Hand in Hand: A Graduation Tradition for Hannah

I want to share with you about a beloved ceremony at Healing Housing, The Rock Out, that honors a graduate when she is ready to move-out.

Hannah came to us a year ago at the age of 20. She had a list of pending charges, a mother in jail and no family to speak of. Her childhood was spent caretaking her addicted mother and she most often was left to fend for herself. She described being neglected for most of her formative years. At age 14, she was completely abandoned, and she spent the next 6 years numbing her pain with drugs and alcohol.

Desperate and broken, Hannah made her way to Healing Housing. Here she discovered a sisterhood that she could count on, and a community that assured her of her worthiness. 

For once in her life, she was the one being cared for.

For each rock-out, staff members select a rock that is reflective of that woman. In Hannah’s case, tiger’s eye was perfect! During the ceremony, each resident passed the rock around and pressed into it the message they wanted Hannah to take with her. 

As you can imagine, the ceremony was filled with tears, laughter and loving expressions. Her housemates had become her chosen family. Amongst the bonds that grew from brokenness, Hannah had found community, connection and unconditional love. Many older residents expressed how lucky Hannah was to “get recovery” so young. Others lovingly communicated how they wanted Hannah to practice self-love. 

What moved me the most was the unique relationship that Hannah formed with each individual and the loving lens in which they saw her through. 

I will miss Hannah. We will miss Hannah. I will miss her coming home from work and popping in my office before she headed up to her room. I will miss her infectious laughter and her smile. Fortunately, Hannah won’t be far away, and she knows that her chosen family are here for her.