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9 Months...Bursary News & Memory Stones

I find it hard to believe you’ve been gone for nine months Dylan – I still catch myself thinking I should give you a call to see how you’re doing and it takes a moment before I fully remember that I will never be able to do that again and I need to console myself with offering up a silent prayer that you are well, that your spirit is at rest and that there is some consciousness, some remnant part of you out there that knows you are so very loved and missed.

It’s been a good month with lots of positive things happening. I contacted the electronic music school in Vancouver that you liked – Nimbus and told them about the bursary fund which is now at $5,000. When I told them that we were prepared to offer a $1,000 bursary to a worthy student every year ongoing, they were overjoyed at the news. They have created an online application form on their website (which I have added to your website) and they want to hang a picture of you in the hall at the school along with your story. I am so touched and pleased by their response and I am excited to start receiving applications. We hope to choose this year’s recipient in time for the May intake which somehow seems appropriate that the 1 year anniversary of your death will see your bursary come to life. I will drive down to Vancouver to present the money in person and I’m excited to meet the person.

I placed three of your memory stones in Maui when Jim, Eden and I went there this month. The first is at the very summit of Haleakala so you can see the spectacular sunrise every morning. In spite of painting dozens of memory stones, this was the first one that I have actually placed myself and it surprised me at how emotional the experience was. We had taken a bike tour van up to the top as we were planning to ride down after. When I showed the stone to our guide and asked him where he thought would be a good place, he noticed the date and said “Oh, you’ve just lost him”. This complete stranger (a father of a three year old) instantly felt a compassion only another parent can feel for another’s loss and he gave me the sweetest hug. He suggested I place it on the other side of the guard wall so the likelihood that wind, the elements or another person moving it would be minimized. In some strange way, I felt a real closure and a letting go in the placing of that stone that I had not yet experienced. I chose a spot, nestled you in and just stood there, soaking in the view that you would have. I cried for what feels like the thousandth time and as we drove away, I found myself worrying that you would be alone up there when it was cold and dark… so crazy… even though you are no longer physically here, the mother in me was worrying about you.

The next stone was easier to place although I suspect somewhat illegal. I know how much you loved the water and remember so well how on most summer days throughout your childhood and into your adulthood, we would mostly only see your back and bottom as you explored the swimming pools, water parks, lakes and oceans. So of course, I knew that one of your stones had to go out on the coral reef at Molokini. It is a protected little crescent shaped island with wonderful snorkeling. There are lots of rules about not leaving things out there but I also knew that was a place you needed to be. We rented an underwater camera to capture the spot and I dove down and lay you there among the coral. Lots and lots of tourist snorkelers will see your stone and wonder about who you are. I hope the authorities allow it to stay there but what I’ve discovered in this process is that it’s an exercise in trust… I don’t know what will happen to any of these stones and I don’t need to know. That is up to The Universe.

The last stone we placed was at the Nakalele Blow Hole on the western most part of Maui. It’s quite a steep hike to get down to the blowhole from the road so only the most intrepid of travelers will take the time to do it. Jim placed the stone on a great rocky outcropping that was just as far as he could reach on his tip toes so I’m hoping your stone will stay there for quite some time. You will have a great view of the setting sun from there and I thought you would enjoy getting the chance to see the occasional tourist get too close to the blowhole and soak their clothes. You always did appreciate a good troll!

Other stones have been placed this month by our friend Toye who went to Las Vegas, my friend Lisa in Los Angeles who placed one up at the top of Griffith Park where you can see the Hollywood sign, the observatory and all of Hollywood on a clear day, and at Newport Beach, California by our friends Carole and Ken. So many other people have come forward and asked to have a stone to take with them on their travels. Grammy and Grampy are taking two with them to Ireland at the end of the month when they visit Maura. It’s such a beautiful thing and I’m so touched that so many people want to participate… the dining room table is currently in use as I have another dozen that are almost finished. Painting them is a form of meditation for me and I’m grateful to have this wonderful new hobby. Hopefully as time goes on, my painting skills will improve.

We continue on our sobriety vow and I am so grateful to be alcohol-free… it’s such a part of who I am now that I can’t imagine ever going back to drinking again. You will also be happy to know that we became gluten-free as well 4 weeks ago and were able to maintain it on our vacation. Very healthy and positive changes for us all - I can just hear you say “it’s about time you guys… way to go!”

All my love, Mom

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