Our Story

What We do

A Quiet Refuge is about you and was created for you.

Our deepest desire is to provide support for you and your family. We know the pain of losing a child and when we were going through the emptiness and loss you’re experiencing, we couldn’t see the future- all we could feel was heartache and terrible disappointment. We didn’t know how we could move on without our baby. It has been said that when a child dies for whatever reason, there’s an irrational feeling that you are abandoning your baby, even though it’s not true. So much emotional investment and expectation is wrapped up in that little growing life that when it is suddenly gone you feel lost.

With time and support we found a way to move on. We leaned on one another (in spite of our own pain) and we found good friends with caring arms. We also found great strength and comfort in our faith.

No one expects you to see that far ahead right now. Right now you need to get through the next 24 hours, perhaps just the next 10 minutes. There are some really important things you must remember:

• Grief is a good thing. Crying and sharing your pain and heartache with others is healing. Trying to avoid the pain by staying busy or rationalizing the outcome will not help. The pain will find an outlet and may turn to anger towards your mate or your other children or manifest itself in physical problems. Choose carefully to whom you open your heart. Find the people who are good listeners and who won’t try to “fix” the problem with simplistic or well-meaning answers. Lean on friends who will cry with you and listen to you tell your story over and over again.

• Accept help. Right now, the simplest things will seem impossible. Cooking and laundry will feel overwhelming, and just to think about going out in public may immobilize you. What if someone asks you how you are? What if you start crying in the grocery store and can’t stop? This is the time when you need to let friends do these things for you. If you have other children, sensitively share with them what you are going through. They need to know why you are so sad and they need to grieve as well. Let someone take them for a while and watch them so you can spend time alone or with your mate.

• Create a memorial for your baby. Healing comes through remembering, not forgetting. There are many ways to honor the life of your baby. A ceremony is a beautiful way to do this, and not only is it a way for you to say goodbye, but it makes your baby real to other people. A balloon release is a beautiful, symbolic way to send off a baby to heaven. Just recently we went to a wonderful celebration of a baby’s brief life, where over 100 balloons were released, each one with a note tied to it. Adults and children alike put their feelings and said their goodbyes to little Jeremiah on the notes tied to balloons that ascended into the blue afternoon sky.

Many people plant a tree or bulbs as a reminder of the wonder of their baby.

A special album that becomes a tangible memorial to your baby is a wonderful and healing way to remember.

Our Story

One summer evening in 1988, after 2 years of marriage, we went to a dinner theater where we got up on stage and joyfully announced to our parents and other family members that we were pregnant with our first child.

Four weeks later June lost the baby to a miscarriage.

We named the baby Robin and mourned the loss the best way we knew how. Two years of infertility followed. On the verge of applying for adoption, we conceived and June struggled with pre-term labor throughout the pregnancy. Our tiny son was born by emergency C-section with a heart arrhythmia and nearly 3 months premature. After 6½ weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit fighting for his life, Christopher came home.

During that time, we learned much about God’s peace and presence as we and other parents kept vigil over our little ones. Sadly, as the days and weeks passed, we heard the heart rending cries of parents who learned that their babies would not be going home with them.

Somewhere in those hospital hallways and waiting rooms where we walked and talked for hours, a seed was planted in our hearts that we would someday try to bring comfort to these parents who left the hospital with only a small knitted hat and some tiny socks.

In 1993 we experienced another miscarriage but soon after discovered we were expecting twins. Alyssa and Bethany were born in February of 1994. They were overall very healthy.

Two years later we were given another beautiful son who was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Little Matthew experienced open-heart surgery at 6 months to close a hole in his heart and two months prior to the surgery, June’s 79-year old Dad came to live with us. Joe had kidney failure and required Dialysis three times per week. He passed away in 1999.

In February of 2002 Matthew was diagnosed with Leukemia. Thankfully he is in remission, but his journey affected us all. It was not easy watching him struggle with the pain of spinal taps and the effects of chemotherapy. We learned much more about the grieving process as we befriended the families of other cancer patients. Many had good outcomes, but not all. We attended far too many memorial services for children whose cancer could not be overcome.

Through these and other experiences we have grown stronger as a family. Our children understand the uniqueness and value of people with special needs. We have seen them befriend and defend other children with disabilities and have seen their compassion grow. We have all learned the value of caring for an aging parent.

June, who loves to create photo albums, for years has taught women the importance of safeguarding their family’s heritage through pictures and journaling their stories. Photo-journal albums chronicle a family’s journey through life: the joys, the sorrows and the lessons learned. Those experiences are then passed on to children and grandchildren in words and pictures. This invaluable legacy, captured in images and thoughts, will be cherished for generations to come.

So too, are the memories of a child you may have known only briefly, or may never even have met, but who changed your life in ways you cannot realize.

Several years ago, we become aware that we never adequately mourned the loss of our third child. In the joy of our pregnancy with the twins we may have somehow lessened the value of this baby’s life. We realized that the time had come when we needed to honor this child with some time and honor that unfulfilled life.

The time may have come as well for you to remember a child you never felt the need nor took the time to mourn. There is no place for guilt or judgment in this realization, simply a moment of recognition, and when the time is right, an opportunity to honor that sweet life.

We know that this outreach is addressing needs that are typically not fully addressed by current programs or resources. We know that our culture tends to greatly minimize pregnancy and early infant loss and especially grief. We have learned that the process of creating an album for a baby who has died facilitates the grieving process and provides for the creation of a lasting memorial to a child who was very real and is still real in God’s eyes. Please visit our “Stories of Hope” page to read accounts of how a memory album brings healing.

In the Bible, in Matthew 18:10, Jesus is speaking to a gathered crowd. He pulls a little child close to him and says, “See that you do not look down upon one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” We believe that children, even unborn children, are very special to God. We should value them as He does.

We are so privileged to be part of the healing that is happening through this work…and we want to express our gratitude to you for allowing us be a part of your lives. Thank you.

Russ & June Gordon