The Haug family (Norma, the mom, Gunter, 9, and twins Natalie and Grace, 6 1/2) started coming to The Center in 2006. Norma’s husband Paul died in October, 2005. Here is their story:
For Norma, the first time the family came to The Center it seemed “just another thing I had to do at the time. Even the title is hard. You don’t want to see your kids as grieving children, but that’s what they are.” But “as time went on, the space, the people …I could just relax. You’re amongst people that know. There are no pretenses. You share intimate details – pretty horrific stuff – and there is a sense of safety and healing here.”
“The Center has made a huge difference in our family. We’re really just beginning to reap those benefits now. People comment how we’re different – lighter. It just helped us get through the process. Grief is a lot of work – physically, emotionally, mentally – and on top of that, you have to do your life. It’s very difficult.”
“It’s sort of like an extended family here for all of us. You just hang out and share and hug and connect. We’ve come a long way. We really have.”
Norma’s kids loved The Center right away. Gunter, 9, shares that “Ever since I have been coming to The Center, I thought that this place has stopped me about thinking bad things about my dad and that he’s dead; and about my grandparents and my cats that are dead. I thought at first everyone would be very mean. Everyone turned out to be very nice. I really like coming here and I hope I keep coming until I’m in the ‘big group'”.
Natalie, 6 1⁄2, commented, “The stuff that really helps me is that there’s a pile of animals in our class and you just jump in it and if you’re sad or mad, it just pops away. Or, in the Volcano Room you get some punching gloves and if you’re sad or mad, it just pops away.”
And Grace, also 6 1⁄2, told us, “The Center has made me feel better since the last time I came here. When I come here, it takes away some of the sadness.”