There are moments in our life when community joins together to share their exceptional gifts, all in support of another person. August 17th was such a day for me.
3 months ago my friend and physical trainer, Stacey, crossed over, completing her time here on earth. Lisa and I, with a group of her friends, had dinner with her just the week before. She was vibrant, strong and living her life full on. She was a firm believer in God and loved to laugh while encouraging others to be their best. While I had known her for only a short while, she has left a space in my life.
Both she and her husband Oliver were in the States visiting their grandchildren when Stacey departed. As Stacey was in remission, her sudden parting was a surprise to all who loved her and called her friend. Recently, with great effort and cost Oliver returned to the States because he knew he had to bring her ashes back here to Costa Rica, to a beach she enjoyed and an ocean she loved.
Oliver, in search of honouring his partner of over 40 years, had a vision on how to say good-bye and was looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. Oliver asked Michael Fernandez, a gifted Tico artist, and I to lunch. He asked us to assist him with his vision. The concept was simple enough, design a mandala that contained aspects of Stacey’s spirituality while weaving our visions into that creation. At that lunch I knew Michael and I were on the same page right away, as if we were both being guided from on high.
What was created was a variation on the flower of life, a welcoming nod to Stacey’s love of Jesus and an honouring of the four elements: fire, earth, air and water. The night before, Lisa and I created over 40 sacred prayer bundles to carry each person’s or couple’s prayers for Stacey to the skies above. In the perfection of Michael’s mandala a small space was left for people to enter this sacred space, then in to the inner circle was another circle of Stacey’s ashes that encompassed her sacred fire. One by one, each offered their prayers to the embers, to Stacey and then watched as the smoke carried them upwards to infinity.
Then, as the last person completed their prayer, the circle of stones were closed making it a complete circle. The tide moved in, slowly returning the mandala, the stones, the fire and then ultimately Stacey back to nature. It was a beautiful process that compelled many of the people to endure the hot sun to witness the full process. As Michael, Lisa and I stood facing west, the tide seeped through the stones, just not enough to extinguish the embers, leaving us a wonderful image. The stones and beach that represented Earth supported the sacred Fire. Water was present but not yet overpowering, and finally the water created a mirror reflecting the sky above, Air. All four elements acknowledged our efforts. Then with each subsequent wave Stacey left us, taking with her our prayers.
Many wondrous moments occurred during the ceremony, there are simply too many to share. Suffice to say all in attendance were moved. It was an honour to be part of such a gentle and moving farewell, to be able to say good-bye to my friend.
Travel well Stacey, see you soon.
Just not too soon.