Edward Hospital's new Wings of Hope Angel Garden is a place where people can gather who wish they didn't share a common bond - the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or death in early infancy. The garden is a special place that allows parents who have lost a baby to memorialize and celebrate their child's life, however short.
View pictures of the garden's dedication.
The new garden was the idea of four SHARE moms, in partnership with the Edward Foundation. SHARE is a support network for anyone whose life has been touched by the tragic loss of a baby. One chapter of the national organization is at Edward. (Find more information on support groups.)
"People don't always recognize the significance of these losses," says Lynn Davies, RN, Edward labor and delivery nurse. "The parents not only are grieving for the baby, but also the dream they had of the child as he or she would have been at 1, 2 or 3 years of age and beyond. They picture their little one having the same experiences they themselves had as a child."
The four moms, Carrie Wrona of Plainfield, Laura Morgan of Naperville, Stephanie Fiore of Lisle and Amanda Albaugh of Oswego, had all participated in SHARE groups following their own losses in 2004 and 2005. They promoted the idea of the new garden, offered input into the design and provided funds raised through A Walk to Remember, an annual event since 2005.
"It's important that grieving parents have a place to go to seek peace and comfort," says Wrona. "I lost my son, Jacob, in 2004. You never completely get over this kind of loss, but helping make the new garden a reality has let us put our grief into something positive that can help other families."
A smaller version of the garden had been in place on the Edward campus before it was relocated.
"Now it's easier to access," says Dick Rouse, administrative director of construction at Edward. "It's close to one of the main entrances, near the emergency department. We've added elements to make it soothing and serene. It's newly landscaped with brick walls, its own fountain and plants that attract butterflies."
"The wings of the angel and of the butterflies gave us the idea for the name of the garden," says Wrona. "The wings of hope for a better tomorrow help carry us through the difficult times."
"Some parents see the garden as an opportunity to start a family tradition of visiting their baby's memorial, especially if they didn't have a formal funeral service or a gravesite," says Davies. "We're grateful to the donors who helped make this garden possible, including a number of members of the medical staff and Edward employees. The DuPage Valley Anesthesiologists, for example, donated the fountain."
The following companies also donated a portion of their services in order to make this Garden a reality: Clarence David and Company, Hitchcock Design, Power Construction.
Families are invited to purchase a memorial feature for the garden, such as an etched brick paver, etched butterfly or garden element. Visit www.edward.org/wings to get started or contact (630) 527-3263 for more information.