At 8 years old, Ava Horrigan and her sister Stella have been through more than most people in a lifetime.
“I miss everything about her,” says Ava of her mother Sarah. “There are too many things, too many things.”
Three years ago, when Ava was five and her sister was three, their mom Sarah passed away in her sleep.
“I miss saying ‘mama,” telling her stuff, I miss a lot of things about her.”
Both girls were sleeping with Sarah when she passed, and their grandmother, ‘Red’ knew, especially because of the circumstances, that both girls needed counseling.
“My Red wanted me to be in some counseling and she thought this was the place for me to go,” says Ava. “I’ve been here two or three years and I really like it.”
And now, three years later, Ava and Stella are still at Healing House and are thriving.
“One of the common misconceptions about Healing House is that it is a sad place,” says Healing House Executive Director Jenee Broussard. “It really isn’t. These children share sad, awful, unimaginable stories, but at the same time you see resilience and hope.”
As executive director of Healing House, Jenee says over the years she’s watched dozens of kids walk in broken, and come out stronger than ever.
“They’re able to learn from other children who were in their shoes,” says Jenee. “It may have been years since they experience the death of a loved one. They can look at them and say, if you made it so can I. Children learn from other children.”
And Ava is learning, learning how to keep those precious memories of her mother alive, while slowly letting go of the pain of losing her best friend.
You can help support local charities like Healing House by purchasing a $100 ticket for the Home for the Holidays giveaway. Click here to learn more about the home and the charities that you can help support.
For more on Healing House and their services, click here.