Special Report: Garden of Peace Pt. 1

Taylor Holt
Updated: February 06, 2019 05:54 PM

"The pain never goes away," explained Jodie Wright, sitting next to her 10-year-old daughter, Callie. "But it gets easier to deal with it."


That pain that Jodie is speaking about came in the form of a tiny angel taken from earth too soon.

"We had and lost a beautiful baby girl," she said, tearing up. "Her name was Katelyn."

It seems like it happened just yesterday but Katelyn would have turned 14 this past Summer.
"She was a brand new baby. She didn't even come home from the hospital," she added.

In those early days, the search for her peace brought more questions than answers and sometimes still does.

"That struggle doesn't ever go away," said Jodie. "We've always wanted to have places to go just to be at peace and to feel close to her. There wasn't a place."

Life seemed to push forward and Jodie now has two other little ones Callie and Mackenzie, who is 12, but she always longed for a time and place where they could get to know their older sister.

"We spent a lot of time at Amnicon falls. That became our place to go," said Jodie.

It's a unique, yet tragic connection that Stacey Minter also knows well.

"A dear family friend had just gone through a loss of a child," said Minter. "Also knowing other friends and family members who have suffered loss, I would imagine that there's a feeling of lonliness."

However, she knew all these families weren't the only ones suffering. Out of that, a new journey blossomed when she and several friends came up with an idea for families. A place to plant seeds where pain could be replaced with dreams that hope can grow.

"We noticed there wasn't anything like that in Superior so we wanted to bring and design and have a space for families and friends to come, and really reflect and have that special spot for their memories," said Katelyn Baumann. She helped come up with the idea for it.

Finally last summer, four years after that idea, Superior's Billings Park neighborhood became home for the garden. Back in August, you could see flowers budding there and nature very much alive.

"The idea behind the garden was to make it peaceful, to make it inviting," said Gary Banker, who designed it. Banker says he put alot of thought into it.

"You can see the gentle curves moving into the slope," Banker. "You can look at the different color choices that you have and how they fit together and how the different plants look."
In that, he added a piece of his own personal connection to loss.

"Our first child died shortly after birth,: said Banker. "We never expect to loose a child so when that happens I will tell you you really feel very isolated."

However, this was a chance to turn a negative into something literally beautiful.

"In life, there are bumps along the road," said Banker."If they are coming in with grief. I hope that grief is lessened by the time they go."

For Jodie it was, if only for a moment when she sat in the garden for one of the first times last Summer.

"I feel just at peace. The great place about where this is located, you're here, you can sit in the garden or you can go for a walk go down to the water. It's such a beautiful place to be, but also so close to places for kids to play. You hear the children's voices," said Jodie.

Although, Jodie lost part of her family, a shared pain with others grew forming another special type of bond.

"I learned about so many other families that have experienced similar losses to what we had, and I have just made connections and that in itself is huge," said Jodie.

Jodie said having so much support from family and friends made taking that first step towards healing easier, but the grieving process can take months, even years because everyone's steps are individual and unique.

In part two, WDIO will hear from those who counsel through the grief, sharing advice for family and friends going through the pain. A father also expresses his feelings through the words of a poem.


Taylor Holt

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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