Guest Author: Karen Pennebaker, LCSW

As the founder of Bo’s Place, I read each newsletter with deep interest. I see faces between the words and hear the voices of the children and adults who have and continue to come to “break bread and tell their stories”.

When I would tell people that I ran a center for people grieving death losses, people would often ask, “Why? Do you just like to be depressed?” These questions would always make me laugh. “No, grief is about love. When you walk into Bo’s Place, you can feel the love of the folks who have died and their family’s love for them. ” That’s why Bo’s Place is in a house, a place where families and friends gather. That’s why the art on the walls is from children who attend the program. That’s why you hear laughter and Bo’s Place is a noisy, fun place. That’s the magic of Bo’s Place.

In order to heal, we all need to be in a secure location, connected to safe people and heard well enough to risk going into our pain. Our bodies, our nervous systems co-regulate to the calm demeanor and unconditional acceptance of the members of our groups. They hold hope for us, until we can do it for ourselves. Magically, with time, healing starts. Each of us heals in our own unique way, just as our relationship with whomever died was unique. Bo’s Place bears witness to these noblest acts of courage.

This is a shout out to the volunteers and staff: we see you. You “do not take this responsibility lightly…but take it with all the nobility, grace and gravitas” that companioning a grieving person requires.

This old woman waits for her newsletter. With each newsletter comes the assurance that a place of caring exists from the generosity of strangers; fellow travelers who don’t have to lend a hand, but do. Each newsletter draws to mind that feeling I get when I see a whale breach, a beautiful sunset or someone’s kind eyes. That’s the magic of Bo’s Place.