When someone is grieving, they often tend to think that they are alone on the journey. “How can other people even comprehend the pain I am feeling?” they might say. At first, that’s what I thought too, but luckily, I changed my mind.
My name is Francesco, and this is my story. I am a high school student in Italy. Unfortunately, my dad died when I was 11 years old from leukemia, and as you can imagine, it completely changed my life. I was just a little boy, but I had to face the sad truth: my father was dead. I was lucky enough to have a supportive family, but it was still a difficult time.
One of the best memories I have with him is cycling together. He taught me how to ride a bike and I admired the patience he had in doing so. He really cared about me. On the weekends we used to go around the city and enjoy the landscapes of Sicily. Now, whenever I go cycling, I think about him. I feel like he is still with me, guiding me, and that reminds me of how kind he was.
I am now 15 years old. Time passed, and I started living again, but there is still one difficult part: recurring dates. A few months ago, it was my father’s birthday, or at least it should have been. I was really sad that day. I knew I had to do something. I started looking online for grief support, and can you guess what I found? This website, or better, this community: OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center.
Why am I saying this? Most of the time, people are not aware of the existence of support resources, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any out there. I am the proof of that. I thought no one could understand me because I did not know other grievers. However, now that I’ve found OUR HOUSE, I know that even on the other side of the planet, other people are going through the same thing. While I am here in Italy, there might be a parent in Los Angeles crying because of the loss of a child or a wife suffering in Indonesia for the death of a husband. Believe it or not, that gives me strength. It encourages me to keep going because after all, we are one big community.
And if you are a griever reading this, please know that you are not alone. Have hope and remember there are many ways to cope with the death of a loved one. I found the OUR HOUSE Grief blog very helpful, and I am now trying to help others by volunteering. Perhaps I am helping you with this article. But you can do anything you want to get support. Here at OUR HOUSE, there are thousands of resources for you. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity.
By Francesco Montalbano
Francesco is a 15-year-old international high school student in Palermo, Italy. He was googling grief support and found the OUR HOUSE website and a place that felt like home. His desire to give back materialized into a marketing internship here at OUR HOUSE. We thank Francesco for sharing his story and illuminating that grief is a universal experience, no matter what language you speak or where in the world you live.