Jill Hockaday is a Cedar Rapids resident and long-time supporter to United Way. After many years of supporting United Way through her workplace, she never imagined that she would need the services of a United Way agency. Jill’s story is a reminder that supporting United Way allows community partners such as Foundation 2 to support people who experience a tough time in their life.
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Hi, my name is Jill Hockaday. I have always worked for an employer who participates in the United Way Campaign and faithfully donated every year. I wanted to help out others in need. Not in a million years, did I think I would be benefiting from an agency that is supported by United Way. In 2001, I thought my life was going pretty good.
I was scared to death to be a single parent, but had to be strong for my kids. I think the worst time was at night, after the kids were asleep, and my brain had time to wander. One night in particular, I was having a hard time, I could not stop crying, and it was too late to bother anyone with my problems. However, I could not calm myself down. This was the first time I came in contact with Foundation 2.
I called their helpline hoping to get some help. Even though I was crying so hard, I could not tell them what was wrong. However, the person that was talking to me was able to help me out. The person on the other end asked me yes/no questions that I was able to answer until I was calmed down, and able to actually talk it all out. I never felt the need to call them again, but always knew they were there if I did.
Over the years, I found myself, my kids and I became stronger as a family, and I met a wonderful man with three kids himself. We got married in 2007, and our new family life began. Just like with any family, we have had our ups and downs, but life was going pretty good.
Well…..I thought it was. One night in February a year and a half ago, my 16 year old son took his own life. Again, life completely stopped, and I honestly had no idea where to start to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to. A friend of my husband’s, contacted him, as her brother also committed suicide. She met with me and told me about a Suicide Survivors Support group. My husband and I started attending the group, and it has been amazingly helpful. It is comforting to know that I am not crazy in some of my fears, and some of my thoughts. The people are very supportive, and have helped us get over the hump of the year of the horrible “firsts”.
And it is also wonderful having others who lost people years ago, come to group to help others, and also gave me hope that I would someday get to the point of being “okay”. Well…..I’m still grieving, and probably always will be, but I can honestly say, I’ve gotten to the point that I can say I’m going to be OKAY! This group is the Suicide Survivor Support Group that is put on by Foundation 2. This group has been so important to me, that I have only missed one time in the past 1 ½ years, when I was out of town for medical reasons.
Foundation 2 offers quite a few other services. All of their services came from a need in the community, so the services they provide do not usually duplicate what other agencies do. Some of the other services they provide are:
• 24-hour crisis hotline
• Support groups (survivors of suicide, depression and anxiety)
• Mobile crisis outreach
• After hours food pantry
• Youth shelter (ages 11-17)
• Family counseling
• Transitional housing for young adults
Thank you for your time and listening to my story and how Foundation 2 has helped me through some tough times in my life. Thank you for your donations to United Way, which supports Foundation 2!