Friends

He likes Fords, I like Chevys. He is a proud Wisconsinite, I’m a proud Minnesotan. He’s always early, I’m sometimes on time. No, these aren’t lyrics to the song Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off. This is a story of how two guys became good friends, despite their differences.

[Sidebar Story – Sarah and I had the opportunity to go up to Faith’s Lodge last November. In case you don’t click the link, which you really should, Faith’s Lodge is a retreat center for families who have lost children or are having medical struggles. Each weekend they have a specific focus such as infant loss. It is a one of a kind place, a place where hope grows.

We kept seeing and hearing about Faith’s Lodge from many different people after we lost Rayna. We knew we needed to go so we signed up for the first open weekend. The weekend at Faith’s Lodge was an incredible experience. We met five other families on the same journey as us. During the weekend, we shared stories about our pregnancies and remember our babies. All while talking about life and sharing a laugh or two or three. The conversations felt so real, so natural.

That weekend was a healing experience for all of the families. We connected on a deep level over what it meant to lose a baby, creating a strong connection between one another. From the weekend many new friendships were formed that remain as strong as when we met them. We put together our own messaging group to share our up and down days and support one another. We’ve also had two reunions, including Labor Day weekend of this year where we went back up to Faith’s Lodge. Each of the families holds a special place in our hearts.]

Okay, back to the main story – When we first arrived at Faith’s Lodge last year, we began talking with another couple who arrived before us – they’re ALWAYS on time. A lot of the talk was centered on sharing stories of our babies. However, the chat would deviate over to football, specifically the Packers, from this guy named Chris. Figures, a Packer fan, I thought to myself, it’ll be a long weekend talking about why Brett Favre couldn’t even win a Super Bowl for the Vikings and why you should stop at every cheese shop in Wisconsin.

While the Packers did continue to come up over the weekend, we really connected over our stories. Despite our different views, Chris and I share a common bond. We both have lost a baby. We’re a part of the Unofficial Club. Being a part of the unofficial club means there is a shared experience helping us look past our differences. We’ve known each other for ten months now and we both consider each other a great friend. So good, we’ve met each other’s parents. Yup, the relationship is at that level.

While Chris and I get along, his wife and Sarah share a similar affinity to one another. It has been rare for us to go more than a few weeks without the four of us hanging out ever since we met. It could be going to out for Indian food or to Dave and Busters or staying home playing board games; it has been good for us. Good to have someone who’s gone through a similar loss. Good to have someone able to talk about their baby and easily switch to the sporting event from the night before (while our wives roll their eyes).

labor-day-reunion-2016
With our Rayna Bear and LO Bear at Faith’s Lodge, Labor Day Weekend 2016

It’s hard to imagine life without these friends. We’re each other’s support group, there to share the good moments as well as the rough days. Each time we hang out I chuckle because if I were to run into Chris and not know his story, I may very well have ignored him 🙂

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