Tag: welcome home

Home as a Vessel for Grieving and Healing.

Interior Design

This pandemic has me reflecting on what home and healing means even more than usual. The sense of home as a shelter, place of solace and ease may be challenged as we bring home our worries, fears and stress of what is happening in the world – into our world. Fear, grief and uncertainty are all around us – we are truly in the thick of it. 

I believe to get through this we need to put down our roots and reconnect with ourselves. To find our own solid ground. Since we are being pushed to home – then maybe home can be a place to do that if we choose to see it that way.

Can we find possibilities to feel more connected and creative and ready to rejoin the world as more aware and compassionate humans? Can a home be the vessel for a new awakening?

Home Helped Me Face My Monsters

My husband died suddenly in 2012. His death was by suicide and I found myself seeing the world in a different way. While everything appeared to be as it always was – the same buildings, same trees, same people around me, it was not the same world for me, and I felt like I didn’t belong.

In the first couple of weeks, as the numbing and shock started to wear off. Fear came knocking. It was an image in my head of a terrifying monster at my door, and it was a very thin door. The monster was huge, cruel and mean and was banging really hard and really loud on that thin door. I knew the door was coming down, and it did. The monster was in my house and we began the work of figuring each other out and how we were going to live together.

In retrospect what I feared most was feeling my feelings, facing the truth of what is. The monster was a hairball of all the feelings and realities of life and circumstances. I feared I’d become debilitated by them and lose my place in the world. It was the strangest thing to feel like I would vanish. 

And it’s true, I would never be the same. A part of me died… but a part of me was also found. I decided to nurture that part and to walk with her on this journey – whatever it was and wherever she was leading. 

Home Helped My Healing

I did my emotional work at home, and pretty regularly at my therapist’s office. I called it my bubble. Outside my home, the world felt loud and harsh and it had a lot of sharp edges. I was broken, raw, tender and open. I saw suffering in others that I hadn’t seen before. I felt untethered and challenged to keep my feet on the ground and my head in the present moment. Hearing was hard, things were so loud – my heart ached in a way I didn’t know was possible. 

My focus was elusive and time became mysterious and hard to grasp. I was exhausted. I couldn’t rally things like I used to. I couldn’t take care of my people or my work like I used to. I couldn’t get out of bed without holding onto one leg at a time and lifting it over the edge of the mattress. In my head, I would say  – “get up now and walk, just put one foot in front of the other”. Now take a breath – now brush your teeth – now put on your clothes, now get your keys and go to work. I left my home each morning with a longing to go right back inside and just be still there.

I came home every day so relieved to be sheltered. To be home, to be able to break and fall apart without witnesses, without exposure, without judgement and without having to worry about all my people. I don’t know if this was healthy or good or right – and I really don’t care. It got me through – I saw my home as my sacred place, to feel my feelings, to weep, hug my husband’s t-shirts, scream into pillows and to pray and meditate. I read voraciously about healing and growth. I began to practice the things I learned. I danced and lay on my back and stared at the ceiling. I binged on mindless Netflix series. I sent long newsy emails to my people because I knew they were concerned and reaching out to them and reassuring them made me feel better. This may be grossly dysfunctional and codependent but I didn’t care. Reaching out to them to ease their minds during my grief and solitude was comforting to me while still keeping the distance I needed. 

And through it all, I got through it. It took some time. It was messy, sloppy, really hard and at the same time joyful and funny and full of grace. A spectrum of feelings and experiences.  I connected to my soul, found my true self, and started seeing and being in the world in a new way. 

Use Your Home to Come to Terms With Uncertainty

I understand that the pain I felt then is real for so many people right now.  There is a monster at our very thin door, and it’s determined to come in. During this time, some of you may feel confined to your thoughts and have no outlet to process them. You may be feeling grief, fear and loss. That’s natural. A pandemic is happening and we are feeling it. 

If you have a home, if you are safe at home, allow yourself to feel your feelings – the good ones and the ones that feel not so good. Allow your shelter to be your refuge and healing space. We need a new world, we need us to be whole and connected to our individual selves so we can become stronger as a collective. If home is the vessel we have been sent to do work on ourselves, then so be it. Settle in and get to know your monster. Name it, tame it, may you feel brave, courageous, loved and sheltered as you do your healing work.

This is a time to process our feelings in light of what’s happening. Let home be your shelter and not a threat. We have steps to creating the sacred space you might find helpful right now. Read our blogs on:

Creating a Sacred Home Space

Turn Your Bedroom into A Sanctuary

Housewarming Essentials: Celebrating Shelter And Comfort At Covenant House Vancouver

Interior Design

I got to spend a lovely afternoon with Andrea BolenJennifer Hall, of Covenant House, and Joan, one of the amazing volunteers at the Covenant House Housewarming. 


  • noun

“a party to celebrate a person’s or family’s move to a new home.”

I believe that the intent and energy you put into your home or workspace has a powerful impact on you and everyone who comes there. I can feel it when I enter a space. What was the intention here? It impacts, it affects, it evokes feelings. Am I welcomed, safe, intimidated, awed, inspired, soothed, embraced? We always experience a feeling, whether it’s conscious or not. Take a moment to check into that place in yourself. Take a breath and see how the space makes you feel. Often this is how you can discern the intent of a space.

So, when you plan a housewarming to celebrate moving into a new home or workspace the intent becomes what you are sharing and celebrating and that’s what matters most. 

Housewarming at Covenant House. 

Me with Krista Thompson, Chief Executive Director of  Covenant House, Vancouver

On September 5th, I had the honour of attending the housewarming of the new Covenant House Vancouver, at 1302 Seymour Street. It is a brand-new building; a vessel to hold the love that is always at the forefront of the work done at Covenant House. It was conceived and built by a caring committed team that invited us to celebrate this beautiful space with them.

Covenant House is a home, created for the youth who come to it. No matter what their circumstances are at that moment in their life. They are unconditionally loved and accepted for who they are.

A Labour of Love 

Some of the warm and welcoming team at Covenant House

The conception and development of the new building was a labour of love. I could feel it in the building itself as I walked up to the new entry. Once inside I was surrounded by past and present staff, volunteers, board members, donors, the architect, building team and operations teams that coordinated the move and settling of the youth into their new home. Without a word spoken you could feel that the intent was to provide the youth with a home that honours and respects them. A home that lets them know they matter. That love is here.

The youth asked for safe access to being outside. The patios were a priority when designing the building.

Drafting A Plan That Shelters, Comforts and Protects

For the creation of the new building, there was a very important process of investigation. Covenant House asked the youth what they needed to feel comfortable, safe and respected. Their answers included safe outdoor spaces, doors that ensure safety, privacy for showering and a place to do their own laundry. They asked for what they needed to feel comfortable because that is what home is for. It shelters, it comforts and protects. This is a basic human need, and like any good designer, Covenant House asked, then listened and responded. 

Each material and finish was chosen with intention and purpose.  The end result is beautiful, not just because of the materials used, but by what was etched into it by the creators.                                                 

A New Hope

Brand New Covenant House on 1302 Seymour Street. Architect NSDA

My focus, and what I aspire to as an interior designer, is to inquire, to listen and respond. I am inspired and encouraged by this special kind of housewarming and I am deeply grateful and happy for all of us that our city has a home like this for youth who find themselves in need of support, love and comfort. May it be so for everyone. 

If you feel inspired to donate to Covenant House, you can give through a myriad of ways. Please visit Covenant House Vancouver for information on how to donate.