Families are not built to break, but sadly they do. Kate’s parents separated when she was 7 years old, and she was left feeling alone in the world. But at her greatest moment of heartbreak and anguish, Kate found someone to lean on – her school chaplain, Theresa.
“I first met Kate in Grade 3 after her mum asked me to check in on her. She was extremely anxious – she wasn’t sleeping, which made her tired, which gave her headaches so she couldn’t concentrate on her work. It was a horrid cycle. She would grind her teeth nervously at school and her anxiety led to some really serious tummy pains”.
Kate was sad because she felt she didn’t have a normal family, so chaplain Theresa talked about what all the different ways a ‘normal family’ could look. Chaplain Theresa helped her see that each family is beautifully unique, and got her to think about the positives she could see in her situation. Kate had felt like she was the only person in the world going through a family separation, because she hadn’t seen any of her friends with the same problem.
“I remember chaplain Jen showing me a statistic that 1-in-4 families go through something similar to what I was going through, which made me feel way better. Just knowing I wasn’t the only one in the world who this was happening to made it more manageable. I remember one day she helped me write a letter to my dad to tell him how I was feeling. I never ended up showing dad the letter, but just writing it down took a huge weight off me.”
The impact this support had was incredible. In Grade 6, Kate was made school captain.
*Student name has been changed for privacy.