Marshall’s Story, and a Holiday Request

Posted on: Wednesday, December 18, 2013

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. 

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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.

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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.

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    The Healing Center
    6409 1/2 Roosevelt Way NE
    Seattle, WA 98115-6617 (view map)
    (206) 523-1206
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