June 18, 2023

welcome to our reflection space

Written by Grace

Peninsula Hot Springs has recently been gifted a beautiful bronze sculpture that will stand in our new Reflection Space in remembrance of those we have loved and lost.

The sculpture, titled Traumreise and created by Polish-born artist Małgorzata Chodakowska, depicts a woman holding a boat in her hands and gently blowing the boat along a stream of water. Traumreise translates into “dream journey” or “trip of a lifetime”, and the sculpture’s water element evokes the feeling of a journey that continues beyond death.

The sculpture was donated by Ben Harkin along with family & friends of Karen Kain. Tragically Ben lost his wife, Karen, in 2022 after 13 years of marriage. Ben and Karen’s story has an epic quality to it: they met in the United States (where Karen was originally from) and maintained a long-distance relationship before eventually settling in Ben’s home country, Australia.

In 2021, Karen returned to the States to care for her mother, while Ben needed to remain in Australia to continue his work as a doctor.

After 14 months apart, Ben was preparing to fly to the States and live there with Karen when he received the news that Karen had been killed in a hit and run incident in Portland, Oregon.

Needless to say, Karen’s friends and family were devastated. Karen was an artist, a musician, a couples’ counsellor, a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife, a partner and much more. Ben describes Karen as “generous, caring, wise, passionate, headstrong, thoughtful, intelligent, curious, intuitive, quirky and endlessly kind and selfless” — and as someone who “glowed”.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, Ben found an email Karen had sent years earlier. Karen wrote of her admiration of Małgorzata Chodakowska’s work — particularly Traumreise — and told Ben that if she were to pass away before him, her wish was to be honoured with one of Chodakowska’s fountains.

Ben travelled to Dresden, Germany, and met with Chodakowska to commission Traumreise. His next step was to find a location close to Karen’s heart, and he settled on Peninsula Hot Springs. Karen loved soaking in the therapeutic waters at the hot springs, and when friends or family visited she would often bring them in for a bathe.

The plaque on Traumreise bears Karen Kain’s name, though Ben’s generous donation creates a space for reflection among anyone seeking to remember a loved one. The fountain symbolises “moving into a new life” and our ongoing connection to all those who have walked before and continue to walk alongside us.

“I am incredibly grateful to Peninsula Hot Springs for hosting the fountain and I know that Karen would also be thrilled to know that this beautiful work of art could be enjoyed by so many, and that in viewing it, people would have the opportunity to spend a day soaking in the waters,” says Ben.

As you make your way past Traumreise and wander through the Reflection Space, you are invited to pause in reverence and remembrance for all those who have passed — or simply take some time for quiet reflection.

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