It was like walking into a family reunion. Where the little cousins are running circles playing a game of their own creation, while the bigger kids lounge on couches in the living room focused on their devices, and parents gather in the kitchen over a cup of coffee sharing stories of their children’s challenges and triumphs, just out of earshot of the kids.
But the remarkable thing is that this isn’t a family reunion. In fact, these families have never met before.
It just feels like they have.
Such is the gift of the respite provided by families having the opportunity to get away to Faith’s Lodge, and what is soon to be provided by the forthcoming home in the works from Crescent Cove.
A long weekend at Faith’s Lodge provides time and space for families with children who have medically complex conditions, who often feel out of place with others with all of their routines and equipment and concerns, to feel right at home in the company of others navigating similar challenges. Here, among the peaceful backdrop Nature provides, there is solace, understanding, and companionship on the journey rarely found this easily – or immediately – elsewhere.
“We are realizing what a relief it is to be here, to not have to explain ourselves to anyone because they’re in it, too,” one dad told me. “Not only are we gaining great insight and resources from other families who know what we’re dealing with, we are able to let down and relax with people like us, people who get it.”
I was fortunate to be a visitor at the lodge on this particular weekend, to observe the power of coming together in action for these families sharing the common experience of raising a family in the face of significant medical challenges and life-threatening conditions. While my role there was to provide opportunities for creative self-expression for these children and their families, what I received, was much greater than what I gave.
I received the gift of witnessing the love and the light at the heart of each of these families, despite – or perhaps because of – their challenges. Not only did they welcome me with open arms, it was clear they had welcomed each other warmly, as well.
As we created together, the kids and siblings and parents alike casually shared stories of the challenges and the gifts of their lives and situations. Everyone was included in this impromptu story circle, with each story and storyteller honored with the respect and attention their contribution deserved.
It was magical.
Respite care creates the space for these kinds of interactions to take place. Space away from the distractions of home to make new friends, to rest and rejuvenate, to reconnect as a family, as a couple, and also as individuals. Space to remember what the hard work of caregiving of others is for, what the important work of caregiving of self means to the sustainability of facing daily challenges, and that they’re not alone.
Space to be.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~John Muir
Your donations to Crescent Cove help fund both the building of the forthcoming Crescent Cove home for children’s respite and hospice care, and in the meantime, funding families’ opportunities to benefit from the essential respite provided by visiting Faith’s Lodge.
Want to learn more about whether your family is eligible for a respite visit to Faith’s Lodge? Talk to your primary care provider, or call us at 952.426.4711 for more information.