By Cillea Houghton
CLARKSVILLE, TN — “What is your truth?” That’s the question Treva Gordon has been asking since her husband, Robert Gordon, passed away from cancer in June, a loss that left her grief-stricken and seeking comfort. Unable to find a support group for widows, Gordon discovered that sharing her story whether to an acquaintance or a stranger on a plane forged a bond that helped with the healing process. That’s when she created L.O.S.S., Lending Our Shared Stories, a nonprofit under the Mile High Church in Clarksville where her husband was a pastor, that invites those experiencing loss to come together and heal by sharing their stories.
“When I went through my loss, it’s like my two back tires were stuck in the mud. But when I started sharing my stories, I realize I’m not the only one,” Gordon said. “What brings people together is their loss. In order for me to help other people, I have to help myself, and maybe just sharing my story and how I’m feeling others might be able to relate.”
Since launching L.O.S.S. in October, Gordon has organized group meetings across the country in cities like Nashville, Clarksville, Atlanta, Las Vegas and her hometown of Detroit. Members range from those mourning the death of a loved one or going through a divorce. There are women who have experienced miscarriages or suffered abuse from their partners, while one attendee is coping with the loss of two of her sons to gun violence. “Elevation from devastation,” Gordon said of the group’s motto. “We want to help people become elevated to get back to doing positive things.”
L.O.S.S. paid its first house visit to Clarksville resident Belinda Martinez, whose mother passed away from diabetes in 2015. Gordon and Martinez knew each other through church, but when Martinez saw Gordon’s post on Facebook discussing the correlation between emotions and the seasons of life, she felt compelled to reach out to her. Gordon came to Martinez’s house and helped her go through a box of her mothers’ photos and memories, listening to her stories. “She was able to do with me something I’d never done before – release,” Martinez said. “I think when you share your story, you’re releasing that pain.”
Gordon is planning to take the nonprofit global. She recently organized a coat drive in nine cities throughout Michigan and Tennessee that sent volunteers into housing communities in cities including Nashville, Clarksville, Gallatin and Murfreesboro to distribute coats to people in need. She is also opening a home for women who have mental illness in Detroit in spring 2020 called House of Joan, named in honor of her mother. She plans to establish meetups for niche groups such as singer-songwriters and wants to open a home for veterans.
“These meetups are so necessary and when we ask people ‘what is your truth?’ it really just opens up a door and it really helps and I think you perform better when you discover your truth. I think you get to what your real purpose in life is and you answer that definitive question,” Gordon said. “L.O.S.S. is about healing and helping people, and my ultimate goal is to always help people and to give back. We really want to make a difference.”
For more information about L.O.S.S., find them on Facebook at lossevents.