Tonia Tanner: Roberta’s House is a Place of Hope and Healing

Dr. Heidi Horsley talks with Tonia Tanner from . Her first encounter with the organization was a personal one in 2010 when her father passed away. Her family attended the center to help with the grieving process. It was a space where she found hope when she felt entirely lost. She wasn’t sure how to move forward and felt alone. When she became part of the program, she received endless support. It was a place that taught her what grief was, and that it was okay to grieve.

There were days when the sadness was palpable, and going to Roberta’s House helped her find her healing path. Anger and sadness are common in grief, and it needs to be validated. Activities can help with the grief journey, as can group work based on age groups. Being around your peers can help relieve pressure, and knowing others truly empathize with you is key. In 2014, Tanner’s mother died and again she returned to Roberta’s House.

Finding Hope

The second time, it was a natural reaction to go to Roberta’s House. Here, she feels like she has family and always feels welcomed. It’s a great source of support that serves entire families. Now that Tanner has lost both of her parents, she encourages others in her situation to reach out and identify their own support networks. There’s always someone available to help, whether it’s an organization or maybe a friend or family member.

Tanner took on the duty of raising two children her parents were raising as well as her own children. She also found a program that helps teens, as well as parents who are suddenly parenting in a different manner. There are organizations that help with these situations around the country, although Roberta’s House serves as a gold standard.


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