Discover how cobblestones help the bereaved heal, and support those who cared for them during their loss …
Guests gather at The Dougy Center, rebuilt after the fire that destroyed their building in 2009, to dedicate a new “Remembrance Courtyard”.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On Father’s Day evening, June 21, 2009 an arsonist torched The Dougy Center, destroying the classic house where the nonprofit organization provided support services to children and their families who have experienced a death.
> To see our story, “Dougy Center Blaze: ARSON”: CLICK HERE.
> To read about the opening of the rebuilt Dougy Center in February, 2013: CLICK HERE.
The Dougy Center’s Executive Director Dr. Donna Schuurman points out an inscribed cobblestone she dedicated to her father, in the organization’s “Remembrance Courtyard”.
Clients, volunteers, supporters and staff gathered at the center on September 8 to dedicate their “Remembrance Courtyard”.
“It’s located between the new Dougy Center’s home and the Resource Center,” Executive Director Dr. Donna Schuurman told East Portland News.
“The Remembrance Courtyard is a cobblestone sanctuary where families and friends of The Dougy Center can memorialize loved ones, commemorate important occasions, or share their healing inspirations – sandblasted permanently into the pavers,” explained Schuurman.
Guests look for inscribed cobblestones which they and their friends sponsored.
Walking over to a paver on the east side of the courtyard, Schuurman pointed to an inscribed paving stone. “I sponsored this one for my father.”
Many who have come in contact with The Dougy Center form a strong, long-lasting bond, Schuurman reflected. “It is here where we share such a difficult part of our lives. When one is grieving a death, he or she is [emotionally] ‘raw’ – and at the same time, is more open to ‘what really matters’ in life. When you share these with people, it creates a bond, regardless of socioeconomic status, and who died.”
Most people just get three days of grief-and-tuna-casserole support from friends, Schuurman went on. “But here, it’s about allowing people, and particularly children, to have as long as they need to be in connection with others, after a death.”
With clients, guests, and staff, Dougy Center Executive Director Dr. Donna Schuurman cuts a ceremonial ribbon, dedicating the organization’s “Remembrance Courtyard”.
So far about 250 pavers have been sponsored; and about 200 more remain available for sponsorship.
Since it started in 1982, The Dougy Center, located just south of SE Foster Road at 3909 SE 52nd Avenue, continues to provide free support services 400 children and 250 family members every month.
For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.
This particular cobblestone memorializes a “therapy dog”, in The Dougy Center “Remembrance Courtyard”.
© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News