June 30, 2020 | Cindy Hodo, MSS, NBC-HWC
My wellness journey began as a newlywed when my mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis – caused by outside toxins – ignited my curiosity to learn as much as I could about how to avoid toxins and cancer. My sweet mother died eight years later at the age of 63. I learned that chemicals from products we use to clean with, eat, drink, and put on our bodies can affect our health.
Over time with my doctor’s supervision to get off anti-depressants, allergy and asthma medications, I integrated a cleaner lifestyle and began to detox my body. As I experienced dramatic improvement in my health and energy, I wanted to help other people discover how they could live a healthier life.
Years later, during the summer of 2011, my 17-year-old son, Thomas, was in an early morning single car accident. By the time my husband, Pete and I were notified, Thomas was deemed unresponsive. Life flight was on the way.
Thomas’ journey of being a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor launched my journey of being a caregiver. Our bond as mother and son became very strong. Over the next three years, the two of us learned together about the brain, the body, nutrition, holistic approaches, stress management, even math and English as we took on the challenge of home schooling two of his senior year courses. It was a wild ride – one I will forever cherish. Thomas took his final high school exam in October 2014. Thomas was planning to open a used car business and I was exploring the field of health coaching as we both finally had time for new and exciting ventures. We were thrilled with his vast accomplishments of finishing school and in the continual healing of his body and brain.
Devastatingly, two days after Thomas took his final exam to graduate, he was killed instantly in a second automobile accident near our home. My world, along with Pete’s and our daughter Cierra’s, was shaken and broken to the core. Each of us knew in our hearts that Thomas was fully healed and with the Lord. It was up to each of us to continue without him – to learn how to live a full, vital life and to find joy again.
Each person grieves uniquely. It took me three years to work through the ugly fog of grief. I learned the importance of self-care, grew deeper in my faith and became mentally and physically stronger.
I will never forget the morning the fog finally lifted. I was energetic, clear-headed and rejuvenated. I praised God for the clarity, energy and for the unusually cool, August morning. I clearly received the calling to explore health coaching which had been on the back burner. It was time to help others professionally and make the career shift. I discovered Duke Integrative Medicine during my research and fell in love with their Mind, Body, Spirit inclusion in their integrative health coaching certification program.
Mom and Thomas taught me that no matter how difficult life gets – be grateful, persevere, and help others. I honor them by living my best life and giving my best efforts though volunteering, producing What’s Next? Agents of Change, educating, mentoring, coaching, and encouraging others to live their best lives.
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