WOVEN 2018

18 November 2018

It has been a week since we came home from our first couples retreat – WOVEN – and I still don’t know if I have the proper words to express the impact it had on not only MY marriage, but of all of the couples that experienced it alongside us.

I was, admittedly, nervous as the weekend approached – having never done this type of a retreat before I wasn’t sure it would be as impactful as our mom retreats have been. The bar was set high – and I didn’t know if we’d come close to reaching it at this retreat. 

BUT – it wasn’t too far into the weekend that I realized that it was working – it was happening – couples were sharing – and not just with each other, but with everyone. Dads who had barely spoken their childs name were not only saying their name, but sharing their story. Moms who hid some of their deepest feelings from their spouse were digging in deep and finally letting it out. 

Couples were learning to understand their spouse through their grief – learning to appreciate and accept that often men and women grieve very differently – and that its ok – it might even be beautiful. 

With that appreciation and understanding came discussions on how to grieve TOGETHER – how to meet half way – how to weave their grief into their marriage, not treat them as separate parts of their relationship but rather as one in the same. 

I’d like to think this retreat strengthened these couples not just for the time we spent together, but that it did for them what it did for Rob and I and has forever changed the way we will grieve our son as a couple. The tools Rob and I gained from this time together are irreplaceable. 

I am so grateful to so many for loving on our couples with their talents, gifts and support. Their generosity made this weekend stunningly beautiful - as well as kept us very well fed. I am so grateful for our co-hosts Matt and Stephanie for taking the leap and making this happen – all in honor of their sweet Madison. I am grateful to the 7 other couples who jumped in head first and allowed this weekend to do for them what it was intended to. Most of all I am grateful to my husband for being so vulnerable – so compassionate – so empathetic – so invested – in these couples and mostly the dads. I am truly in awe and am beyond blessed to have him by my side through not only this retreat but moreso through life – for better or worse.

We can't wait to experience this again with more couples - and once again witnessing what these retreats do for those grieving just makes my passion for a retreat home of our own burn that much stronger....

Healing of the Heart Retreat - Fall 2018

01 November 2018

Last year, I was at lunch with Ady working on Hayden’s House of Healing - talking about the impact these retreats have, how many more people we will impact when we have a house, and how badly we need this space and this dream to become a reality. I was suddenly overcome with emotion and words came pouring out of my mouth. “What if we add a second ‘Healing of the Heart’ retreat next year and I lead it?” I was taken aback by my own words, but in that moment I just knew how right it felt.

This past year of planning has been filled with so many emotions. I knew the impact this retreat had on me, and I wanted so badly to create the same space of healing for these brave new women we were about to meet. I had many conversations with Ady about what to expect - but I’m not sure anything could have truly prepared me.

As I stood there surrounded by my amazing core team, we opened the door and in walked 24 beautiful mamas. Each of them took a leap of faith, traveling from all over the country to a retreat where many of them knew no-one, in the hopes that they could begin to HEAL.

These brave women bared their souls and shared the most intimate part of their lives - they shared their children, they shared their grief, they shared their true selves. While their stories were all different - some were just a few months out from their grief, some had been grieving for more than 10 years; some had children who lived hours, some had lost teenagers - the absence in their hearts was the same. I felt the pain in every story, but I also felt surrounded by such a deep love.

Yes, the weekend was filled with tears (a lot of them) - but it was also filled with laughter and singing and dancing (a lot of it.) The bonds forming between them could be seen almost immediately. They were organizing activities in their downtime and making it a point to know each other’s names and their children’s names. I watched them walk in on Thursday as strangers and leave on Sunday as if they had known each other their whole lives. And I knew in that moment, that we had done what we set out to do. They had a space to connect with one another, with pieces of themselves again, with their child. They understand each other, and now they have a tribe of women by their side to walk through their grief with.

The impact these women and their beautiful children had on me was beyond measure. I am humbled and honored that they took that leap and trusted us. I am filled with so many emotions as I think back to that weekend - but mostly I am grateful. Grateful for each and every brave mama there that weekend, including my amazing core team and those who gave their time to help. Grateful for everyone who donated to make each woman feel so special and loved. Grateful to my angel, Ella, for continuing to guide me and show me my larger purpose. Grateful to Ady for saying ‘yes’ and agreeing to let me take this on. And mostly grateful to Hayden - for continuing to be an inspiration that allows so many broken hearts begin to heal. 

Written by: Stacey, Fall 2018 Healing of the Heart retreat lead

3.12.12 - 8.16.12

copyright 2012 - 2015 hayden's heart inc. 501(c)(3) all rights reserved blog design by Madison & Mi