The Wilsons were a happy and vibrant family of four. They loved being together, and that was always a point of pride for them. That changed when Jeff, the dad-joke-telling husband and father, was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. The house of jokes and laughter was now filled with fear and anxiety. After many rounds of chemotherapy battling the disease, Jeff passed away.
Jenny watched her children change, and wasn’t sure what to do about it. Her son, Jay, is 16 now. Jenny feels he’s disappeared. He works every day of the week, and she hasn’t seen him smile and laugh for years. Janna, Jenny’s 14-year-old daughter, seems to run on coffee and Jenny is not sure if she ever sleeps. Janna is irritable when things don’t go her way. Even Jenny has found herself working more and talking less. Everything has changed since Jeff’s death, and Jenny knows things can’t continue like this. She’s losing what is left of her family.
Despite Jay complaining about missing work, Janna having to miss volleyball practice, and Jenny having never been in a therapist office before, she reaches out for help. Jenny knows she needs to do this for her family.
Family therapy is the space that Jenny, Jay, and Janna needed in order to talk about their loss as individuals and as a family unit. Jenny sees real emotion from Jenna and is amazed as light shines in her son’s eyes when the therapist asks about Jeff.
The family has been going to therapy for six months, and life and energy have returned to their home. They’ve begun having pancakes again every Saturday. They’ve learned to acknowledge their pain, but also to own and acknowledge joy. The positive changes that the family is experiencing through the process will be felt for many years to come.