Story by A. Rebecca Heming
Just got back from the NAMI walk and am sitting at my desk. It’s funny how life can be a circle at times.
19 years ago I worked at a non-profit advertising agency and met a wonderful woman by the name of Letty. We became friends and she used to tell me about her son Dustin who struggled with addiction and mental illness. I would share with her my struggles and we became a support group. Years went by and we reconnected on Facebook. A few years after that tragically her son lost his battle and passed away. I went to his memorial service and Letty passed out his picture and a poem. I still have it to this day. Letty and her husband became very vocal advocates for mental health and substance abuse and joined the Glendale Chapter of NAMI.
When I started to work at River Community Covina she simply told me “You will love it”.
Recently Letty and her husband shared on Facebook that for 8 glorious months several years ago Dustin was in an outpatient program and lived in a sober living facility and had some of the best times of his life. They look back on the period of time with great fondness and love. It was then that she shared with me that her son attended River Community Covina’s outpatient program here. She asked me on behalf of her and her husband to share with all of you their gratitude and gratefulness for the work that we do. This morning at the NAMI walk I got to see her for the first time in many years. Below is a picture of her and of an exercise that happened during a group that her son attended where fellow participants posted on big sheets of paper what they liked best about their fellow participants. It was one of Dustin’s most treasured possessions and to this day Letty and her husband hold onto it.
We had an excellent turnout and Social Model Recovery was in full effect. So many participants were there who were thankful and grateful and happy to be alive. On the days when we leave the office and feel that we don’t make a difference in someone’s life … or that no one is listening to us… or that we simply can’t go on … please know that we are needed and we do make a difference. Every person who comes through the doors here is a walking miracle … and we will never know the impact we have on someone’s life.
Grateful and appreciative for all of you and to be part of this organization.