I didn't know how much I needed this.
It was the first time I felt I was able to say good-bye.
We hear the words "you are not alone", but tonight I actually felt like it. Surrounded by my own community of people.
These are just some of the words we have heard from people who have attended our Evenings of Remembrance. Join us on Tuesday, October 3rd, as we join together once again as a community of parents, family members, and friends - all touched by the heartache of pregnancy or newborn loss.
Here are the details:
This first image is a throwback to November of 2015, when a spray-painted line and foundation for the central statue were the only hints of change to come. Since that time, Wings of Hope has been blessed by the generosity of community members. We have been able to grow from those stark white lines to the beautiful walkway, carving, benches, and surrounding trees and flowers.
More than that, though, we have been able to keep growing in community awareness and involvement. But we still have so far to go.
Have you visited the Wings of Hope site yet? When you go, you'll see pavers that honor the life of a child. You'll see pavers given in memory of family members. You'll see pavers engraved with messages of support. And you will also see many more pavers that are yet to be engraved.
The Paver Project
We need your help to fill these pavers with messages and names. The Paver Project is our summer push to get as many pavers engraved as possible by fall. Doing so does two very important things:
Get as many people together as possible to help get these pavers engraved! Below are just a few ways to join the Paver Project this summer.
Ready to show your support for Wings of Hope? Order your own embroidered shirt today! The soft grey t-shirt has our logo embroidered on the front in purple, and is available in adult sizes S, M, L, XL, and XXL.
All proceeds from the shirt orders go towards expenses for Wings of Hope, which include just under $3000 left to pay on the existing site. We would love to be able to complete this payment by fall, before our next Evening of Remembrance, and we need your help. After we complete our payment on the site, we are ready to move forward with additional projects in the community, including fundraising for Cuddle Cots for local hospitals, support kits for moms who experience pregnancy loss, and more!
Print, complete, and mail your order form to Julie (our committee member), at the address provided. The $20 fee includes shipping to your home address.
We are continuing to plan our next Evening of Remembrance, and want to share more of the details with you. Pastor Michael Omtvedt, from Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, will be leading our service for the evening. The service is ecumenical – and will include music, prayers, special readings, and reflection. Musicians for the service will be vocalist Amy Kuch and guitarist Pam Schultze.
We will have limited seating available at the site. You are free to bring your own lawn chairs or stand for the service (we anticipate approximately 30 minutes). Following the service we invite you to join us for light refreshments at the site.
No matter where or when pregnancy loss occurs – there are physical, mental, and emotional issues facing mothers. We have heard from so many moms who just did not feel that they understood what it was going to be like – enduring a miscarriage at home – which only made this time in their lives all the more painful.
Sometimes referred to in the medical community as expectant management, waiting for a miscarriage to occur at home after the doctor has delivered the devastating news that your child has died is like waiting on a lonely road for a deadly car crash you know will happen before your eyes. You feel helpless and out of control. Many women are sent home from medical offices with condolences and instructions to call the office after passing large clots, or prepare to experience what will feel like a heavy menstrual cycle with cramping.
Too often we just don’t know how to actually prepare – and respond.
So – let’s change that.
For mothers who choose, Wings of Hope does offer the common burial option for babies who die earlier than 20 weeks gestation. You can request a moisture-proof container from your physician for the purposes of transporting your child’s remains to the mortuary. Small, waterproof containers you might have at your home can work as well You must call the Mankato Mortuary (Riverfront Drive location) to make arrangements and this will include signing a release form to participate in the burial option.
Please let us know what questions you have - let's keep the conversation going in our efforts to provide the resources we know women in our community need!
Losing a child during pregnancy can make you feel like you lose all of the "firsts", too. First smiles, first steps, first words, and first birthdays. It is easy to focus on those firsts we lose because we were planning a whole lifetime of firsts, seconds, and more. While they may not be the traditional "firsts", it can be comforting to think about, share memories of, and maybe record in a scrapbook the firsts that you did get to experience with your child.
This is the time of year in Minnesota when we do so much in the dark. Some travel to and from work when it is still dark. If we grocery shop past 4:30 we're unloading those bags in the dark. And even though there might be Christmas lights twinkling in the distance, it can still feel cold, dark, and lonely, especially if you are moving through the holiday season while missing your child.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to stop by the Wings of Hope site in Calvary Cemetery (the gates are open 7 days a week sunrise to sunset). Nestled between evergreens you will find this place of warm remembrance. Bring a cup of coffee or cocoa and sit on the benches. Read the poignant paver inscriptions. Bring a friend and talk about your baby. Most of all, know that you are not alone in your grief journey. As we come together as a community and learn to support each other, we realize that we are not just alone in the dark, and we can be that light for someone else who needs it.
Have someone who loves to camp on your holiday shopping list? How about these pine cone fire-starters we have available for our craft and bake sale?! Set in wax with a candle wick woven through the pine cone, those outdoor enthusiasts will love the ease they have of starting their next bonfire! Just $0.75/each - and you can pre-order yours today if you can't make it to the sale on the 19th.
How about a gift to pamper someone (including yourself)? We also have these peppermint bath salts made with essential oils - just $4/jar - and you can pre-order these today, too!
We are getting more items ready for our fundraising efforts at the Holiday Expo on Saturday, November 19th in Mankato at the Madison East Center. Keep checking our site for updates and sneak peeks. Hope to see you there on the 19th!
The Wings of Hope committee continues to prepare for the craft and bake sale on November 19th! This is the first time we will be participating in the annual event at the Madison East Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., where vendors of all kinds will have tables set up with their handmade designs, crafts, and delicious baked goods. Come and shop for a good cause at our booth and help support families in Southern MN who experience pregnancy and newborn loss. All proceeds from the sale at our booth go to Wings of Hope and the services we provide.
Have something to share that we can add to our booth? We still need donations of crafts of all kinds and baked goods - please consider helping us reach our fundraising goals! And remember, you can shop early by looking at the items we have already available on our blog and sending us an email to let us know what you would like!
The members of our committee have all been on the journey of pregnancy loss, but in different ways. Learn more about why they are all so passionate about bringing awareness and comfort to families who lose a child during pregnancy.