Mio Faces His Grief
Mio’s* life has been a series of abrupt and traumatic transitions, much more than any young person should endure.
Only days after his mother’s tragic death, when he was just eight years old, Mio was uprooted from his home in the state of Georgia and sent to live with a family he barely knew in a poverty-stricken community in Honduras.
Life in Honduras was much different than what Mio was used to in the United States. He and his family lived in a two-room home made of scrap metal. There, survival overshadowed the grief he felt from the trauma of losing his mother, and he was expected to keep quiet and help.
“There wasn’t any support. No one talked about emotions or mental health. We just kind of lived our lives the best we could. No one really talked about the death of my mother, so we just ignored it.”
Two years later, a father he had never met brought him back to live in Georgia, promising a normal life. A second move within two years caused Mio to feel anxious and uncertain, but he was looking forward to something more familiar. Two years after the move, Mio started to feel like he was settling back in, making friends, and building a good life, but then his father got sick with COVID-19 and tragically lost his life. Mio was orphaned and alone again.
Mio had to move again to live in Kirkland with his half-sister, whom he met at his father’s funeral. Due to the immense trauma and grief Mio had experienced and the need to push down his emotions to survive, his half-sister knew Mio needed to receive mental health services and begin to address his trauma. However, the unexpected expenses of being a new guardian were a hardship for Mio’s sister, and she didn’t know how she could afford the help. A friend told her about Youth Eastside Services.
Mio was assigned to a bi-lingual Youth and Family Therapist at YES named Rosa. Rosa understood Mio’s culture and was able to help him break down the stigma surrounding mental health topics, and he began to feel more and more comfortable talking about his grief and trauma.
“Rosa suggested ways of memorializing my parents. We came up with having a specific day each year where I remember them, and I do something for them to remember them by,” said Mio. “I felt like I was doing better about both my parents passing away. Instead of not feeling anything, I felt more for them and felt like I was remembering them more.”
Today, Mio has settled into his home in Kirkland, and he’s made many new friends. He’ll finish high school next year, is already planning to attend college, and has begun applying for scholarships. He hopes to go to law school and eventually work with immigrant families.
*At YES, we respect everyone who comes to us for support, and many are working on improving their lives. So, while their stories are true, client names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.
HELPING YOUTH LIKE MIO
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