Today, I’m pleased and honored to share a wonderful guest post by Bryan Jung.
Bryan reached out to me just before the holidays, and I’m so glad he did. He is an inspiration, following his passion to help those who have lost a parent as a child or teenager.
We both strongly believe that grief and mental health should be less stigmatized. I’m so encouraged to see how mental health is increasingly becoming part of the national and global conversation.
I love storytelling and believe telling our stories is part of healing. So does Bryan.
After reading his story, I’m sure you’ll agree.
I am extremely blessed to be where I am today; the relationships I’ve created and maintained, the opportunities that have been presented to me, and the support I’ve gotten throughout the years in all of my endeavors. However, my past experiences have, without a doubt, molded me into the person I am today.
In November 2004, my father, who was a lawyer at the time, was winning in a court case, and the opposing lawyer knew this. With a jealous mind, the opposing lawyer decided to show up to my father’s office and shoot at him three times with a silenced pistol. One bullet struck my father in the head, leaving him bed-ridden in a coma. As I visited him in the hospital at nine years old, I could not talk to him. He could not move, and the first time he opened his eyes was when he heard my brother and I’s voices. It was the toughest part of my life to see him in this state, especially at such a young age. He fought to survive for 15 hard months until his death in February 2006, nine days before my 11th birthday. It was greatly saddening, but I knew that he was free of pain and in a better place. Through the tragic events and days following, it was the incredibly strong bond within my family that kept me going each and every day. My mother was, and still is, the strongest person I know. Because of her, my older brother and I never gave up. She constantly found ways to keep our heads up and provide for us. She kept pushing us each and every day, making sure we stayed on the right paths, never veering off. Together, as a family, we were able to overcome every obstacle and get to where we are today.
With everything that has happened in my life, I’ve come to learn that every second and every moment cannot, and should not, be taken for granted. Anything can happen in a split second and life can instantly change course forever. I make an effort to not just go through, but conquer each and every day. I always do my best to help people around me that are emotional struggling because I have had my own personal struggles. Through my experiences, I want to share my learnings and optimism with as many strangers and peers as I can.
On this year’s Father’s Day, I launched my grief support platform & community, ‘This Is Why’, to the public. ‘This Is Why’ is a creative platform for individuals who have lost a parent as a child or teenager. I want to provide a safe space for individuals of all ages, with the option of anonymity, to share emotions, thoughts, and experiences. In turn, this will allow for an opportunity to build a community with others who’ve undergone similar circumstances. I want to highlight how past experiences have made us who we are today, spotlighting our resilience and perseverance for more positive and optimistic lives ahead. I feel that grief and mental health should be topics of discussion that are less stigmatized. If I can contribute even a small part towards a world where these topics are more openly welcomed, I will do what I can to do that.
The main component of ’This Is Why’ is the collection of stories. To keep this idea moving and the community growing, I’d love to receive as many stories as possible. This is a way for more and more people to be both a reader and/or contributor, allowing for a sense of communal connection between individuals who’ve gone through similar experiences.
If you and/or anyone you know may be interested & willing, here is the link to the story submission page:
Here is the Linktree link to all applicable ’This Is Why’ platforms:
Quite simply, life is tough. However, the ups and downs are what help us grow as individuals, through our own unique experiences. I have something called the “Three F’s” that I live by: Faith, Family, and Friends. With these three foundations, I have a sense of purpose and appreciation for every breath I take in this world.
Debbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC, is an author and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City, where she specializes in trauma, grief and loss. Her award-winning book, You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope combines her personal story of devastating loss with practical insights and simple suggestions for healing. Join her Facebook community, Grief to Gratitude, and follow her on Instagram.