It’s nearly two weeks past Valentine’s Day. It’s no one’s birthday or anniversary or other special occasion. But still I’m moved to write a quick little thang about Lori.
Today I’ll attend another meeting of the board of directors of The Dougy Center, the Portland nonprofit that has served more than 30,000 grieving children who’ve lost a parent or sibling during the past three decades. And that makes me think of my wife, with great appreciation.
She’s one of an army of volunteers who are trained facilitators to be with small groups of children during their bimonthly group sessions. Some volunteers are matched with teenagers, some with children. Some kids are brought together by a suicide, sometimes a homicide, sometimes a terminal illness. The volunteers do not try to “fix” anyone; they are just there as supportive adults as the kids work through different stages of grief, through play, through talk, through just being around others who are experiencing similar emotions and reactions to a loved one’s death.
Last Friday, The Dougy Center staff honored Lori and others at a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at a downtown hotel. Along with a buffet dinner and awards for milestone years of service (some have been there for 27 years!), we were treated to a talk by a longtime volunteer and inspiring testimonials from two teenagers, Lily and Ian, who thanked their facilitators for helping them deal with their grief as young adolescents.
So as I head off to work and then to a mid-day board meeting, I will keep Lori in my thoughts, as just one of hundreds of volunteers who give their time each month so that young boys and girls can benefit from a steady presence on their healing journeys.