Although a family cannot forget or replace the loss of a loved one, they can be empowered to turn that loss into a catalyst for a more clear focus and greater determination. Wendy Hensel and her family’s journey prove that grief can serve as fuel for positive personal growth.
Wendy was devastated when she lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. The unexpected loss of a loved one is a terrible and life altering experience. Initially, the void left by his passing seemed overwhelming. Wendy’s eleven-year-old daughter and her nine-year-old son were badly shaken, as well. As a consequence, she had to find a way to console her children and simultaneously manage to keep her own life moving forward.
Days after her husband passed away, a colleague mentioned Kate’s Club and its outreach to family’s who have lost a loved one. In search of constructive ways to deal with her family’s grief, Wendy decided to give the program a chance. The children started participating at Kate’s Club less than a month after their father’s death. For the children, Kate’s Club quickly became a “safe place” where they could interact with people who weren’t members of the family, but understood their grief. For Wendy, Kate’s Club was “a lifeline in [her] darkest moments”. It provided the family with a sense of community in their new situation.
The family as a whole was better able to work through all the confusion and turn their loss into a positive. Wendy’s daughter was especially determined to make the best out of her circumstances. She won Kate’s Club Child Champion of the Year and started a support group at her school for her peers who experienced similar situations. Wendy is amazed by how her daughter has responded. Her uplifting spirit and will to overcome the pain are an inspiration to all those around her.
The grief remains, but the Hensel family has found purpose within it and resolved to help others do the same.