Today marks the first story to be shared as part of our 10th Anniversary Story Telling Initiative. Andi Stein is a Kate’s Club parent whose life was transformed by Kate’s Club in ways even she couldn’t imagine when her family first joined. Without further delay, Andi’s story…
I became a widow at 42 years old. My husband of 17 years, Paul, died suddenly in April of 2003 leaving me and my two boys Alec, age 13, and Adam, age 10, in shock and our family irreparably broken. The journey of redefining our family and ourselves was beginning.
I had heard about an organization that was just forming and its mission was to help kids who had lost a parent or a sibling. With blind faith, we became one of the first families of Kate’s Club. I watched the effect being with other children who had experienced loss as well had on my boys. They talked more, became more open about it and shared their story with others. The children were each other’s ‘therapy’ and it was a beautiful thing to witness.
I also began to share my experience as a sudden single parent with the other moms that brought their kids into Kate’s Club. We were all members of a club we never wanted to join, but found comfort and support by sharing with each other. My children were on their journey, and I, too, was on my own journey of growth and healing. I’ve often told people that Kate’s Club had not only changed the lives of my children, but mine as well, as I gained strength from meeting other women who were walking in my shoes.
Little did I know how much Kate’s Club was about to change my life…
Two years ago, while attending the Cabaret, a new kind of life change began. I had placed a broad invitation to the Cabaret, to all local friends and associates on a social networking site. Skip Avery, a friend from college, saw the post. He had lived in California for the past 30 years and was retiring to Atlanta. He was going to be in town that very day and he and his brother, David, would come to the Cabaret. He enjoyed giving to non-profit organizations and it would be a nice place to have a reunion. How nice!! I invited a girlfriend who had also known Skip in college to go with me and off we went. We recognized each other almost immediately and grabbed some seats to catch up on the years. Then, he introduced me to David. That was the night my journey of a new life and love began. It took one dance and we have been together since that night.
Who could have guessed that the organization I sought to help us through the most difficult time of our lives, would lead us to happier times forever after? It’s a beautiful thought that my sweet husband Paul, in a way, brought David to me.
On August 17, 2012, at the 9th Cabaret, on the second anniversary of our introduction, David took me by complete surprise and proposed. Surrounded by my family and friends who came with us to support Kate’s Club, and with the help of Kate, Emily, Debra and so many others, an unforgettable presentation and slide show was put together to make this moment that much more special.
I truly believe that out of all tragedy and sadness, comes something good. It may be strength, wisdom or lead us on a path we never imagined traveling and that is true for me. I still miss Paul every day. The love never dies, but we learn to keep it with us and move forward to make a good life for ourselves. Keep up the great work, Kate’s Club. You may never know how far reaching your impact is.