A DYING man's guilt helped a Lake Macquarie woman's recovery.
Sexually abused as a child, Lee-ann Wein left her traumatic experience behind and found peace working as a funeral director.
But this was achieved at a cost - throughout her life, Ms Wein felt like an outsider.
She found the best way to cope was to repress her feelings and carry on with her life.
As an adult, Ms Wein actively tried to make contact with her abuser but was refused.
She had to wait until the perpetrator was terminally ill and then he apologised.
This had a profound effect on Ms Wein.
She finally felt the toxic anger lift.
Life seemed "easy" for the first time in many years.
"I grew to have a relationship with the man, the reconciliation was so important for me," Ms Wein said.
When the man passed away, Ms Wein was actively involved with the funeral, to the point that she dressed the body.
This act triggered a tidal wave of emotion that lead Ms Wein to turn to the Heal For Life Foundation.
At an adult healing week, Ms Wein was able to develop strategies to help her to deal with the trauma she had experienced.
"It took me 20 years to finally walk into Heal for Life and for me to realise that my feelings of shame and guilt were all normal," she said.
"I spent a good portion of my life searching for something, but it wasn't until my time at the foundation that I figured everything out."
Ms Wein now works for the foundation.
She is passionate about the cause and helping others to reclaim their lives.
¦ For more information about the Heal for Life Foundation go to healforlife.com.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 760 580.