Soul Healing in a Secret Garden




Welcome to the Secret Garden



“The soul is healed by being with children,” believed the great Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky after spending four torturous years as a young man in a Siberian prison camp.  So we can imagine his grief in 1868 when he lost his first born daughter Sonya at three months old to pneumonia. His wife Anna recalled her husband “wept and sobbed like a woman in despair.”  Then, in 1879, his three-year old son Alyosha died after a severe epileptic fit.  Alyosha’s name becomes immortalized as a character in Dostoevsky’s most famous 1879  book The Brothers Karamazov.   Yet, through all Dostoevsky’s trials, one source of strength was the way he kept a deep reservoir of love for all of creation.  In The Brothers Karamazov, he writes:


Granddaughter Erin discovering a gift from the Troll

Granddaughter Erin discovering a gift from the Troll

Love all God’s creation, the whole of it

and every grain of sand, love every leaf,

every ray of God’s light;

love the animals, love the plants,

love everything.

If you love everything, you will perceive

the divine mystery in things.

And once you have perceived it,

you will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly,

more and more every day.

And you will at last come to love the whole world

with an abiding, universal love.


While interviewing parents for Pilgrimage through Lossmany shared how they also found healing by drawing from the wellspring of love they carried for other children, for the natural world, for gardens, and for an ability to live into the divine mysteries of life.  Even suffering.  In the first years after our daughter’s death, I found planting seeds, bulbs, and perennial flowers kept hope in the future alive.  Seeing sunny daffodils, hyacinths, and brilliant tulips push through the late Spokane snows with a determination to flower assured me that a winter-soul is not forever.


Like Dostoevsky,we found that the birth of our grandchildren infuses our daily life with healing, soul-nurturing love.  As a young girl, The Secret Garden was one of my favorite books, so I decided to create a secret garden for the children in our family and neighborhood.  A troll seems to know when children will be visiting and leaves gifts in the troll house.  Soon after she arrives, our granddaughter Erin inevitably runs to see what small treasures have been left for her inside the miniature door.  While playing in the garden, we hope she is growing to love every plant, every leaf, every ray of sun that gardens highlight.  For she will someday know her own sorrows, and we trust they become carried within a heart that knows the abiding love of all creation too.


What gives you soul-healing moments?



The Troll House

The Troll House


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Pilgrimage (54 Posts)

Pilgrimage through Loss: Pathways to Strength and Renewal after the Death of a Child offers encouragement and information for other parents living in the long season of sorrow. Drawn from interviews from mothers and fathers on their grief journey, plus Linda Lawrence Hunt's memoir of their family's loss, it also includes recent research on grief, resilience, and creative healing.

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About Linda
For everyone, life sometimes brings shipwreck moments.

Ours happened when four friends woke us one beautiful May dawn to break the news that our 25-year-old married daughter Krista had died 7000 miles away while volunteering in Bolivia. Our hearts shattered, much like the shards of her bus that plunged over a mountain cliff.
Follow our path…

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Desperate. Determined. Unwaveringly confident. In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant named Helga Estby dares to cross 3500 miles of the American continent to win a $10,000 wager. On Foot. BOLD SPIRIT: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk across Victorian America introduces readers to this fascinating journey of an audacious act of courage and love of a mother trying to save a family farm.

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Support for Parents

+ Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors On-line forum and website

+ American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) (Formerly Candlelighters Childhood Cancer)

+ Compassionate Friends

+ First Candle: Support for Stillborn and SIDS deaths

+ Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS)

+ MISS Foundation (also in Spanish) On-line support groups : Infant & toddler death and advocacy

+Parents of Murdered Children

+ TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: 1-800-959 3277 for survivors of military deaths