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