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Showing posts from November, 2010

Symbols of Mikael's Life--II Bicycle+

Bicycle and Helmet: Mikael's most common mode of transportation was his bicycle--in all seasons.  Those who knew him remember the shorts he would sport even in winter.  He'd had a variety of encounters with motorised vehicles but they never stopped him.  He figured the most likely way he'd die would be in such a collision and said that if that was the case, he wanted his bike painted white and locked to a pole closest to the accident site.  Mikael was never afraid of death.  He would rather have had an early demise while living life to the fullest than hold back his passion for living.  

On the first day of his cycle-across-Canada trip, he was struck by a vehicle on the highway that sent him into the ditch and damaged his bike.  Did that stop him?  No!  After some long discussions with us, his parents, he set out on the road again.  The trip was brutal, with rain many of the days and steep inclines he had to walk up instead of riding.  It was after four flat tires in a two-…

Symbols of Mikael's Life--I Kayak+

Oak tree: In the months leading up to his death, Mikael had gone back to university, choosing two courses: Evil in Religion and Death in Religion.  Not the best choice for someone who has been suicidal but he was nearly 25 and could make his own decisions despite my concerns.    I`m not sure if it was an assignment or something he did on his own, but he wrote out a description of what he`d like his funeral to look like.

One instruction was that he didn`t want a lot of flowers.  Instead he wanted trees.  Lots of them.  That wasn`t too practical but to give a nod to that desire we decided to get one tree that we would later plant in his honour.  I chose oak because of my own partiality to it but also because it is a strong, firm tree.

The family to whom Mikael had sent his only two farewells to, went and bought the tree for us and in a small ceremony we planted it in a nearby park (with permission), placing some of his ashes in the hole.  The tree is now chemically part Mikael!

Kayak: On…

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields.

A Special Gift on a Special Day

I have more to write about Mikael but first I want to share something amazing that happened yesterday, the first anniversary of his death.
In the last few days, many have written to me (and Tom) letting me (us) know they are thinking of us, praying for us, giving encouragement, etc.  One of these revealed that she too has loss she is struggling with and shared a passage from the Bible that has helped her.  She added this: “God has wanted to be the "ONE" for me. … My struggle is how do I feel his arms around me. How can I curl on the sofa with him. Where is the physical presence of a warm, comforting presence.”
I immediately thought of the first time I experienced God’s arms around me.  I wrote about it in my book, Searching for Love,” and suggested she read it; but then God told me her need was more immediate so I dug out the digital manuscript to copy and paste and send her that portion.  You can find a copy of that here.
Yesterday she wrote back to me.  I could hardly believe…

In God's Arms

Below are a few paragraphs from my book, Searching for Love, that describe the first time I ever felt God's arms around me.  I am currently writing something that will refer to this.

Another friend I was visiting had taken an incredible spiritual journey and I was looking forward to spending time with her. I thought we would spend our two days together talking and we did lots of that, but she had a very busy schedule and invited me to join in her activities. I agreed, wondering what else God had in store for me. One event was her centring prayer class. She had tried to explain it to me and was, I think, a bit nervous that I might misunderstand or not “get” it. However I had already been introduced to the concept by a friend back home and was intrigued so I was eager to join her class. In fact, the night before, I got so sick with altitude sickness that I became convinced God wanted me at that class and that the enemy was doing all he could to keep me away. The idea of centring pray…

Honouring Mikael Through the Arts

Two days after Mikael died, I received the following e-mail from the arts director at church:
"If we (I) can honour your son ANY way thru the arts, please let me know!"

The e-mail was an answer to prayer.  I wrote:

Thank you!  YES!  We need someone artistic to do something and I didn't know who to ask.  Your name came to mind but you don't know me!  So God obviously told you of our need.
We are cremating Mikael so there won't be a coffin but Mikael loved to kayak and what we decided with Nathan is that we are going to put Mikael's ashes in the kayak.  Nathan thought about leaning the kayak against the large cross at the front and somehow securing the kayak so it's safe.  My boys are going to take the kayak to the florist (just so they can see it) so they can make a large arrangement to sit in the kayak sitting area.  That's sort of the idea BUT...
the kayak leaning against the cross isn't necessary (but nice and we have to tell the florist in the morn…

Act of Love Provokes Tears

Wednesday, November 10, is the first anniversary of our son Mikael's passing.  There's a post or series of posts (haven't decided which yet) I want to write and tonight, in searching for the photos to match, I came across one (actually several together) that wrenched my stomach and provoked the tears that have seldom flowed since he died: My pastor holding the thin cardboard box containing Mikael's ashes and placing them as we wanted for the funeral.

In the first photo Nathan is talking with my sons Mons and Erik (older brothers to Mikael).  He bends to the ground to put the box of ashes inside one of four bicycle paniers Mikael sewed by hand for a cross-Canada biking trip he planned several years ago, ties up the panier, wraps it in Mikael's favourite blanket--the blanket I used to cover him as he was dying, thinking he was finally getting a good night's sleep--and places the package inside the kayak Mikael had used so much the summer he died.

Thank you, Nathan…

He Brought Joy to My Soul

Last week I sent the following prayer request to my church and some friends:

There are nine days before the anniversary of Mikael's death (November 10, the day before Remembrance Day) and Tom and I are having a very hard time, each in different ways.  Would you please pray for us?  For myself, I am needing more and more sleep as the date draws nearer.  I over-react to things, can't concentrate or think clearly and my memory is completely unreliable.  Too easily I snap at Tom.  Because we're grieving so differently, we're not being terribly good support for each other.  I can see why parents who lose a child often end up with broken marriages.

Please pray that this time of pain and tension will draw us closer to each other and to God.  Pray that we continue to have hope that we will get past this time.  Please pray in whatever way God seems to lead you.  We'd be most grateful.

God answers prayer in ways that sometimes boggle the mind.

Last week, around the same time,…