When we were going through our most difficult times with our challenging daughter, Renee, we felt very isolated, lost and paralyzed. We knew we couldn’t get through this on our own. We needed tons of wisdom, comfort and strength from other parents who had walked this path.
We looked for help in our community but found very little. This made us feel even more discouraged and alone. Because of this experience we decided that when we felt strong enough and had experienced a good bit of inner healing, we’d reach out to help others who were hurting like we were.
Our desire is to offer encouragement, support and hope to parents who suffer the pain, grief and heartache of having a child whose decisions and choices are breaking their hearts. This includes mental illness which is outside their control.
The journey we’ve been on has taken us to many dark places we’d never have imagined: self-harm, mental illness, substance abuse with both alcohol and drugs, suicide attempts, panic attacks, rape, psychiatric evaluations, hospitalizations, rehabs and relapses.
Thankfully, Renee is no longer where she once was. Today she’s pressing forward and growing. Having traveled the country countless times, she shares her story of hope to a wide variety of audiences: high schools, universities and college campuses, church youth groups, rock concerts and music festivals.
Renee published a book, Purpose for the Pain. It’s a collection of personal journal entries chronicling several years of addiction and cutting, into the early months of recovery. In her book she boldly stated, “It wasn’t my own strength that helped me stop drinking or slashing at my flesh. It was God….it’s all about Him!”
She has done some singing and song writing performing under the stage name of Bearcat . Her first EP was released in June of 2012, available on iTunes or online. In December 2013 she released acoustic versions of some of those songs, also available on iTunes. Singing her emotive songs are now the way she shares her message with eager audiences of all ages.
A unique aspect of our story is that in the spring of 2011 a movie was made about Renee and how her story was the genesis of what became a global non-profit movement, To Write Love on Her Arms (twloha.com). The movie’s title is: To Write Love On Her Arms. Released by Sony in March 2015 it’s available to rent or puchase from Amazon or other digital sources. http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/towriteloveonherarms/discanddigital/
To learn more about twloha and watch a TV station’s news coverage of Renee sharing at a recent event click here.
Meet Dena by watching the video below as she shares her story and why we began Hope for Hurting Parents.