Butterflies From Heaven

Butterflies From Heaven

Butterflies From Heaven
Written by Marlene Laplante

I sat in the shade of my favorite tree
Shedding tears for loved ones I no longer see
Memories filled the moments to cheer me inside
Made me wonder a while the reason I’d cried
I thought of the good times we had in the past
The love that was then was love that would last
My eyes turned to flowers in the garden nearby
A movement of colours had caught my eye
So many butterflies dancing around
Kissing the blossoms they all did surround
A couple broke free and flew over to me
One on my hand while the other danced free
My spirit was lifted such calm came to be
Butterflies from heaven had visited me

Turning 21 As A Mom

Turning 21 As A Mom

Turning 21 As A Mom
Written by Janet Frood

Twenty one years ago to this day I became a Mom for the first time. Our son Ryan Frood Hawke was born prematurely at 29 weeks. He has forever changed my life. Today he is my greatest mentor and guide. His life of five weeks was short and yet powerful in many ways. His life and death caused a major shift in my life that woke me up to my calling and the work I do today. I am abundantly thankful for the imprint that Ryan has left on me. I try daily to live the lessons I learned from him. Twenty one in person years represents a new stage of maturity. It’s a transition time to independence; to a new level of maturity and freedom. That’s what I’m reflecting on today – the new stage of maturity that I am standing in as a mother.

Ryan brought me into motherhood. Since then Shannon and Jason have nurtured me and taught me through the journey as we have grown up together. I’ve learned that parenting is an elegant dance of sharing and loving, giving and taking, certainty and uncertainty, simplicity and complexity. Parenting is a deep, binding connection. It is a role of limitless possibilities and infinite creativity. It requires a commitment to continuous learning, discovery and flexibility.

As a 21-year old Mom, I know that Ryan’s legacy is about living whole-heartedly. Ryan’s purpose was to help me open up to the magic and mysteries of loving with no boundaries and being vulnerable. Through that I have been willing and able to more openly share my heart.

Thankfully I learned early that it’s not my role as Mom to control the journey but rather to be with as each of my children has taken their first breath and with Ryan his last. Each new step, new school year, new passion and strength discovered, each new stage of independence achieved – all I have really needed to do was to just be present.

So turning 21 as a Mom brings me to a state of ease. I now realize that I know enough for this important role. Ryan, Shannon and Jason each have abundant wisdom about what their path is and I just get to be a partner with them in their own discovery and experience. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and to respect theirs. I’ve learned to be patient and to be open to discoveries. Humbly I’ve had to learn that I do not have all the answers and despite my intention to be loving and caring can be annoying sometimes.

On the day that Peter and I got married, these words from 1st Corinthians 13 were read. Today they have special meaning as I also reflect on the deep love I have come to know as a mother.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I occupy many roles in life. However, the role of Mom is definitively and deliciously the one I hold most dear. Thank you Ryan for anointing me as your mother 21 years ago today. Thank you Shannon for helping me be courageous enough to love wholeheartedly again. Thank you Jason for showing me the fun, joy and ease of mothering. Endless thanks to Peter, my husband, who has been my partner in parenting these last 21 years. Without him, I would have been lost along the way. We make amazing kids together.

I won’t say I’m all grown up but I am certainly feeling a new sense of maturity as a Mom today. Here’s to the continuing journey.

Walk Gently

Walk Gently

Walk Gently
Written by Janet Frood

I woke this morning filled with thoughts of our son Ryan. On this day, 28 years ago, we were holding him as he took his last breaths. He passed peacefully. Life was forever changed in that moment.

I always enter this day with a sense of wonder. How will it be this year? What will be stirred in me as I remember him and his short life?

This morning I asked him to co-create the experience with me.

I received these words – Walk Gently.

I feel it in my heart. A radiating epicenter of love. I am grateful that Ryan is my teacher, my companion and guide, today and always.

As I take this in I know it means more than just for today. It is the reminder of the legacy of Ryan’s life. It is a practice that has forever changed me.

The forest and nature are where I went to feel all the raw emotions of the grief that both raged in me and kept me numb.

In the early days I walked but not gently. I walked to keep moving. I needed to channel my grief into making things happen, to surviving. I was determined not to drown in the spiral of sadness that overwhelmed me.

Eventually, it was the forest that helped me process and heal. It is the forest and the practice of walking gently that now keeps me whole.

There are times I imagine walking with Ryan. He always is most present to me when I am the most still and quiet.

It’s why I still go to the forest as often as I can. When walking gently I find the centering place that allows me to quiet myself, to be present to the sentience of beings all around us.

It is there that I can explore the magic and mystery of life.  It is there that I feel most connected to Ryan,

I sense him in the wind, the sun on my face, the water gurgling over stones, the leaves swaying in the wind, the clouds floating above, or the sun setting and painting the sky.

So, I will Walk Gently in this day.  I will honour feelings of sadness, love and loss as they come. I will walk knowing that I am never alone on this journey. In doing so I honour the spirit of Ryan and the way he has shaped my life

To Honour You

To Honour You

To Honour You
Written by Connie F. Kiefer Byrd
Submitted by Lisa Hackett

To honour you, I get up everyday and take a breath
And start another day without you in it.

To honour you, I laugh and love with those who knew
your smile and the way your eyes twinkled with
mischief and secret knowledge

To honour you, I take the time to listen to music you would
have liked, and sing at the top of my lungs, with the
windows rolled down.

I honour you, I take chances, say what I feel , hold nothing back, risk making a fool of myself, dance every dance.

You were my light, my hears, my gift of love,
from the very highest source.

So everyday, I vow to make a difference,
share a smile, live, laugh and love.

Now I live for us both, so all I do I do in honour of you.

Where Can I Be Found?

Where Can I Be Found?

Where Can I Be Found?

Written by Irish A.D., author of “Drawn to Feel: A Poetic Expression of Love, Loss & Soulfulness”

Search for me in love, find me in service
Look for me in tears of comfort and purpose.

I am not lost or taken away
Look in your heart’s depth and surface.

Deep within you, we share a presence
A love, that has willfully bound us together.

Never will be, a moment missed
As our connection will last forever.

Let me bring this truth to you
So that you can be aware.

That I am always in your feelings, in your thoughts
And always there to take your care.

Do not fret, fight, or grow restless
As our love will re-ignite because our story is endless.

Thank you Jackpot Time!

Thank you Jackpot Time!

For more than 10 years the community of Jackpot Time in St. Thomas has been creating impact for Bereaved Families of Ontario Southwest along with 86 charities in our region. As is true of many local charities, Bereaved Families does not receive government funding and we rely on our community friends for support. We consider it a great privilege to be a part of Jackpot Time’s community investment program, which has contributed over $14 million dollars in support of local charities since it’s inception. In fact, over 23% of revenue generated at Jackpot Time through bingo and taptix machines is invested right back into our communities!

For Bereaved Families, these contributions are paramount in providing a steady stream of revenue to help make possible our programs for individuals and families who have experienced loss. Truly, we could not do this without the generous support of our friends at Jackpot Time!

Jackpot Time provides a full service entertainment experience including gaming floor, fully licensed diner, and sports lounge. Visit https://st-thomas.jackpottime.ca/ to plan your next day or evening out! To volunteer at Jackpot Time in support of Bereaved Families of Ontario Southwest, please email [email protected] Learn more at https://bfosw.ca/bingo-volunteering/