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.


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

8 thoughts on “The countdown begins

  1. I would like to follow your blog but do not know how to sign in. I walked the Camino France in September and October 2013. Will look forward to hearing of your journey. Are you walking alone?

    • Hi Dianne,
      I imagine you are very much looking forward to your camino. My blog entries can go directly to your email if you subscribe – which you can do by the following way – on the right hand side of the blog, there should be a subscribe section, with two boxes. you enter your name and email address From that point on, you will receive every entry directly in your email. The alternate way is to visit the site periodically, and read the entries. Thanks for sending your note – I am walking alone, but on the Camino, you are NEVER truly alone. So many people everywhere, and it’s quite safe.

  2. Sylvie,

    What a beautiful tribute to your sister..she will be walking beside you and protecting you on your Camino.I truly believe there will be an angel on your shoulders and she will finally get to do the Camino!Blessings..

  3. Sylvie, I just subscribed to your blog, and I will be reading all your Camino entries with great interest.

  4. As you walk this Camino together perhaps we will meet up with you. My friends Jennifer and I start our first Caminofrom SJPDP on 1st June. Who knows what will happen but I wish you Buen Camino.

  5. Hi Sylvie!
    We met au Coup d’envoi in April and I attended the info session last night. Just remembered that you are leaving very soon, how exciting and wanted to wish all the best on this Journey with your sister.
    P.S. I will try to subscribe to your blog, but not too “tecky”… Lol. I also purchased my plain ticket, leaving on September 2nd!!
    Buen Camino!!

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