Sunday, December 17, 2017

Gifts of Sweet Moments


     Within the past 48 hours, I have been blessed with having three different people spontaneously share reminders of Michael with me. Considering it has been 6 1/2 years since he died, it is not common for me to hear this many references to him within such a short time. I cherish every precious moment and memory of Michael that friends continue to share. Receiving three so close together is a windfall.
     Two days ago, a close friend of mine texted to say that she was preparing to leave for her highway drive to the Okanagan, where she would be celebrating Christmas with her family. She told me that after lifting her suitcase off the dining room chair, she had pushed the chair back under the table and found a feather lying on the floor under the table. She said that for her, it was a sign that "someone" was wishing her a safe ride up.
     Later that same day, during dinner with another long time friend, who happens to work at Contact Printing, I was told that the microwave at the shop had stopped working this week, and that she and two of her coworkers had remembered that Michael had bought it used off Craigslist for the staff kitchen, about a year before he died.
     Then yesterday, a good friend of Mike's sent me a photo via Messenger that he thought I might like to see. It showed my son during his grade 12 year, seated in a semicircle with five of his friends, celebrating someones birthday.
     Today, our family will gather at Boal Memorial to decorate the little Christmas tree. Despite the cold, rainy weather, we'll hang ornaments, light the candles, and sing some carols while sending loving thoughts to Mike and Kelly. And through it all, I will feel buoyed by the gifts of these sweet reminders of my son.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Life and Death

     My husband and I recently attended a matinee of the animated movie Coco. No grandkids, just us two, in a theatre predominantly filled with young families. A Mexican friend (who had been our first homestay student nearly 25 years ago, and is now a father of five) had messaged me suggesting I would probably enjoy seeing Coco, knowing as he did of my interest in Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). We rarely correspond these days but I am so glad he took the time to recommend this movie -  it was a rich experience for all ages. We followed the journey of a young boy named Miguel, who crosses over a colourful marigold petal bridge with his dog, into the spirit world in search of a deceased relative. There he discovers the reasons behind the rituals of Dia de los Muertos and learns more about the ongoing connection between the living and the dead.
     At times during the movie, I thought about my son Michael existing in that vibrant spirit realm - heartwarming. I also considered a few of the tie-ins between the movie and my life. Miguel (which of course is Spanish for Michael) is what we often called our son when visiting Mexico as a family. Also, our homestay student's youngest sibling (who we subsequently got to know very well, along with his whole family) is also named Miguel, and I continue to refer to these brothers as my Mexican sons. As well, that first homestay student and I are both linked to the two days of Dia de los Muertos celebrations through our birthdays, his being November 1st and mine the 2nd. Lastly, having signed up for Spanish classes this fall, I was able to understand a few more of the movie's Spanish language references than I would have before.
     Down the road, I look forward to watching Coco with my grandchildren, as their curiosity often prompts discussions of what Uncle Mike's spirit might be doing and where he might be. And although our family does not observe Dia de los Muertos festivities, we celebrate the familial connections between the living and the dead, with as much joy and love as we can.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Multi-Layered Spiritual Connection

      Seated in the living room lounge chair last Saturday morning, with my back to the floor-to-ceiling window, I was rereading notes I had made during the summer of 2015, after meeting up with a young person at their request. This individual had never met Michael but learned about the death of our son through a business connection. They contacted me thinking I might be interested to hear about an experience they had had involving Michael, and of course, I was. During our visit, the person described a vivid dream in which Michael had shared an incredible amount of very accurate information.
     The reason I now wanted to refresh my memory about the details the person had relayed to me was because I was planning to stop in at the Orchard Recovery Centre that afternoon. In the dream, Michael had referred to a "cool circle bench in a quiet space on the island" and the individual knew it was a connection to the Orchard. They subsequently found out that names of deceased clients were memorialized there as well. I had never heard of the bench nor the honouring of Orchard participants who had died. Curious to learn more, I had vowed to follow up the next time I visited Bowen Island with a car. Today would be my first visit back to the recovery centre since attending the weekly family education sessions during Michael's six week stay there in the spring of 2010.
     Now, after closing my notebook, my husband, who had been looking out the window while sitting on the sofa across from me said that while I had been reading, a hummingbird had approached my back, hovered behind me for a few moments, just over my shoulder, then flown off.  Simply perfect, because midway through those notes were the words, "Nocturnal hummingbirds much louder, bigger and more playful than usual. One hovered and seemed to stare at him for a while. Like a friend of his. Then flew away."
    After arriving at the Orchard early Saturday afternoon, I spoke to one of the counsellors who had worked with our family and found out that staff had likely added Michael's name to the memorial garden in 2011, but she strongly encouraged me to create a tag of my own. I was led to the outdoor space, then left there to experience it alone. The circle bench, unlike anything I have ever seen, was indeed located in a quiet space, designed with an elongated, low-angled back rest, allowing one's entire body to relax into it. When seated, one's gaze is drawn upwards, beyond the tops of the towering trees, into the sky beyond. A meditative memorial space in the woods. While writing a short message on the thin copper tag I had been handed, I noticed that there were two stuck together and that the pen was actually pressing the message onto both tags. So, as an added bonus, I was able to take one home, with the same engraved wording that now hangs in a majestic cedar.  A gift to remind me of this deeply meaningful, multi-layered experience of connection to Michael's spirit.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

What's Up With Jack?

What's up with Jack? Jack was in the title, as well as the main character, of the book my granddaughter was excited to share with me three days ago, the first she's borrowed from her school library. A well written story about a highly creative boy.

Jack is the name of the musician I received an email from yesterday, who heads up a band I love, sharing a link with his fans to a song he wrote after the miscarriage of the child he and his wife had been expecting. Listening to his song, with both head and heart, reminded me of the miscarriage one of my daughters had a few years ago, a soul who had communicated his name to me, Jack, prior to his return to the invisible.

And today, both grooms in the two wedding ceremonies I performed were named Jack. Only one other groom had that name in the other fifty weddings I've officiated this year.

The name Jack means God is gracious. And apparently in the Middle Ages, Jack was a general term for man or boy. I am curious to find out what my repeated experience with this name is meant to show me. With meditation and a desire to understand, I'm hopeful it will soon be revealed.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Flourishing Despite the Odds

     With the addition of a sidewalk to our side of the busy street where we live, I am now able to walk by my neighbours' properties and see them in a new light. Earlier this summer, I first noticed a remarkable bouquet growing on a neighbour's driveway. A plant full of delicate pink flowers was bursting forth under less than ideal conditions, far from any other growth. Over the course of the following weeks, there was daily sunshine, yes, but also hot temperatures, limited access to soil, and no rain. 
     Now, almost two months after I first spotted it, this marvelous display is still going strong, flourishing despite the odds. Inspiring.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stopped In my Tracks

     Out for a jog on the back roads behind the cabin this morning. Running under mostly sunny skies and temperature in the low 20s, made it that much more special - a beautiful time for daydreaming.  About fifteen minutes in, the mark of a perfect heart upon the asphalt stopped me in my tracks. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that more specifically, it resembled a heart-shaped balloon, complete with string. Reminding me of the one I saw in my mind’s eye a few days after Michael died. Random hearts showing up always make me smile but this was the first time one showed up in this form. Oil stain, roadkill imprint or something more agreeable? Who knows how it was created? What I do know is that regardless of how it got there, the result was immense gratitude for seeing it.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Observing the Signs


     After getting into my Volvo yesterday morning, I was buckling up just as Nat King Cole's voice came on over the CBC radio air waves and began singing "Smile".  The lyrics Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it's breaking immediately caught my attention since "Smile" was one of the three songs chosen to play during my son's memorial service. I had not heard it played over the radio since he died, and it had likely been years before that.   
     I was on my way to the BMW dealership just over the bridge. My husband and I would be picking up a brand new convertible to drive around in this long weekend. His was the highest bid for this Mike Gibson Memorial Golf tournament silent auction prize of a 3 day car rental. A longtime friend of Michael's had arranged for this donation through his place of work.
     I stopped at my husband's business en route and we then carried on to our destination in his car. After encountering the third yellow traffic light in a row (all unsynchronized), he commented on how strange it was that every traffic light was turning yellow just before we arrived at a controlled intersection, placing us in that questionable zone of whether to stop or drive on through.  I then told him about hearing the song "Smile" and soon made the connection that we were being cautioned to take it easy while driving around in that sporty car we were about to pick up. Close friend of Michael's, poignant song, and potential car accident - the synchronicity of these three signs was too obvious to miss.
      The yellow light phenomenon continued most of the way there. After picking up the rental car, we headed back along the highway, enjoying the ride with roof down and music playing, but observing the signs from the universe to take extra care on the roads this weekend in order to avoid a possible accident waiting to happen.

Fun fact: When I began writing this post, the time happened to be 3:33, another reminder that angels are near.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pure Bliss

Rather than celebrating just the one day, this year I enjoyed an entire week of Mother's Day celebrations. Some were pre-planned events, others, spontaneous. I was able to keep chores, errands, and shoulds to a minimum, then upped the self-care, pampering quotient. Adding in decadent activities that I would generally spread out over the course of many months, made for an incredible Mother's Day week.  

Monday: boot camp followed by an hour-long massage
Tuesday: hanging out with my precious grandkids 
Wednesday: seabus excursion with my granddaughter, exploring public art downtown and introducing her to drinking chocolate
Thursday: forest run, then lunch out with my older daughter and granddaughter, followed by a mani/pedi
Friday: rainy hike in the canyon with a neighbour, followed by a facial and a little shopping
Saturday: home yoga practice to the music of 'Jesus Christ Superstar', then dinner at the home of long time friends
Sunday: morning walk with my husband, followed by late lunch with my younger daughter

Seven luxurious days, including loads of one-on-one time with family. Pure bliss. I am extremely thankful to have enjoyed such an indulgent week. It definitely made it easier to bear the absence of my son today, and my well has been refilled. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sun, Sand and Signs

     Home again, after a fabulous family vacation, where three generations were fortunate enough to play in the sun and sand. Much of the time, we were all hanging out together, but some mornings, my husband and I would head out for a long beach walk, just the two of us. During one such outing, three heartwarming signs appeared back-to-back, reminding us that Michael was with us on this family vacation, as well. 
     The first sign happened about an hour in. Walking a short distance behind my husband, I spotted a small, perfectly heart-shaped shell lying in the wet sand. As I picked it up, I noticed it was about the size of a dime, just as thin, and smooth to the touch. Polished by the waves, as precious as a jewel.
     With shell in hand, I rejoined my husband and after showing him my treasure, we continued on. A short distance later, I impulsively stopped and turned to face the ocean. Instantly, I noticed a tiny, white feather drifting down over the water. Soon, I spotted a second one, floating near the first. It was mesmerizing to watch these two feathers dance in the sunshine. I assumed I would see them fall into the ocean, but instead, they disappeared from my sight, into the backdrop of the bright blue sky. They became invisible to me. My husband, who had witnessed the scene as well, turned to me and asked what had prompted me to stop. I explained that I had simply stopped, for no particular reason. Lucky for me that I did.
     Then, carrying on with our walk, it wasn't long before we came upon a huge message written in the sand. It read: "I LOVE YOU DAD!" In case there had been any doubt, and that perhaps the first two signs had not been enough.
     All of our beach walks nourished our souls with the healing combination of bare feet in the sand, lapped by the waves, and warmed by the sun. However, the bonus of seeing these three signs during this particular walk boosted our souls into the stratosphere. Clearly, our entire family was present during this marvelous vacation.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chocolate Heart


     "Could you please bring me home a little box of chocolates from Thomas Haas on your way home?", I had texted my husband. Anyone who knows me knows I love chocolate, but I had never put out this request. It would be a small treat to help get me through this very challenging day - the anniversary of the death of our son.      
     Thankfully, he was only going in to work for a few hours today, and I was happy to see him arrive home mid-afternoon. When he presented me with the box of four chocolates, I instantly noticed the one 💖shaped one . When I asked him if he had chosen these particular four, he answered that he had not, he had just picked up a prepacked box. Heart-shaped chocolates are not listed on the package insert nor included among the twenty-eight described on their website. Immense gratitude for this sweet gift of love energy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Open Circle

      Since early this year, I have been lacking inspiration to write, and for the past couple of weeks, experienced increasing anxiety regarding the upcoming 6th anniversary of my son's death. A few days ago, I realized that in order to bolster my link with the metaphysical realm, I needed to attend an Open Circle, something I had not done for well over a year. And so, I did.
     Seven of us, including the facilitator, began with a healing meditation - for the group, for friends and acquaintances, for the entire planet. This was followed by a lengthy guided visualization, and concluded with mediumship and sharing messages for each other. 
     To see and feel Michael's presence during my visualization was a huge source of comfort and support. He presented as his 25-year-old self, and was so "alive" with enthusiasm, smiling and emanating immense joy. It was obvious that he was as happy to see me as I was to see him. During our time together, it felt like a case of role reversal -  as if I were the child and he the parent, showing me the way. Later, when it came time to share our experiences with the group, I learned that he even showed up in someone else's visualization. 
     At the end of the evening, there were several wonderful messages for me from other circle participants, all of which served to strengthen the relationship with my son.
    Along with a renewed desire to write, those inspiring three hours of deep spiritual connection with Michael resulted in relieving some of my anxiety and filling my being with joy and contentment. So glad I followed through on my intuition to attend - a powerful evening with lasting impact.