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Someone Else

 'Someone Else'

angela schlaackChildren, adults and families are helped through their grief by the caring and compassionate support of people like you. The story below, by Angela Schlaack, reflects the tremendous impact you can make by supporting Lory’s Place.

“Like most people who live in southwest Michigan, I was familiar with Lory's Place. I knew how it began, had a basic idea of what it was for, and was glad it was there for ‘someone else.’ My husband Michael was a longtime Whirlpool employee and I was a going to college for fun. Our adult son, William, was graduating with his master's degree, had joined the Peace Corps, and was moving to Mongolia. Our young daughter, Emma, was thriving in her last years at Roosevelt Elementary.

“On November 15, 2013 my husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Mike had been feeling perfectly healthy four days earlier and this was a shock that we never saw coming. In a matter of hours he was in the ICU at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Because his exact type of AML had a terrible prognosis, my grieving began on the date he was diagnosed. As months went by and the only treatments available had not helped him into remission, I sought out Lory's Place for anticipatory grief support for our daughter. Part of me knew what was going to happen, while another part of me was in complete denial.

angela schlaack“On September 29, 2014, ten and half months after his diagnosis, Mike died at age 45. I became a ‘someone else’ who just a year earlier I had never imagined I would be.

“I quickly turned to Lory's Place again, for my now 11-year-old daughter. I had mistakenly assumed Lory's Place was mainly for children, but found out there was also a group for me. I went to the first meeting with a reluctant attitude. When I walked in for our first group meeting, I was greeted with smiles and happy faces. I had grown so accustomed to pity looks and sadness when people approached me, that I was caught off guard. We introduced ourselves and each told one piece of good news. The notion that I could still have something good to share was curious to me.

“As the weeks went on, Emma was flourishing and excited to attend our biweekly sessions. I was still feeling somewhat resistant. I still did not want to accept that I was in fact that ‘someone else’ who belonged here. We always begin the adult group with saying our loved one's name, how, and when they died. Though I was barely able to speak those words the first time, I did gradually notice it was becoming easier to say. Then one night something clicked. We were discussing the physical issues of grief that seem to come around on the date of our loved one's death each and every month. I had been experiencing that along with most others in the group. It was that moment when I realized that all of us in our own grief journeys do understand each other, have ways to comfort each other, learn from each other, cry with each other and inspire each other. That moment allowed me to open up and truly accept my new reality and that I wasn't going to wake up from a bad dream. All along the facilitators told us that grief is something you have to go through and you can't just go around it.

“As we continued to attend, I found myself growing in confidence that I was going to be okay. Of course I still was experiencing deep lows, but each week I found courage and strength that I never imagined I could muster. Emma has adjusted so well to our new life, and is now a very happy tween. I now have far more good days than bad and am rediscovering who I am. I have a new appreciation for life and what I can become. I understand that grief and new happiness are not mutually exclusive. Without the support I received at Lory's Place, I'm not sure that I could be doing any of that.

“I am proof that it's not just ‘someone else’ that needs Lory's Place. It's people like me, like you, your family, your friends or neighbors.”

The death of a loved one often leaves a family financially devastated and full of uncertainty. Donating to Lory’s Place helps to ensure that those who grieve can find a safe place for grief healing and education. Lory’s Place does not charge for services, and does not receive federal funding or insurance reimbursements. Your donation provides the gift of encouragement and hope to those who need it.

Please donate online today

Double your philanthropy and impact – please ask your Human Resources department about their Matching Gifts Program. Many employers, including Whirlpool and AEP, will match your gift.

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