When her son was diagnosed with cancer, she says everything changed. After about a year and a half of fighting the disease, he died at age 18. Shortly after that, Denise's husband left. "He wasn't happy, and he wanted to start his life over and felt it was too much pain," she says. "When he left, just everything crumbled. And it's surreal. You just almost can't believe that it's actually happening. I felt like I was just waking up from a nightmare."
Denise says her despair was so bad that she was on the verge of suicide. "I literally had his pain medication, a bunch of pills, in my hand," she says.
Then, Denise says she felt the pills being knocked from her hand and heard the words of her late son in her head. "He said, 'Mom, I was here as a gift for you, and you have to go on with your life,'" she says. "I felt his presence around me—that warmth, that comforting feeling of someone standing with you."