The most beautiful place I wish I never had to go to.

Kaiya’s birthday was more than a week ago now.  She turned ONE in Heaven, with the angels and Jesus.  While we remain here, celebrating her birth, mourning her death, and continuing to wonder why.  We celebrated her birthday with some close friends, some new friends, people who loved her and some that never met her.  It was a sweet, simple, and bittersweet celebration.

We made her birthday a week-long event and left early Saturday morning for Chicago, and ultimately, Faith’s Lodge. According to their website: “Faith’s Lodge provides a place where parents and families facing the serious illness or death of a child can retreat to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future.”  They put it perfectly.  It is a place like no other.  It is located in “Middle of No Where” Wisconsin, just outside of Webster, WI population 386.   It is surrounded by trees/woods, lakes and nature.  The lodge is a beautiful building, filled with 8 suites, a library, a craft room, the eagle’s nest, a sun room, full kitchen, and more.  It is like a 5 star vacation resort in the woods, especially for grieving families.  You can participate in as little or as much as you wish, and it is the kind of place that you get out of it, what you put into it.  While there we made crafts in memory of our sweet Kaiya Rae.  Some examples include painting a bird house, making a bracelet with her name on it, a wooden quote plaque, a journal and painting her heart stone for the bridge of hope.  The path through the woods is called “The Path of Inspiration” and is lined with inspirational quotes about love, loss, grief, hope and faith.  It leads to Faith’s Garden and the Bridge of Hope.  Along the path near the bridge, amongst the trees and flowers and weeds, lay hundreds of heart stones, each one symbolizing a life lost too soon.  Some are babies who never took a breath, some like Kaiya lived only for weeks or months, some are young children lost to disease, some in accidents, and even suicide.  One would think a path like this would be sad and depressing.  It is far from it.  For parents like us it symbolizes hope, faith and love.  Hope for a future with more happiness, and only a little bit of sadness.  Mostly, it is a special feeling only a parent like us needs to feel.  We are not alone.  We are normal.  Others have gone before us and continue to live full, happy lives, while still remembering and mourning the loss of their child.  The most important part about Faith’s Lodge is meeting other parents, just like us.  Parents who know exactly how it feels to ache to hold their baby one more time, to hear her laugh, to see him walk.  To have conversations about babies who no longer live with us, about visiting their graves, celebrating their birthdays and all the new normal things in our lives, that make other people so very uncomfortable.  There is an extreme, indescribable, feeling of comfort in having friends who “get it”.  I think that is one of the most important parts of the grief journey.  It is extremely important to have supportive family and friends, but it is so very important to have friends who have been through what you have and just get it, like no one else can.  This wonderful, peaceful, healing place provides all this and more.  I can’t say that anyone who goes there will suddenly accept the death of their child and be “all better.”  It will never be “all better”, but I did leave with a sense of peace about moving on with out her.  We placed Kaiya’s Heart stone next to a single flower, growing up among the weeds.  I said and prayer, and “let her go.”  I will never forget her, she will always be mine.  I can continue to live my life and still honor her every day as I go.  I cannot change what happened.  She is gone.  That will never change.  There will always be some days that are harder than others.  I will always wonder why.  But I will never wonder “how can I live with out her?” because now I know that I can.  I wish I didn’t have to, but I have no other choice, and I am at peace with that.  I will always cry for her, but I will always smile when I remember her too.  My journey is far from over, but I have come so very far. Welcome to Faith’s Lodge.  The most beautiful place I wish never had to go to.  A place where hope grows.  The place where I found peace.

I will always miss you baby girl.  I will carry you in my heart always. May I always hear you in the laughter of every child, the whisper of the wind, and piter pater of the rain.  May I always see you in every little ladybug, every beautiful butterfly and every colorful rainbow.  May you continue to visit me in my dreams, peacefully and happy.  May the devil never show you to me angry and morphed again.  You are beautiful and I love you.

Love Always,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

How did we get here?

One year.  This Friday, June 17th, 2011 at 4:00pm Kaiya Rae will be 1 whole year old.  One year filled with every emotion possible.  One year filled with so many tears.  Tears of joy, tears of pain, tears of anger, tears of sadness, tears, tears, tears.  How did we get here?  How did a whole year go by already?  Just yesterday she was lying in a hospital bed while we all prayed for a miracle, and just a day before that I was lying in one praying for her to be here soon so I could hold her for the first time.  Why does it always seem like life stands still when we want it to move faster, and is gone in a blur when we wish it would slow down so we could enjoy it?  How on Earth did we go from this:

to this
in the blink of an eye, and what happened to everything else in between?

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  I am forever changed.  I am not the same person I was before you came into my life miss Kaiya Rae, and I am not the same person I was with you in it.  Your presence changed me, your absence has changed me yet again.  My sole purpose in life is to carry on the legacy of a 5 month old baby who had more power and grace than I could ever dream of having with in myself.

How did we get here?  How did we get to June 13th, 2011?  Wasn’t I just begging my husband to be ready to try for our first baby?  In a blink she was here, in another she was gone.  Somehow, through it all, I am still breathing.  You may not know it, sweet angel, but you haven’t only changed momma and daddy, you have changed the world.  The moment you were born, the whole world was changed, forever.  We celebrate you today and always.  We love you Kaiya Rae.

Love,

KaiyaRae’s Momma