Monday, June 28, 2021

Serendipity Comes Out to Play

A young couple contacted me a few weeks back requesting a short civil marriage ceremony in advance of their larger wedding planned for later this summer. At minimum, this consists of a valid marriage license, the two of them, two witnesses, and myself.

We had arranged to meet in a park here in North Vancouver and luckily the weather was on our side, warm and dry. A few moments after meeting up, I asked if their witnesses were on their way. Turns out the couple had forgotten that part of our communication and had no one coming. So, I explained that once they had completed filling in the family information portion of the license, we could approach two people walking by who looked like they might have 20 minutes or so to witness the marriage. Completely legal, although seldom done. This would be only the 4th time a couple would be going this route during the close to 450 marriages I have officiated over the past 4.5 years.  

As soon as the first part of the paperwork was done and we were ready to invite two strangers to witness, I noticed a young man walking along a nearby path about 30 metres from us, pushing a baby stroller. I turned to the bride and groom and mentioned that we may not want to ask someone with a baby in tow as it may put that person in the awkward position of maybe wanting to help but perhaps needing to get the little one home.

Not 10 seconds later, while we were scanning the rest of the park, the same man, who had momentarily been obstructed from our view by a large tree, reappeared and cautiously approached us. He then asked if we happened to need any witnesses! We could not believe our luck and replied that we certainly did. He then called his wife over who had been walking some distance away from him and as they approached us they both broke out in huge smiles. They explained that I had officiated their marriage last year and were thrilled they could now act as impromptu witnesses for this couple. I recalled their marriage clearly since it was the only time that a couple had done a trail run together first, then jogged over to where their guests and I awaited them in their friend's backyard, still in their running gear.

Needless to say, after the ceremony, all five of us were in a state of awe and overjoyed that serendipity had come out to play at this intimate marriage ceremony, a most welcomed guest creating a lifelong memory for us all.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Version 3.0

The first roadside memorial cross for Mike and Kelly had been built out of wood by my husband in 2011, and erected by the two of us. Sadly, it only lasted five years before it was too far gone.  

The second one was created out of metal by a close relative in 2016, but unfortunately it didn't fare any better, despite our best efforts to keep it looking respectful.

Now, the third (and hopefully final) version has been installed, a carved cross made of PVC with engraved lettering, hand crafted by a gentleman in New Jersey.

Roadside memorial cross version 3.0. Fingers crossed that there's no future upgrade required.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Body and Soul


     Awoke to a bright, blue sky morning. A walk in the sunshine along the ocean later today wins out over an indoor swim at the local pool.  The sun lights up the floating shelf in the den, dedicated to pictures and mementos of Michael, as well as Kelly. Knowing it had been quite some time since I last dusted up there, I grabbed a cloth, and one by one, removed each piece in order to clean them, as well as the shelf itself. 

     I reflected on the memory of each precious item: the photo of the two of them at our oldest daughter's rehearsal dinner, a candle I had lit for Kelly at a Compassionate Friends event, a picture of Michael as a young teen, another of him as an adult, a starfish decoration representing "as above, so below" from a dear friend, a silk butterfly from a floral arrangement sent by a salon owner I had only met a few times, the framed Post-it Note Michael had written to remind the two of them what had to be dealt with before they departed the cabin that fateful morning, and a tiny crystal bowl cradling found pennies, feathers, a baby picture, and more. 

     Midway through this process, it dawned on me that the sadness that had been creeping into my body and soul over these past few days was most certainly due to the fact that the anniversary date of the accident was looming. In nine days, we will be at the ten year marker. A decade since he passed. The word decade has weight, representing a significant span of time with respect to human life, but of course, with respect to grief, it means little. One year, five years, ten years, it hardly matters ... none of the anniversaries really feel much easier than the others.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Who, What, and Where?

     I try to imagine what you would look like, were you here to celebrate your 35th birthday today. How would your face have aged over the years? I wonder what your life might be like. Where you might live. What kind of job you might have. Would you be a husband, a father? Would your loves still include playing golf and snowboarding? What might your new interests be? All of these questions, and more, float around in my mind. Never to be answered, of course. Just wondering ... that's all.

Monday, October 12, 2020

All Six Senses

     Seated with both my grandchildren for an after-school snack at my kitchen table, they filled me in on their day. It was Friday afternoon and their parents were at the vet with Gully, the family's elderly chocolate lab. At 14.5 years of age (or using a common rule of thumb, 101 in human years, as my grandson is always quick to point out), his health appeared to be failing and the family was a little anxious about what the results of that appointment would bring.

     While we three chatted about this and that, their pet was clearly on my grandson's mind. Midway through his sister's detailed description of her library book's plot, he turned to me and said that Gully only had four senses left. When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that their dog could not see or hear, and left it at that. I was a little confused by his math, thinking five minus two equals three. This six year old enjoys solving number problems in his mind, so a simple equation like this would be very easy for him. However, I didn't question him any further since his sister had already launched into another anecdote she wanted to share.

     It wasn't until the following morning, while running in the canyon, that it hit me.  A few weeks earlier, the three of us had been talking about the sixth sense. A conversation about how valuable it is but often overlooked in our culture when we consider all our senses. It seems he had factored this in when referring to his dog's remaining faculties - Gully may be deaf and blind, but according to my grandson, along with taste, touch, and smell, his sixth sense seems to be going strong. And as the vet later reported, he is one of the healthiest old labs she's ever seen, giving this family one more Thanksgiving together.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Life, Love, and Loss

     While practicing yoga in my She Shed this morning, I acknowledged the beauty of the rainy weather visible through the glass door, as I reflected on the intense ups and downs of this past week. A roller coaster of emotions to process on the mat.
     It began Monday morning, with a call informing me that my brother had been admitted to hospital due to suspected heart attack symptoms. I spent the day sending both him and his wife loving energy, knowing that whatever transpired in there, it would be without the support of any visitors at all.
     Tuesday, I received an encouraging update on his health, along with the good news that a procedure had been scheduled. Then, deciding I needed a hit of grandkids, I hopped on my bike with coffee tumbler in hand, to my older daughter's home for an outdoor visit, all of us maintaining our two metre spacing.
     Wednesday, a COVID wedding with five of us present and physically distancing, of course.  No matter how big or small, officiating wedding ceremonies always brings me joy. Then later in the day, a treasured conversation with my younger daughter, hearing about her rich metaphysical experiences.
     Thursday morning, a message from my brother that he was feeling good and going home. A huge sense of relief. Then after lunch, I walked down to the village to tie a bouquet to my mother's memorial bench so that it would be in place for the following day's anniversary of her death. 
     Friday, I enjoyed a morning forest walk with my husband, reminiscing about my mom and thinking about how much I wished she could still be part of our lives. Then after our lunch, the two of us drove out to the valley for an overdue visit with my brother and his wife, during which we chatted for over four hours, seated around their backyard fire pit. So grateful for the chance to see them in person.  
     Saturday afternoon, I had the immerse pleasure of officiating two more weddings, both outdoors under dry skies.
     And then, Sunday. With three outdoor weddings scheduled, it would be a full day. After the first one, I had a couple of hours free, so I returned a missed call from a young friend. Sadly, I was informed that Kelly's dad had died unexpectedly, on Friday evening. My heart immediately went out to his family in particular, now thrust once again into that painful state of the newly grieving. I had the honour of being the celebrant at his marriage. Now, less than four years later, he has returned to the in-between, reunited with his daughter.
     A few hours later, after returning home from the third wedding, I sat down to relax with a glass of wine. Scrolling through social media, I saw the article that I knew my husband had recently been interviewed for by the local paper. Well written, it was primarily about my husband's sense of humour as expressed on the sign mounted outside his business here in our community. However, partway through, still within the context of the story, there was reference made to Mike and Kelly's deaths. So of course, the tears started flowing.
     A week filled with deeply emotional experiences of life, love, and death. All clear reminders of what really matters.
Image credit: Gordon Johnson, Pixabay

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Perfect Gift of Flowers


     Another timely gift from the universe ... last year chocolates, this year flowers.  A few days ago, while still on vacation, I was notified that I had won a gift certificate for a bouquet from a florist located in Lonsdale Quay.  I have won many, many prizes over the years but never flowers. Knowing that I would be stopping by the Quay on the anniversary of Michael's death to purchase our fajita dinner fixings, I decided I'd pick up the flowers as well, to add a burst of colour to our evening.
     So there I was, home from our holiday, admiring all the gorgeous bouquets this morning. Glancing over, I noticed the owner leaning on the counter of her small shop, reading the back of a postcard. I finally chose the bouquet shown above because of the vibrant yellows and oranges, as well as the fact that it included some light orange blossoms that looked airy and delicate, as if they were floating. When I approached her with it, she stopped reading and mentioned that she had just received a beautiful message. I could see that she was moved by it and glancing down, noticed the writer had included a hand drawn heart. I told her I was not in any hurry and suggested she read it aloud if she felt comfortable with that. She did and it was a loving note of gratitude from a young woman who had stopped in a few weeks earlier. The shopkeeper explained that the woman had wanted to purchase one rose.  She went on to say that she had wrapped it up, handed it to her and told her it would be a gift, no charge. The young woman expressed her gratitude and explained it was the six month anniversary of the death of her baby boy. 
     After listening to the story, I thanked her for sharing and then went on to explain how extremely grateful I was for this bouquet, especially today, because I was marking the anniversary of my son's death. She nodded, then pointed to the light orange blossoms and told me they were called Butterfly Ranunculus.  I had not mentioned my attraction to these flowers but somehow, she knew.  It wasn't lost on me that the analogy of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly is often referenced in a eulogy. In fact, my long time friend who had written Mike's, included this - "We are like caterpillars who cry over the empty cocoon of their brother. Confused and afraid, they call out his name because they cannot see him in his new magnificence."  
     A short but deeply moving interaction in a tiny floral shop that lifted my spirits and provided me with another powerful hit of heartfelt connection to my community. Synchronicity at its finest.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Precious Birthday Connections

     Early January marks three significant birthdays of people very dear to me (two now in pure spirit form and one here on Earth) - my mother's on the 4th, my son's on the 8th and a close friend's is on the 9th. Last year's incredible display of spirit energy related to these birthdays will be hard to beat. 
     On the morning of January 5th, 2019, I tied a bouquet of flowers to my mother's memorial bench in Edgemont Village as a belated acknowledgement of her birthday. I then strolled over to one of my favourite home decor shops, a fixture in this community for 30 years, run by a mother/daughter team. While driving by the shop the previous day, I had decided I would buy my close friend a gift card from here which I would pop in the mail for her birthday. As the daughter (who happened to attend high school with Michael) rang in my purchase, her mother asked me for the name of the recipient so that she could personalize the card with calligraphy. While she was putting the finishing touches on the present with cello wrap and ribbons, I began telling her that the gift was for my friend of over 40 years. Midway through, something caused her to freeze. A moment later, she proceeded to tell me what had happened to her shortly before leaving home that morning. She had been standing near her husband's computer area, looking up at the huge bookshelf filled to the brim with books. All of a sudden one of the books fell off the shelf and landed right in her hands. She immediately recognized it as my book, Diary of an Intuitive, wrapped in its protective cello sleeve. She mentioned that she hadn't looked at it for a few years and couldn't figure out why it had fallen. Then, as she continued telling me the story, she put two and two together and told me it had been my son. Being intuitive and sensitive to spirit energy, she realized why that particular book and why that morning.
      Then it was my turn to share details with her that would flesh out the entire experience. I explained that I had just come from my mother's memorial bench whose birthday was the day before, that Michael's birthday would be in three days time, and that my good friend, who was extremely close to Michael and celebrating her birthday the day after his, would for the very first time be missing our family birthday celebration at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Michael's honour. She had also edited my book. For the shopkeeper to share her experience with me made my day, filling my heart to near bursting, and gave me something precious to reflect upon for years to come.
Photo credit: Bruno Glaetsch

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Finding Comfort Within a Dream


     And so it begins ... emotionally, the most challenging few weeks of the year with regards to Michael's absence, from the beginning of December until his birthday early January. Plans for the Christmas season being made, decorations unpacked, seasonal music playing - all things, that for the most part, bring me joy. However, it's hard to ignore the huge spotlight that shines on all that is family, resulting in his absence holding an even larger space in my life.
     During this past weekend, I felt the sadness and tension building in my body, despite having spent a joy-filled afternoon up Grouse Mountain with my grandchildren the day before. While readying for bed Sunday night, I gazed into the bathroom mirror and from deep within my heart, beseeched Michael to please come through in a dream. I needed to connect with him, communicate with him, be with him.  It had been a few years since he had appeared in a dream.
     After waking the next morning, I poured myself a cup of coffee and wandered into the living room, surprised to see my husband sitting there, as he's often left for work by 7am. Settling into the comfy lounge chair across from him, I suddenly remembered that I did have a dream about Michael, but before I could even start sharing it with my husband, I began to cry - releasing some of the tension that had been building, along with the surprise that it had actually happened.  
     In the dream, I was walking down the narrow hallway of a house (not my own), when I came to a small room off to the right, its door half way open. Looking in, I noticed a single bed - no other furniture or decor. Lying on his back on top of the bedcover was a young male wearing sweat pants and a black hoodie. As I stepped closer, I saw that he was awake and guessed him to be about 14 years old. My first thought was that he looked very similar to Michael but I knew he was dead and had been an adult when he died, so I was confused. However, when I reached the bed, I knew it was him. I sat down beside him, in awe. With his eyes meeting mine, I took in his radiant round face and sweet smile. My heart melted. As I bent down to hug him, I asked how this was possible, how he was able to appear to me as a boy, fully alive. He explained that it was not easy but that he had chosen to squeeze into this shape so that I would easily recognize him and find comfort. Finding comfort, that I did. Understanding how this all works, no idea at all. Just so glad that it does.
PS - I went into the storage room to find a photo of Michael to add to this post and the first album I pulled out held this one, Christmas 2000 aged 14 wearing his black hoodie 💗 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Love, Love, Love...

     With my husband away doing chores up at the cabin last weekend, I spent numerous hours sorting through everything in our storage room, deciding what to keep, donate, recycle or toss. Much of the work was fairly easy since we've only lived in this home for 6 1/2 years.  
     A bag containing knitting needles and wool, along with the abandoned notion of ever becoming a decent knitter - donate to a friend. The contents of a binder filled with training information for my volunteer position during the 2010 Olympics - recycle. Cake platter, vases, picture frames, artificial flowers, dishes, and numerous knickknacks - donate to charity. Broken stemware  - toss. My mother's Danish-designed casserole dishes, gravy boat and coffee cups, all in mint condition, along with my Oma's soup tureen - relocate to kitchen for daily use.
     When I reached the bottom shelf, I pulled out the box labelled 'Michael's stuff', along with his black 'The Orchard on Bowen' satchel. I carried both inside the house with the intention of revisiting them later that evening, not wanting to distract myself from the task at hand. However, my curiosity soon won out so I opened up the satchel and began flipping through the handouts and scanning the notes he had made during his time in rehab. After a few minutes, I remembered that I had read all of this shortly after he died. It was difficult to reread and I knew I needed to set it aside for now, otherwise I would get pulled too deeply into the sadness.  
     Returning to the storage room, the next box I tackled was filled with decorative items I had collected over many, many years but no longer displayed or used.  Among other things, I found a genie lamp, miniature red book with each page containing the words I love you in  more than 30 languages, quartz crystals, red glass heart, as well as a green stone one. What a beautiful surprise. I vaguely recognized some of the items but have no recollection where any of them came from. It was as if the universe was taking this moment to show me some tangible representations of love that has been, and continues to be, present in my life. I gifted the genie lamp to my granddaughter, a crystal to my grandson, and placed the remaining  items into the dedicated silver bowl in my den, alongside the many other love tokens already there. 
     The following morning, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked along seawall in West Vancouver. Midway along the route, I glanced over at the tiny park tucked in off the  path and stopped in my tracks. Someone had taken the time to rake the fall leaves into the shape of a gorgeous heart.  Love, love, love ...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Perfect Pole Project

     For over a year now, I have been admiring the vibrant art poles livening up the garden of a neighbourhood residence, nestled alongside the forest.  I tried sourcing them online and looking for them at garden centres, to no avail. Then a few weeks ago, I mentioned the art poles to an acquaintance who lives in the area and happens to be an art teacher.  She suggested I could try making some myself using PVC piping and outdoor acrylic paints. Sounded easy enough, a fun project my granddaughter and I could play with at the cabin.  I already had the paints so all I needed now was some piping. 
     On the Saturday before our trip up, I thought about driving down to the hardware store to buy some but decided I needed a little more time to consider diameter and length I might need. My husband and I could go the following day, when we would be out and about anyway.  
     Sunday morning, over breakfast on the back patio, I mentioned the art pole project to my husband and told him about my idea of grabbing some piping later that day.  His comment, delivered very matter-of-factly: " There's a piece of it lying on the front boulevard." What? Really?  Turned out he had noticed it the day before, while mowing the lawn but left it there. Still in my housecoat, I walked around to where our driveway meets the road and sure enough, there on the northeast corner of the property lay a 3 metre length of PVP piping!  It had somehow cleared the concrete barrier separating the sidewalk from the street and landed on our grass.  Hardly believing what I was seeing, I walked over, picked it up and returned to our patio. With a sense of wonderment, I spelled it out for my husband. In all my 62 years, this was the first time I had ever thought about buying a piece of PVC piping.  And in all my 62 years, this was the first time I had ever come across a piece of PVC piping lying in my yard. For these two events to meet up here and now, was sheer perfection. And yes, we had tons of fun painting the art poles which now adorn both our cabin property, and my granddaughter's backyard.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Communication Received, Loud and Clear


     On Friday evening, my brother and his wife arrived at our cabin for a family weekend  that would include fishing, golfing, arts and crafts, along with water play, meals on the beach and late evening campfire stories. For the first time ever, they would sleep in our little trailer (we bought about seven years ago) since all our cabin bedrooms were full, and they had decided against bringing up their trailer.  My husband and I had arrived Thursday, and our oldest daughter and her family had already been up here for a week.
     Saturday morning, my sister-in-law received the shocking news from Spain that her youngest sister (one of eight siblings, all living in Spain) had died of a heart attack, in her sleep. It was of course devastating news, and communicating with her siblings to find out more about the situation was made even more difficult due to the different time zones.
     This morning, I found out that my brother and his wife had been awakened around 5am today by a persistent beeping alarm in the trailer. After much searching, my brother finally found the source of the noise - a CO2/propane alarm located under the bed. After checking the trailer inside and out, he realized there wasn’t a propane tank to be found and no furnace or gas stove was in use so he couldn’t figure out what was causing the beeping. He was eventually able to reach far enough underneath the bed to push the reset button on the alarm which shut off the beeping noise, allowing them to both to doze off again for a couple of hours. My sister-in-law noticed that the beeping had occurred the same time that her sibling were at the tanatorio (funeral parlour) to say their last goodbyes before the funeral which had been arranged for the following day.
     Later this morning, after we all said our goodbyes with big hugs near the top of the stairs, my brother and his wife drove off. Our oldest daughter and her family then got into their truck and as I walked over to them for a last goodbye, I noticed a small, green, plastic heart lying in the grass in the precise spot where we had all just gathered. I could hardly believe that it had not been spotted before now. Each one of us had walked over this exact area many, many times over the course of the weekend.
     While I began cleaning up the cabin, my husband pulled out some trailer information to try and figure out what had caused the alarm’s beeping sound to go off in the first place. After reading it through, he announced, “It looks like it’s an end of life situation”.  What??  He showed me the particular paragraph he was reading - its heading: “End of Life Mode”.  Communication received with love, loud and clear.    

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Nourished in Nature

     A while back, on a cool and cloudy Sunday morning, my husband and I were wondering where to go for a good, long walk. I was thinking False Creek, an area we frequent regularly, when he threw out the idea of the 11 km loop trail around Burnaby Lake. It had been more that a year since we last explored that area, so off we went. 
     About 1/2 hour in on our nature walk, I mentioned to him that seeing a hummingbird nest is still high up on my wish list but that I had no idea how to find one. Even though we have numerous hummers visiting our backyard feeders daily, finding a nest has been fruitless. I continued thinking out loud that maybe I should contact a local Birding Association for some direction. Moments later, my husband said he had a Facebook friend Rob who is an avid birder and photographer, and that maybe he would be able to give me some direction. He told me that they had known each other in high school but were in different grades and not spent much time together. Then a few years ago, Rob had sent my husband a FB request which he accepted. 
     It seemed like this man might be a good resource so I filed the idea to contact him in the future. Then a few minutes later, I decided - Why not now? I asked my husband for his phone and messaged Rob explaining who I was and asking if he had any suggestions on how to find these elusive nests.
     About 45 minutes later, we were now on the other side of the lake when we passed a man and a woman walking together towards us. A few moments after we passed each other, my husband stopped in his tracks, turned around and walked back to where the couple had paused to take photos. He asked the man if his name was Rob. Oh yes, it was - the same Rob I had just messaged!  We explained who we were and mentioned the text message which he had not yet noticed. After a short visit during which Rob shared, among other things, some information with us about hummers and their nests, my husband and I carried on walking the loop trail, both gobsmacked by what we had just experienced. My husband could not get over, a) he had actually taken note of the couple as we passed ( he is generally daydreaming, not noticing much in the way of details), b) walked back to ask the man's name (his nature is to second guess himself, then dismiss a thought like this), and incredulous that he would recognize him. Turns out that Rob only posts his nature photos on FB, none of himself, not even in his profile picture.
     All of this unfolded on a day when I was deeply missing Michael. All morning, it had taken great resolve to keep the intense sadness from tipping into despair, the heartache only beginning to ease midway through our walk.  I am still searching for the tiny hummingbird nest but confident that I will have the joy of seeing one someday. In the meantime, I cherish this sustaining experience of electrifying synchronicity.
Image courtesy of Brigitte Werner 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Who's That Honking?

     Earlier this month, after running errands for the following day's family get-together, I was driving north on Capilano Road when I approached a red light at the Ridgewood Drive intersection, close to my home. First in line was a sedan, followed by a black pickup truck, then me. After the light turned green, the sedan was not quick enough off the mark as far as the truck driver was concerned, so they gave a short honk. It had only been a matter of maybe two seconds, but as far as the truck driver was concerned, that wait was too long. 
      I can also be impatient behind the wheel at times, but a honk two seconds in was pushing it. I was instantly reminded of my son. Mike had also had a pickup truck and liked to travel fast. It flashed through my mind that he too may have honked in that situation. Smiling to myself while slowly shaking my head from side to side with a silent 'oh Mike',  I started following the traffic up the hill. Moments later, I noticed the truck's license plate: MG 8600 which I immediately read as Michael Gibson, born in '86, and now no longer here. By the time I turned into my driveway, I was laughing and flooded with gratitude for this opportunity to add one more occurrence to my long list of fabulous experiences of feeling connected to my son.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Signs of Support

     Tomorrow marks the 8th anniversary of Michael's death. Rather than taking flowers to Boal Memorial on the actual date, as I have in the past, this year I decided ahead of time that I would go this morning - a mental health choice that I felt would make tomorrow a little easier and more uplifting.
     A few weeks ago, a friend of mine invited me to participate in a community fundraiser - an afternoon Scrabble Tournament taking place on March 7th to raise money for grandmothers in Africa. My husband and I play Scrabble most evenings so I knew it could be an enjoyable event and said "yes", grateful for the distraction, the opportunity to support a good cause, and knowing I would have the support of this friend on a trigger day, another mother who lives with the loss of a child. Later this month will mark seven years since her adult daughter's accidental death.
     This morning, my plan was to walk my younger daughter's chocolate lab Barrett (related to Diesel and born four days before the fatal accident involving Mike, Kelly and Diesel), along the river for about an hour, then take him with me to Boal, which would be his first time there.  After getting into my car (which was parked in the carport), I reached over to close my door when I noticed one small feather lying on the ground nearby. Smiling to myself, I reached down and picked it up, then placed it on the seat beside me - thankful for this little sign.
     After fetching Barrett, I drove to Bridgeman Park, located beside Lynn Creek. Due to the ongoing construction in the area, I had not been there since last spring but today, it felt like the right place to go. I parked the car, leashed up the dog and let him out. He instantly beelined it to a fence post about 30 metres away, to take a pee. As I stood there waiting for him, I looked up at the post and could hardly believe my eyes -  a small, pink heart resting near the top! Obviously, the perfect spot for our walk together today.
     After our river walk, we visited Boal, then after dropping him off, I headed home. Later, I picked up my granddaughter after school and brought her back to my house. She immediately noticed the feather I had now placed on my kitchen counter and told me she had found one that looked exactly the same. Reaching into her backpack, she pulled out a twin feather. When I asked her about it, she told me she had found it while walking along Mosquito Creek during her class field trip this morning, put it into her pocket until she got back to school, then into her knapsack for safekeeping! The signs and loving energy of the day filled my well, placing me in good stead for tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Massive Amount of Maternal Energy

     When I awoke yesterday morning, I knew it was going to be a good day. For my belated birthday gift, I would be spending time with my oldest daughter and my granddaughter at a mother/daughter brunch and attending a performance of The Nutcracker ballet. The day began with an unexpected early morning phone call from my aunt in Germany, my mother's only sibling and my last remaining close relative on my mother's side. She still lives on the property where she and my mother were born and where their mother had lived from the time she married until she died. Our infrequent communication consists of a card and perhaps one letter a year, with an occasional phone call every year or two. She was calling with Christmas greetings and to catch up on the goings on of our family.
     An hour after I hung up, I left the house, adorned with the ring and gold bracelet I had inherited from my mother (both of which had been her mother's before that). I had consciously chosen these two pieces to emphasize the multi-generational maternal connection for this particular outing. When I arrived at my daughter's home to pick up the two of them, she told me that I'd never believe what she just found and handed me my mother's drivers license! She had noticed it earlier that morning on the floor amongst the shoes in her closet (around the time I was on the phone with my aunt). It had not been there when she had sorted through the shoe area a short time ago, but now there it was - lying in wait and in full sight. She couldn't even recall ever having it in her possession and thought the only connection might have been that after my mother's death, she may have taken it with her after looking through her Oma's personal items. My mother died in 2002 and my daughter has moved at least a half dozen times since then - uncanny.
     After settling in at the restaurant, while awaiting our meal, I pulled out a tiny notebook enclosed in cello wrapping from my purse, entitled "Great Games: classic pen and pencil games for two players". I had no idea what the inside of the book looked like but the title and cover was promising. I had purchased it early last summer, thinking it might come in handy with the grandchildren while awaiting a ferry or a meal in a restaurant and had been carrying it around unopened in my purse since then. After tearing off the cello wrap, I flipped through the wordless booklet and found it was filled with three versions of patterned pages: 1) graph paper, 2) evenly spaced dots arranged vertically and horizontally, and 3) miniature hexagons. Upon seeing the dotted sheets, I instantly thought of my mother - she used to play the game of Dots and Boxes on this kind of paper with my young children but I had completely forgotten about it until now. I then showed the page to my daughter, asked her who this reminded her of, and she instantly replied, "Oma".
     After enjoying the highly entertaining Nutcracker Ballet, we made our way down to the lobby where I decided to check the time and saw it was 3:15pm. In Germany, which is nine hours ahead, it was already quarter after midnight on December 10th - my Oma's birthday!
     A massive amount of maternal energy appearing over the course of a few hours, connecting my maternal grandmother, my mother, myself, my daughter, and my granddaughter.  A truly unforgettable day in this blessed life of mine.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Family Connections

     My new sister-in-law was curious about witnessing connection to spirit via mediums, so last night, we met for an evening mediumship demonstration at the International Spiritual Alliance (ISA) in order for her to experience it firsthand. She was hopeful about receiving messages from her parents who had both passed long ago. 
      It had been years since I last attended one of these ISA sessions and I was looking forward to the evening. I had never met the medium who would be giving the demonstration but having read up on her, I knew she was very experienced and I was confident that it would be a great event. Seeing the vivid rainbow while driving out there was a bonus.
     With about thirty people seated in the audience, I knew that time would not permit everyone to receive information from loved ones but I was hopeful that messages for my sister-in-law would come through. As it turned out, we would both hear from spirit.
     As has often been the case, it didn't take long for Michael's spirit to appear. About ten minutes in, the medium began describing the spirit of a young man she had with her: that he had died suddenly in an road accident, just as he had finally been getting on with his life. That he had been as shocked as everyone else because his death had happened so suddenly. The medium also picked up on Kelly's spirit and commented on how the two of them had planned on sharing their lives together. The medium then mentioned a ring worn on a pinky finger. I was fairly sure that Mike didn't have one - I thought perhaps Kelly had but this message wasn't resonating with me so we left it and moved on. Mike's spirit then mentioned kayaking and instantly the scene one of his friends had captured in a cabin photo flashed through my mind. The one of him capsizing in the lake. His message was about cautioning me to take care when kayaking and also, that he would send a sign for me to recognize the next time I was out on the water. I am planning to go on an ocean kayak outing with one of my daughters next month and look forward to seeing what appears. I also noted the fact that my sister-in-law is an avid kayaker and thought it was interesting that this topic would come up.
     About an hour later, near the end of the session, the medium's attention was drawn to my sister-in-law and the medium began describing the spirit of her grandfather, as well as providing evidence of him, referring to the small business he had established as a tailor, as well as other details. Soon her father, mother and little brother (who had died when he was young child), all showed up as well, with many messages that she took to heart. This was the first time I had witnessed so many family members coming through for someone - they had obviously all been eagerly awaiting this occasion. 
     After the evening wrapped up, my sister-in-law pulled up the sweater sleeve that had been covering her right hand to show me the two gold rings she was wearing on her pinky finger - simple gold bands she had made for her parents long ago, while working as a goldsmith. After her mother died, her father continued to wear his own ring and added his wife's band to his pinky finger until his death almost twenty years later. These rings were the only personal possessions she had of her parents and she had worn them here in the hopes of facilitating the connection to their spirits. She told me that she was sure it had been her father's idea to have Mike mention the pinky ring so that she would recognize the truth in all this. The mention of kayaking was also not lost on her. 
     It seems that Michael's spirit was keen to assist loved ones to make the connection with their granddaughter/daughter/ sister - this loving woman who is now also part of my family. She never met my son but certainly recognized his efforts on her behalf and appreciated his eagerness to share with her the incredible experience of spirit communication. That's my boy!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Seven and a Half Years

     My husband was long overdue for a new pair of runners but shopping for personal items is something he puts off for as long as possible. With a soon-to-expire gift card for a large sporting goods retailer, I suggested he go shopping after work yesterday, and offered to go along for moral support.
     After arriving at the store, we made our way over to the men's athletic footwear department, where we encountered a wall displaying close to a hundred different styles and models. As a Libra, making decisions can be challenging for him, and with this many options to consider, it could be overwhelming. After a short time, he enlisted the help of a young staff member (about 18 or 19 years old), and after explaining to the clerk what he was looking for in a shoe, the young man made a couple of recommendations, then went off to find the correct sizes.
     Seated on a nearby bench, watching the interactions between these two, I suddenly remembered a story one of Michael's friends had shared with us after Mike died, regarding the job our son had had at this same store when he was in his late teens. With minimal job training, it turns out that Mike would sell sporting goods to customers by making suggestions based on very little product knowledge, essentially faking his way through his shifts there. Thinking of that story now brought a huge smile to my face and I wondered how knowledgeable this particular staff member was. As the young man approached me, I looked up at his name tag and could hardly believe it - Michael! 
     September 7th - exactly 7 1/2 years since our son died. Sadness had begun draping itself over me the day before and had fully enveloped me by the time I awoke yesterday. Once I realized what the date was, I understood why. Thankfully, a couple of weeks earlier, I had randomly arranged to meet up for an afternoon walk with a long time friend for this day - an outing which resulted in a shift to lighter energy. Topping it off with this occurrence while shopping with my husband was a bonus - it made my day! And yes, my husband came home with a new pair of runners, thanks to Michael.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Magical Day


     With this glorious summer weather of blue skies and hot temperatures, my grandchildren and I headed over to Granville Island Wednesday morning. After playing at the water park for a couple of hours, we ventured over to the Magic Shop in the Kids Only Market - a place my granddaughter had been keen to revisit, due to her fascination with the tricks she had been shown there last fall.
      After much deliberation, the kids finally decided on which tricks to purchase - he, a squishy gel egg and she, a magic dragon box. We then returned to my place for a low key, lazy afternoon. After refueling with some snacks and cold drinks in the shade out back, my grandson and I lay down on the picnic blanket, gazing into the sky, while my granddaughter sat beside us perfecting her new magic trick. My grandson wanted to look for animals and other objects in cloud formations, but since we had a clear blue sky, we observed various birds in our surroundings instead - an eagle soaring high above us, a hummingbird zooming in to the feeder, blue jays and a woodpecker coming by to perch on our water feature for a drink, chickadees flitting from branch to branch behind us, and crows perching on the fence nearby. At one point during this magnificent bird show, I suggested we invite some clouds to present themselves in the sky so that we could play the game, so we did.
     Two rounds of Go Fish and a couple of Story Cubes storytelling sessions later, I happened to glance up and realized that at least half the sky was covered in clouds! No clouds had been forecast at all for the entire day, nor for the days on either side. I pointed them out to the kids and the three of us shared in the marvel that had occurred. An hour or so later, after dropping the kids off at their home, where they had eagerly showed their parents the newly acquired magic skills, I returned to my backyard and realized that the sky was completely clear again - not a single cloud in sight. I just shook my head and smiled at the heavens, heart bursting with gratitude for another beautiful, magically infused day.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Family Time at the Cabin

     During our recent cabin vacation, there was a late evening conversation with family members about Michael's spirit coming through at an ISA gathering a few weeks ago. For over an hour we talked about how highly detailed a medium's descriptions and messages from spirit can be, and we discussed the meaningful information received. Then, with bedtime approaching, it was time to let out the dog so one of Mike's relatives opened the front door and turned on the porch light, only to discover it promptly flashing on and off in uneven bursts of light for quite some time, before going completely dark and remaining so. We were all within view and our first thought while watching the spectacle was that maybe it was a burned out bulb, but simultaneously processing that they don't die out in that fashion. We soon understood what was going on, as this playing with light had occurred many times since Michael's death, to various family members in numerous locations, during times of conscious spiritual connection to him. However, this was a first for us at our cabin. The next morning, I flicked on the light switch to check out the bulb, and of course, it was totally fine and continued to shine, without incident, for the remaining week of our vacation. Another illuminating example of spirit interacting on a physical level. Mike reminding his family that he was right there with us. Too much fun!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Life Between Lives

     Over the past few months, I have been exploring Life Between Lives (LBL), the state our souls inhabit between incarnations. Numerous books, seminars and documentaries have covered this topic but I became aware, only recently, that it was possible to experience LBL under hypnosis, while incarnated in this life.
      After researching the topic, my curiosity was piqued. I booked a four hour LBL session with a very experienced and highly trained facilitator from the Newton Institute, who happened to be the first certified therapist practicing LBL in Canada. Coincidentally, she has worked in my community for years.
      It was a phenomenal experience, unlike anything I had ever had.  Meeting my soul group, being reacquainted with my spirit guide, recognizing my life purpose, and receiving some healing for the grief that still lingered deep within my womb seven years after my son's death, were all extremely helpful benefits of my LBL session. The incredible insights and understanding about my life experiences left me with a lasting sense of peace. Anyone open to receiving illumination regarding challenging events in their lives may want to consider this powerful experience. An opportunity for spiritual growth that is within us all.
P.S. - A good starting place to learn more about LBL is "Journey of Souls" by Dr. Michael Newton.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Name-Twin Milestones


     Within days of each other, long time name-twin friends of Mike and Kelly celebrated huge milestones in their lives - his close friend Mike got married, and her best friend Kelly became a mother. A mountain wedding, where I had the privilege of performing the ceremony, and the birth of a baby girl whom I look forward to meeting soon. This Mike and this Kelly are living life to the fullest, and it makes my heart sing to see them both put heaps of love and effort into creating lives worth living.

     Of course, it is also during times like these where my mind plays with the what-ifs: What if my Mike and his Kelly were still alive ... what would their lives look like now? Would there have been a wedding to enjoy, a birth to celebrate? Observing their close friends' milestones is always bittersweet, but the double name-twin element this time around temporarily added a little weight. However, staying connected to so many of their friends enriches my life deeply and it is a gift for which I am very grateful. And of course, I know that as their good friends celebrate love and life, Mike and Kelly's spirits are right there with them, enthusiastically cheering them on!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Seven Years

     Yesterday marked seven years without his physical presence, but now that March 7th has passed, the nausea and deep fatigue that set in earlier this week is beginning to wane.
     The sun was kind enough to make an appearance for my weekly forest walk with the chocolate lab yesterday morning. Strolling along the creekside trail, taking it slow for a change, fully present to nature's healing elements. Recognizing and breathing in the early signs of spring, of renewal. Chirping birds, filtered sunshine, purling creek, and flowering bulbs bursting forth through the decay -  sights and sounds to nourish my soul.
     For dinner, as we have done on each anniversary, our family replicated the simple meal of chicken fajitas that Michael and Kelly had prepared for us the evening before they left for that fateful cabin weekend. A meaningful way for us to mark this day.
    With yesterday behind us, and spring just around the corner, we embrace the additional light and renewed life before us.

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.