The setting is a little strange. “That Room” is longer than it is square. The chairs are in an oblong circle, boxes of tissue are strategically placed. Someone has made coffee and there are brownies or a cake—and all the pictures.
Sometimes you will walk into “that room” feeling as weak as a kitten, and sometimes as strong as a bull. No matter how you’re feeling when you see all those chairs, you think: “It’s not possible; there can’t be that many people who feel the way I feel!” But little by little you watch the chairs fill in.
It’s like being at your house with company, EXCEPT this room is a safe haven. You feel secure, and there’s a warm feeling in the room—the comfort of being accepted. Here, you won’t be judged by other people. It is safe to take off your mask and let your feelings show, to share your thoughts. Here you get an understanding smile and feel the comfort of a “meant” hug—the warmth of someone who really wants to know how you are doing, instead of asking: “Are you still dealing with this?” or “You’re still going to those meetings?”
Here, you are accepted for the person you have become. You won’t hear: “I liked the old you better,” or “I want the old you back,” or “You’re not fun anymore.” In “that room” they understand the “new” you who has survived the WORST thing that life can hand a person.
Before you know it, “that room” is more comfortable than any place you can think of. I’ve been walking into this room for 12 1/2 years now, and it is full of people who know me better and are closer to me than my own family. They became my “new” friends, my “new” family. What I have learned and shared with my new family has changed the pain I carry. They taught me how to put my life back together, how to go on.
I will always miss my beautiful daughter, Sara; I will never forget her, and yes, my life will go on.
“That room” has become home.
Contributed by Mardy Burns ~ TCF, Independence, MO
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