Keep an eye on this page for information about our Holiday Potluck!
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!
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!
When 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
This week The New Yorker featured an essay written by Mark Slouka, “Nobody’s Son”, 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
6 Days till Dia de los Muertos Celebration
We hope you are planning to join us for this wonderful fundraiser for programs and services at The Healing Center. If you have not purchased tickets or signed up for volunteering, there is still time to do so. Click here for Tickets and here for Volunteer Sign-up.
For those of you who’ve already registered, consider bringing a photo of your loved ones for our communal ofrenda. What is an ofrenda you might ask? Check out the one I made for my Michael at The Healing Center, visit my YouTube Video. Mike was a river rafting guide and mountain climber so I included postcards he sent me from his adventures, as well as the journal he wrote while climbing Mt. Everest (Mike died on Mt. Everest in May 2005, he was 39 and I was 30.) I’ve also added two pictures of Mike, his favorite candy, food and water for his journey, a candle, and marigolds to light his way to the celebration we are having on November 2.
The Day of the Dead celebration is very new to me and I enjoy thinking of Mike continuing to celebrate life with me. Since his death I have felt his presence and guidance in so many ways. I love the idea of sharing a piece of him with all of you on this celebratory day to benefit new grieving widows and widowers who will walk through our door tomorrow.
3/4 of the money that supports clients and programs at The Healing Center, comes from individuals and events like this fall fundraiser. Please consider inviting friends, family and co-workers who will help support our life-saving and life-renewing programs.
More info on how to create an ofrenda
Ofrendas are made for the souls of the loved ones who have passed on. Though each altar is unique to each person, the premise is to honor the loved ones and welcome them back to this earth. Ofrendas contain many different items…
- Pictures of the loved one who the altar is dedicated to are placed around the table. Mostly, a main picture is placed as a sort of “centerpiece” to the Ofrenda.
- Pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, is a traditional food that is placed on most altars. The essence of the bread is said to be eaten by the souls of the dead who return during El Día de los Muertos. Other traditional food items, such as Tamales and Mole, are set out as well. Favorite foods of the dead can also be displayed in order to personalize the altars. (11)
- Calacas, or skeletons, are placed around the tables as well. These are said to let people in our world see and hold something tangible that can hold the spirit of each loved one. Skulls have been a huge symbol of death and then rebirth for the Meso-Americans and were used to honor the dead during this ritual. Sugar skulls are also a huge part of El Día de los Muertos. They are decorated by children and adults alike, and are set out around the altars and homes of the loved ones. Sugar skulls, though the thought of skulls may seem undesirable, are meant to be decorated in bright colors and symbolize the happiness of this holiday. (9)
- Marigolds are an incredibly important part of El Día de los Muertos, especially yellow marigolds. This specific type of flower is known as the sacred flower of the dead. They are hung on crosses and giant arches that are meant to welcome souls home. They are placed around altars and graves, as well as pathways through cemeteries. (4,11)
- Candles are another major part of El Día de los Muertos. They are placed around not only the Altars but the graves of loved ones, houses, streets, and entire towns in order to light the path back home for the spirits. Certain colors have significance, especially purple, which symbolizes mourning, and also white and pink which symbolize hope and celebration. In contemporary time, colors may reflect the favorite colors of loved ones or any colors that suit the families. (6)
- Grooming items, such as soaps and towels, are put on the altar. It is believed that because the dead have been traveling a long way to arrive back home, they would like to freshen up. (11)
- Strong fragrances are also laid out for the dead along with the traditional incense of copal. Both are supposed to guide the dead to the altar and back home. Copal was regarded by the Mayans as extremely sacred, and has been a traditional form of incense throughout Aztec and Mexican culture. (7)
El Día de los Muertos is an amazing celebration that has made its way out of just Mayan culture and into the traditions and cultures of people around the world. The holiday lets people remember those they have lost in a happy and cheerful way, and lets people celebrate and honor the lives of their loved ones. El Día de los Muertos isn’t just a holiday, but a way to cherish everything their loved ones once loved and commemorate the memories they hold dear.
We hope you can join us for our El Día de los Muertos celebration on November 2nd!
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 email@example.com
Rituals 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.