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Lorain woman uses her own grief to give people hope

Posted at 6:20 AM, Sep 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 08:35:39-04

LORAIN, Ohio  — When we experience pain and loss in our lives, it gives way to grief.

Grief recovery is the ability to move on with life without experiencing emotional pain forever.

A woman in Lorain who has experienced tremendous loss is using her positive energy to help give people hope.

"Let me allow the journey that I've been on and that I've helped other people, seen people be free from this, healed from this healed from loss," said Valerie Overton Howard.

Howard's life take a turn when her son died.

"My husband said that our son, Charles Howard, had been shot," she said. "I'm like, he's going to be okay, then when I got the news that he had transitioned, (it was) shock, disbelief. I actually thought that I was going to die. I was just existing and just grasping for the next breath to make it through that, not only for myself but for my family."

Her pain would only intensify as she suffered the loss of close to 30 people in less than a year.

Processing that much grief took time.

"I understood that grief was not something that you could get over, that you could not put a time stamp on, that you could give an expiration date for grief," she said.

Howard decided to become a certified mental health success coach and used something as simple as riding a bike to help people access their pain.

"I took bikes that was in a garage. My husband said throw them away," Howard said. "And I thought about that's how we become in grief. Sometimes we feel like I'm being thrown away. How could this happen? Get yourself that rust off of you, get you a tune-up, get yourself to mend, and go for the next ride of your life."

Howard speaks all over Northeast Ohio giving people hope and help.

She recently released her book "It all came tumbling down: Considerations of how to deal with grief, trauma and loss."

"This book isn't just for people, you know if someone has died. This is loss of relationships, loss of job, it can apply to so many different things," she said.

If you're interested in buying her book, click here.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.