MEET: Angie Hathaway
Former Erin’s House Family and Owner of Cleaning Queen LLC
The Reality of Grief
Seven years ago, I utilized Erin's House for Grieving Children for my family. My son, Ryan Hathaway, died on January 16, 2016. It has been seven years of the most heart-wrenching grief and healing I will ever have to experience and endure. As a single and grieving mom, now labeled as a child suicide loss survivor, I had no choice but to work and continue to provide when the comfort of my bed called my name more times than not. Additionally, I had to learn to navigate grief as a busy business owner. Some self-help tips I utilized seven years ago I still use today in my grief journey, and they’re just as relevant. I give myself the time, space, and energy I need to grieve while I’m trying my best as a mom to Alivia and boss to my cherished staff.
After 7 Years…
Today, my business provides cleaning services to families, businesses, and organizations like Erin's House, which I see as more than just disinfecting and tidying up. I may cry every single month I clean at Erin’s House, but I also find so much more healing in the words on the walls, the handwritten notes, the drawings, and the countless other things I see, touch, smell, and hear while in the facility. I can walk into Erin's House every month and I physically and emotionally know just how much healing I have done each and every day. The cycle and stages of grief and healing come full circle to me and remind me of where I was and where I am now… And for that, I am so thankful.
Last month, I had a particularly rough week. I walked into Erin's House and there was a book on the counter in the office. It felt like a sign from the heavens that was saying, “You’re doing well.” The book: "The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm". Why would that be important? My son who died by suicide was well known by his nickname "Rhino". For as long as I can remember, people called him “Rhino”. From the bleachers to the ball diamonds, to the courts and the fields, "Go Rhino" was a well-known phrase in our family. This book felt like a reminder that I may have needed after my week. I picked it up and read one of the pages… Yes! I stopped to read a children's book.
"After every dark night comes a new day. Be kind, do your best, and you'll find your way. Up comes the sun. There are steps to complete. There isn't a map. Just follow your feet."
Grief teaches us a little more about love. Love for others. Love for ourselves. As you navigate the unknowns in life, don't forget to make yourself a priority.
Wishing you the best,
But Ryan "Rhino" just calls me "Momma"