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.

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.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Best Seats in the House


     Our city rarely gets significant snowfalls but the recent two-week spell of below zero temperatures resulted in a winter wonderland. Yesterday morning, as huge snowflakes continued to fall, my husband and I relaxed with our Sunday morning coffee, enthralled by the beauty just beyond our living room's glass walls. He wondered aloud if hummingbirds flew in these conditions. He had been bringing the feeder in at night, then returning it each morning. We had seen hummingbirds on the clear days, but this morning, nothing. However, just minutes after he spoke, two of them arrived, a male and a female. We were then honoured with a magnificent performance of them flying side by side, for the longest time, all over the back yard. Their endurance was incredible. What a show! Finally, they settled at the base of the feeder pole, the male hovering over the female, and engaged in mating. We could hardly believe our good fortune -  the gift of witnessing these tiny, spirited creatures doing something we had never seen. So the answer to the question is yes, they do, and in the case of these two sweethearts, with gusto!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Priceless Plastic Heart

     And so, the Christmas festivities begin. Just as dusk was falling late yesterday afternoon, our family met up in the forest at Boal Memorial. Decorating the little tree in front of Mike and Kelly's plaques is always a poignant event. The half-moon shining down onto the snow-covered ground added an element of magic to the setting. Gazing upon the faces of my young grandchildren, both mesmerized by the glowing candles and sing-along, my heart was simultaneously filled with a profound love for these two, along with a deep aching for my son. For me, Christmas without him has not become any easier. 
     Our family then made our way back to our younger daughter's home, for a delicious home-cooked meal, where she had laid out a novelty Christmas cracker at each place setting. Crackers were never part of our traditional German festivities, but it certainly was a fun addition to this dinner. After the eight crackers were popped, colourful paper crowns were donned, and tiny gifts discovered, including puzzles, jokes, and decorations. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that my prize was a small, plastic, heart-shaped frame. The only one in our group. An incredibly precious sign of the season.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Precious Bottle of Lotion

     While reaching into the medicine cabinet for my face cream yesterday morning, I noticed that the large container beside it had a puddle of lotion pooled at its base. I did a double take since this pump bottle of aloe lotion is something I have never ever used, lotion no one in this house has ever used. Two-thirds empty and more than five years old, it takes up valuable space in our one and only tiny bathroom. And anyone who knows me well, knows this - I am ruthless when it comes to purging items, a trait that comes in handy when living in a small space. But this, it stays.
     I discovered this bottle of lotion in my son's room soon after he and Kelly died. It had obviously been hers. Two years later, there was no question it would make the move here to this home since it was the only personal item of Kelly's that I had.  
     Now, a puddle. I have seen this happen once before, a year or two ago. Most likely, there is a clear scientific explanation for this, but both times it resulted in a cherished emotional and energetic connection to Kelly. The value of something so seemingly insignificant as an old, no longer in use, bottle of lotion ... precious and priceless.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Still Very Much Here

     Listening to a family member eloquently describe her recent encounter with Mike's spirit was incredible. He touched on aspects of his recent life here, then shared some of his current experiences, including interactions with spirit relatives. Starting out on a serious note, he referred to some regrets, as well as new insights, regarding his family, then lightened the mood with his charisma and sense of humour. The underlying message was I am always with you.
     Whether I enjoy a personal experience with spirit, or hear about it secondhand, the impact is always powerful. Proof of what I know to be true of spirit connection, what many of us know to be true: Our loved ones are always right here. 
     Sitting in my garden, contemplating the hummingbird feeder, all I see in the dish is what appears to be just water. But what I know is that it has added sugar, creating nectar for the birds. Even though the crystals dissolved, the sugar is still very much there. And so it is with spirit.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pennies Become Pure Gold

     A couple of hours after writing last week's blog post, another beautiful sign from spirit appeared while I was shopping in a downtown department store. A very personable salesman helped me find a cosmetic item, and then, when it came time to pay, accompanied me to the nearby register, where he rang up the purchase. After handing him my money, his cash drawer opened. While making change, his expression became puzzled, and then he commented, "I wonder what this penny is doing here?" An understandable reaction since it has now been three and a half years since the Royal Canadian Mint stopped penny production and merchants began rounding prices up/down in order to omit pennies on cash purchases. I smiled and simply said, "Pennies from heaven".  He looked at me somewhat curiously so I told him that pennies occasionally appear in my life in connection with my son. With kindness, he acknowledged my comment, then returned his attention to the cash drawer where he noticed a second penny and asked if I wanted them both. Of course I did. He placed the coins in my hand, whereupon I promptly checked the dates - both 2011, the year Michael and Kelly died. Two pennies, two hours later, for those two ... moments such as these are pure gold. 
( PS - to top it off, over the following few days, I was notified of winning fabulous prizes from three separate contests! )

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Did That Just Happen?

     In advance of my upcoming overseas trip, I downloaded an app onto my cellphone yesterday afternoon, in order to help me stay connected with family, without incurring any great costs. I had heard reference made to WhatsApp a couple of times, but knew nothing about it. Once downloaded, I noticed an updated list of my phone contacts, notifying me of those using this app. Scrolling down, I saw Michael Gibson listed there, with the notation, "Hey there! I am using WhatsApp". What?! Had he downloaded this app before he died? Was it even around five years ago? Impulsively, I went into the Chat function and typed,
 "Miss you 💗".
     Obviously, he would not actually answer his phone. My assumption was that the message would go out into the ether and that the intention behind it would be felt by my son. Seconds later, I heard an audio alert on my cell and read the reply, "Sorry, but who r u?" In that moment, I felt as if I was in a parallel universe. I walked into my living room and settled into the lounge chair located near the large, open, glass sliding door. It took me a few minutes to figure out that Michael's cell number must have been reassigned to someone else so I typed out a short reply apologizing for the mistaken identity.
     When I was done, I sat there looking out into the yard, contemplating what had just happened when I suddenly caught sight of a tiny feather drifting down, just outside the door opening. I jumped up, stepped outside, and started laughing as I watched it land on the path, right beside the glass door. "Are you kidding?" and "Did that just happen?" swirled around in my mind. This time around it was a light grey feather, instead of the usual white, and I am not yet sure if the colour is of great significance or not. One thing I do know for sure is how grateful I am to have access to the myriad ways of staying connected to family, regardless of where in the world we may be.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Angling In

      A couple of weeks ago, my brother's new life partner texted me, asking for a couple of pictures to be included in the family photo gallery she's creating in their new home. She suggested the family picture be the one taken at Mike's best friend's wedding last year and left it up to me to select a favourite photo of my son. After much deliberation, I chose one showing him smiling ear to ear, taken during one of his many fishing excursions with my brother. He loved his Uncle Walt and the joy of this shared moment on the river is palpable. 
     I ordered a large print of each photo and they arrived at my place two days ago. Gazing at the pictures, I considered whether to mail them to their house or wait until we might next see each other. Less than a minute later, I received a message from my brother inviting my husband and I to go sturgeon fishing with the two of them this weekend. I have only been sturgeon fishing twice, the last time was in 2009, during which this photo was taken - guided by my brother, the day included my husband and all my children, along with their best friends. Great memories! With the bonus of sunshine in the forecast, I am really looking forward to tomorrow's outing, and undoubtedly, Mike will be angling in on our experience.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Motherly Moments


     My young, newly-married mother gave birth to me, her first born, a few months after arriving here from Germany in 1956. With her minimal English and limited options, she cleaned houses for the first ten years to help make ends meet. Happily, she was able to give that up when she realized her dream of becoming a hairdresser. She absolutely loved her job and the clients in Edgemont Village. 
     When she passed away fourteen years ago, her family and friends dedicated a memorial bench to her in this same neighbourhood. If you find yourself in the village on Mother’s Day, you may notice the fresh flowers on her bench. If you have a few minutes, why not sit and enjoy the moment? If you are a young, harried mother, it may be an opportunity to catch your breath. If you are a mother with adult children, you might reminisce about precious moments you enjoyed while raising them. If your own mother is no longer with you, maybe a cherished memory of her will fill your heart. If you are a mother who has lost a child, perhaps you will settle into the deep connection with that love that never dies. And if you are lucky enough to be a grandmother, well, you might sit for a long while, just smiling at your good fortune.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pink Feather

     Last week, Kelly came to me in a short, but beautiful, vivid dream. With a carefree and happy demeanour, she playfully ran across a grass field, exuding love. It had been years since I dreamt of her - it felt wonderful to feel her presence again. 
     Today, midway through boot camp, our group headed outside for an activity on the back parking lot and while running over to the equipment, I noticed a small, neon pink feather lying on the pavement. I picked it up and looked around to see if there was an obvious source or if there were any others ... no and no. Then, my thoughts turned to Kelly. I could not help but think this feather was linked to the dream, since they were both filled with the same kind of love energy. That fun, free and easy kind of love. Smiling all the way into my heart, I turned the feather this way and that before tucking it into my pocket for safe keeping.  
     I am grateful for both these exquisite events, for heaven knows, one can never experience too much love!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rest in Peace


     After eighty-five years on this earth, my father died March 5th, achieving a goal he had set for himself decades ago - "I'm going to live to be 85." An adventurer, life-long scholar, health conscious man with a can-do attitude, he lived a long, full life. Fortunately, he did not have to endure a prolonged period of suffering before he died.
     The last time I saw him, before visiting him in the hospice the day before he died, was at my son's funeral, five years ago. The difficult relationship between my father and I resulted in estrangement from one another for the past seven years. However, I am grateful for the many opportunities he offered me for personal growth - no regrets. And he excelled at being an Opa, throwing himself fully into that role with his five grandchildren. 
     Still enjoying downhill skiing a couple of months before he died, it was fitting that he was buried with his ski poles. May he rest in peace and fully experience love on the other side. I continue to send him mine.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Coming Up on Five Years

     Considering that it is coming up on five years without him, some people may be surprised to know that I do not fully comprehend the fact that my son is dead. Despite my lifelong belief in everlasting spirit, and numerous personal experiences of connecting to the invisible, I still shake my head in confusion. It is not about denial, nor a reluctance to access my emotions. And it is certainly not due to an unwillingness to understand. What I put it down to is the very real possibility that a mother can never fully make sense of the death of her child.
     I suspect that our brains are not hardwired for this scenario, nor is an after-market add on available either. Job loss, ill health, end of a significant relationship, death of a parent or friend - I believe that for the most part, we are programmed with the capacity to process these life events. But the death of ones child? How is it possible to reconcile giving birth to this precious being, then day in and day out fully invest oneself in his growth, only to be asked to live without his physical presence years later. I would venture to say that being able to fully comprehend the death of ones child is likely impossible.
     Of course, whether I fully understand it or not hardly affects the journey of living with this loss. Every day, every single day, it simply comes down to focussing on joy, love and gratitude as much as possible.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Michael Comes Through Loud and Clear


     My spontaneous decision to stop by the grand opening of a new metaphysical shop resulted in receiving a most magnificent reading. It had been years since I last had a card reading, and rather than ask for guidance on a specific issue, I opted for being open to hearing whatever came through.  
     There was no doubt that the woman I chose to sit down with had excellent abilities when she began the session with, "I see a young man ... he's in his early twenties ... he's your son." Michael came through loud and clear, reassuring me with, "Wherever you are, there I am," as well as wrapping me in a white ribbon of protection. He also communicated that we will never lose our heart connection. Michael then showed the reader some miniature trains, a reference which I instantly understood. I have strong memories of him as a child amusing himself with his Brio train set - as young as three years old, he would play with it alone in his bedroom for hours upon hours. This set is one of the few playthings I kept for my grandchildren, and last week, when my three-year-old granddaughter was over, she asked to play with the trains, so we did. At some point during that afternoon I explained to her that these had been Uncle Mike's. Now in this reading, the reader explained that Michael was telling her that he had been right there beside us, chuckling while we played.
     For forty-five minutes, she brought forth all this valuable information, as well as tidbits about other aspects of my life. I left feeling connected, supported, and inspired - extremely grateful for further evidence of the everlasting connection between life and death.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Significant Birthdays and Unexpected Gifts

     This week of significant birthdays, along with unexpected gifts, began with my mother's birthday on January 4th. Were she still living she would now be eighty-one years old. Looking to buy flowers for her memorial bench, and with the local shop where I usually bought them now closed, I stopped in at another neighbourhood store where I had see flowers for sale in the past. When I asked the clerk where they were, she told me they no longer carry cut flowers but that they still had some potted white poinsettias, then offered to give me one, no charge. As I approached the till, she insisted I take two, explaining that the bench would look much nicer that way. Such a thoughtful gift!
     Wednesday, I showed up for my weekly boot camp group class to discover that I was the only participant, and as a result, received the gift of a one-hour private session at the drop-in price. So lucky!
     Thursday, I stopped by an outdoor equipment store and when I arrived at the checkout, noticed a promotion - for each pair of snowshoes purchased, the buyer would receive a free snowshoe ticket valid for the Callaghan trails, an area I've never explored. I had given my husband snowshoes for Christmas and when I explained this to the cashier, he was happy to honour the promo. Sweet gift!
     Today is my son's birthday. He would be thirty, were he still here. This morning, I will be meeting up with a friend who also lives with the experience of losing a child. The gift of support from someone who understands. This evening, our family will gather for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory, as we have every January 8th since Michael died. The gift of each other as we carry on to the best of our abilities without our funny, loving, handsome guy.
     This week finishes out with my best friend's 60th birthday tomorrow. We will be celebrating a woman who has been an integral part of my life for close to forty years. A sister to me, an aunt to my children. The gift of a relationship I cannot imagine living without. Most precious, worth its weight in gold.

Monday, December 14, 2015

One Tiny Feather Lightens the Load


     Sunday morning, my husband and I headed out for a walk in the canyon, decked out in rain gear, from head to toe. The few people we encountered along the trail were all accompanied by a dog or two - in that inclement weather it seemed that, other than ourselves, only those who had to be out, were. We joked about walking our two invisible dogs and the bonus of not having to "scoop the poop".
     We both felt the heavy weight of this emotionally charged day as we would later be meeting our children and grandchildren at Boal Memorial for our annual tradition of decorating of a little Christmas tree, honouring our angels.
     Arriving at the midway mark of our canyon walk, I stopped on the sidewalk atop the dam and gazed down over the railing into the huge volume of water roaring down into the river below. Empty of thought, I became mesmerized. The spell was broken when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tiny, white object drift down beside me. Looking down at my feet, I noticed that a small feather had landed in the very narrow space between myself and the railing.  I instinctively looked up for birds, but there were none. I checked the area around me to see if more had fallen. No, only the one. It had been six months since I last saw this sign from my son, and I was overjoyed to notice this feather, today.
     By late afternoon, the rain had subsided, and by the time we arrived at Boal, the sun even made a brief appearance. After decorating the tree, lighting the candles, and singing some carols, a brilliant sunset became the backdrop for this tranquil forest setting. Later, after enjoying a fabulous family dinner, I reflected on this challenging day and felt overwhelming gratitude for the perfect way it had unfolded. It could not have gone any better.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Spirits not Dampened, Despite it Raining on our Parade

     I had never taken in our city's Santa Claus parade, now in its twelfth year, but a few days ago, decided it was something I wanted to experience, so despite the soggy forecast, we headed over town yesterday afternoon - my husband, granddaughter and I. Claiming a small strip along the curb with our folded picnic blanket, we sat huddled together drinking hot chocolate under a shared umbrella for over an hour. The unrelenting rain did not dampen the lively energy of the participants or spectators. Waving and singing along, we enjoyed a steady stream of marching bands, colourfully costumed dancers, elaborate floats, and festively decorated horses. After the parade wrapped up with Santa gliding by on his sleigh, we packed up our blanket and strolled back up the sidewalk hand-in-hand with wet bums, rosy cheeks and filled hearts, all agreeing it had been a wonderful outing. Perhaps next year, our grandson can forgo his nap and snuggle in with us to experience it too.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Healing Energy for All


     Outside of my native Vancouver, the city of Paris lies closest to my heart. I have never lived there but have treasured memories of visiting over the decades. I have always felt a strong connection to everything French, perhaps due, in part, to previous incarnations. The sights, sounds and smells of Paris resonate deeply. Its lively neighbourhoods, magnificent museums, striking architecture, incredible food and lovely public spaces, to say nothing of the beautiful language and passionate people, all contribute to the vibrant pulse of this beloved city.
     So when the tragic news of malicious attacks in Paris erupted on Friday, my heart broke. It broke for the innocent victims. It broke for my beloved city of love and lights. It broke for humanity.
     And later, upon learning that many of the dead had been young people in their twenties and thirties, an added layer of sadness descended over me while thinking of all the mothers and fathers who will have to endure the added grief of losing their child.
     The card I wrote, the flowers I placed, the love I send will not undo the damage done, but with millions of people around the world doing the same, collectively we imprint healing energy on everyone affected, including ourselves.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Celebrating Souls


     Born to a Catholic mother fifty-nine years ago today, I share my birthday with All Souls' Day, the holy day set aside for honouring the dead. On November 2nd, Catholics pray for the souls of loved ones who have died. My understanding is that they specifically pray for the purification of souls stuck in purgatory, in order that they may reach heaven. 
     My exposure to the Catholic teachings during my upbringing was minimal, limited to Christmas and Easter celebrations. And it has never occurred to me to pray for my mother's soul over the thirteen years she's been gone. I trust that her soul is exploring an existence in the perfect location, exactly where it is meant to be. However, today it occurred to me that choosing to be born to a Catholic mother on November 2nd may, on some level, be connected to my sense of serenity when considering life, death and beyond. The specific intention behind All Souls' Day does not resonate with me; instead, as I celebrate my birth, I send much love to the souls of my departed loved ones, wherever they may be.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Skeletal Perspective

     I love deep tissue massages; nurturing, healing body work enhancing my physical and emotional well-being. However, I know people who, after completing a session, described it as being akin to torture. And no doubt, others would describe their deep tissue massage experience as falling somewhere between heaven and hell.
     During our hour-long appointments, the therapist and I may engage in conversation, but often, the massage occurs in silence. This way, I can consciously tune in to each area of my body as it is being worked on, adding a serene meditative aspect to the experience. 
     Near the end of my last session, while lying face up on the massage table with eyes closed, covered only with a thin blanket, the notion of being on a gurney in a morgue came to mind. It occurred to me that the position I was lying in on the table will likely be the same one my body will be placed in once my life force has departed. Adorned with a toe tag, there may be some poking and prodding before being whisked away to its final destination. And for those choosing burial rather than cremation, their body would be buried in this same position, and years later, only their skeleton would remain.
     This observation came without any sadness or fear; a neutral perspective positioned between the macabre connotations of skeletons during Hallowe'en festivities and the upbeat energy it represents during Day of the Dead celebrations. A vivid reminder of how integral perspective is in terms of how one experiences life, and death.
Artist: Jacques Gamlin

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Following Sacred Footsteps


     Powerful waterfalls, stark black lava fields, massive glaciers, flora-covered tundra, imposing volcanic mountains, boiling mud-filled cauldrons and dramatic coastlines ... this is Iceland's impressive, and at times surreal, landscape. While circumnavigating this country by car, at almost every turn, we found yet another striking new scene waiting to greet us. So one morning, near the end of our trip, I was surprised to discover that the first recommended stop of the day appeared to be nothing more than a lowly hill.  And as was the case with many other points of interest during our travels, my husband and I had the place to ourselves.
     Helgafell (Holy Mountain) was considered highly sacred in heathen times, so sacred that elderly Icelanders would seek out the hill near the time of their death. According to folklore, travellers are granted three wishes when ascending it, but only if they refrain from looking back or speaking on the way. The wishes must be of good intent, should be made while facing east, and not shared with anyone else.
     So, beginning at the marked grave of a heroine from an ancient saga, I mindfully followed the winding path to the chapel ruins atop the hill. Standing within that sacred space, sun on my face and faith in my heart, I made my three wishes, feeling deeply connected to all that had come before me. This completely unexpected, short yet powerful, meditative experience upon this humble hill, left quite an impression. And the fact that my mother's name was Helga is sure to help with the odds that my three wishes will come true.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wedding Wonders

 This coming weekend, I will be officiating my first, and possibly only, wedding. An extraordinary experience on so many levels - one I never imagined having. The groom-to-be had been my son's best friend. A few months ago, when this young man (considered honorary son/brother in our family), and his fiancée invited me to conduct their ceremony, I was simultaneously shocked and honoured, beyond belief. Neither ordained minister nor marriage commissioner, I had to research the options for a lay person officiating a wedding. Thankfully, a friend who has conducted numerous weddings in her role as a minister, promptly offered up her support and explained how it could be done. So, here I am ... thrilled to be part of this young couple's upcoming nuptials where they will formally declare their love and commitment before one hundred and twenty guests. A wedding taking place in the same small, rural town where the accident occurred, where Mike and Kelly said goodbye to this world. The bride-to-be, who had never met those two, chose this location since her family has recreational property here. I would never in a million years have imagined I would attend a wedding here, let alone officiate one. The icing on the cake is that my husband, daughters, sons-in law and grandchildren will be there celebrating, as well. Eagerly awaiting this divine experience of being fully immersed in the expression of love, with the visible and invisible - perfect on so many levels!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Still Trying to Finesse the Balancing Act

     Four and a half years ago today. While placing flowers at Boal Memorial this afternoon, the photo that resides there resonated even more deeply than usual. This picture of Michael and Kelly was taken five years ago, in early September 2010, at a lakeside cabin on the Sunshine Coast, during the rehearsal dinner for our oldest daughter's wedding. I love the energy these two exude in this scene, that of fully embracing life. During the past three days, however, this image unexpectedly evoked the opposite reaction within me, acting as a constant reminder of our loss, continually tugging at my heart, threatening to weigh me down. 
     My husband and I had been invited to spend the weekend at this cabin with the same daughter, her husband and two children - yes, we are that lucky. Eating dinner together on the deck, gazing up at the stars with my granddaughter snuggled in my lap, cuddling with my grandson by the fire - I am grateful for each of these beautiful moments, and many, many more. Yet, as always, the highs of being with my family coexist intimately with the lows of missing my son. Four and a half years in ... trying to finesse this balancing act has not become any easier.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Even More Precious Now

     Since our move a couple of years ago, this petite garden angel had been lingering in the darkness, on a shelf in the garage. Its small scale meant it would have been lost in our landscape here, so it had been stored away.
     It had suffered an accident at our previous home, becoming separated from its base, as well as breaking both legs and both wings. Normally, my nature would have dictated tossing something so broken, but I really cherished the sense of contentment and tranquility it exuded, so I had carefully glued all the pieces back together and brought it with us.
     Last week, while moving some supplies into my newly finished backyard studio, I was searching for a door stop. When I uncovered this angel, I took it out and realized it would be a perfect fit. It has found a new home, nestled in the corner of my studio, facing the greenery beyond the glass door. Despite its cracked foundation, damaged wings, and broken limbs, this cherubic figure is still beautiful, still valuable, and feels even more precious to me now.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Om with Oma

     My three-year-old granddaughter has heard the word 'yoga' often enough, and knows that I practice it, but when she overheard me talking to someone about an upcoming class, she asked, "Oma, what's yoga?" I described it simply as a relaxing form of exercise, then asked if she would like me to show her some yoga poses. She certainly did. So after her nap, we each carried a mat out into the backyard, then placed them side by side on the grass, in the shade of a maple. Settling into seated Easy pose, I encouraged her to gaze at the trees and the clouds. Together, we then flowed through Cat, Downward Dog, Child, Sphinx, Butterfly and Happy Baby, before returning to Easy pose, to finish off by chanting Om several times.  She did not miss a beat during the entire process - effortless, yet engaged, she was fully in it.  Glancing over at her occasionally during our practice, and seeing the earnest expression on her sweet face, I was tempted to take a photo, but of course, that would have taken us both out of the experience. 
     After we finished, she spontaneously wrapped herself up in her mat and informed me that she was a newborn baby. Feeling reborn through yoga - she certainly picked up on that concept.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

No Ordinary Weekend


     A recent sunny Whistler weekend getaway was filled with incredible moments of synchronicity. The only pre-planned part of the trip was doing tarot readings at a mountaintop event, on the Friday evening. My husband and I had decided to make a weekend of it, booking in at the RV park. With so much to offer, the location supported an effortless flow between being active (biking the valley trail, hiking around Lost Lake, walking to the village) and enjoying restful pastimes (impromptu riverside picnic, brunch on a lakeside patio, Scrabble in the shade). 
     Saturday evening, during an after-dinner stroll through the village, I heard my name called and turned to see one of my cousins seated with someone on a nearby restaurant patio. He lives a few hours away, and we had not seen each other for three years. After a round of hugs and getting introduced to his girlfriend, we took them up on their offer to join them for a drink. We discovered that just minutes before we were spotted, a table had been freed up on the patio, and his girlfriend had requested they move out there, instead of remaining at their inside table. They had arrived at the resort earlier that evening and were leaving shortly after noon the next day. Small window of time to run into them. And as it turned out, Sunday morning our paths crossed again - while leaving the farmer's market, we bumped into them just as they were heading over to check it out. Another short conversation and more hugs.
     Sunday afternoon, my husband and I decided to wander down to one of several coffee shops in the area. Being the 7th of the month, I was feeling a little melancholy, with Michael in my thoughts even more than usual. It would be one of the very rare times when I would not be taking flowers to Boal Memorial on this date. My husband had been walking a few steps ahead of me and was waiting on a bench near the cafe. Sitting down beside, I was about to ask him what he'd like to order when I noticed a memorial plaque on the backrest, and reading the inscription, realized it was in honour of a young man who had lived in Whistler, and died just over a year ago, at age twenty-four. Through a mutual friend, I met his mother once, shortly after her son's death, and we had shared our experiences regarding the deaths of our sons, including reference to the metaphysical realm. What were the chances? Of all the seating available in Whistler, this was the ideal place for us to be on this day. 
     After coffee, it was time to head home. En route, we stopped in Squamish to purchase some bike accessories, and as I was leaving that particular aisle, I thought about our friends who live there, a couple we haven't seen for a few months due to his out-of-province work commitments. I fleetingly wondered what the chances were of running into them here in this big box store but promptly dismissed the notion since it was late Sunday afternoon and thought that if they had needed any items here, they would probably have done so earlier in the day. Then seconds later, as I turned the corner, there they were, smack dab in the middle of the store, and they ended up inviting us up to their place for a short visit. They too happen to live with the loss of a twenty-five year old son. Perfect timing.
     An astounding run of closely timed, out-of-the-blue experiences ... the Universe certainly does know how to make a great impression!
Photo credit: