A model of the butterfly statues being proposed by Madeline’s Mission for a children’s garden. Contributed / Amie Marzen.

On the banks of the pond at Parkview campus of Mid Coast Hospital, bronze butterflies will flutter in the breeze in remembrance of children who have died, serving as a place for reflection and peace for their families.

The memorial garden is being planned by Madeline’s Mission, a nonprofit that provides guidance and community for those who have lost children.

Amie Marzen is building a garden in memory of her daughter Madeline, who died five years ago. Contributed / Madeline’s Mission

“When we started Madeline’s Mission, a memorial garden was something we always hoped would come to fruition when the time was right,” said Amie Marzen, president of Madeline’s Mission and mother of the nonprofit’s namesake. “We were gifted this beautiful space on the Parkview campus and it has forever exceeded our expectations of what we thought we would have for a garden space.”

The goal is to break ground next spring to finish before cold weather arrives in the fall.

Madeline’s Mission was created to help spread the kindness and love Marzen’s daughter shared during her short life. Madeline, who would have turned 9 last month, died at age 4 from an inoperable brain tumor.

“Child loss is very unique in that nobody goes into parenthood expecting to lose a child,” Marzen said. “It’s what’s called an out-of-order loss. You never think it will happen to you.”


Bronze butterflies will sit atop stainless steel rods, fixed into a granite base, and families will be able to personalize their butterfly in memory of their child.

A rendering of a butterfly sculpture for the memorial garden. Contributed / Madeline’s Mission

“Saying their names is so important to bereaved families; they never want to feel as though their child has been forgotten,” Marzen said.

“Mid Coast Parkview Health is proud to be part of this important tribute to those who have left us far too soon,” said Lois Skillings, president of MCPH. “Healing comes in many forms, and we hope parents and loved ones who visit this garden find comfort and peace as they grieve and remember.”

Madeline’s Mission plans to organize annual gatherings at the garden to bring families together. Marzen said she envisions butterfly releases and bulb plantings.

“It’s a place for families to go to see that they’re not alone,” she said.

The hope is to give the garden a whimsical feel by adding child-like elements such as a fairy garden or labyrinth.


“It will really be a space for healing, or sitting with grief,” Marzen said.

Madeline’s Mission also provides peer support “for people who truly understand what it is to lose a child and how to cope with what the rest of your life looks like afterward.”

“We laugh, we cry and we bond together in some really deep friendships,” Marzen said.

The organization is requesting in-kind donations, such as granite and landscaping, to help bring the garden together.

“While visiting this space I’ve seen herons playing, geese and ducks swimming and a gentle, tranquil peace that I can’t wait to share with other bereaved families,” said Marzen. “A space like this is so needed in our Midcoast community – and we need the community’s help to make this a reality.”

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