Age: 18 Hometown: Winlock, WA

2018 teen hike participant and Wild Grief board member, shares her journey of hope and healing through grief support groups. 

Favorite quote: “If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will go through life believing it is stupid.”

What is your experience with grief?

My mother died when I was 15 from ovarian cancer at the age of 52, in 2016. I recently left my house because of family issues as well.

How did you hear about Wild Grief, and why did you decide to go on the trip last year?

I heard about it through Sound Care Kids. One of the facilitators was telling me to try it out. I tried it out because I trusted his opinion, but was still skeptical.

How would you describe the backpack experience with Wild Grief?

Absolutely wonderful. You come out on a whole new planet. I personally felt at peace and just so tranquil with everything. I was just happy.

What do you want other teens to know about this experience?

Even though it’s got a funny name and isn’t advertised on TV, don’t think it’s “too lame” or “I don’t need that” because you might experience something that you didn’t know you needed or something that can just be a fun time camping.

What do you want potential donors/funders to know about this work?

This program really touches kids lives and brings a new community and support system for free. It can motivate them to want to keep looking into grief support and refer loved ones they know to help with their own grief. The people who run it are so wonderful. You can’t not have fun no matter who you are.

How have you been involved with Wild Grief after the trip last year?

I decided to apply to be a board member and we have meetings once a month along with some fundraising and/or conferences with bigger organizations.

What have you learned along your grief journey? How has the work of processing grief changed you?

Life sucks and society likes to pretend it never will. The process changed me into a completely different person that I am grateful to be. If I never went to any grief support, I have no idea where I would be. I love the outlook I have on life now. I’m not afraid of death and I understand how normal it is. Even though that’s pretty simple, it is also a pretty big realization.

What do you want others to know about grief?

It’s scary and it sucks but if you keep your mind open, good things will present themselves; you just have to be aware they are there to take advantage of them. People want to help, and they think you will get over it by the time they forget it bothers you. That’s where the support comes in and takes you away from the general public that can be pretty ignorant and take you to a group that says “ugh, I hate that too.”

What do you want others to know about Wild Grief?

It’s a wonderful opportunity to try something new and approach grief in a new, unique way that helps more than you’d even realize at the time.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to college at Western Washington University with a track scholarship, but I plan on continuing to volunteer for Wild Grief and Camp Erin, and maybe try to start grief groups at college. As far as a career goes, I know for sure I’ll go into STEM, just not sure which part yet.