“Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing.”
By what means does the human spirit find healing? American author and academic Wendell Berry endeavored to answer this query. Berry’s conception of healing involves a degree of sociability. To Berry, healing is a state or process that cannot be enjoyed in solitude. Accordingly, the wounded spirit can only be renewed with fellowship. The affection and shared experience of others attends the grieving individual and allows one to find a place of comfort in her new reality.
In many ways, Kimberly Butler can relate to Berry’s idea of healing. In 2011, Kimberly’s oldest child was killed by a falling tree that landed on his car. For Kimberly, the realization that she would never interact with her son again was overwhelming. The accident broke Kimberly and her husband’s hearts, but was even more devastating for their daughter, Deanna, who was 16 years old at the time. Deanna and her older brother were very close and she had tough time processing and dealing with the loss. As much as Kimberly and her husband wanted to help their daughter heal, they found themselves at a loss because they were still trying to process their son’s death too. Many grieving parents find it hard to provide adequate support to their child when they’re in need of assistance themselves. At times, one can feel alone and helpless even among family members.
Kimberly began to seek help – a means to escape the grief that was engulfing her family. Through an internet search, she ran into the Kate’s Club website. Upon contacting Kate’s Club, Deanna began to participate in the organization’s programming. Kimberly said she’s seen huge improvements since her daughter entered Kate’s Club a year and a half ago. Having the opportunity to be around other teenagers who have had similar experiences has been a critical part of Deanna’s ability to cope with the grief. Kimberly and her husband have also benefited from the community that Kate’s Club provides. Exchanging stories and coping mechanisms with other families has been a major comfort.
When asked what Kate’s Club meant to her, Kimberly said it represents togetherness, healing and support. She wishes every grieving family could have the benefit of participating in the program. The family now makes it a point to volunteer on a regular basis because they are so thankful for what Kate’s Club has done in their lives. They also raise money for Camp Good Morning and Deanna plans on becoming a Kate’s Club Buddy in the next few years.
Kate’s Club provided the Butler’s with a supportive community that could relate to their pain, and consequently provided a means to heal.