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10 years of turning grief into healing at Austin Center for Grief & Loss

Staff Writer
Austin 360
At the start of a meeting of a bereaved spouse/partner group at the Austin Center for Grief & Loss, Maegan Cunningham and Stephen Adams join group members in a relaxation exercise to prepare for the session. The center has different support groups and individual therapy sessions for all ages and all types of loss. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The members of the loss of a spouse or partner support group at the Austin Center for Grief & Loss gather in a circle. They light a candle to represent what brings them together. They do a deep-breathing exercise.

“We’re holding our group,” says Lori Pelliccia, assistant clinical director and staff therapist, as she leads them. “We’re holding our loved one.”

Across the parking lot, in the center’s annex, Jake George and Marisol Pineyro, both 6, are building model volcanoes out of aluminum foil and play dough. They pour baking soda into a cup and then add paint and vinegar. They watch the volcanoes bubble up and overflow. Both children are dealing with the death of a family member, and the volunteer facilitators at the center are trying to create a safe place to teach them about feelings.

This place, and the healing it brings to so many, wouldn’t be here today if not for Khris Ford and a deeply personal loss she and her family experienced 28 years ago.

Go to mystatesman.com to learn more about the center, its work and the people who make it happen.