. I lost a grandfather, uncle, and a close friend all to suicide. I lost my twin brothers when I was a teenager. My mother gave them up for adoption. I lost my beautiful grandmother to cancer. At the age of twenty one, I lost my husband in a car wreck we were both in. I have lost seven friends in the last eight years. I lost my mother, over and over, due to alcoholism. […]

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I’d like you to meet my friend, Kevin McNamara… During a sleepless night of grief, I found an audio interview that Kevin had done and listened to it. It was interesting so I found his website and learned more. We shared messages and he quickly became a friend and mentor. He is someone who has found purpose in trying to serve others as they follow him down the path of grief and loss. He is the founder of Mothers Who Have Lost a Child. Kevin lives an exciting life in Australia. I hope you find Kevin as much of an inspiration as I do. -Todd Can you share your loss story? When Holly died I was a member of the Victoria Police Force in Victoria, Australia. On Sunday 15th January, 1989, I was rostered on for a week of night shifts at the Cranbourne police station. My sergeant on the night shift had three children and we enjoyed each other’s company and always had some fun on shift together. I remember on the Tuesday the 17th sitting down with him and talking about Holly. I was telling him how beautiful she was; what a great baby she was; how she had never been sick and how I was so excited to be a dad and have someone as wonderful as her for a daughter. I couldn’t wait to get home to see her. I was so at peace with the world. We had friends lose their child to SIDS some […]

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