In May of 2009 my husband Jarrod Shaffer passed away suddenly. I was left alone with my two children, Tristan and Mackenzie. I had no idea how to help them understand what had happened or how to deal with the pain and loss of their father. Prior to Jarrod’s passing I had not heard of the Willow Center, and so it was my sister who encouraged me to call for information. I am thankful everyday that this wonderful program was available for my family. Just knowing that there is a place that it is okay to talk about a loved one’s passing is comforting. At the time that we began to attend the sessions, my children did not talk to me often about their father, either because they thought it would hurt me more or they just didn’t know how to talk about something as terrible as this. Now because of the healthy environment that The Willow Center provides, my children can openly talk about their father without feeling bad.
It is comforting to me that there is a place for me to go and voice my concerns and fears to people who understand. And my children enjoy being with other kids that don’t think it is strange or odd that they don’t have a father because they have all lost someone special to them.
The Willow Center family has become an important part of our lives and it has helped us immensely through our loss.
Mandy, Tristin and Mackenzie Shaffer
“The Willow Center has helped our family deal with the most difficult time in our lives. They gave our family hope to get through it.”
Vic, Teresa, Abigail, Monica, & Lydia Lustig
“Willow Center helped my niece Crystal after her mother died March 28, 2006. Crystal began failing her classes and skipping school. Willow has helped her get on track. She’s graduated from H.S. and is now a teacher’s assistant at Whitman Elementary!”
“Willow has helped my son Willy & daughter Kaylin with the loss of their dad, Kevin. It has really been a blessing for us to be able to come to group and express our hurt & pain.”
“The Willow Center has been a real blessing to Eric – Callie and me. The kids love to come and it has made a huge difference in their lives. Here- tears turn to smiles and hearts are mended. Thank-you – all of you – what a blessing all of you are.”
“This is our 2nd time here, we missed last session and the kids were upset that we didn’t make it. Little steps at a time with Willow Center. We are hoping to receive help from everyone here – “helping us as a family to learn how to cope.”
“The Willow Center has become a special place for my family. My boys look forward to coming every 2 weeks. It took me 5 years after losing my husband to open my heart to others & let my grief out. I only wish I had come sooner.; What a wonderful support system.”
Theresa Mattson & boys
“The Willow Center has been a great support system for me & my two children. The kids are able to spend time with other kids which comforts them. As for me, I find the understanding & caring of the fellow Willow Center participants a great comfort in this difficult & unknown loss.”
Mandy Shaffer & kids
“The Willow Center is an extremely awesome place for my children and myself to be a part of. We feel so welcome and look forward to coming every time!!”
“The Willow Center is a helpful, healing support group that anyone can share their experience and grow from learning to lean on others.”
“The Willow Center has been so helpful in our feelings. We are able to express or not to express. I know I feel safety and comfortable talking about the many types of grief.”
“The Willow Center has been helpful to see how many people gone through the same thing you gone through – and share the same things too.”
“The Willow Center has been so helpful to myself and A.J.”
“This is a much needed community service and I’m glad that Willow Center is here to help me and my children through this difficult time”
“I didn’t think there was anyone I could talk to before Willow Center. I didn’t want to bother my Mom because she was so sad too.”
Child participant age 9
“The people are really nice and they listen to me. Sometimes it just feels good to be really heard and have someone actually understand.”
Teen participant age 17
“I bring my granddaughter who lost both parents to Willow Center and it makes her feel better. If it makes a difference for only a few hours a month, that’s a success to me.”
Guardian of participant
“It feels good to talk to people my age who understand what I’m going through. It won’t bring the person I lost back but I really think Willow Center has helped me.”
Teen participant age 14
With Willow Center for Grieving Children, there is…Acceptance, Understanding, Laughter, Peace, Support.
If you are interested in joining our groups, please call the Willow Center Office – (208) 791.7192 or our Family Support Line: (509) 780.1156.