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Even though our stories are unique, as family members we often share common experiences.

Watching someone you love struggle is heartbreak. You wish for a lighthouse of shelter or some other immediate relief to help them find peace in their lives. One of the Foundry folks in the network said “the reality for families is often not just the lived experience, but the living experience.” It’s managing difficult life experiences and still getting up, going to work and school, sharing a meal, trying to keep some balance of family life, in the midst of what can feel like chaos.

Our family did not have the skills we needed. My coping strategy was further impacted by a family history of inter-generational trauma, mental health and substance use issues.  Questions surface: “Where will we land from here,” or “How will our family story unfold?” Fear and anger are not a helpful place to develop a proactive response to family crisis. We had a difficult time finding the professional support we needed, and at times aligning with the conflicting advice we were receiving. We were all trying our best, care providers included, but our resources were low, barriers and mandates were high.

In 2005, I experienced a car accident, that was a turning point for me, and the catalyst to both personal and professional change. We had a child struggling at home and school, three parents in a co-parenting relationship with conflicting ideas about how to best support this kid we all loved so much, financial struggles, and now this! In hindsight, it was a gift to me.

In 2006, I entered experiential re-training in family education, coaching, counselling and mediation, and began to truly see the value of working collaboratively with families and the care team that supports them. There were flashes of personal insight, and hard, humble moments of acknowledging who I was as a human being, and a parent. I came to better understand the shifts I could make to truly support my own family and the families I would begin to work with soon. It started to get better from there.

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” Jamais Cascio

My son is 25 today, thriving in his life and such a source of inspiration to me! It is a privilege to encompass my life experiences into to my role of family engagement & service provider liaison at Foundry central office! The idea that young people and their families will have the opportunity to engage in early intervention, through integrated, holistic services, speaks to all the things I believe would have supported my family. It could have been a lighthouse to the now adults in my extended family, who are still on their recovery road, working hard to find and maintain that peace they so justly deserve. What would have been the impact on their wellness today if they experienced a skilled, collaborative team working with them in their adolescence? What will it mean for the youth and families accessing services at Foundry now and in the future? This reflection fuels my passion and commitment, it can get better. Hope lives on. ❤

Submitted by Tamara Throssell – Family Engagement & Service Provider Liaison, Foundry Central Office.

For more information contact Tamara directly by email: tthrossell@foundrybc.ca