Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Connection Among Mothers

When I first met up with a group of vandwellers in the Spring of 2010, I felt a connection with these fellow wanderers that was unexpected.  Our common loves -- of nature, experiencing new places, freedom of the road, and a simple lifestyle -- all contributed to my knowing that I had found my tribe, a group of like-minded people.

One connection was extra meaningful.  Katie and I had both lost a child, her "Princess" and my Elise. Together we talked, cried, and hugged.  I was comforted to connect with another mother who knew the pain.

Jasper kissing his Mama Elise (1978-2008).
(Photo from husband and dad, Cameron's blog, 2007)

After a few days, I was leaving the group to continue on my journey.  I said my good byes and started to drive off when Katie signaled me to wait.  She ran up to my car and gifted me with one of her precious knives, a mini skean dhu in a beautiful beaded necklace sheath in the Native American tradition.

Some of Katie's smaller knives.  In the upper right are her
mini skean dhu and necklace sheath.  (photo from Katie's blog 2/8/08)  

To be honest, I was so overwhelmed at the time, I can't remember what she said. But, I clearly remember the love I felt from her. I have carried that knife and sheath with me ever since, remembering Elise, Katie and her Princess, as I've traveled the open roads.

A few months back, I knew in my heart it was time to pass that gift to another mother, another vandweller, a dear friend.  Debra had lost Christopher.  I'd seen her pain and knew that she was to be next in the chain of mothers to wear the sheath and knife.

When Debra's travels unexpectedly took her within 6 hours of me earlier this month, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see her; and, the opportunity to pass along Katie's knife and necklace sheath.

So, deep in a pine forest, sitting in Debra's cozy van, with the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, I told Debra the story of Katie's gift.  Then, I gave it to her, most appropriately on Indigenous People's Day. We both cried, hugged, and cried some more. Then, I was honored to hear more of Christopher and Debra's story, a true love story that ends with unbelievable sacrifice and loss.


I am humbled to have been both the recipient and giver of this poignant symbol of love, loss and connection.  And I am so grateful to be bonded on either side with these amazingly strong women.

20 comments:

  1. Long time, no read! Worth the wait, however. In face of this disgraceful campaign, I often feel there is nothing of value in our world anymore. That is, until I read this post and see that life is going on as it spirit means it to be, defined by love and goodness. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you. May all of our lives be defined by love and goodness.

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  2. I don't know what to say except thank you for sharing this deep connection.

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  3. This story is so touching that it brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing. It was so nice to meet you recently after hearing so many wonderful things about you.

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    1. Thank you Robert. I was so glad to finally meet you too after hearing so many wonderful things about you! I look forward to seeing you down the road! In the meantime, safe travels.

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  4. This makes me so happy. It involves one of my fundamental beliefs "The Gift Must Always Move". Someday I will share more on it, but this is proof that you already, instinctively, know it. I love you.

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    1. You are a wise woman Katie. I'm so glad you are my friend. I love you too.

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  5. Both of you are very special friends that I am honored to know .

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    1. And Sandy, my friend, you are a joy!

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  6. Wow, this was a beautiful post. I am so in awe of the kinship shared amongst Rubber Tramps. I hope someday soon to meet you. Maybe I will finally get to AZ in January, this year.

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    1. Thank you. And I agree. I too am in awe of the kinship within our community. I hope you are able to make it to the RTR.

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  7. Beautiful stories, thank you for sharing. Losing 3 between Erik & Katie, I can understand, tho every story is vastly different, of course. Suanne, I hope you will be able to return for another visit to our Colorado cabin! Now isn't a good time...we have a wildfire, over 15K acres just in one day. Hwy. 96 is shut down between Westcliffe & Wetmore.��

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    1. I'm truly sorry for your losses Karen. Hugs. I also hope to visit you again, and that your cabin survives the current fires. Stay safe.

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  8. Hello from Barcelona Suanne! We just came across a video of you and your Prius, which led us to your amazing blog. First of all, our condolences for the loss, luckly she has a great friend and spirit to count on. You are such an inspiration. We´ll follow your journey and maybe someday we´ll cross paths. Keep on going! Una abraçada

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    1. I'm glad you found my blog. I hope to begin blogging again after I hit the road in January. Blessings to you there in Barcelona!

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  9. Hi from Canada Suanne :)

    You are my hero:). Have continued fun. You are so brave. All the best!

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  10. Thank you. And the best to you!

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