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Two Daughters




Welcome to the Very Beginning

by Shannon Bell

Hello everyone! Welcome to the online space curated specifically for young people facing the serious illness of a parent or the loss of a parent. Having experienced both in the past 3 years, I understand your pain, and I hope that what this site becomes helps at least reduce the feelings of isolation that naturally accompany this experience.

When my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 2020, I felt like something inside me had broken. I went through many different stages in my anticipatory grief journey, alternating between seeking empathy, information, mental health resources, and answers on whether anything I was feeling was normal.

As I sit here writing this today, it has been four and a half months since I lost my mom. If you’d asked me several months ago what I would be doing at this point after her death, I can guarantee I would not have said I’d be taking on a totally new venture with no idea where to even start. I probably would have predicted I’d still be feeling like the bare minimum was more than enough. But everything about grief, along with the situations that bring it on, is unexpected and unpredictable.

After my mom died, I felt devastated, but I also felt directionless. My mother was my biggest role model, and I was always eager to share with her every little update that I thought she’d be proud of. When she was gone, I wondered if anything I did would feel as meaningful again.

My mother was brilliant, and by my age she was already a professor. She made a career out of helping people, always trying to find new ways to improve the livelihoods of those around her. When she passed, I had just started my first real job out of graduate school; it hadn’t come easy after almost a year of job hunting. I only had two weeks before she died to give her some idea of how my career was starting. I wanted her to see so much more.

A death like this has a way of making you feel very small; being the bottom rung of the ladder in your career only exacerbates that. I wanted to do more to fill the hole my mom left in the world and fulfill the potential she always saw in me. I also wanted to put all my feelings and pain to use in some way, so maybe someone else could find the answers more easily than I was able to. So, the idea of Two Daughters Foundation was born, and I built it out.

For now, I have to start small, though my tendency is to want to do everything at once. Coming soon is a discussion forum where young people can come together to ask questions, seek advice, provide support, vent, and pay tribute to those fighting and those lost. I will also be adding information on mental health care resources with the goal that someday we will be able to provide financial assistance to those who face barriers to care. I’ve got plenty of other ideas bouncing around in my head: merch, podcast, in-person events and fundraisers?? The benefit of being here early is you can help shape what we become, so please don’t keep your ideas to yourself!

From this point forward, this blog will be dedicated to sharing information on topics related to grief, parental illness experiences, promising research, and your stories.

Please reach out via our contact page with any ideas on how Two Daughters Foundation can better serve you, and please feel free to share your stories as well. We would love to honor you and your loved ones any way we can.

Stay tuned for much more to come!