Traverse City’s Michael’s Place Offers Hands-On Healing for Grief Support

Heather Greenberg-Seger and Angi Mikula are both relatively new to the Hands-On Healing grief support group at Michael’s Place in Traverse City.

The program is exactly how it sounds, a hands-on approach to expressing grief. It uses art in different mediums as a way for people to connect with their emotions and be able to share it in a tangible way.

Wednesday’s project was called kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending it with lacquer, dusted with powdered gold, silver or platinum.

It treats the breakage without disguising the damage or broken parts.

“That’s why this project today is perfect,” says Angi Mikula. “The actual breaking of it, you know, that shattering, the shock of the shatter, and then trying to pick up and put back the pieces to make your life sort of the way it was before. And then in all the messiness, realizing that it never will be the same.”

Mikula’s husband passed from cancer three years ago. She went to the cancer center he was treated at, asking for support for her daughter, who was four years-old at the time.

Her daughter attended Michael’s Place children’s grief support group, Robin’s Nest.

She didn’t realize that she too needed support and a group of people that understood what she was going through. Now, she’s attended four Hands-on Healing classes. Past Art Projects

Greenberg-Seger also lost her husband to health complications, February of last year. She’s attended two classes and hasn’t found it to be very much help, but only because the kintsugi project has been difficult.

“I know that the first project was very helpful while we were doing it because I was able to remember the times that were good, when he was healthy, and when we could travel and do things together,” she says. “This one is frustrating.”

Both women agree that people she be able to talk about their grief more freely in society.

“People say, oh, you shouldn’t talk about sex, or politics, or religion, or death,” says Greenberg-Seger. “Sometimes that might be true. But I think if we did, we might find each other’s common grounds.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and processing grief in a healthy way is part of caring for your mental health.

“From being around people, and especially for your children and for yourself, you want to make sure that you’re coming from the best place that you can come from and that you have the tools,” says Mikula. “Michael’s Place and the healing from art just opens up doors that you wouldn’t normally open up at home. It makes you become vulnerable and think about where you are in your healing journey.”

For more information about Hands-On Healing, and Michael’s Place, visit here.