Feedback from a Restorative Response participant. Circles for sharing the impact of sudden death.

Reprinted here, from a Letter to the Editor in the River Falls Journal.

This group and what it does made me feel whole again

Support from St Croix Restorative Justice and the Walk for Awareness following the sudden death of a loved one is something that you never imagine could be a part of your life at any age.

By: Mary Petersen, Hudson

Support from St Croix Restorative Justice and the Walk for Awareness following the sudden death of a loved one is something that you never imagine could be a part of your life at any age.

But when a death like that happens, it’s something that makes you feel like you will never be whole again. You are alone and cannot face life without your loved one.

When approached about participating in the Restorative Justice circle, I was apprehensive, wondering how I could share my most intimate thoughts and feelings and no one could know what I am going through.

On the first night we talked about the circle and why we were there.

As we started to hear each other’s stories I remember thinking, wow, I have those feelings and these people are hurting just like me, their stories are very similar to mine. I could see and feel hope from the others that I could continue my life.

It was not going to be an easy transition, but I would be able to move forward without forgetting my husband.

The night came that I would have to tell my story. As I started talking, I remember looking into the eyes of my facilitator, Keith, and the other members of the circle.

There was compassion and understanding that gave me a sense of calm. As I drove home I felt surprisingly good.

The tears that were still coming down my face were not out of sadness but a sense of relief — relief that I was not carrying this alone and there were people willing to share, listen and support me.

The staff and volunteers give of their time, experience and hearts.

Please support the Walk for Awareness and St. Croix Restorative Justice.