Mary's Place has been an excellent resource for my daughter after the death of her father. They offer a wide variety of age-specific groups ranging from 3-years-old up through high school. Mary's Place provides a safe environment for children to share their emotions with others their age who understand what they are experiencing. Through a wide variety of activities, sharing, play, family events, and song, children work through their grief surrounded by fellow peers and caring adults. I find it to be particularly helpful for young children because as they grow through the years, they will experience new forms of grief and Mary's Place is equipped to help them through the various milestones.
Mary's Place also offer an extensive library for children and caregivers alike to help navigate the daunting waters of a personal loss. There is a widow/widowers group that also meets bi-weekly. During the children's sessions, parents can share with each other their own experiences that so few others in their daily lives might actually understand. As a child or a parent/caregiver, you never feel alone or misunderstood at Mary's Place.
The volunteers genuinely care about all the kids and build lasting friendships with each child. Many of the high school/college aged volunteers spent a number of years attending Mary's Place as children and now give back their time to help other children suffering from the loss of a close family member/friend.
This is a place I hope I never have to recommend to anyone else. But if you find yourself in the midst of a personal loss and a part of this very unfair group, Mary's Place is the best place to be!
Thank you for all you have done!
I volunteer at Mary's Place and I have the opportunity to get to know and work with kids who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. I have been volunteering for about 2 years and this experience has inspired me to want to continue to help those who are grieving. Bereavement centers are not common in the sense that people do not know they are an option. A place like Mary's Place is one of kind because it allows kids to express themselves pertaining to their loss in a variety of ways such as games, journals, and arts and crafts. More places like Mary's Place need to be created because Mary's Place truly helps people.
This group is simply amazing. They helped myself and my children through the darkest time of our lives following the untimely death of my husband. I can't say enough about this group!
When my 14 year old niece committed suicide a year and a half ago, my family was obviously devastated. I didn't know how to help my 13 and 15 year old daughters grieve. I was so lost myself. I called my church and they recommended Mary's Place. The teen program provided a safe place where the children are all dealing with the same thing. Amazing sensitive staff.
They leave the meetings happy and smiling, and have made some new friends. Truly worth looking into, especially for this age group.
In 1998 my wife, 30 years old at the time, lost her battle to Melanoma. Our son was just two at the time. Shortly after her death a friend approached me and told me about this place in Windsor, CT called Mary's Place. He told me Mary's Place had a support group specifically for young widows and widowers. Although I had lots of support from family and friends, I figured it couldn't hurt to find out more about this center. Next thing I new I was sitting in comfortable room on a comfy sofa with a dozen other persons my age who had lost a spouse. From that moment I knew Mary's Place was going to play a major role in my grieving process and help me on my road to a joyful life.
That was almost fifteen years ago. Since then I've told everyone who has lost a spouse about this special place in Windsor, CT. There is no other place like it, and that is why I continue to support Mary's Place, its staff and the families they serve in any way I can. I hope you will too.
Thirteen years ago my husband Dan kissed me, our three year old twin sons, and 8 week old daughter good-bye and left for work. I received a phone call later that morning that changed our lives. Dan was surveying a building; he fell from a three story roof and died instantly. He would not be coming home again. Although I had support from family and friends it was Mary’s Place that was our saving grace. The other young widow and widowers I met in group were walking in my shoes. They knew how I felt and often times what I was thinking. The support, healing, and hope my children and I found at the grieving center is beyond words. Because of how Mary’s Place has impacted my family, I now serve on the board. I feel indebted to and want to give back to the incredible organization that helped us during this most devastating time of our lives. I have since remarried a fellow young widower, we have blended our beautiful families and both feel blessed to have known about Mary's Place.
In the Spring of 2007 my dear friend, John Carmon asked me if I would be interested in serving on the Mary’s Place Board of Directors. Having never served on a Board, at first I was hesitant. John, however, was persistent stating “I know you Rob …and serving on the Mary’s Place Board will be nothing short of a life changing event for you.” John’s words could not have been more prophetic as my service on the board has enriched my life beyond anything I could have ever imagined. From the first picnic and butterfly release of remembrance to the last gala and more recently, the wine tasting fund raiser event, I have never cried more tears of joy. I am a witness to the dedication, determination and the countless selfless acts of giving that the staff, volunteers, and my fellow board members bring to the mission of Mary’s Place. Be they toddlers, tweens, teens or adults, I am a witness, as well, to indomitable strength, courage and resilience of those who have suffered the grievous loss of loved ones. My hope for all of you who read these testimonials is that you will moved to come and stand alongside all of us in support of the awesome works of kindness and compassion that is Mary’s Place.
In 1998 my 30 year-old wife died after a long battle with cancer. Being a widowed father with a 3 year old son seemed overwhelming. A work colleague told me about a support group especially for young widows and widower. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I thought it was at least worth a try. Two weeks after my wife died I found myself sitting in a very comfortable room with other widows/widowers. Going to Mary’s Place was one of the best decisions of my life. The support group was exactly what I needed to grieve constructively and work towards healing. Life eventually became joyful and precious again. There is no doubt in my mind that Mary’s Place played a major role in mine and many other people’s lives. It is truly an oasis in the dark and dry desert of grief.
We started going to Mary's Place in April 2009, after my wife died in an accident. My kids were only 3 and 7 at the time. I was a mess, but the Young Widowers Group helped me tremendously. I was so relieved to see I was not alone. The people in that group gave me the hope and courage I needed to move forward with my life. They also helped me focus on my kids, and their issues as well. The Children's Group was excellent!! Both of my children got to associate with other children that had gone through similar tragedies. They also had received the hope and courage they needed to get back to a "normal" childhood. They still attend, and have shared a lot of their thoughts with the facilitators. The facilitators have been just great!! They volunteer their time, and are very caring and understanding! I am so thankful that Mary's Place exists. I hope they will continue to provide people with "a safe place to grieve".
I learned about Mary's Place about a year ago and knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it. I wish there had been a place like this for me and my daughter 15 years ago when my husband died unexpectantly. We felt so ALONE! Mary's Place allows families to know that they are not alone. It is a wonderful, loving, safe environment for everyone to heal.
This is a very warm and inviting place - a safe haven in which to deal with the most difficult thing in life: the death of a loved one. I recommend Mary's Place to anyone who's grieving. I hope more people find out about this wonderful center!
my 6 year old grandchilds father was the victom of a voilent crime. he was suddenly taken and left us with no one who could understand how a child feels. We so thankful for Marys Place. the people are all so loving and caring. these children feel safe expressing feelings that would normally be bottled up at home. they are with children who understand them and they know they are not alone. The staff is so loving and we feel like we have a second family. Thank God for Marys Place. I dont know how my grand daughter would be coping without it.
When my wife passed 5 years ago, I was fortunate to be guided to Mary's Place and meet Mary. What a wonderful woman who gave so much more than she received from all of us.
A large "incoming" class, I was able to bond with several individuals and learn from experiences of all. Those friendships continue and even though much of our turmoils have subsided, the thought of a visit to one or another and helping or being helped is not unrealistic.
Mary's Place afforded us peace in a time of a lot of turmoil.
Halle's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer just 2 weeks afer we left New York City to move to CT. Halle was only 1.5 and her mom was 33; life certainly did not seem fair. Though there is/was always hope, as physicians we realized her situation was terminal 11 months later. Not knowing how much time we had left, we began to prepare for the inevitable. Halle's mom was a psychiatrist, and we began to investigate support groups and therapists to be there for us when she passed. We decided Mary's Place was the right fit for us, and we could not have been more right. One year later, Halle's mom died on a Monday, a little before Halle's 4th birthday, and there we were at Mary's Place that Sunday. As a four year old, Halle would say she was "embarrassed" at school as the only child without a mother. She felt "alone" and "no one else is like this". Mary's Place let Halle know she is not alone, that there are other kids going through what she goes through, and while no situations are good, some are worse than others. While Halle was at her group every other Sunday, caregivers provided each other with support informally in a comfortable waiting/living room. In addition, I took advantage of the young widow/widowers support group which meets evenings twice a month. As life changes, so does our interests, worries, etc but I made life-long friends at Mary's Place that I know I can call at a moment's notice and trust they know the same.
One year ago our daughter passed away leaving us to raise our grandson
Collin, Marys Place has been very helpful to Collin, He deals with his loss
in a very positive way, He misses his mom very much but through Marys
Place he knows he is not alone with his loss.He enjoys going to every meeting. Collin will be six years old next month.
Robert and Edna Demery
Two years ago, my husband passed away,very suddenly, from a heart attack. We were shocked, devastated, completely heart broken. He was a loving, wonderful husband, and a devoted, caring, hands-on, supportive and loving dad. I learned about Mary's Place from our funeral home. About a month after he died, I decided to find out more about Mary's Place. I started coming to the 'Young Widow/Widowers Group', and My three children began attending the 'Big Kids Group' and the 'Teen Group'.
For me, the group offers a warm, open, understanding, caring environment to share your feelings, and your grief; and to listen to and be supportive of others. My youngest son says "Mary's Place is FUN...and I love the Volcano Room", My middle son describes group as a place where he doesn't have to feel so alone and that the kids in the group understand what he is going through. My oldest daughter says that Mary's Place "is a safe place where you can talk about the death, and not hide your feelings". WE ALL LOVE MARY'S PLACE AND GREATLY APPRECIATE ALL THAT IT HAS PROVIDED US WITH IN OUR GRIEF JOURNEY. Mainly HOPE and HEALING.
My daughter, Vahnsana, died a year ago, she was only 3 months and a day old. Vahnsana is the youngest of 5 girls... three of her sisters started Mary's place in July 2010, about 4 months after she died, 2 are in the little kids group, and 1 is in the big kids group..They enjoy going to the Mary's Place because they can be with other children who are in a similar situation as their's and they do not feel out of place or different or alone...They very much enjoyed going to the Browns Harvest during the Fall to pick pumpkins and go on the hay ride... This is a situation I never wanted to be in but when you are put in the situation all you can do is try your best to deal with it and reach out for places and people who "get" it and who can offer you services of help and support, like Mary's Place
When my daughter was 5, her father died suddenly. That was almost 10 years ago!!! Mary's Place was there for her (and me too!) when she needed to know that other kids her age could even BEGIN to understnad what she was going through. She attended Mary's P;ace for about a year and then seemed ready to move on, Time passed and she struggled on and off with lots of issues. Then at 15, she needed support again and Mary's Place was there, ready to welcome her back as a teen. This has been a place where she has found people her own age that have shared some of the same circumstances and emotions. This is very special in many ways!!!
When my husband died in 2009, our 16-year-old daughter struggled terribly. Her close friends did what they could, but they really couldn't understand what she was going through. When Helen's high school guidance counselor recommended Mary's Place, she was reluctant at first, not wanting to share her personal feelings with strangers. But after her first visit, she couldn't wait to go back. She'd finally found a place where she could deal with her feelings of loss -- because all the other kids were experiencing the same thing. Some nights they would talk a lot about the person in their lives who had died, some nights they'd just talk about teenage things and laugh. Going to Mary's Place every other Tuesday night has become a regular and important part of her schedule for the last year and a half. And not only did Helen find solace herself, she learned how to talk with other people who are hurting too, a gift she will be able to share with others in her life ahead. Mary's Place has been a huge part of her healing process and we are so lucky we have such a wonderful resource in our area!
My husband passed away last year and I am so grateful I was directed to Mary's Place. Our son was 4 at the time his father passed and we really needed all the help we could get. We both attend the programs at Mary's Place and have met so many wonderful people. It's amazing how comforting it can be to speak with others going through much of the same emotions.
Big changes had occurred in my life during the past year; primarilly, the last chick had flown the nest and my primary role for the past 36 years was now complete and I had to reinvent myself. I knew that I wanted to volunteer, but was not sure where, so I consulted a good friend who has always been active with many organizations. She ran through her list of suggestions, and when she came to Mary's Place, I knew that was the right fit for me. I had raised 6 children, so I felt confident that this would be something I could do. Attending the training program was awesome: very enlightening on many levels, and I met some great new friends. I couldn't wait to get started. I was immediately impressed with the program and orginazational skills of the staff. They are professional and are completely focused on the families' welfare. There is a lot of support for the facilataors, so if a situation arises that you are not completely comfortable with, there is professional advice immediately available. Nothing can prepare you totally for the first time a child looks you in the eye and tells you,"My daddy died", but with the love, guidance and trainning Mary's Place offers, we are prepared to deal effectively and intelligently. The families are so greatful and responsive; they truly rely on and need the support Mary's Place offers to them. The children look forward to the projects, games and other venues that allow them to express and cope with their grief. Mary's Place is nothing short of amazing.
I came to Mary's Place several years ago because as a parent and teacher I understood the importance of providing support for grieving children. I wanted to be a part of an organization which does such important work. Mary's Place provides this service with sensitivity and a commitment to the integrity of its mission. Volunteers are trained, guided and supported by the staff to insure that the children and their families receive the best possible care.
Each Sunday that we meet includes volunteer meetings, work with the children and a chance to catch up with their families. Grief is a life long journey and as volunteers we are privileged to accompany these children along the way.
I first came to Mary's Place after my father died of a heart attack in 2005. I started by coming to the teen group. The volunteers there new what I was going through and made me feel comfortable. I was able to express my grief and be able to move forward in my life.
About two years ago, I started volunteering with children ages three to seven. The children who come to Mary's Place are relieved when they see that they are not the only ones their age that are going through grief. We organize activities for the children to express their feelings about the death of their loved one.
The children love Mary's Place and the volunteers so much that sometimes the parents/guardians have trouble getting them to leave. It is a wonderful place. Where ever you are in the grieving process, the people at Mary's Place are willing to support you.
My first encounter with Mary’s Place was several years ago when I was a school nurse. I found Mary’s Place to be an invaluable resource for my students, their families, the school staff and myself. I knew at that time that I wanted to someday become more involved with the center. I started volunteering at Mary’s Place about 2 1/2 years ago as a volunteer group facilitator. My experience has been very rewarding and life changing. I have witnessed the power that sharing with others who understand can have for a grieving family. Mary’s Place is a warm and welcoming place where children can be themselves and express their grief. All who come through the doors are supported and comforted as they navigate their grief and adjust to their loss. It truly is a place of hope and healing. I feel privileged to be a part of Mary’s Place.
My husband passed away a year ago, leaving myself and my 6 year old daughter. A year earlier, my Mother, her only grandparent had passed away. She felt alone in her feelings and different from other children she went to school with. She said "no one understands me, they don't understand why I cry so much". I talked to her about counseling and telling someone about her feelings but she was very reluctant " just talking to another adult". A co-worker suggested I check out Mary's Place. Since our very first meeting at Mary's Place, my daughter just lit up. She just adores the place, it is such a warm & inviting environment. The Staff, well, I can't say enough about the staff, they are so understanding, it's amazing. Of course, the other children who share the same or similar losses as her, they just make her feel like a normal kid again. Like they said the first day we went, it's sad we have to go, but they're glad we came. I couldn't be happier to have found Mary's Place at this time in our lives!
In January I decided that It was a good time for me to start volunteering somewhere...but where? I knew that I wanted to work with children...but how? Then it occured to me...Mary's Place!! In the past I had donated my services and attended the Spring Galla but, I knew very little about what Mary's Place was all about. After some intense training and only a few sessions with the "big kids" group I am proud to say that I am now a volunteer facilitator at Mary's Place and am starting to understand how important this kind of support is to the grieving children and their families. It is a "safe" place for kids to express their ideas and feelings about death and grief. It is also a place to share memories and to understand that they are not alone. So Far this experience, for me, has been excactly what I was looking for...so glad I opened that door!!
My experience has been so enriching to see how families coming to Mary's Place are handled with sensitivity and compassion. The board regularly hears from parents who share their personal story and subsequent experiences about how Mary's Place helped their children and themselves adjust to the death of a spouse, parent, sibling or grandparent through adult groups as well as children's groups from tots to teens. My observation is not one of overwhelming sadness but love, courage, laughter, sharing and individual growth as the children learn that they are not alone and can honestly express themselves while being understood by those in similar circumstances.