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About Me

Why this? Why now?

Growing up, I lived a life of so much privilege: I am a white woman from a high socioeconomic family and my parents were married throughout my childhood and adolescence. My dad worked full-time and my mom stayed home to raise my three siblings and me. We travelled frequently, had access to great schools, and were surrounded by love every day.

In 2014, I was faced with the reality of how much of my life I had taken for granted. On October 13, 2014, my older brother, A.J., passed away at the age of 22. He died unexpectedly in his sleep from epilepsy. The world as I knew it changed; in my mind the worst possible had happened. The following summer, looking for a restorative experience, I embarked on a service-learning trip to Uganda; just a few days into the trip, I realized I was so overwhelmed with grief (and my desire to run away from it) that I needed to return home and spend time with my family. The decision ended up being the most important decision I made in my life.

I spent the summer of 2015 with my family. We began to heal as a family and to rebuild. We made new memories as the 5 of us, while always holding on to our original identity as the "Trustey 6." Finally, there was light. On July 29, 2015, my dad and sister, Anna, flew to Milwaukee for college visits; en route, the plane would encounter mechanical problems and Anna and my dad would both pass away. Anna, only 18, and my dad just 53 years old. That summer with the family became the most invaluable time of my life.

Here we were, three Trustey women. My greatest support was my boyfriend, Jake. On the really hard nights, Jake would encourage me to think about the future: Where would he and I be in 10 years? We would talk about our wedding, and our chubby, happy babies. Despite all the loss, I knew I had to have survived the worst and only happiness was left for me. I was wrong. On November 11, 2015, Jake passed away in his sleep. At 20 years old, his life was taken by cardiomyopathy. On November 11, 2015, I officially broke.

For years, I have avoided my grief. I have filled my time with distractions and have tried to convince myself that I am healed. A global pandemic and a lot of alone time has forced me (encouraged me?) to face it head on. The past 10+ months have been filled with a lot of personal work, and a lot of writing. I have decided to share this writing with others, to let you all in on my journey. Thank you for walking beside me.

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