Our goal is simple. To create a space where individuals can connect in community and families can reconnect through bereavement or illness in a peaceful and caring environment at no cost. What is universal to each individual journey is the need of space and support.
We are 55 minutes from Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky on a beautiful 99 acre farm in the heart of Robertson County. Glamping, Meals, Trails, the KARE Lake, and the rest of the grounds are available for you to participate and process individually or through collective experiences. Steph and Christa will always welcome you to their fire pit.
Parents losing children. Young children losing parents. Children waking up not recognizing a world they knew before a diagnosed illness or death that has changed every part of their existence. A spouse losing the person they were not ready to spend their life without. Parents learning that their child has cancer. Family dynamics forever altered.
For whatever unfair death or illness you are dealing with, it is a kind of pain that is unlike anything you have ever experienced. It is something that no amount of life or knowledge could prepare you for. Death and illness does not discriminate no matter your race, gender, socioeconomic status. However you identified before, life has been altered- reality changes. Grief doesn’t come with a guide. It doesn’t give you a manual of how to navigate through this chaos.
Leading a talk in the featured Inspirational Speaker series, “Grappling with Grief” at the Begin to Blossom Healing Center, Stephanie and Christa brought an authentic and moving testimony of their individual journey. This allowed those in attendance to be met exactly where they were in the process and remove some of the isolation that grief brings.
Stephanie is the mother of three beautiful daughters; Samantha, Katie, and Madeline. Katie- 22 at the time and twin to Madeline- passed away in a hiking accident on March 19, 2016. Over theee years into her grief journey Stephanie is realizing that while each person's path is unique, some common threads exist at the core. She has been in various IT consulting roles including training, project management, sales and business development for over 25 years. Stephanie is also a wife, mother and more recently a grandmother. She is straddling two worlds – both the professional one she has known for many years and the new world of grief journeying, where she is cofounding Graveyard Gab; a service for grieving mothers which will take the form of a podcast and other mediums aimed at helping those who mourn. She has been a driving force in connecting other bereaved mothers, specifically, to create a community of the strong women that can build into and support each other fiercely. Stephanie works to combine strength, grace, empathy (and, yes, sometime irreverence) needed to support others on the journey.
Christa is two years into her grief journey, when life was broken into “before” and “after” on September 17, 2016, when her oldest daughter, Avery, was killed by an intoxicated motorist. Her first year of grieving was marked with advocacy for legal accountability out of state where her daughter attended college, and was instrumental in overturning an agreed punishment from a guilty plea. Her victim impact statement aided to set legal precedent for maximum sentencing. She uses the same fighting spirit as she raises her three surviving younger children that range in age from 10-15 with a mindfulness that sibling loss impacts each of them differently. Christa owns and operates a property investment firm in addition to teaching at a Kentucky high school. She has a Bachelors in History, Masters in Teaching and is in the home stretch at the University of Kentucky, obtaining a second Masters in Educational Leadership. She has made it a priority to process her own unimaginable journey into child loss and articulate ways (not always quite so eloquently) for her own family and friends to meet her in this “new normal”, also known as the rest of her life. As co-founder of the Graveyard Gab podcast, she will share coping skills and tools that she has gained through hosting retreats for those bereaved or broken through life circumstances.
Mike, or “Uncle Mike” or even “Uncle Jimmy (Beam)” is the care-taker of WhiteTail Ridge farm – host of KAREFarm. Mike is hometown Cincinnati raised, spending his years at Moeller high school, then graduating from University of Dayton. He then went on to get a Master’s degree in Program Management. Mike spent 16 years in the Dept of Defense world (and does he have the stories!), and then has been in IT for over 30 more years successfully managing projects and programs around the globe. His passion is managing WhiteTail Ridge farm.
Mike is married to Stephanie, step-father to her three girls, Sam Madeline and Katie, and father of two sons, Joe and Nick. Mike lost his step-daughter Katie in 2016, and then lost his combat veteran son Nick this past year (read about Nick in our ABOUT section of the website).
Mike understands the painful journey of loss and grief. During his DoD operations, he lost close friends. As a husband to Stephanie, he supported her through her loss as a mother for Katie, and his loss as a step-father. As a father to Nick, he is experiencing the tragic loss of a son and best friend. The saying goes “we should never have to bury our children...” With Mike and Stephanie it extends to two children now they have buried, and they will gladly share their journeys with you. Mike loves to sit around the fire telling stories and enjoying a refreshing beverage or two or three, most times four. Mike will be the first one to tell you a joke to lighten your load or to kneel down to pray or cry with you on your journey.
Sign up to stay informed about upcoming retreat weekends and ways to participate in fundraising to build additional capacity for support of more of our grieving community.