In their words
During our Full Circle groups, participants share their stories and connect with others who are also grieving the death of a loved one. Many of these children, teens, and adults wish to share their experiences at Full Circle with others in the community who may be grieving and seeking support. We’d like to thank them for sharing, in their own words, how our Full Circle services have helped in their healing.
Our whole world was forever changed on Friday May 31, 2013….. That was the day my husband and my kid’s father died. It was the most tragic day that we have ever had to live through and the most horrific conversation I ever had to have as a mother, having to look directly in the faces of our three young boys and tell them that their daddy was dead. It was truly an agonizing loss for us all.
We went through a cluster of emotions; feeling lonely, sad, depressed, anger, regret, heart broken, lost, foggy, out of sorts, worried and the list goes on and on. Mentally, emotionally and physically we were on a roll coaster ride that never seemed to have an end. There’s constant burst of tears and randomly just breaking down and questions and wondering.
How do we move forward, how do we pick up the shattered pieces of the life we once knew that no longer is??? Really how do you just go on, we shared time and space with another human being who we held hands with, exchanged hugs and kissed with, laughed with. We created routines and memories with this one special person and then in what seemed to be in a blink of an eye it was just gone.
So now what?? There really aren’t any exact answers, there’s no quick fix, a cute band aid to cover and heal the wound. This isn’t something you can easily resolve in a couple of hours or days or weeks. There is no solid resolve like with every day disagreements that just comes and goes, because death is so final and your forced to move on without ever making the situation better with your loved one again. And here we are, just the four of us when we were once five. Missing a piece of us, of our family and there’s this gaping hole that can’t be filled……
Even though life seemed hopeless and unlivable, I knew for me what decisions I had to make, that for the sake of my kids we weren’t going to spend the rest of our lives in despair. I decided that as their mom, that I would help my kids to learn to appreciate life again and live the “New Norm.” Thankfully we were told about Full Circle.
This organization is truly a blessing and one of the best gifts we received after the loss of our loved one. Every single person at Full Circle is kind, thoughtful, considerate, and helpful and they just care. They go out of their way to create such a safe haven and a place of comfort and no judgement. They always knew us by name, we became close friends. My kids started off not wanting to go to this support groups and after going once or twice they couldn’t wait to go back. They were among other kids there who were grieving and had lost a parent and they didn’t feel alone. It was a place for us to escape from a world who didn’t understand what we were going through. I enjoyed the family activities and projects they planned for us each week. They helped the kids and I to learn healthy coping skills and ways to keep our loved one’s memory alive.
I absolutely love this organization and what it was able to do for me and my boys. We went in to our first session so tattered and in a constant state of mourning, to finishing up our fourth session feeling alive again. We grew at Full Circle, we found joy, peace and hope. We made friends and connections with others that we’ll have for a life time. Full Circle was a part of the remedy we needed to heal. We found an amazing support system with Full Circle and a wonderful counselor for my boys to continue working on themselves one on one outside of Full Circle. I am forever thankful and grateful to Full Circle.
I recommend this place to anyone who has lost a loved one or someone who is looking to give back to the community.
Thank you Full Circle
Love the Alburger Family
My husband/children’s father, Jeremy, passed away suddenly in June 2013. We had recently moved to the Richmond area and did not have a large, local support network. Despite being together, we all felt very lonely in our grief.
We didn’t really know how to express our feelings about his death or talk about our loss. The children were reluctant to talk to me about missing their dad because they didn’t want to see me cry. They had stopped talking to others about it because they felt embarrassed and like they were different than most of the other children who had two living parents.
On the recommendation of some friends who were also widows we enrolled in the Hands on Healing group in Fall 2014. Prior to the group starting, my daughter was very reluctant to attend. She said she did not want to be forced to talk about her feelings. My sons were nervous but willing to give it a try.
However, that all changed after the first night. The atmosphere at Full Circle is very warm and welcoming. The counselors are knowledgeable, friendly and truly seem to care about the families that attend their groups. My children finally had found others who understood what they were going through. My 7 year old son told me that he learned about his feelings and made good friends by going to Full Circle. My daughter simply said “it has helped me a lot.”
After our first session, we took a few months off and have returned this Spring. All three of my children were eager and excited to return. They look forward to it each week.
For me, it has helped me to learn about my grief and my childrens’ grief. It has given me an opportunity to meet others who are going through a similar experience, and to learn from them. It has provided all of us with a stronger support network and a sense that we are not alone in our grief.
The Galusha Family
In July of 2011, my husband, Brent, was killed in a tragic accident as our family traveled to the beach for vacation. Widowed at the age of 30 with a 2.5 year old child, who had not only lost her father but had also endured the trauma of a pretty horrific accident, I felt our lives had been shattered forever. My sister-in-law first told me about Full Circle, and we attended our first Hands on Healing group when my daughter turned three. Since then, we have attended three additional HOH groups, a couple of Creative Connections programs, and my daughter recently finished a Full Circle group at her elementary school.
My daughter and I have both found great healing at Full Circle. It was so nice to have a place to go every week when nothing else in my life was certain. I felt such relief to watch my daughter interact with other children who had lost a parent – even at such a young age, she needed those connections so much. I remember her telling me about a child who had lost her father too – as if she felt so comfortable that she wasn’t the only one. Grief can be such an isolating experience. Full Circle provides grieving children and families with a place to go where people “get it”, bringing together people from all walks of life, who help one another heal. I can’t think of anything more powerful than that.
Group leaders are empathetic and knowledgeable, and the programs are always well planned and beneficial to families. In December, I will graduate from VCU with a degree in School Counseling. As I look forward to starting my career as a school counselor, I cannot imagine a better resource to have in our community than Full Circle. When I started my first HOH group after my husband died, I couldn’t picture a future for myself and worried that my daughter might never be okay. Full Circle gave us booth courage to pick up the pieces and begin again, moving forward into our new normal together, while still remembering and honoring Brent. Our grief will always be present, but Full Circle has been a huge part of helping us find joy again. I will be forever grateful.
The Hawkins Family
On a cloudy, dreary morning in October 2014, my life changed forever. My mentor and best friend took his own life. My dad was the most influential figure in my life, so his departure made me question my future and my family’s future.
Over time I’ve come to accept my Dad’s death; and shortly after I decided to share my story and find strength in others. Full Circle provided me with a forum not only to share my story but also to learn from others who have experienced similar tragedies. I am greatly indebted to Full Circle and their incredible staff.