A Spectacular Night of Celebration and Giving

As we wrap up auction season, we’d like to share with you some of the lovely pictures taken at the 2014 Detlef Schrempf Celebrity Auction and Gala. The Ripple of Giving was truly felt as hundreds gave to benefit the programs of Inspire Youth Project and The Healing Center. Thank you to everyone who attended, volunteered, or donated items. Your generosity inspires us and the work we do!

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Top 3 Reasons We Loved The 2014 May Day Walk

On May 4th 2014, The Healing Center celebrated it’s 6th Annual May Day Walk at Gas Works Park with over 60 participants and 25 volunteers. Here are our top 3 reasons why we loved the day and are excited to keep the May Day Walk tradition going for our Healing Center community. Be sure to check out the pictures below.

1. YOU – Nothing makes us happier than seeing our Healing Center friends and families come together. We believe so much benefit comes from meeting others that have shared the experience of walking through grief. While this year it was under more drops of rain than rays of sun, we are so grateful for all who joined us and those who couldn’t make it but supported their friends and family in other ways. You are our inspiration.

2. The chance to remember – Transitional periods can be difficult – even the transition between seasons. As we move swiftly into spring, we enjoyed the opportunity to do some reflection during the art activities during the Walk. We wrote a message to our loved one on a message flag. We considered what we’d say to them in a private message. We contemplated the meaning of short-blooming cherry blossoms during origami folding. We stood with everyone and felt the words of the poem, “We Remember Them”.

3. Support for our programs – With the combined donations from The May Day Walk and GiveBIG two days later, we received $63,053 from our generous supporters. This doesn’t even include the GiveBIG “stretch funds” that will be applied to our GiveBIG donations soon. These funds mean so much to The Healing Center and our community. They keep our doors open, buy pizza for our weekly children’s groups, make healing client retreats possible, and help to train our dedicated volunteers – all contributing to our overall mission of offering a safe, loving place that honors grief, helping you to move through it and heal. We thank those who fund-raised for us, our wonderful donors, and our $5,000 sponsors, Safe Crossings Foundation, Nintendo, and University District Kiwanis. THANK YOU!

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East West Bookshop Reading: Join Us April 26th

Please join us for an afternoon poetry reading from The Widow’s Handbook at East West Bookshop. The event will be Saturday, April 26th from 4:30-6 p.m., followed by our quarterly potluck at The Healing Center from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

 

As with all Healing Center potlucks, we’ll have volunteers to play with the kids so adults can have some time to themselves. It’s a two-minute walk from the East West Bookshop so stop by! Contact Cindy at cindyb@healingcenterseattle.org to RSVP to the potluck.

 

See below for details:

 

Windows' Handbook Reading

 
 
 
 


"Call If You Need Anything"

To DoWhen a loved one dies, it can be difficult to ask for help from friends and family when you are feeling overwhelmed.  Even when the “call if you need anything” offers pour in from generous people who want to help, we tend to suffer alone.  Our “to do” list fills up with tasks that our loved one used to complete, or chores we just don’t find the energy for anymore.

Instead of letting those tasks pile up and become a bigger problem, we encourage you to reach out to your circle of people who have offered to help. Mobilizing the “call if you need anything” offers can not only help reduce the pressure of life but can open up communication with you and your friends and family about the grief process. Take a moment to read this story of how one young widow asked her friends for help: http://bit.ly/N6GgIu


The Healing Center's Four-Legged Friends

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As we settle into the couches, chatting before children’s group starts, we hear the front door’s usual “beep beep beep”. But instead of the pads of little feet, in comes the rush of four legs. As the panting of doggie excitement comes closer, the children’s faces light up–it’s one of our therapy dogs!

At The Healing Center, we are lucky to have two therapy dogs who regularly attend our children’s groups. Glory, a Newfoundland, and her owner Diana Stoll attend our Healing Club 4-5 and Justina, a yellow lab, and her owner Ronit Amitai attend Healing Club 1-2-3 and Gigi’s.

Therapy dogs connect with adults and children in a way that humans cannot. Being in the presence of a therapy dog can bring back happy memories of pet ownership, can calm a person down through the act of petting the dog, and can be a non-intimidating companion to talk to.

We asked Diana to tell us a little about her experiences with Glory (pictured to the right). Whether it’s a quick hug or wanting to sit down and read a story to her, Diana feels like children are drawn to Glory and Glory helps put them at ease. “What they say to Glory might not have anything to do with grief or The Healing Center, but she helps them open up. And if we could bring that kind of joy to people, why wouldn’t we?”


Marshall's Story, and a Holiday Request

The families who come to The Healing Center have had their lives shattered. The unthinkable has happened – their husband, wife, or partner, their father or mother, has died.  We give them a safe space to heal and regroup, to grieve as they need, and to figure out how to live their lives now that everything has changed. By giving to The Healing Center, you can help grieving families put the pieces back together. 

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Marshall Peabody joined The Healing Center community in 2006 after his wife Terri died.  Since 2006, Marshall has been an integral part of The Healing Center’s growth and evolution.  From client in the new house, to volunteer co-facilitator of the only Men’s Grief Group in Seattle, Marshall’s healing journey is an inspiration for many.  Here is a part of his story:

How did you come to find The Healing Center?

Urged by my guy John, I searched the web and found three places.  One in Federal Way, another in Bellevue, and one right in my neighborhood, The Healing Center.  I set up an appointment to talk to Kath, “come see the place..,” she said.  I didn’t realize it was an “intake,” it was more like meeting the family – the cozy space, her warm presence – I literally felt right at home, a MOST welcome feeling.

I’d found a place where I could be me; express and experience my grief, and at the same time be part of a larger community, a place where I not only “received,” but also had something to “give;” a place where I saw and felt like I had something to contribute.

My loss experience had two sides, I realized even back then, with little idea how things would evolve.

I remember that first meeting, me feeling like I didn’t need the organization as much as it could use me; that I had something to offer the group since I was already doing so well – HA!  Not that I wasn’t, or aren’t, but the experience continues to unfold in so many rich and unexpected ways, growth keeps happening in ways unimagined.  Who could have guessed I’d find such solace and affirmation in group facilitating, hospice volunteering, organ music, and our Men’s Group?

How did it make you feel to be a part of The Healing Center?

Like many widows/widowers, I found being at The Healing Center calming, nurturing; I came away feeling lifted, supported.

In a natural move towards something that felt good, I came early and stayed late. During a period of unemployment, I’d stop by to chat, hang out; after groups, I do the dishes – they’re there, they need to be done, I have the skill, and I don’t want to leave.  Hanging out morphed into hanger-on.  Help setting up the auction, serving at the auction, potlucks… I love potlucks, the opportunity to cook for other people, socialize with others who ‘get it’, drink wine, and begin to create a new ‘normal’ for otherwise solitary Saturday nights.

After 8 years, why do you choose to stay connected to The Healing Center?

Going through this experience, these experiences, your perspective shifts – it wants to, it HAS to… but finding support and help exploring this new view of life and death, it’s not easily found, certainly not in the “old world,” of people wanting me to “be over it,” to “move on.”  It’s an intense experience, with profound lessons, dearly paid for.  You can try to view it as rotten luck, the worst possible accident… but there’s a sneaky suspicion that this wasn’t an accident, or if it was, there’s some meaning buried deep down inside it.  If it didn’t happen to Terri or Jill now, something else would, eventually.

Seeing others pour through the door, in that state of total shock, absolute dismay, trying to reconcile their personal experiences of loss with their expectations of “happily ever after” – it is not just a sneaky little change, a minor tweak in my understanding of reality… NO, it is life changing, a sublime shift in consciousness, if we dare unwrap the package so ungratefully delivered.  Our loved ones died ahead of us, perhaps to help us learn a lesson, the lesson of life?

Kath, our Founder, loved to say, “be patient with yourself” and “relax around it.”  These are words of wisdom we continue to practice here at The Healing Center, and we are honored that Marshall continues to share his story with our newly grieving so as to provide hope and inspiration.  Please make a year-end gift so that more widows & widowers like Marshall can get the support they need to continue their grief and healing journeys.

Please donate to The Healing Center this holiday season – your gift will support grieving families. Click the donate button below to make your tax deductible donation now, or send a check made out to The Healing Center to 6409 ½ Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle WA, 98115.

Donate Button

Thank you for being part of the The Healing Center community, and for helping us keep our doors open for the grieving widows, widowers and families of King County.


A Client's Experience at The Healing Center

When asked about her experience at The Healing Center, this is what one of our Perspectives Group widows had to say:

What impact has this group experience had on your grief journey?
My grief journey became not only possible, but hope-filled and finally joyful.

What were the most valuable aspects of the group experience for you?
I knew I could say whatever was on my heart and others in the group would “get it”.

What did you learn about “where you are” in your grief journey right now?
It was a relief to learn that where I am at any moment is not where I’ll be for the rest of my life. I am not going to get crazier, but I will learn to live with the circumstances of my life.

What changes have you seen or experienced in yourself that you might be able to attribute, at least in part, to your participation in the group?
I can be joyful (without guilt)!

How did your participation in this group impact your relationships with others?
The trust level continues to build. Some of my “old timers” have shared a lot of deep personal stuff over the years.

If you could describe in a sentence or two what this group meant to you what would you say?
I continue to be amazed that the sharing of life experiences profoundly impacted by grief can be so empowering and uplifting.

 

 

 


Client Poetry

Stephen F. Dapogny, a gifted writer, devoted father and my loving husband, wrote the following poem in the Spring of 2009, a year after his father’s death. On September 24, 2011, Steve was struck and killed by a car while crossing Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, IL. The world lost a sensitive, honorable, capable and caring man that day. I lost my best friend of thirty years and my children lost a father who raised them from toddlers as an at-home Dad. I am incredibly grateful to have his poems to remind me what a talented man I had the good fortune to know and love for over 30 years. Steve also wrote this blog during his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s. As you’ll see, Steve wrote from the heart. Few hearts are not moved by his words

 

 

Nothing is Forever

Not the deserts. They were once seas.

Not the beaches. They always move.

Not the rocks and the mountains. Erosion takes its toll.

Powerful forces

Multiplied by time

Wreak havoc in our world

In slow motion

Nothing lasts forever

Least of all me

Not my thoughts. Not my memories.

Not my words. I will be nothing.

But there is forever

And there is continuity

Whether men remember or not

When they pause and reflect

On what has passed before

The fact of the matter

Is matter is me

I cannot be created or destroyed

But only changed from one form into another

So the very atoms of my existence

Will continue in this world

Until this world ends

Whereupon they will be released into the universe

As matter or energy. Or particles or waves.

But that bit of energy, that bit of mass

Was once me

And therefore I will stay

In this world, of this world

Unseen Unrecognized

But still here, disparate parts

They spring anew and oblivious back into circulation

Of the water of the hydrosphere

Of the carbon in the food chain

Of the energy used to produce

A sound

A city

A new person

And some small part of me will be useful

Will be part of the world

Part of the life of those to come

Part of the very matter of their existence

Even though they do not see me

Do not feel me

Do not remember me

I will always be there


A Night of Language, Grief and Celebration

The Healing Center is proud to promote the release of Alex Gallo-Brown’s poetry book,
The Language of Grief.”  The official release party is this Friday, and any client who attends will receive a copy of Alex’s book, courtesy of The Healing Center and its generous donors.  For more information about Alex and this event, please follow the links below.  Hope to see you there!
DATE: Friday, July 27, 2012   
TIME: 8pm-11pm
LOCATION: Richard Hugo House 1634 11th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98122 
Please join us for the official release party for Alex Gallo-Brown’s  “The Language of Grief.”  Tom Pepe and Quenton Baker will be performing.  Wine will be provided.
Info about the reading here:
Invite your friends – it should be a great evening.

 

Alex is the eldest son of Laurie Brown and Nick Gallo.
Click here for the author’s bio http://www.alexgallobrown.com/about.html

The Solstice: It only gets so dark

In my life, many family members and friends have died.  The first was my father when I was 12.  Then, in the next several years, all of my mother’s brothers and sisters (my aunts and uncles) died. My first boyfriend died when I was in my twenties and then my best and oldest friend died when I was 35.

I know that my experience of so many deaths is unusual.  On the other hand, experiencing the death of a loved one is hard no matter if it is one or a hundred.

As I got older I grew to hate the holidays. The sense of loss and sadness made hearing Christmas carols painful and smiling shopper’s faces too much to bear. A few times I have run away to tropical places to avoid the holidays.  It helped some, but did you know that even in Hawaii people put lighted snowmen and Santa on their front lawns?

Then I discovered a holiday that I could celebrate – The Winter Solstice. The Solstice is a day that marks for us the longest night, the shortest day in North America and often here in Seattle, the darkest day.

The Solstice tells me that a day can ONLY get so dark and so short before it will get lighter and longer. That day gives me hope that the same might be true for my grief and sadness. There is hope that the light will return. The Solstice is an invitation to hold on to hope and watch for the signs of light and healing.

Now I gather with friends for a Solstice Soup party on that longest night of the year. We celebrate hope and healing. Perhaps this may be a holiday for you as well.

Peace,

Libbie

Winter Solstice this year is on December 21.