28 August 2016
Healing of the Heart 2016- how can I even put into words what this weekend meant to those in attendance. As a host, or core team leader as we called ourselves, all I wanted was for these new 25 moms to leave this weekend with the same sense of belonging that we all did from the first retreat that took place just under a year ago. I wanted them to have the most intimate- raw- and REAL experience possible. I wanted them to open up- cry- laugh- dance- and cry again. I wanted them to connect- heal- feel safe- and leave with a sisterhood that would forever change the rest of their lives- the rest of their journey through grief.
The first night was more than emotional- hearing about each one of these angels- when and how they were welcomed into this world, how they spent their way- too- short of lives, and then ultimately how they died- and watching what their deaths left behind. They left behind a beautiful mother who is shattered internally and externally- a courageous mother who is not only still standing, but somehow found a way to bring herself to a retreat where she knows no one- but trusted in us to handle and care for the most precious and intimate part of her life. A broken soul- whose life would be so much more full if only her baby were still alive- if only we could turn back time and change each and every path of these mothers lives. But I can’t. We can’t- they can’t. And so because of this the only thing we can do is walk through this path together- hand in hand- hearts intertwined. A sense of belonging- a sense of understanding- a no judgment zone where its ok to cry so hard you can be heard across the mountains- and then moments later, dancing like a fool to a rap song from the 90’s.
This years retreat was so much more than I ever could have imagined it would be for these women. Watching their transformation over the 4 days we spent together is something I simply cannot put into words. Watching as their smiles changed from fake and weak, to real and strong. The joy and peace that is in my heart watching their connections grow stronger, their hearts healing- if even just a little bit- their weights being lifted- their acknowledgment that never again will they feel alone in this world. This weekend is more powerful that words could ever do justice. This weekend brought us back to life. It brought our children back to life.
Of all things I do in Hayden’s name, this is by far the most impactful. This retreat not only gives these mothers back a piece of themselves they were so desperately searching for, it gives that same person back to their surviving family. I am so honored to be able to create such a safe, tranquil space for these most deserving women whom I will forever be connected to and will always consider my sisters.
Special thanks to my CORE team who held my hand and walked alongside me through the last 8 months planning the perfect weekend for these mamas. And to the many heart organizations and families who sponsored a mother to attend- what a gift you have just given a grieving mother and her family. So many people donated items for welcome bags, snacks, desserts, and money to fund the memorial projects and other special workshops and activities we were able to hold. It is because of you that this weekend was able to happen- you allowed myself and the rest of the core team to live out our vision for these mothers and we are forever grateful for your support.