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How Do I Cope With Losing My Child?

The pain of losing a child is uniquely tender, and the experience finds a curious analogy in the world of Alice in Wonderland. Everything is turned on its head, nothing is ever quite as it used to be, and there seems to be nobody around to tell you what is going on, what to do, or what the future will hold.

There is no prescriptive plan for dealing with the loss of a child. Sadly, nobody is able to hand you a checklist of the correct responses, the timelines for grief, or a magic potion to help make everything ok.

There are, however, steps you can take to help you in the process; to provide some sort of scaffolding and support, and start rebuilding your life and long-term outlook in a new normal.

Share stories, gain support, strengthen remembrance

4 people sitting and sharing stories around a campfire in front of a large wooded lodge at sunset

There is an old proverb that says a person can actually die two deaths. The first happens when your physical body dies; the second occurs when people stop mentioning your name.

When you say your child’s name, you keep their legacy vibrant and alive.

Our culture has a tendency to perpetuate the silence that springs up around death, especially when a child is involved. Well-meaning friends and family will skirt around the subject of your child’s death, avoid mentioning your child by name, or use euphemisms or awkward analogies.

Hearing phrases like “your child is in a better place” or “everything happens for a reason” probably don’t help you feel better, and in fact can bring about more pain or other intense emotions.

In truth, you are still a parent, and, like all parents, it is natural to want to talk about your child with others.

Though you have lost your child, their importance and presence within your life will never diminish. Avoiding the topic can be hugely detrimental to the grieving process, and to your overall mental health.

Talking about your loss, swapping anecdotes and memories, and using your child’s name out loud helps you keep the memory of your child alive.

In a time when everything seems bleak and helpless, these glimmers of joyful memories can be lifelines, helping to reinforce the notion that while you will never get over the loss of your child, you can survive it.

Further, with time and tenderness, you can experience moments of joy again, even as you move through the grief of losing your child.

Creating new traditions to honor your child establishes a place for them within your family, and helps provide comfort that they will never be forgotten or overlooked. They are as much a person, with their own name and identity, as any of your other family members.

Find hope by connecting with others

a man and two young children on a wooden swing at Faiths' Lodge

In the early days, hope can seem entirely impossible, and the focus is on getting through each moment at a time. Months and even years later, you will face difficult days. The idea of a brighter tomorrow may seem a painful cliche that will never come to fruition.

Hope is a crucial ingredient in the grief journey, and in the rebuilding of life for parents. Connecting with other parents facing similar circumstances can play a huge role in finding hope.

Seeing those who have survived an impossible situation can be inspiring and helps to demonstrate that as hard as it seems, life will go on, and you will be able to live more days with hope, while still remembering your loss.

At Faith’s Lodge, there is space, time, and gentle structure to foster connections with other grieving parents through activities like discussion groups, memorial crafts and projects, and self-care elements like massage and easy movement, as well as a tranquil surrounding in nature.

Every loss is unique

Ultimately, the loss of a child is something personal to each parent and is a very individual experience. There can be solace, however, in connecting with those in a similar situation.

Connecting with others who’ve lost a child provides the chance to learn from those who have survived their grief day by day, to slowly build a new life following their tragedy.

Other bereaved parents will have experienced the emotions you are going through, and those at different stages in the grieving process will be able to offer their own experience, wisdom, and strength.

Losing a child grants you membership to an exclusive club–one nobody ever asked to join. Connecting with others in a similar position can help, however.

They understand when you want to talk or when it is best to stay quiet because there is simply a mutual understanding. They can offer both emotional and practical support thanks to their unique perspective. Everyone ‘gets it’ – there is nothing to prove, no explanation required, and no judgement.

Connecting with those around you while engaging in therapeutic activity or calming practices also helps to add a sense of purpose. In any support group of parents who’ve suffered the most tragic loss, there will be people at many stages of an emotional journey.

You can also talk through solutions and strategies for carrying on, and staying present with other family members.

Feeling that you have the support of a group is a great way to hold yourself accountable for compassionate actions toward yourself and others, evaluate what does and doesn’t work for you, and build the strength to survive each day as it comes.

The power of wordsA friend supporting a woman coping with grief, both are sitting on a couch

Talking is a crucial element of the healing process, and is essential to ensure you don’t feel alone or isolated – both natural reactions to a tragedy.

Realizing that there are others in your position can lend you strength. It’s essential to allow yourself to feel your feelings, sit with them, and carefully work through them, knowing that feelings are fluid and the intensity of your loss will ebb and flow over time.

Being honest about your emotions as your journey unfolds is essential for moving forward. And, doing so in a way that works for you, allows space and respite, and is free of judgement is key for many grieving parents. There is no “right” way to grieve.

Working with a group in a safe space can provide rest and recovery when you need it most. Sometimes you need a welcome relief, a lighthearted moment, and a reminder that there can be life after grief, and a world outside your pain.

When we find a bit of peace in a walk in nature, safe touch from a pair of calming hands, or the space to let out whatever wants to come, we gather strength for each day, no matter what it holds for us.

Moments of respite may allow you, over time, to see your loss in the fabric of your life, a permanent, precious part of what makes you you. And, you may find that as you care for yourself and allow others to care for you, you gain strength and hope to create the rest of your life story after loss.

Faith’s Lodge

The front entrance to Faith's Lodge, a stone and wooden building with a grass and concrete walk leading to the large entrance.

Here at Faith’s Lodge, we are a safe place and a soft place to land. We offer a supportive, nurturing environment for bereaved parents, and provide the assistance, tools, and resources to help you work through your journey.

We help you connect with other parents, offer supportive programming, gain rest and respite from your pain and grief. We support you in your loss, help you find solace in gentle activity, nature, and space.

At Faith’s lodge, there’s no judgment, no explanation, just support and acceptance as you are today.

The connections you make at Faith’s Lodge last long past our weekend events. We create a safe container for friendships to form, so you have a community to call when you’re having a bad day.

Contact us today to learn about our programming, and register for upcoming events. We’ll be right here for you.

Community Fundraiser at PIZZA RANCH in Lakeville

Print out this voucher and bring it in to the PIZZA RANCH in Lakeville on Wednesday, Jan 7th.  Faith’s Lodge will get 10% of your total purchase! Can’t make it? Donate here in memory of Kody Batchelder. Click here for more information.

Batchelders Fundraiser Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Batchelder family invites you to share a photo of your loved one. They will put these photos on the tables at their fundraiser.  Email your photos to Craig, tiggercsb@q.com.

Thank you!

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Meaningful Moments: A Gift for the Grieving

The Holidays are hard for many.  But when you add grief into the mix, it can be even harder.  Consider a gift for a grieving parent from our friends at Resolve Through Sharing (RTS).  (Click the image below for more information)

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Hope Rocks ROCKED

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It was a BIG night for Faith’s Lodge!  Kat Perkins, Nicholas David and 700 of our closest friends ROCKED the Depot on September 20th!  Thank you to all who came to support Faith’s Lodge and the work we do for families.

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Click here to see the first batch of photos from a great night!

Help Us Fill Our Pantry

Faith’s Lodge needs supplies to help us feed our families. Here is a list of items we need:

Non-perishable:

  • Paper plates & plastic cups
  • Pasta Sauce (Not pasta)
  • Snacks for kids:  cookies, granola bars, fruit snacks
  • Mayo, Ketchup, Mustard
  • Pickles
  • Baked Beans
  • Tuna Fish
  • Cereal
  • Jam/Jelly
  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Fruit (Not Vegetables)
  • Cream Soup (Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom)
  • Salsa
  • Ramen Noodles

 

Perishable:

  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Frozen Pizza
  • Bread, Buns, Bagels
  • Frozen Waffles

 

All items may be dropped off at Faith’s Lodge, and non-perishable items may be drooped off at our office in Minneapolis. 

As always, thank you for your continued support.

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Calling All Past and Registered Guests of Faith’s Lodge!

We are working on an update to our website. One of the areas we’re looking to improve the FAQ and we need your help.

Think back to when you were researching Faith’s Lodge. What were the questions you had? What do you wish you would have known? What information would have helped you? What would you share now with someone considering Faith’s Lodge?

Please leave a comment at the bottom of the post, or if you would like your suggestions to be more confidential please email to jchristner@faithslodge.org.
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How to Help a Grieving Parent

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) shared a story that is relevant to both grieiving parents and the people who want to help. A past guest shared this with us saying, “A good listen for any of us in this ‘club’we didn’t want to join.”

The story also features Faith’s Lodge advocate, friend and past guest, Prinna Boudreau.

Click here for “Enduring the Death of Child”

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Nicholas David to Turn Out the Soul and Funk at Hope Rocks 2014!

MINNEAPOLIS – July 16, 2014 – Faith’s Lodge is excited to announce the Hope Rocks 2014 charitable concert event featuring Nicholas David with an extra special headliner TBA!  Join us Saturday September 20, 2014 as we celebrate rocking another year of our favorite cause – Faiths Lodge. Hope Rocks is a night of music, healing and generosity like no other to benefit Faith’s Lodge. This year’s musical headliners will amplify our cause and put thunder in the hearts of Hope Rock’s attendees.

Nicholas David will light up the dance floor with his special blend of funky grooves and soulful ballads. Nicholas David built a fan base of millions of people around the world as a finalist on NBC’s The Voice in 2012.  Since that time Nicholas has recorded 5 critically acclaimed albums, and toured America with folk-rockers Avett Brothers and more.   Nicholas David: “Lean on Me” – The VoiceHope Rocks has even more in store as we announce yet another show-stopping powerhouse Hope Rocks artist on August 17, 2014.

Tickets include dinner and are available for $150 at https://faithslodge.org/hoperocks/. Table sponsor packages are also available!

Nicholas David 7-16-14

 

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Sign the FMLA Petition for Grieving Parental Leave

Dear parents,

Click here for a relevant and moving post from the “Grieving Dads” site.  Kelly Farley, author and bereaved father, is passionate about helping parents through the grieving process.

Are you in favor of adding parental leave to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?  Click here to join over 82,000 other parents who think this amendment is needed.