The Schoening-Holden Family from L-R: Brendan & Meghan Schoening, Grace Holden, Kelly & Keith and Nick Holden
Kelly Schoening Holden and Keith Holden were this year’s Hospice of Cincinnati & Fernside Summertime Classic chairs. Not only did they secure sponsors and silent auction donations, they, along with Kelly’s son Brendan, shared their stories and the impact Fernside had on them with our guests. Our event was a huge success due to their efforts and we can’t thank them enough for their enthusiastic support. Here are their stories in their own words:
Several people recommended looking into Fernside for the kids…so I made the call. After attending the organizational meeting, I then had to coax the kids to their first meeting. Pizza and ice-cream are amazing bribes. I reasoned that anything to help them understand their loss would be better than nothing at all. To my surprise, the meetings were much, much more.
My children were able to communicate with others passing through similar situations of loss. Now they knew that they were not alone and their feelings were completely normal. The hands-on projects became talking opportunities for me. Sometimes just starting the conversation was the hard part and Fernside enabled that. The adult small groups helped me face my own loss and grief - something I really had not taken the time to do.
~ Keith Holden
I had no idea how to move on with life but I knew about Fernside and knew that I had to get my kids there. I had a friend who told me that she should have lots of advice for me but the only thing she knew for sure was that I needed to go to Fernside. As a parent, we want to protect our kids from hurt and pain. I was watching my children go through the worst pain possible while trying to deal with my own immense grief. They say you grieve to the extent you love and our grief was paralyzing. But, the people in my group walked my journey and they understood. It was a safe place to cry and share all of your fears. The value of that was immeasurable. I am so grateful to my wonderful group and to Fernside for those sessions. I do not hesitate to refer people to the program once I see a need. To me, Fernside is a place of hope and how you can live in the future.
~ Kelly Schoening Holden
Fernside was the most helpful thing I’ve ever had in my life. It taught me more than anyone could ever teach me. It comforted me so much. I’m thankful for my family at Fernside and how much Fernside did for me. It gave me a home in hard times, and people I could rely on. Without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I want to give a big thanks to Fernside for taking me and other kids in that were sad, and helping us in ways we never thought would happen. Thank you.
~ Brendan Schoening
Kelly came to Fernside with her two children, Meghan and Brendan, following the death of her husband and their father, Nick, in 2013. Keith and his children, Grace and Nicholas, came to Fernside after the death of his wife and their mother, Tracy, in 2011. Although they didn’t meet at Fernside, they were introduced in 2014 and quickly realized they had a lot in common, including Fernside, and married in 2015.