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 sharing – "8 Ways to Stop Living in Crisis Mode"

At The Healing Center, we like to say, “take what resonates with you, and leave the rest.”  Although we make a point to not offer advice to each other (because we all get ENOUGH advice), we do like to share what has worked for the many widows and widowers who’ve come through our door over the past 20 years.

One of our Healing Center widows passed on this blog from Tiny Buddha today.  Please comment on your ways of coping with stress so we can be reminded about all the ways available to self-care through our grieving journey.

Let Go and Experience Life: 8 Ways to Stop Living in Crisis Mode | Tiny Buddha


1. Find a neutral advocate.

Objective outside support is crucial during a crisis period. Friends and family can often recommend a life coach, therapist, or spiritual advisor with whom they have worked. If you are reluctant to talk with friends, you can use social networking tools like LinkedIn to see if someone in your network is connected to an individual who can help.

2. Practice mindfulness.

There’s value in focusing on our breath to quiet the turmoil in our minds. Look for a meditation or spiritual center that offers a basic class in meditation, mindfulness, or prayer. Even ten minutes each day in quiet reflection will improve your focus, resiliency, and peace of mind.

3. Replenish yourself.

You might be depleted from years of constant vigilance and striving. Commit to leave at the end of your workday, at least a few days a week, even if everything isn’t done. Reconnect with parts of yourself that you haven’t seen for a while by watching a favorite movie or surrounding yourself with your favorite color.

4. Try another perspective.

Most people are doing their best but are primarily caught up in the storyline of their own lives. Even thirty seconds of viewing a situation from another’s point of view can diffuse your negative inner dialogue about a person or situation.

To read the next 4 Ways visit

Let Go and Experience Life: 8 Ways to Stop Living in Crisis Mode | Tiny Buddha.

Ceremony of Remembrance

Date:  Sunday, September 16, 2012
Time:  1:00 to 3:00 PM
Location:  The Valley School, 309 31st Ave. East, Seattle, WA  98112
RSVP:   Lisa by calling 206-523-1206 or emailing at lisae@healingcenterseattle.org

Ceremony of Remembrance TableRituals and ceremonies remembering loved ones helps us acknowledge the importance of the people who have graced our lives and how we have been changed by their presence.  Each year, on the last Sunday of summer, one day is reserved for the adults of The Healing Center to collectively gather and remember our loved ones.

Through music, poetry, the sharing of stories, and the lighting of candles, an emotional and spiritual atmosphere is created.  Please join us on Sunday, September 16th, for our annual Ceremony of Remembrance from 1:00 to 3:00 PM for a community gathering honoring our people.  We encourage you to bring photographs and/or other objects that hold significance for you.


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

Wishes to You

Dear Healing Center Friends,

We have found here at The Healing Center that the holiday season can be an exceptionally stressful time for many of us. When you have experienced the loss of a loved one, it can often feel overwhelming to navigate all that is expected of you. When you are trying to merely survive each day, this added pressure can sometimes feel like too much.

Now, especially, is the time to reach out to your supports and tap into your resources. For some, a support might be a massage, a warm bath, or writing in your journal. For others, it may be calling a good friend who understands, reaching out to another group member, taking a walk in nature, or doing something creative.

Whatever you do, it is equally important to ask yourself “Do I need this? Do I want this?” And of course, don’t forget when you are making plans to create an escape route. Plan A is always an option, but have you thought about a Plan B or maybe even C?

Remember, you always have options. Ask yourself or others for what you need. Even if you change your mind several times, go with what feels most comfortable to you. Most importantly during this time, be gentle with yourself. In doing this you are honoring not only yourself and family, but your loved one as well.

As always, The Healing Center wishes to extend to you and your family grace and peace during this holiday season.

Your Healing Center Support Team,

Dani, Tom, Rebecca, Lisa, Jane, Scott, Michele, Marshall, Mary, Jill, Jeanne and Brian

Save the Date Transition Group Retreat!

Transition Group Retreat will take place the end of September, on the beautiful Vashon Island, led by our Adult Program Director, Dani Baker and our wonderful co-facilitating volunteer, Jane.

This retreat is made possible because of the generous donation of the Betty MacDonald House, by our Board Secretary Abigail Carter, author of  “The Alchemy of Loss: a young widow’s transformation” and blog at www.abigailcarter.com.

DATE: September 30 – October 1

LOCATION: Vashon Island

For More Information: Dani Baker @ dani@healingcenterseattle.org

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.



Winter Solstice this year is on December 21.