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Spirit of Acadiana: Healing House fathers remembered

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jun 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-20 23:54:26-04

"When I was nine years old, my father died suddenly"

"My dad died whenever I was six."

" When I was in third grade. I'm going to sixth."

They are voices of some of the children at Healing House. Not only is it the place that provides hope for grieving children, but, it’s also the place where fathers are remembered.

"He was the greatest dad"

“My dad was amazing; he was a wonderful dad."

"Oh, my gosh; how much time do we have? The best."

So many stories of how Healing House helped children on the one hand move on from their mourning… but still-- remember AND treasure and honor dad.

“Healing house has helped me honor him by knowing what he's done,” explains 11-year old Faith Garbarino, whose father died of cancer three years ago, “what a great parent he was, and what a great person he was."

Emmie Allen, a 12-year old from Lafayette, says Healing House provided some much-needed comfort and reassurance. "Healing House has given me friends that have also gone through the same thing.

Emmie and Faith are children of the present who remember their late fathers and are told at Healing House ‘feelings are o.k.’ and ‘you’re not alone. There are other kids who understand. "It's good to have friends who experienced this, too-- like Faith,” adds William Garbarino. Allen agrees.

"They're going through the same thing you went through, and you're able to help them out."

And there are the generational legacies of Healing House. A Healing House child turned volunteer like Karla Thibodeaux remembers what the organization did for her when she was 15, and we go back to the concept of togetherness. “Just to be around other kids that had had similar things happen to them told me that I wasn't alone,” she explains.

Karla by the way--- has a memorial brick with her father's name… right in the Healing House patio. “To remember his legacy that he left behind,” she explains.

And finally, 22-year old Brennan Higginbotham:

Recipient of a Healing House coping kit when her father died, and later, a Healing House volunteer who remembers her first visit. “And I passed the memory wall and I started sobbing, and said, I love it. I love it,” smiles Higginbotham. “I love this place, it's so special, I feel so understood, I just look at these kids and pictures of the people who died, and I just absolutely fell in love with the mission.”

She's now a Healing House employee.

And with this being Fathers’ Day weekend, Brennan has the perfect way to tie all of this together.

“Would he be proud of what you're doing with Healing House?” I ask.

Higginbotham beams at the thought. “I like to think so, yes. "

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