Teardrop support group
SUPPORTING FAMILIES WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED THE DEATH OF A BABY THROUGH MISCARRIAGE, STILLBIRTH, NEONATAL DEATH OR TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY DUE TO FETAL ABNORMALITY
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning, hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds' encircling flight.
I am the soft starts that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye
The group approached Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust for approval to develop a garden on the Wansbeck General Hospital site. The Trust agreed that one of the enclosed courtyards at Wansbeck could be developed in to a place of beauty, a quiet garden where anyone who is grieving or in need of tranquility, may come to sit for a while.
The Japanese Ryu team at Northumbria University formulated a design bearing in mind the request from the Teardrop Group to make the garden for people who had lost their children. This they found challenging because they said that "Perhaps nobody, nothing, no words, no religion and no philosophy can help those people who are in deep grief, that only the passing of time may help.' The team thought that the garden should give people the 'passing time', this is to say, the garden should make people forget the passing of time whilst they are in it. That the garden should make them relax and that time should for them, stop whilst they were there. The Team felt that the ideal situation would be that the passage of time would be realised when people who have entered the garden go back to daily life but they would still have good memories to help with the healing process.
'The courtyard is in an enclosed place and it was felt the 'closed place' might match too closely people who have closed their hearts with very deep grief. It was felt that the limited space must be arranged to show an 'opening out'. the design includes some screens of trees and fences, which because of their position within the overall design of the garden do not show everything in the garden at once. Spaces have been created behind some of the screens to help make the garden feel bigger. The screens may also help to create area's away from curious eyes where a person can be along if this is their wish.' - Michihiro Onishi, Ryu Art Centre, Northumbria University
We are delighted that Teardrop has won an award for our beautiful garden. The garden has achieved a level 5 OUTSTANDING award from the RHS "It's Your Neighbourhood" Group. Well done to all involved in creating and maintaining this wonderful space.
AREAS OF INTEREST
The Garden is separated into three main areas:
Communications area is to think about loved ones and surround ourselves with good and positive memories, to find a calmness in communicating.
Prayers area is to rest and ponder: to be aware of the grand design of life and remember which part we each play: to give thanks for all the blessings we have.
Tranquilities area to reflect and meditate; to be in touch with nature and take strength from the beauty around us.
Each of the areas has a symbol of protection, the stone guardians, who provide stimulation and interest, and a sense of comforting presence. The central figure is the Keeper of the Garden
(Sculptures and metalwork created by members of the Sculpture, Fine Art team notably Michihiro Onishi, Gilbert Ward, Alan Lyle, Nick Whitmore, Alan Williamson, Bob Johnson and students from the Ryu Art Centre Hiroko Oshima, Sachiyo Goda, Keiko Miyazaki, Kayo Inoue and Katsuhiro Kuwajima)
Teardrop fund the ongoing maintenance of the garden. The Garden is provided for all as an oasis of calm. Time stands still and in that brief moment the process of healing can begin.
Garden blessed 5 March 2003. Garden opened to the public 4 July 2003