Dear Ellen, What I want most in life is to be able to complete and pay for my degree in psychology. Nine years ago this March, we lost our youngest son, my step-son, in Iraq. We spent the first year in what we call “the fog”, the next couple years occupying ourselves because if we stopped the tears spilled out uncontrollably. Year three we pulled ourselves out of the deep to reach out to other parents, veterans, and families. My husband and I were chosen as the general contractors to design and build a local veteran’s memorial monument; this was a huge part of our healing journey, you don’t really get over it, you just get better at living with it. The monument is beautiful and you can see it by looking up the “Yorba Linda Veterans Memorial”. However, this was not giving back enough for me and I searched to honor Joel’s sacrificial gift by a gifting of myself; I wanted to leave an enduring legacy, one that would change lives. I decided to go back to college at 55 to become a grief counselor. My goal is to work with wounded warriors, veterans, and families. Grief comes in many forms. The spouse of a hero suffering from TBI or PTSD has lost the mate he or she sent to war. Men and women have lost senses and limbs, changing the way they live and relate to their world. Other families have buried a hero and search to make sense of the inconsolable loss. It requires someone who has experienced the pain of loss to comfort them. I have applied for scholarships only to be denied as not in “need”. We struggle to keep a roof over our head while providing employment so that our seven employees can support their families. I have a 3.98 GPA and over half way through my BS; I will continue through a masters and on to a PHD (if I live through the process!). I have developed a support system of psychologist friends and who have confirmed my natural gifts of listening and empathy. Fortunately, I have had the privilege of spending some time with wounded warriors and as a lay counselor for other “Gold Star” parents (parents of fallen heroes) to confirm this is what I want most in life – to give back what I have so freely been given. Ellen, if you choose to help me, you will help me pay off my tuition to date. Biggest of hugs, and blessings to you and your family this Christmas season.