I kind of started to tell you about it. Really, though, there aren't words that can appropriately explain the depth of our experience there. The purpose is heartbreaking, yet the the bottom line is this place is a blessing. It is a respite. It is a stepping stone on the path to healing. Plainly stated, Faith's Lodge is amazing.
Faith was the first daughter of the founders of Faith's Lodge - and she was stillborn. I implore you to read more about this wonderful couple and their story, but the cliff notes version is as a result of this tragedy, Faith's Lodge was built. Tucked away in a remote wooded paradise in Wisconsin, the lodge gives bereaved parents and families a chance to connect, a chance to face their grief, and a chance to share their child's legacy.
The last night of our being there, we had a wonderful steak dinner (one of the dads himself became our grill master) and all ~ eight couples total ~ sat around the table sharing in a most special time. Those couples, and the babies they lost, left lasting imprints on my heart. I will forever remember their precious children, and I'm sure Harlynn has met them already. We cried together, we shared in each other's pain....and we laughed together. I laughed so hard during one game of Scattergories, I nearly cried. I didn't have to hide how I was feeling. I wasn't worried that if these people saw me laugh, they would assume I was "over" losing Harlynn. I could cry and laugh all in the same breath, and they got it. They understood. I could be this forever changed person I am, and they were completely natural about it. They know this road. They recognize this journey.
Aside from sharing time with other bereaved parents, there are crafts at the lodge, designed to help you start a memorial garden. We did a birdhouse, a garden stone, and a wooden plaque. We also participated in a heart-stone activity. Stones shaped like hearts were decorated by each couple, and placed at the Bridge of Hope. We found a niche in a tree stump to place Harlynn's stone. There were so many heart stones near and around the bridge. There are so many parents who have been blessed to spend time at that lodge. There are so many children who left far too soon, but are still so very loved.
I saw June bugs for the first time - and they were gross. I'm sure most of you know how well I do with creatures having more than four legs... I saw more ticks than I ever knew existed in the universe, which was also gross. But aside from the bugs (which I don't like no matter where I am), this place was wonderful. Wild. Peaceful.
I hesitate to use the word "healing" because I don't want to be misunderstood or lead anyone to think that because Brent and I went there and had such wonderful experiences, that we're suddenly better or "fixed". Healing is a process. A long one. We started our process because of this lodge.
I can't say enough about the other parents we spent our time with. They are such wonderful people. They are so enjoyable to be with. They are all madly in love with the children they lost. They would do anything to have their children here still. We all would. I cried when I had to say goodbye to them. They are dear, dear people.
I want to share some pictures of our time there, so will do that below. If you ever have reason to go to Faith's Lodge (though I pray you don't), I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of it. Mr. and Mrs. Lacek (Faith's parents) had a very specific plan and cause in building that lodge, and it holds true to their intention. It is a very special place with a very special purpose. Harlynn, give Faith a hug and tell her how very thankful we are to her parents. We were able to feel closer to you than we've felt this whole time thanks to their vision. I love you, sweet baby.
|Reading & Relaxing|
|Brent's Mad Painting Skills|
|Top of Heart Stone|
|Side of Heart Stone|
|Front of Heart Stone|
|I thought it was bird doo!|
|Wood Burner Master|
|Heart Stone Resting Place|
|We Love You, Harlynn|
|Big Manitou Falls, WI|
|Some Of Our New Friends & Our Impromptu Field Trip|
|Harlynn's Parents ~ Loving Her Always|