Recipient of The Compassionate Friends Conference Scholarship Announced

The Tony Brown Foundation is very pleased to announce the recipient of the scholarship to The Compassionate Friends National Conference in Costa Mesa California this July.  We would like to thank all the participants who took the time to share their story with us.  It was not an easy decision, each story touched me very deeply and every one was worthy of attending.  Unfortunately, one had to be chosen.  MaryAnn Trocchio submitted a very heartfelt, tragic essay about her journey after the death of her only son Karl. I spoke with Maryann and what a beautiful soul!  I look forward to learning more about Maryann, her son Karl, her family, her work as a hospice nurse and the Northford chapter she helps with.  I am confident that Maryann will learn, grow and share from attending the conference. Below is Maryann’s submission along with a photo of her son Karl.  Thank you Maryann for caring to grow and help others in your grief.

I lived in constant fear from November of 2003 till September of 2008- my son was a member of the US Army, 502nd, 101st Airborne, Ranger, sniper. He was medically discharged with a diagnosis of severe PTSD and other physical disabilities. He required a lumbar laminectomy in November 2008. He suffered greatly at home, both physically and emotionally. I found him dead in bed on Mother’s day- May 10, 2009…. life, as I knew it changed forever.

The stages of grief are never linear and the immediate shock I now realize was my coating of protective armor! My first born, my only son is gone…living with this fact requires small baby steps and dedication to living.

Attending my first TCF meeting was bone-chilling and numbing. So many of us in a room-unknown to each other yet connected through our loss. It was so hard to listen, so difficult to speak. However, the compassion I felt for everyone’s loss overwhelmed and focused me. Returning each month to listen, to give hope, to share gave me purpose and strength.

I have been blessed to know my son Karl is with me and wants me to go on-, as he wanted that for himself. Professionally I care for the sick and dying- I am a hospice nurse. I witness death almost daily but I am also witness to my patient’s lives.

Attending the TCF leadership course last year gave me a renewed sense of healing. My goals, my dreams are for the strength to provide love, compassion and hope for all those touched by loss. A personal goal is to assist my 20 something daughters. Guiding them, grounding them, encouraging them to live

My vision is to continue to give with honesty, to form bonding relationships, to help heal, to provide for emotional pain relief. With healing I am gaining strength to carry on in Karl’s name.

It would be an honor to attend this year’s conference. It is very exciting to visualize everyone together, along with the spiritual presence of our children! Please consider my essay entry. Attending this year will enable me to continue on my journey of healing, thus providing me the tools to continue giving back.

We need not walk alone!

Sincerely,

Maryann Trocchio

Shoreline chapter TCF

Northford, CT.

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