Our Family’s Story


When I moved with my husband Ron to Milwaukee in 1993 I looked forward to starting a family, becoming involved in the community, and leading an uneventful yet meaningful life. And that’s how the following fourteen years unfolded. We were blessed with raising three daughters: Laura, Sara, and Rachel in Milwaukee’s close-knit community. Life was busy but good.

One morning In February of 2009, when Laura was a high school freshman, and after she had been complaining for several weeks of increasingly painful headaches, we rushed her to the hospital. She had suffered a seizure. Within twelve hours of being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Laura stopped breathing; three days later, the doctors declared her brain dead. Our worst nightmare—every parent’s worst nightmare—had come true.

Three years later we were again blindsided when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and underwent emergency surgery. During my better-than-expected recovery, I discovered the positive psychology concept of post-traumatic growth (PTG). I learned that our experience of surviving and thriving was more common than we would have thought; no longer did we feel so alone in our experience.

I hope this website, presentation, and memoir will provide inspiration and resources for navigating the aftermath of loss or trauma.