If The Walls Could Talk
By: Corrine Dayman
Model: Madison Shalla
Photography: Scott Cooper
Known to many as a safe haven to manage the overwhelming feelings of grief following the death of a loved one, Seasons Centre For Grieving Children has served as a pillar of strength for families.
Established in 1995, after a fatal car accident claimed the lives of two beloved sisters, Seasons Centre For Grieving Children was born and the residence was purchased and reconfigured as a place for families seeking a non judgmental supportive refuge, while searching for ways to cope with loss.
Touring the Centre, it does not take long before you feel the magic of this unassuming place. Adorned with the images of loved ones, the walls of the reclaimed home hold the worries and fears of the family members that have grieved within, providing a sanctuary to celebrate the lives of their “unforgettable treasures”.
A comfortable and inviting gathering room outfitted with oversized couches and a well-stocked kitchen is a welcoming space for pre-teens, teens, young adults and caregivers to make themselves at home while they find solace in peer-to-peer support groups.
The converted upstairs level of the home explores the child’s imagination, where children aged five to eleven, lovingly referred to as “little’s”, are encouraged to play and express their feelings through individual and group activities. Under supportive and supervised care, “little’s” are free to ask questions, explore their feelings through physical activity and celebrate the joyful memories of their loved ones through art therapy.
As Development Director Marcy Baldry explains, “Many of our volunteers have experienced loss at a young age and can relate to the helplessness and questions that these children are experiencing.
Having these children spend time with our volunteers gives them an opportunity to talk about those deep down feelings of loss without feeling judged or dismissed.”
While there is not a “formula” or “time limit” for grief, every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment.
Christine Tucker, a former intake client, recalls how Seasons Centre For Grieving Children helped her through the death of her beloved daughter. “Four years ago after the sudden passing of my daughter Ariel, I was in a fog of grief and time meant nothing. The grieving parent group at Seasons Centre became family and we now share a bond that will last a lifetime. That bond gave us each the support and strength to find our new normal. To go on living and loving with the memories of our precious children embedded in our hearts.”
“ This is a safe place to grieve, and when you are ready, this is a place to find laughter once again”
Funded solely by private donations and the generosity of the community, foundations, service clubs, organizations and individual donations, Season’s Centre For Grieving Children works closely with Hospice and Gilda’s Club, while providing local schools with emergency grief support when needed. The Centre remains committed to fulfilling its’ mission to provide complimentary peer-to-peer support programs in a safe home-like atmosphere for children, teens and their families grieving a loved one.
The ordinary house, on an ordinary street, is nothing less than extraordinary. For those who have been graciously received, they understand all too well the significance of the supportive smiles of the staff and dedicated volunteers that grace the hallways and lend their support in times of sorrow and the work that is done to have hope restored.