The Growth From Grief

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It’s been one year since my ex-husband’s death and my family’s life will never been the same.

We grieved and we grew in ways none of us ever expected. We each made life changes, with some more obvious then others. My decision to leave television news was by far the boldest but surprisingly, seemed to be the easiest. For months I tried to explain to people the inherent need I had to be more present for my family and especially my children who were learning to live with the pain of losing their father.

There was something else happening inside of me though, that I struggled to find the words to explain. The trauma of losing someone so suddenly and so near to us was propelling me to want to do more with my life both at home and at work. I don’t believe in coincidences and I’m sure it wasn’t one when I stumbled upon not one – but two – separate magazine articles talking about the same thing: post-traumatic growth (PTG). Yes! There is actually a scientific definition for what I’ve been experiencing the last year. According to one of the articles I read, PTG was coined by one of the psychologists behind studies of people for whom they said, “Traumatic events can be a catalyst for positive change.”

In the two weeks leading up to Dave’s death I was forced to make decisions I knew my children would have to live with for the rest of their lives. We made them together but the weight of being the voice of those decisions was heavy. With every day after, I grew fierce in my strength, protectiveness and determination to find some purpose in such deep loss. Another expert was quoted in one of the articles I read as saying, “The suffering forces you to recognize that you need to find a different way to move forward.”

So I have. I’ve become a more involved and more present mother for my children and wife for my husband. I’ve become even more involved in charitable causes that benefit women and children. I now proudly serve on the Make-A-Wish Arizona board of directors where I can directly impact the power of a wish for children with life-threatening illnesses.

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I’m also proud to announce that I have helped my children establish a foundation in their father’s name. The Lats Legacy Foundation will not only keep his memory alive but through a collaboration with our alma mater, will ensure that his memory lives on in a place and in a way he would appreciate. Together with the University of Southern California, we’ve created The USC Lats Legacy Baseball Scholarship. Dave was a standout USC Trojan baseball pitcher when we were there and he was not only strong on the field but in the classroom too. The USC Lats Legacy Baseball Scholarship will be awarded to baseball players who embody those characteristics Dave was known for: leadership on the field and academic distinction off the field.

Our fundraising campaign is now underway to reach our goal of awarding the first USC Lats Legacy Baseball Scholarship in the fall of 2016.

Please help us get there by making a donation, sharing our fundraising effort and becoming a fundraiser yourself.

To learn more, visit TheLatsLegacyFoundation.org 

You can make your donation there or by TEXTING the word LATS to 71777.

Through this scholarship, we honor Dave in a way that will help other Trojan baseball players continue to live the dream he did in a place that gave him some of his best memories on earth.

Fight On!

9 Comments

  • Steve Sadecki 3 years ago

    I was a teammate of Lats’ in Lubbock and this is the first I have heard his passing. He was a great friend, teammate and man. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your kids. God Bless!

    • Catherine Anaya 3 years ago

      Hi Steve,
      My apologies for not seeing this sooner. I do remember you. Dave enjoyed your friendship! Thank you for your kind thoughts. The kids will appreciate your thoughts and prayers, as do I. Take care! Catherine

  • Hello my dear: It is wonderful to see how you have grown from all your experiences – both your ex-husband passing and sending your child off to school. True – it is important to be in your children’s lives. I read your article relating it to my dear Auntie’s passing yesterday. I was there, praying, crying and witnessing her take her final breath. Surrounded by cousins I have not seen since I was small, we spoke of how we are losing an incredible connection in our parents – indeed they were they glue that held family together. What has happened? So many of us have moved to different states and cities and we rely on FB or texting to do the connecting for us rather than the incredible feeling of a hug or kiss on the cheek that means so much. Technology removes so much of the human connection so many of us need that is so clearly evident in all of those individuals whose cries for help result in shootings or suicide. Having lost both my parents so many years ago and watching my Auntie leave us caused me to reflect. I have given so much of my life in service to others and I am constantly begging for funds to keep an organization alive, in spite of the economy and political environment, that resulted in my missing time with my own children – they hated AGUILA. Of course now that they are older, they too realize the importance of service to others, however I now have grandchildren and I am vowing to spend more time with my family. I refuse to be an absent mother and grandmother from here on out. It saddens me that community do not realize our 24/7 work to assist children to achieve their college/career dream so that they can contribute and stimulate the economy and as long as I am still standing, it is okay – “let Rosemary take care of it” I receive pats on the back and atta boys about the “incredible work AGUILA does” and yet the amount of time I must spend on raising money to sustain this program interferes with the amount of time I can give to students and most importantly to my own family. I have sacrificed my home, my family, my health and I can tell you that my commitment to Arizona will not continue if this community does not realize what it has and what New Mexico and Texas are begging for. I know that together we can make a difference for these children – AGUILA has been nationally recognized and is a White House Bright Spot with personal accolades from the President’s staff and yet Arizona does not step up to the plate. This year we graduated our first medical doctor who is completing his surgical residency with an incredible desire to serve our communities. This IS the AGUILA Way – one I hope will remain in Arizona – but it is up to the community.

    • Catherine Anaya 3 years ago

      Amen my dear friend. It is sad and sometimes a little frustrating when our calls to action fall on deaf ears. The fundraising we do is not for ourselves – it’s for others. We have been given a platform to be the voice for those who need the help and it does get exhausting and sometimes defeating when the response you think, expect or hope will be there isn’t. Please don’t give up. You have changed lives and continue to change lives and while the work gets cumbersome at times, know that your Aguilitas will never forget what you have done for them. Just as I will never forget those who supported and encouraged me when I needed it most. Their success is your legacy. You are a beautiful person and you are appreciated! xo

  • Linda King 3 years ago

    Thank you for this heartfelt, beautifully written description of moving through the pain by seeking to help others. I, too, lost family members to tragic deaths – one a car wreck in 1980 (step-son); two a home break-in 1995 (step-daughter); three the murder of my daughter in 2001 by an ex-husband. This led me and my husband to facing head-on the pandemic of domestic/dating violence – taking our life in a direction we never would have chosen, but one that has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of our lives. You recently met my granddaughter, Mia, at Severson Sisters event while I was at Ft. Bragg, training soldiers to recognize and end domestic violence. Thank you for all you do. Yes, this is what I was meant to do with my pain.

    • Catherine Anaya 3 years ago

      Linda, thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for your loss. I would give anything to not be in this position, because it would mean my children would have their father alive But if this is God’s will then I am like you, in believing that we have to make the pain and loss mean something. I did meet your beautiful and brave granddaughter. What a wonderful testimony to your heart and handwork! Bless you xo

  • Theresa 3 years ago

    Your story is inspirational to me. This is not at all my story when my ex passed, but I have learned much from reading your story, especially being present to your family. My family means the world to me, and blending two families is difficult, but I will look to you for strength and encouragement. Thank you, Catherine. I miss you on television, but this blog is such a gift.

  • Santos 3 years ago

    Miss you on TV

    • Catherine Anaya 3 years ago

      Thank you so much :)!

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