Date: November 1, 2020
Where: The Center for Grieving Children
In September 2016, my children and I lost my husband very unexpectedly, and while I don’t utter this word a lot, death by suicide changed our lives that day. It seems as though within moments – although I’m sure in reality it wasn’t – I started hearing people mention the Center. For the first time in my life, I was pretty non-functional, and it wasn’t until around November that I made the first phone call to the Center. Regardless of what seemed like an eternity that had passed, they were there to answer and welcome us. My three youngest children and I started attending our peer support groups in early 2017, and from that first night, it was just an incredibly safe place.
We have been at the Center for three years now. It often feels as though there is a gigantic part of us that people truly don’t understand. To be able to walk into the Center and have people see that part of us and embrace it has been such an amazing comfort. Now that groups take place virtually, it feels a bit different, but it is still an extremely safe place. It’s really the only place that I have found in my life where as my grief ebbs and flows, the support ebbs and flows with me.
I’ve seen growth in my kids, too. At our memorial night, my 9-year-old chose to get up and speak which was a tremendous step for her. To share in a room full of people – most of which she didn’t truly know – that she lost her dad and to share pictures of him, was big. It highlighted for me the depth of which safety and acceptance are found for everyone at the Center. It’s part of the fabric that makes up the Center: from the way that the walls are decorated, to the smiles on people’s faces.
If there is one message that I would want to convey for people who have not had the unfortunate privilege of experiencing the magic of acceptance and growth that happens at the Center, it would be that the Center provides something that cannot be provided in one’s day-to-day life. The Center gives you the time, safety, and love that allows you to walk your own grief journey to get to a healthy place.
I invite you to be part of the journey to become part of the Center family by making a lasting impact through a gift. Every gift matters, now more than ever, so that all who are grieving may get to a place where they feel whole again, no matter how long it takes.
With warm thanks,