The countdown begins

Three weeks from now I shall be heading to Spain to begin my third Camino de Santiago journey, walking in honour of my oldest sister Denise who left us after many years of struggling with health challenges. When I walked my first and second Caminos, Denise followed my every post with much support and a touch of envy. She always said she traveled vicariously through my many escapades, and my Camino adventures were her favorites.

DSC_4956 She especially enjoyed my poppies pictures as these, along with sunflowers were her favorites flowers. She listened with much attention to my many stories and she often asked many insightful questions about my journeys. She was quite interested in the mysterious events or moments that lacked logical explanations which pilgrims often share only with their closest ones. She enjoyed hearing me describe Spain’s varied landscapes and its gastronomical treats. She enjoyed looking at my pictures and shed some tears when we both watched the movie The Way.

But oh, my poppy pictures… Those were the ones she asked to see multiple times. She mentioned they would make a great calendar. I planned on making her such a calendar but never got to it and I wish I had.

When her son called me to let me know I should come to her hospital room the very next day in order to say our last goodbyes, I quickly modified one of my credentials document to include a picture of her so that I could share it with her and let her know she would be with me on my next Camino. Alas, I never got to do that since she left us before I had a chance to see her.

I have the strong belief that even though one leaves one’s earthly body, the spirit, the soul, the essence of the person remains with us forever. I feel she knows and is aware of everything we say and do. In fact, when I was looking through my many pictures to select those of Denise, I saw on my computer screen, right in the middle of the many rows of pictures a bright macro photo of poppies and I heard in my head “Oh, I so love poppies”. This is when I knew I would walk the Camino in prime poppy time. When I looked back at my screen the poppy picture was not there… Was this a sign or my imagination? Either way, it was the deciding moment for my change of dates.

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I am undertaking this journey in a very different approach than my previous Camino journeys. I am leaving everything to the moment. I will arrive in Madrid on May 19th and at that point in time, I will decide in which city to start my Camino. I have no set plans other than being in Madrid again on July 18th for my flight back to Canada. I will live in the moment, every day. I will revel in the large fields of poppies and remember all that Denise brought to my life.

“The way of the poppies” is what I am calling this very special, unique and magical journey both Denise and I are about to undertake. She will be with me every step of the way; this I believe with all my heart. I know there will be many tears, many heavy heart moments, moments of anger at her absence, but mostly, days and days of remembering amazing times and lots of gratitude and love for the years we spent together.

The Camino is a special place that healed and soothed my soul as well as opened my heart and my mind. I am ready for this journey and what it will bring and I will savour each day, each hour, each minute and each moment.
I am ready…

Poppies in Spain

Poppies in Spain

Three weeks ago…

Three weeks ago, I stopped by the store to buy tulips for her room. Three weeks ago, I drove over, unannounced because I wanted to surprise her. Three weeks ago, we visited and I took her picture, for the last time. Three weeks ago, I left her with a big hug and kiss and a “see you soon”. Three weeks ago, I didn’t have a clue that this would be the last time I would see her.
“Life changes in an instant” we say, and I know this, but it doesn’t always make itself apparent and we go one with our day to day life without really thinking about how quickly life can change.

These past weeks my mind kept going back to one of my mantra “Carpe Diem”. We should wake up in the morning and remember to “Seize the Day” and be grateful for all those who surround us and love us. I try to end my day in gratitude for all that I have, and all that I have seen, done, been and loved. I get lazy some times and slip into sleep without once thinking of how lucky I am for my life. This past few weeks have been challenging however I have been reliving so many amazing moments with her in my life and this made me even more grateful for the relationship we had, and will continue to have.

A good friend of mine sent me a poem and it resonated so well with me. Thanks Mary, this truly opened my eyes… It was written by Henry Scott Holland.

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What a beautiful way to see that the loss is true, but it is not the end.
Carpe Diem – Carpe Diem – Carpe Diem

A chain has been physically broken…

Poppies in Spain

Poppies in Spain


A chain has been physically broken…
But never to be separated soulfully. Our oldest sister passed away this week – and when you have a chain of 5 siblings, closer than most families, more linked in every way … then the departure now marks the space that held the chain together… we will need to leverage the love, the commitment, the understanding and the compassion to keep it together soulfully…

I am truly blessed as I am to undertake my third Camino de Santiago in Spain. This Camino, however, is one of a journey of two souls, but only one set of steps. Two hearts connected forever will discover new insights, new ways to communicate, and a truly double appreciation of what the Camino provides.

Calmness when silence is needed to manage the emotions. Beauty in the nature that will surround us. Comfort, connections, smiles and support from other pilgrims. The solace of a worn down pew seat in a small village church. The wind in the crops, the sun on the flowers and the cold refreshing waters of the fountains.

She really enjoyed poppies, therefore my dates have changed to have us stroll through the country, jostle through the large cities, shed tears at sight of the largest crimson jewels stretching out to reach the rays of the warm sun.

May 19th – my feet on some part of the Camino (to be determined upon my arrival in Madrid) will start this amazing journey that will be as unique as our Canadian snowflakes… one of a kind journey of two alike souls.

This journey will ignite the healing needed to recover from such a loss, and will offer endless ways to connect at much deeper levels.
My boots are by my door, my pack is slowly gorging with items, and my heart and soul are preparing for an amazing experience.
41 days and counting…
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