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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Gratitude

We've driven past it several times as we've explored the island. Last week, we decided finally to stop and see the International Children’s Memorial Park in central Prince Edward Island. It is a place of serenity and beauty where families who have lost children commemorate them.





“This place could bring you down,” my husband says as we leave the car. Neither of us speak as we walk along by the Ever Living Forest. 





Trees have been planted in memory of loved ones with each tree dedicated to a specific person. Some contain photos of the child or young person on a plaque as well.


It is overwhelming to see the number of lost children, represented by the trees.




The photo shows a newer section of the forest. We don't look at the plaques or photos. How do families cope with such loss?


Our thoughts went back over thirty years when we almost lost our daughter at six weeks of age and years later, our eldest granddaughter was a reluctant newborn. Those were moments of terror in our lives and we imagined their names in this place. Then we noticed the trail.


It runs along the banks of Scales Pond through a mixed forest.




One’s eyes are drawn upward and on this day, the tall trees sway in the warm late summer breeze. 




Birds sing in the trees and out on the river, cormorants float, occasionally driving for fish. 




There is a boat launch area for non-motorized boats.





Benches located along the trail provide a place to sit and reflect. We listen and absorb the tranquility of the scene and the song of the wind in the trees. We are the only people there. 




The last section of trail is an open area along the shore between the pond and the trees, an untamed area more open to the pond.




Here, the plants bordering the trail are waist high and hundreds of white butterflies 

flit through the vegetation and all around us. 




The tiny white beauties and their free spirits are perfect in this setting, appropriate symbols for this place.


Sadness is not the sentiment as we head back to the car, but rather peace that comes with comfort and gratitude.














30 comments:

  1. Your first photo is striking.... and brings home how terrible and tragic the loss of a child must be, such emptiness. What a lovely place to go and remember.

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    1. The stone monument speaks volumes, Shammi.

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  2. Thank you for taking me for a walk in this lovely place. I have lost both of my children, one as an infant and one as an adult, and this place is one I would be visiting often. Somehow it's comforting to know that one is not alone in suffering. Mine are both long ago, and now I have found peace. :-)

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    1. I thought of you when I was there, Jan. It is a serene setting and a beautiful place to visit! It must be a source of comfort for families.

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  3. Beautiful photos Marie, I can't imagine how it would be to lose a child, at any age.

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    1. I know, PDP. It strikes us in the heart and our minds cannot comprehend the loss.

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  4. Gratitude for serenity is the presence.

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  5. A very special place Marie and beautiful photos. I can't imagine what the parents who have lost children go through but this place can offer some peace for them.

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    1. I think this place is a solace to families, Bill.

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  6. Thank you.
    I am so very glad that there is a serene and beautiful place for people to wander in. The loss is palpable, and so is the beauty.

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    1. So true, EC. The loss mist be palpable.

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  7. That would be tough to handle, but not as tough as actually living in that scenario (of having lost a child.) I know those who have, and frankly, they usually are just never the same person again. So tragic.

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    1. The place was inspiring in some ways, SW. Our initial fear and sadness were alleviated.

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  8. You described it well. Sadness was not what I got from it. It was the peacefulness of nature and the idea of honoring the memory of the children.

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  9. i held my breath for a moment...then i held a moment of silence for my sweet nephew who died at only 9 months. it didn't have to be, his mother still lives in pain. this post is not sad, i didn't feel sad, it is a beautiful place to be still and remember. it's lovely!!

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    1. I am glad you had that moment with your sweet baby nephew, Debbie. It means the ICMP reached beyond my husband and me. It is a wonderful place.

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  10. This post made me feel a little sad because I lost my son to cancer. It certainly is a beautiful place to go to and remember and reflect on what could have been.

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    1. So sorry to hear about your son, Keith. I hope the good memeories sustain you.

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    2. I wrote a poem to him shortly after he died, click the link if you want to read.
      http://earlshilton.org.uk/glenn/

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    3. It is a beautiful poem, Keith. Thank you for sharing it. It shows the depth of your loss! The ever flickering candle is so appropriatte too.

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  11. It's nice that this place exists. Hopefully it's comforting to the families. The butterflies are beautiful.

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    1. It is a place of serenity for families, Danielle.

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  12. I wasn't sure what to think when you started your story. I agreed it must be so sad but then I thought a tree to commemorate a life is really nice - I'm a tree hugger. Then all the paths and beauty, yes a wonderful place, I think.

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    1. We were apprehensive approaching the gardens but our fears were quickly alleviated, Barbara.

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