Erin & Korey Ryan have been attending The Center since their father, Kevin, died unexpectedly back in 2007. They have both made great friends at The Center and have been able to help other children through the grief journey. The following is a testimonial from their Mom, Kim.
After Kevin died The Center became the most important resource in my life .... I knew about the Center because I had heard people in the community talk about it and it had helped many families, but I was soon to find out just how amazing The Center really is!
Following Kevin's death, I found myself in completely unfamiliar territory – I had no idea what my kids needed. They were 8 and 11 – and their entire lives were turned upside down over night. It is not something you ever think you will experience, so you are truly flying blind. I knew I needed The Center's help. From the very first time I called The Center, the amazing staff and volunteers provided me with resources and guidance. They helped me be prepared for what my children were experiencing, they actually helped me anticipate their needs. They provided resources to their schools and their counselors making sure that everyone was working together to support my kids.
Erin & Korey (with their Mom Kim) stand with the Memorial Stars they dedicated to their Dad.
Within weeks we began to attend a weekly support group. On our way home from our first meeting, I asked the kids what they thought – both of them said "we are not different here Mommy – it feels good not to be different". They look forward to Thursday nights – although I can't actually tell you what goes on in their groups (my kids take the confidentiality rule VERY seriously) I can tell you that it has turned tears into smiles and laughter! One of the special rooms at The Center is called "the volcano room" ... it is a special place where the kids can physically express their feelings in a safe way. It is always my kids favorite part of the night!
The Center also helped us create some wonderful new traditions for the holidays that have helped us keep their Dad a part of our lives – and we can truly celebrate him and keep his love alive.
It has now been a year since our loss – and we still go to the center every Thursday night. The kids look forward to being "normal" for an hour..... and I look forward to the hour of connecting with other parents who's kids are going through similar situations. We share our experiences and help each other get through the tough times.
I really can't put into words what The Center has meant to my family – so I thought I would share with you an e-mail my 9 year old sent out to get sponsors for The Center's Annual People and Pet Walk. It was her first time participating – and she felt very strongly that she wanted to be able to give back to the center because they have given so much to her. After hearing what she wrote, I think you will understand why she was the top fundraiser at The Pet Walk....
Hi! I am walking in the Pet Walk to honor my Dad. It is raising money for The Center for Grieving Children. Korey and I go there every Thursday night. I like going there because it is teaching me that I am not different - I am not the only one who has lost their Dad and that I can feel good even though I don't have a Dad. They make you feel complete again - even though you are missing someone important. They are teaching me that it is OK to be happy.
Thank you for helping The Center. Love, Erin