Letter from the Executive Director
As fall is just around the corner, I hope everyone is getting to enjoy the last bit of summer weather we have.
The last few months have been difficult, wonderful, uplifting, and even frightening here at The Healing Center. But the one thing that has filled the hearts and minds of the staff and volunteers here is gratitude. Gratitude for your generosity, adaptability, and tremendous support as everyone had to navigate a whole new way of life. The Healing Center is built on a solid foundation of community, and that has become more apparent over the last several months. This community has stepped in to help the organization adapt to online group sessions and finding new ways to keep the community connected.
A great example of this was The Healing Helpers! If you have not heard about them, they are a family who knows the importance of community in grief. They wanted to make sure that every child at The Healing Center had what they needed to process their grief and find comfort when they were not physically in our groups. The Healing Helpers we able to fundraise and put together care packages for all of the Healing Center children. Then a swarm of volunteers helped us to deliver those boxes to each family. I know it warms my heart to think of the love and support this community offers. And for that, I am extraordinarily grateful. Thank you to each and every one of you that keep this community going. We truly could not do any of this without you.
The Healing Center’s turning 20!
It’s our birthday!
Come celebrate The Healing Center’s impact over the past 20 years! Join us from the comfort of your home as we celebrate the people we serve and honor the success of our community!
It’s free to attend! Click here to RSVP online.
2020 Community Impact
Client Spotlight: Gracie Breunig, Young Adult Group
What made you reach out to The Healing Center for support?
A few months after my dad died I didn’t know where to turn. I wanted to be able to connect with people who understood, share experiences, and find ways to move through life with loss with the support of others. I didn’t want to burden the people in my life with things they didn’t understand. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself and I was looking for a group of people who might be able to understand what it’s like to grieve. It’s the club you don’t want anyone else to have to be a part of but if they end up joining, you’re thankful for them being there. Losing someone can be incredibly isolating and I was hoping there was a place out there like The Healing Center to not only get some help myself but try to help others as well.
What hopes or fears did you have about joining the Young Adult Group?
The experience I have had with the Young Adult Group at The Healing Center is beyond what I ever could have expected. I was hoping I’d find a group of people who understood a sliver of my experience, maybe wouldn’t judge me if I shared something personal, and could share a few ideas for how I could learn to live with loss. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to connect with people or that I would be an outsider but what I have discovered at The Healing Center is a group of caring, honest, thoughtful, trustworthy, and understanding people who truly believe in the good of the group. My secret hope was that I could even find a group of people who could laugh through all of this-and I did.
What have you found helpful from your experience in group?
Our facilitator Jourdan is incredible. He is respectful, patient, supportive, and truthful while simultaneously being wonderfully blunt, funny, and thought provoking. He finds ways for our group to contribute and connect over shared experiences without forcing it. He is one of the biggest reasons I have continued to come back week after week. Our group wouldn’t be nearly as awesome if it weren’t for Jourdan. Thank you for everything you do, Jourdan!
What do you think about the web-based meetings while we deal with the ongoing pandemic?
While web-based meetings certainly aren’t ideal, I have found them to be incredibly helpful. We are in a time of continuous grief and having regular group meetings has not only provided a place to share and connect but also to heal and grow. I think our virtual group works because everyone remains vulnerable and open despite the distance. I think Jourdan does a great job setting the example for how to bridge the gap through our screens. Thankfully, everyone in the Young Adult group does the same and we continue to connect despite the distance. While I miss seeing everyone in person, I am incredibly appreciative for the virtual meetings because grief doesn’t stop just because we can’t meet in person.
Volunteer Spotlight: Amy Gutmann
How did you first hear about The Healing Center and become involved with the Healing Center community?
I was a client of the Healing Center after my husband unexpectedly passed away about 4 years ago. I was in search of a support group of other people in a similar age range to mine who had experienced loss and grief. I so wanted to learn from others and hear their stories. I wanted validation that what I was feeling was ‘normal’ or at least wasn’t permanent.
What kind of volunteer work have you done for The Healing Center?
I serve on the board of The Healing Center and co-facilitate the Transitions Group with another volunteer and trained therapist. These are men and women who have moved through the first year or so of partner loss and are transitioning into making a life adjustment to their ‘new normal.’ Yet, they still have a lot of pain, sadness and grief to work through as it’s an ongoing process. During this transition, our clients learn to integrate their deceased loved one into their present life as they move forward. This support community is so valuable and helpful. A lot of people feel like they should be further along in their grief journey or their friends and family expect them to be and yet, they need a safe place to express their feelings, share stories and feel like they aren’t alone.
Why did you feel inspired to get involved in volunteering with the Healing Center?
I’m fascinated by how different people process and experience hardship. I have done a lot of reading and exploring on my own, following the death of my husband, about some of the most difficult subjects we are faced with when a sudden unexpected loss occurs, like uncertainty, change, vulnerability, lack of control, forgiveness to name a few. I wanted to give back, share what I’ve learned, hear how others process grief and experience resiliency.
Is there any additional information you would like to share?
There is a stigma around death in our culture, we don’t speak about it openly or honor the dead, the way some other cultures do. The Healing Center is a small yet mighty local organization. We serve an under-served community. Everyone in their lifetime will experience loss, but there are so few resources to help people cope. Grieving is a significant experience that affects both the mind and the body. Yet, we don’t commonly speak about it the way we do many other ‘life events.’ So many are at a loss for how to make sense of their feelings. The Healing Center is a warm and loving community that welcomes children and adults suffering from grief, in a safe and nurturing setting.