I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to travel for my work. Work travel has taken me to so many travel destinations that I likely would have not been able to see on my own. Last year work took me to Vancouver, BC. I instantly fell in love with this humble and beautiful city. Too me it’s the heart of nature – where those that inhibit have the out most respect for its beauty and those that visit it, quickly get told if they disrespect it. It was here a year ago that it all began. It was here that my sweet Jude’s heart began to beat.
A year later, I ironically find myself back in Vancouver on Mothers Day Weekend to embrace this day and honour the infinite love between Jude and I.
As the plane descended and entered the magisterial embrace of the Rocky Mountains, my heart melted. The overwhelming feeling of love and presence of my baby boy Jude poured out and welcomed me back to this beautiful place. I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was truly coincidental that I was here on this weekend or whether this was Jude’s Mother’s Day gift to me. My heart believes the latter.
I prepared my heart for this weekend. I prepared it with unique ways that will help my husband and I honour our little boy. Celebrating our love and unique bond with him. Living his spirit brightly and keeping his memory alive always.
Packed in my carry on suitcase was a love rock I painted with his name and date of birth/death. It will not return home with me. Instead it will sit at the base of the Seven Sisters trees in Stanley Park where our breaths were taken away a year prior as we admired their remaining strong beautiful presence. Much like our sweet Jude’s strong presence in our lives. Folded neatly in my husband’s carry on suitcase were the origami paper boats that we carefully made and decorated in preparation for Jude’s voyage in the Pacific Ocean. Letting go of our baby boy and sending him off on the sail adventure of life is something all parents must do at one point in their child(ren) ‘s lives. Setting sail in his aragami boats with messages of love and support from his mommy and daddy was our way of setting our baby and our hearts free. Pressed between a travel journal purchased especially for Jude, were two postcards that were created and distributed to family and friends in memory of Jude. The postcards were born out of the desperate need to keep the memory of our baby alive, asking all friends and family to fulfill our wish of showing Jude the world by taking him with them on their vacations. The overwhelming response we received so far has been humbling. It was now our time to show our baby boy a part of our world that we had come to cherish partially because of him.
We started in Squamish, BC, where we rode the gondola to the very top of the mountains to take in the breath-taking views. The mountain tops were sprinkled with snow and the green hue varied from top to bottom of the mountain. At the very top of the mountain we pulled out Jude’s postcard and took a selfie – all three of us together for the first time.
It was also at the top of the mountain that I drew a stake in the ground and declared my motherhood through the healing project of #motherheartsalute. It was liberating to allow myself to join this pack and call myself a mother for the first time.
As the weekend went on, the love and presence of our little boy Jude intensified. It was present on the beach where my husband and I watched the waves crash into the rocks of the seashore, every time breaking them down a little much like Jude’s love did with our grief. We sat watching the people enjoy a beautiful afternoon of sun with their families, friends and pets, oblivious to our ceremonial presence. After our picnic lunch on the beach we carefully set out to pick the perfect place to gently launch the paper origami boats we had made for Jude. We hesitantly laid them down on the Pacific Ocean and watched as the waves rocked them back and forth eventually toppling them over and swallowing them into its fierce waves. Holding each other, we watched as our little boy and our hearts, fought the waves of the Pacific Ocean until he and our hearts stopped fighting and allowed ourselves to relax and ride the waves instead.
Our last ceremonial stop was the seven sisters in Stanley Park. Nestled between lovers trail and brittle trail, there the remains of the Seven Sisters surrounded by new tree growth just as tall, strong and present as the Seven Sisters were, is where we laid the love rocks that we made for Jude. Chances are someone will remove them eventually, but in my heart placing them there in that spot, reflected my belief that Jude deserved to be amongst them. His presence acknowledged, our love for him deeply rooted in the ground. His love and spirit free and high – to be admired by young and old.
Each ceremonial stop opened our hearts a little bit more and allowed hints of light back in. With each light streak came a flood of tears – joyful and sad tears that washed away the bitter pieces of our heart only leaving behind the pieces containing Jude’s love.
The revving of the airplane engines drowned out the noise around me, giving me the opportunity to acknowledge the beauty of the Rocky Mountains one more time and softly thank my sweet Jude for a unforgetable Mother’s Day Weekend. There’s only one thing that would make it better – having him with me.