AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The death of someone close and the resulting grief can be difficult for many to overcome on their own.
However, help and loving support to move past the grief is available.
"Kelsey was the kind of individual that could light up a room," recalled Tom Tortoreo. "Everybody wanted to be her friend."
Like most dads, Tom Tortoreo is proud of his daughter, but in the blink of an eye, Tom's life changed dramatically.
"About six years ago, unfortunately, I was one of those guys - that family - that got that phone call in the middle of the night," he remembers. "It was from the great folds at the Amarillo Police Department to inform me that my 20-year-old daughter, my first born, was killed in an accident. I was in a place, Dave, where I couldn't survive. I was in this pit of darkness that I never thought I would get out of."
His journey to overcome the grief took a turn for the better with the Hope and Healing Place.
"As I progressed through the program, I started to see a different side to life," Tom explained. "How I wasn't alone, how I wasn't the only man on this planet that ever went through this challenge, the only family on the planet that had gone through this type of tragedy."
Laurie Howard, the Project Coordinator for Hope and Healing said a curriculum that their facilitators are trained on helps them counsel grieving families.
We all know it is inevitable that people are going to pass away, family members are going to pass away, people are going to go through what Tom has been through.
Tom has a message for those who go through this grief.
"There is hope. There is light. I say to people who have been through this - don't let grief destroy you. Let it define you. Let it change you. Let that death, that unfortunate loss of a loved one have meaning," he said.
To symbolize the safety that they hope to bring to grieving families, the Hope and Healing Places uses bird houses.
"These beautiful bird houses are supposed to symbolize a safe environment," Howard explained. "The families come together and they paint something to symbolize their lost loved one. They get to share about their lost loved one in a way that symbolizes their family."
Tom adds, "This place is safe, it's where you need to be when you are in that pit. You are not alone."
The loss of a loved one can be quite a shock, sending people in to a dark place. But, they can find light and love at the Hope and Healing Place.
Now that's some good news.