Madeline’s Mission seeking support from the community to remember children and babies who have died
BRUNSWICK – A memorial garden where families can honor the memory of their child who has died is being planned at the Parkview Campus of Mid Coast Hospital by the not-for-profit Madeline’s Mission.
The garden, named the Madeline’s Mission Children’s Memorial Garden, will be installed on land near a beautiful pond on the Parkview campus of Mid Coast Hospital. It creates a serene space for reflection and healing.
A butterfly sculpture will honor each child recognized in the garden.
“Mid Coast–Parkview Health is proud to be a part of this important tribute to those who have left us far too soon,’’ said Lois Skillings, president of MCPH. “Healing comes in many forms, and we hope parents and loved ones who visit this garden find comfort and peace as they grieve and remember. It is an honor for us to join with other hospitals who have supported a special place of remembrance like this.”
The mission and vision at Madeline’s Mission is to rally the community to support and uplift families who experience the untimely death of a child. In creating this space, the first of its kind in the Midcoast region, parents and families will see and feel that they are not alone in their grief. They will have a special place to memorialize their child. Madeline’s Mission will also organize annual gatherings in the space to bring families together.
“As a mental health therapist, I have witnessed the importance of reflective time and space in the grief journey,” said Allison Thompson, MSW, LCSW/LICSW, CADC, CCS, a Madeline’s Mission Board Member.
“We live in a very fast-paced and at times, challenging environment where a lot of individuals and families do not have safe spaces to share the love and loss of their special loved ones with the community. To have a designated space, embraced by a respected community will be therapeutic and healing,” said Thompson.
The announcement of the children’s memorial garden comes at a meaningful time for the organization, as it celebrates the birthday of the organization’s namesake, Madeline, who would be turning nine this August, but she died at the age of four after an aggressive battle against a brain tumor.
“In the future, I envision this garden hosting butterfly release gatherings for bereaved Mother’s Days. I can see siblings who have experienced loss coming to the garden, especially on birthdays or anniversaries. They will see they are not alone in having a brother or sister that is no longer growing up with them,” said Amie Marzen, Madeline’s mom and the organization’s president. “I can also see families introducing rainbow babies (babies born after a loss) to their sibling’s butterfly as a family’s way of keeping their child’s story alive. Saying their names is so important to bereaved families, they never want to feel as though their child has been forgotten.”
The heartstring and central feature of this garden is a butterfly garden. Fixed into a granite base, bronze butterflies will sit atop stainless-steel rods. Families will be able to personalize a butterfly in memory of their beloved child. This whimsical piece will flutter from side to side in the gentle breeze.
“The location is absolutely gorgeous. Right as you pull onto the campus there’s a small grassy area with a pond. Nestled under some beautiful tall pines is the home of our future children’s memorial garden,” said Marzen. “While visiting this space I’ve seen herons playing, geese and ducks swimming, and a gentle, tranquil peace that I can’t wait to share with other bereaved families. A space like this is so needed in our Midcoast community – and we need the community’s help to make this a reality.”
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Madeline’s Mission is asking for your financial support and in-kind donations to help create this garden.
We are currently seeking:
· Landscaping support
· Granite blocks and stone pavers
· Seating made from stone or other organic materials
Madeline’s Mission seeks to offer peer bereavement support to families who are living with the loss of a child or baby. Since the organization’s inception the organization has provided bereavement kits to funeral homes and hospitals, purchased seven cuddle cots, and cared for local families through some of the hardest moments in their lives.