Finding Light in Loss

'Mental health is extremely important'

Loss is a broken heart that takes a lifetime to mend.

In July 2020, Trisha Koelsch’s life was forever altered by one phone call. Her younger sister Denise had been in a motorcycle crash and was brain dead, one day before her 31st birthday.

Because of COVID restrictions, Trisha and her brother were the only two family members allowed to be at Denise’s bedside as she died.

“I remember not being able to cry until after I left the hospital,” Trisha said. “I was a walking zombie, just going through the motions as I realized this would be the last time I would be with my sister alive.”

Denise left behind her 4-year-old son Zayden. Trisha became Zayden’s primary care giver, along with raising her own 13- and 15-year-old.

In the blink of an eye, Trisha was facing the life stage she left behind — the years of kindergarten and tantrums. As much as she loved Zayden, she mourned the life she had grown accustomed to with teenagers.

A longtime OG&E employee, Trisha learned about Calm Waters through their United Way employee giving program.

“I have friends who have lost a sibling, but I needed more support than they could provide and Calm Waters provided that and so much more,” Trisha said.

Trisha and Zayden began attending Calm Waters’ grief support groups and took advantage of the agency’s counseling services, as well. There, she learned tools to help her cope with all the change she endured throughout the span of one year — losing her sister, having a new son and the struggle of divorce.

“I knew I couldn’t take care of Zayden and my children without helping myself first,” Trisha said. “Mental health is extremely important. Without getting help to process emotions and life events, you’re going to suffer along with everyone else around you.”

Trisha and Zayden continue to be cared for, at no cost, by Calm Waters’ services to ensure their trauma is not long term and that they are on the road to healing together.

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