From Pain to Purpose

Let me introduce myself. My name is Darlene Garcia and I am a widow. In fact, my angel husband is now resting at Guam Windward Memorial.

My journey of grief, healing and purpose began the morning of July 17, 2015. Frank, my angel husband, died in a tragic motorcycle accident on his way to work. The moment I knew he had died; my life went dark. In the few months after his death, I never felt so alone. I had family all around me constantly, but I was still alone. No one understood my grief and many times, tried to give me advice that made no sense to me. For these reasons I found myself isolating more and more.

As time went on, I realized that what I thought I knew about grief and what it means to grieve were now all very confusing.

I tried many ways of dealing with my grief from praying, to leaning on family and friends, to joining a widow support group and even seeking the help of a psychologist. None of it helped. So then, I resorted to shopping even when I didn’t need anything. In between all that unnecessary spending of money, I binged watched Netflix and Hulu, and didn’t have a care about what was going on around me. I couldn’t sleep or eat, and I had no motivation to participate in life. My emotions were so erratic and out of my control and this sent a fear through me that I had never felt before in my life. There came a point when I finally found the energy to do something more to help me deal with my grief. I found a workshop in Austin, Texas called the Grief Recovery Method. It sounded different than everything I had done thus far so, I figured I had nothing to lose. This workshop was 2 ½ days and very intense. But in the end, I was lighter, wiser and now ready to participate in life. It wasn’t a cure all, but it was finally a way that made sense to begin my journey of healing. This workshop helped me believe in hope again and I finally saw a small spark of light in this dark world of mine.

Grief is everywhere.

But how we were taught to deal with it, makes the grieving process for so many a very dark and lonely place to be. If I was stuck, I imagined so were many others that were grieving. Something this transformational, was not meant to be kept to myself. So, six months after I attended the Grief Recovery workshop for my own personal grief, I decided to go back and become certified to teach this program so I can help others on Guam the way it had helped me. Losing my husband so suddenly has been the biggest and deepest loss in my life. I never thought I could ever recover from something so tragic and heartbreaking.

Yet, here I am, four years later, living a life of deep purpose and filled with so much love and gratitude.

The life I live now allows me to honor Frank’s memory while being a guiding light for others that are suffering from deep loss and grief.

I mentioned earlier, grief is everywhere. Grief is a universal human experience. It’s normal and it’s natural. However, how we were taught to deal with grief is not normal, natural or healthy. And, we will grieve at many different times throughout our lives. Helping others heal is a huge task and one that I knew I could not do alone. It’s been a long time coming but I am honored to now have a total of 18 other Grief Recovery Specialists on my team – 13 additional on Guam and 5 on Saipan.

Together, we will be covering topics on grief and loss right here on the Guam Windward Memorial website. If there is anything in particular you’d like us to write about, please email me at We are committed to providing you content that will uplift, inspire hope and healing and answer any questions you may have on grief and loss.

From my heart to yours, Darlene.

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