The Austin Center for Grief & Loss celebrated its 10th anniversary at its annual Holders of Hope celebration on Thursday, October 19th at The Umlauf Sculpture Garden. The beautiful autumn evening could not have been more perfect for the fun and merriment we all enjoyed. The feedback that I received was “wow”, “magical”, “beautiful”. Thank you to our presenting sponsors Reverend John and Mrs. Fara McMullen along with Holder of Hope, The Loewy Law Firm, Torch Bearers, Judy and Patrick Cantilo, Catherine and Kevin Morse, Cook-Walden/Weed Corley-Fish Funeral Homes, Khris Ford, Diana Resnik and Whim Catering as well as more than two dozen Lamp Lighters and Candle Holders. Your generous financial support makes the important services that we provide possible.
Over 250 guests enjoyed the gourmet dinner provided by Whim catering while listening to the music of Christina Cavazos. Guests partook of Scott James’ poetry, the Kendra Scott Jewelry bar, SumXP’s photo booth, and Stroop Waffle’s tasty treats. The Umlauf Gardens were lovely, and the gallery was open for all to enjoy. Our in-kind sponsors contributed to the silent auction as well goods and services that allowed our costs for the evening to remain low. We are so grateful for everyone’s generosity. Austin Grief’s wonderful volunteers were on hand as well—providing support from check in through the evening’s close.
I’m especially grateful for Quyen Ma sharing her poignant personal journey through grief. Sharing ones story with others is the cornerstone of the support group’s healing power. While the setting was a festive one, everyone who heard Quyen will be both changed and enriched. Austin Grief’s foundation is rooted in Khris Ford’s vision and determination to provide a healing place for all people who are traversing the grief process. We were honored with Khris’ presence and words of wisdom and encouragement.
The Holders of Hope evening was magical—the moon was new, the air was crisp; it was unmistakably fall in Austin. As a young girl, the autumn was my favorite season because I was fascinated by childhood books that depicted squirrels hording acorns, bears fattening up to hibernate in caves, and leaves changing colors. I learned to identify trees by studying their leaves in the fall since that is when I was able to reach down, pick them up and observe them up close. I learned the difference between a maple, elm and oak tree by distinguishing their leaves—not the trees themselves. This season is metaphorically the one I associate most with change and adaptation. A lot of work happens to prepare for the coming winter—to get through the dark and cold.
At The Austin Center for Grief & Loss individuals and families are faced with the hard work associated with the grief process. Like the autumn season, the grief season has sounds, smells, rustling noises, and eventually, change through transformation. Our clients are given the tools to get through the dark and cold, but it takes energy and hard work---just like nature preparing for winter. Everyone’s grief is different and how one learns to distinguish what helps them on their journey toward healing is as different as the leaves and the trees. Austin Grief understands this. The therapists, staff, and volunteers are uniquely trained and qualified to help those on this journey through the grief process.