Unthinkable tragedies often bring families to The WARM Place, such as when Brian P., father of three, died from a heart attack which resulted in a car crash. Brian’s wife Jennifer was driving home with their three children, Bradley (8), Lucas (8), and Sam (5), after spending a relaxing family day at Hawaiian falls. Brian had left the family gathering early after not feeling well. When Jennifer and her boys turned onto the street heading into their neighborhood, they immediately recognized Brian’s car crashed into their neighbor’s tree. Thankfully no one else was injured, but the aftermath of that crash was a devastating and life-altering event for Jennifer and her children.
After Brian’s death, several friends suggested to Jennifer that they attend The WARM Place. Jennifer decided to make the initial appointment after hearing stories of how the program had helped other families. “We instantly knew it was a place we would be understood and would help us deal with the big feelings we were all having while honoring and remembering everything we loved about Brian,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer immediately saw a change in her two oldest boys from their very first group night. “My boys look forward to going to the WARM Place so much. When we leave at the end of the night, it’s as if there’s been a weight lifted off them. When they are sad or missing their daddy they almost always ask, ‘When do we get to go to The WARM Place?’ At the potluck dinners I love seeing them chat with the friends they’ve made in their group. You can tell that it’s genuine connections they’ve formed, and I love seeing them so happy and light. One of my sons was really bottling up his feelings and then occasionally ‘exploding.’ Since going to The WARM Place, he’s become more comfortable with his sadness and shares it more freely and in a healthier way. I’m so grateful for that,” she said.
Since attending The WARM Place, Jennifer has not only seen a change in her boys but has also seen a change in herself. “It’s comforting to know that there are people who truly understand you, as an adult. I’ve found this to be so therapeutic, so I’m sure that my kids are feeling that same way.”
When asked what she would say to other families who have lost a loved one and are considering attending The WARM Place, Jennifer says this: “Make the appointment today. The connections you and your children will make will help in ways I can’t even describe. The groups are so eye opening as we all come from such different backgrounds and situations but no matter how different someone’s story is, you always find some emotions or feelings you can relate to. Grief isn’t something that’s talked about and It’s not widely understood or something people think about until they’re thrown into it. It’s one of the most traumatic and shocking experiences imaginable and having a place for your kids to feel like they’re not alone in it is invaluable.”