SALMON CREEK — Right next to the entrance of Seasons of Hope Grief Center in Salmon Creek is the highlight of the building.
It’s a round room with high ceilings called the Seasons of Hope Room. Stained-glass windows near the ceiling represent each season. One window features a rainbow. The fall window shows a pumpkin. Snow-covered trees depict winter. Seasons change, and so does grief. It moves in waves of emotions, and those emotions pass just like seasons.
“Grief takes you through different feelings,” said Erin Orren, the support services coordinator with Community Home Health & Hospice.
Seasons of Hope is operated by Community Home Health & Hospice. The 9,000-square-foot building cost about $3.25 million, and was financed by donations. It opened in January and will continue to operate on donations. Grief classes are free.
“Every hospice is required to provide grief support, but not every hospice is required to have a building just about grief support,” Orren said. “We see this as a place of healing. The intention is to really support those conversations that need to happen. Grief does some really weird things to your mind and it takes a long time to heal.”
The grief center is open to anyone, not just people who have a loved one in hospice. Seasons of Hope offers grief classes for children ages 5 through 12, teenagers 13 through 18, and adults. Those classes include general grief support, a grief support class for men, a Survivors of Suicide Loss group and more.
“Everybody has a grief story,” said Greg Pang, president of Community Home Health & Hospice. “What’s unique about this is everybody will be able to share their stories with other people. You could have had a recent loss or from a few years ago. People will draw encouragement, hope, recovery from each other’s stories.”
Orren said one area of grief support that is changing is that kids are being included in the discussion more than they once were.
“I think we are much more open to kids than we used to be in terms of when someone is dying,” Orren said. “People are allowing kids to be a part of the death and really telling them truth and being encouraged to do so. I think the idea of giving grief support to kids is much more — not that it’s a new concept — but it’s much more felt now.”
The grief center is also looking to add a class for pet grieving in the future, and wants to host a death cafe in April.
The children and teenager grief support rooms include games that kids can play before their grief meeting starts. There’s also a blacklight room called the memory cave, where people can write messages to loved ones on a wall. Those messages pop in neon colors and say things like: “You made me keep on going — you let me know what love is!”
“We hope these messages stay forever,” Orren said.