Faith’s Lodge- Danbury, WI
This time of year is hard for those that are grieving and missing a child. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. There is a hole in our hearts where they once were. If this is you, then sit back with your favorite drink (I prefer coffee) and let me tell you about a very special place.
Mark and Susan Lacek where expecting their first child. While getting ready to go to their baby shower Susan became worried about their baby and went into the doctors instead. It was there that they were told that there was no heart beat. They named the baby Faith and knew they had to do something to honor her. They started a foundation, raised money, bought 72 acres in the middle of nowhere and build Faith’s Lodge. This is a place where people from all walks of life, morning the loss of a child no matter how old they where when they passed away, could go and get counseling, a massage, meals and rest. It is where people can reflect on the past, get renewed strength for the present and build hope for the future.
Shortly after our son passed away I was connected online to a group of other moms through Rising Above Ministries. We would zoom twice a month and talk about our children and read books about grieving. We became very close and they became my life line. These were special needs moms. That life alone is very hard for most to understand unless you have been there. Most people have no idea the sacrifices we make and the medical stuff that we learn along the way. But these girls knew and could relate almost instantly. They were also grieving moms. No one wants, or expects, to bury their child. It isn’t supposed to be that way. It is the most painful experience I have ever had to face. And these girls understood that too! I could be completely open with these girls. I didn’t have to hide my feelings, explain anything or pretend to be anything except for what I was that day.
We decided to meet face to face
At one point a few months ago we decided that we wanted to meet face to face and be able to hug each other. When we found Faith’s Lodge we knew it was the place we wanted to go. We took vacation days, booked flights, and were on our way to finally meeting in person! That first hug a few weeks ago brought lots of tears but it was sooo good.
Memories made, wounds healed, strength renewed
During group sessions we got to hear about the other guests, know their child through stories and were free to feel how ever we wanted. The other guests all had medically complex children too. They all got it. They knew what our life was like. And now they were all grieving too.
We all got massages, 1 on 1 therapy, did some crafts, painted a bird house which will be hung outside with many others, got to learn how to make fancy salads and stuffed pork by a chef, got to be alone if we needed and got to connect with others. I even got my southern friends to go sledding, have a snowball fight and roast marshmallows by a fire outside! It was so peaceful. They all came from the city too so it was very quite in the woods, except for the occasional dog barking or owl saying hi.
Our group of 4 all had children pass away within 6 months of each other and have all been gone for about 1.5 years, but the other guests were closer to the passing date. One couple from San Diego lost their daughter 1 month before coming to the lodge! Their baby girl lived all 77 days of her life in the NICU. The other couple lost their girl earlier this year in March. She was so complex but they gave her the best life! All the guests at the lodge were some of the strongest people I have ever met and were walking through the hardest and most difficult time in their lives. We exchanged phone numbers, followed each other on social media and already have plans to meet again soon.
This place will forever have a special place in my heart because of the people I have met here.
A reflection of the past
Noelie was right there with me the whole time. I spent almost all weekend talking about his life, sharing pictures and video, and smiling while remembering him. I haven’t talked about him that much even with my own family! They knew him and don’t need to retell the stories every minute of every day. We do talk about him, just not that much.
I am sure he was looking down at me and laughing while we were sledding. I know he was with me in the silence of my room. And he defiantly gave me inspiration to keep writing, telling his/our story, and to keep trying to help others feel like they are not alone.
Hope for the future
If you are mourning the loss of a child then you should definitely check Faiths Lodge out! I am hoping to bring my hubby and our 2 other kids back in the summer for the family weekend.
Christian, special needs parents may want to get connected to Rising Above Ministries where you will find many tools to help you on your journey. If you are grieving like I am, then I would love to see you on our monthly zoom meetings!
Any one that is trying to get through the holidays without a loved one, or maybe are looking for ways to help someone else, you could check out the book Rays of Hope by Susan Zimmerman. There are beautiful pictures and help for everyone.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It is not right. It hurts. But there is hope and Faith’s lodge can help you get it back.
2 thoughts on “A place for healing”
Tracy, thank you for sharing and helping others who have losttheir children heal together and not feel alone. Sharon
You are welcome! It really was a great place. The thought of sleding down the hill carried me through the holidays with a smile.