School Shootings: Advice for Parents

Recently our own Jen McCormick, Clinical Supervisor at The Healing Center, was asked by King 5 News to go on air and provide parents with advice about how to help their children cope with tragedies such as the recent Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting. Here is some advice she shares.

1. Be open and honest

2. Let them share their version of the story as many times as they need to

3. Be authentic (especially with your teens) and show your true concern

4. Keep the door open to conversation for as long as it takes- new events might trigger grief in children unexpectedly

Click below to see the full video:

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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


"Nobody's Son"

This week The New Yorker featured an essay written by Mark Slouka, “Nobody’s Son”Print, a piece that looks deep into Slouka’s own grief in the wake of his father’s death.

Although we all will have a time in our lives that we grieve the death of a person dear to us, sometimes it takes a honest portrayal such as this to realize it is a commonality we all share.

One of our goals at The Healing Center is to bring adults and children together who have similar losses so we can support each other. However, as Slouka’s essay expresses, and as grievers know, “in the aftermath of loss, the ones you love will keep you whole, but the journey is yours alone. Whatever you do, whatever you feel, becomes the map.”

We hope you can keep this in mind as we transition into a new year. “Nobody’s Son” outlines one man’s grief story but we all have our own that are ever changing as we experience new things and gain new perspectives. To end with what Slouka believes his father would tell him if he could: “You don’t love me less by living more. Live! Live like you mean it.”

Click here to read “Nobody’s Son”.


A Sample Holiday Letter to Friends and Family

Dear Friends and Family,

The holiday Seasons is a time of peace and happiness; a time of family gatherings and a bond of closeness felt more strongly than on any other holiday of the year.

There are also very different emotions surfacing now for those of us who have experienced the death of a child, sibling, or spouse. We may be angry, depressed, fearful or we may just not care. There may be a deep consuming anguish for those having their first holiday; a few tears and the remembrance of “how it used to be”, for those experiencing the second, third or twenty-third holiday.

There are times when it is too painful to tell you how we feel, or why we act a certain way. Sometimes we don’t know ourselves. We can’t tell you why today; hearing a song, seeing a child going into a store, seeing his/her favorite food, should bring memories and tears, when yesterday it didn’t.

We may want to change things this holiday, do things differently than we have in the past. This is our way of coping with the Holiday. Please take our feelings into consideration when making your plans.

For some of us, shopping, buying gifts, can be difficult or extremely painful. It seems you always have to pass, or find yourself in, that section of the store where you no longer need be. Small tasks that we did last year, remain undone. They may not seem important, we may not have the energy, or they are just too painful to do.

Please don’t tell us to turn off our memories, to snap out of it, that he/she is dead and life must go on. We, more than you, know our loved one is dead. But our love for them doesn’t end with death. All we have left of a very special part of our lives are the memories, and they return at unexpected times, filling us with the intense longing for what is not more. Yes, we fully realize that he/she is dead, gone forever, and that is what hurts.

Please have patience with us. Try to understand why we are acting or feeling the way we are today. With a small look or gesture, let us know it is all right with you for us to love, to cry, to remember. We aren’t doing it to make you uncomfortable or to gain sympathy. We are just trying to cope. Please help us “make it through” this Holiday season.

– Author Unknown


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.

 

 

 


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.