Holes for Haven, a helping hand to heal

Expecting couples often dream and look forward to a blurred vision of bringing their sweet bundle home from the hospital excited to begin the journey with a new family member. But for local family Rodney and Erin Yost, their reverie of the future was clouded with the devastating news their second child would not survive to full term.  At Erin’s 20 week ultrasound it was discovered their baby girl showed many negative effects of chromosomal issues not found until the typical 20 week visit to determine their baby’s gender on July 18, 2019.

No parent is prepared for the heartbreaking news their baby will only spend a short time with them here on earth, but on August 6 of 2019 Erin delivered the couple’s second daughter, Haven Marie Yost.  Together Erin and Rodney shared a heart wrenching first “hello” with their little one, shortly followed by their final “goodbye, we love you sweetheart.”
Sharing grief for not just their own loss, but for their then four year old, Remington (pictured above), as well, the couple wondered how they could memorialize Haven for their oldest daughter. 
“We went home with some of the mementos many parents do when they bring their baby home.  Haven’s footprints, her card with her name, time of birth and weight, all in a special keepsake box,” Erin explained “The hospital also included things like a beautiful white baby gown and a baby blanket, items for those that lose their little one.  We appreciated that so much but after Remi added a few special items of her own that reminded her of her little sister we needed a bigger box.  So my dad (Charlie Bergeleen) made a larger one for us and had Teresa Fonder paint a beautiful picture on it.”
After realizing how cherished Haven’s memory box was not only to Remington, but to their whole family, Rodney and Erin felt they needed to share this comforting keepsake to help other families through their grief.
“Our friend Andy Geppert of Kimball has done wood working projects before and he started building the boxes, then later engraving them with a laser cutter,” stated Erin.  
As of late, the boxes are distributed to Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell or through private requests.  So far the family has gifted 20 boxes to grieving parents.  The Yosts hope to expand their project to other hospitals across South Dakota in the future, which is the reasoning behind their most recent endeavor, “Holes for Haven”.  The first annual 18 hole two person scramble golf tournament will take place Saturday August 21 at the Springs Country Club.
“Erin and I started distributing these boxes about a year and half ago to other grieving parents, but wanted a way to offer a substantial amount across the state.  We’ve brainstormed for awhile now and think this fun and casual fundraiser for our project is a great way to get our friends and communities involved. 100% of the proceeds from this tournament will go towards building and distributing Haven’s ‘Memory Boxes,’” describes Rodney.
Rodney and Erin have discovered through their profound loss, helping others to heal from such a personal place has in turn, made them appreciate the kindness they too received during a difficult time.   While there is no fast fix for grief, these boxes offer not only a warm reminder to parents of their lost little one, but the strong support system the family is surrounded by.