Twenty years ago, Marion’s smile held a beam of welcome as I approached the table. A small group of us were about to begin the study of A Course In Miracles.
I sensed Marion was a woman of warmth. I liked her instantly. I would have been delighted to know that twenty years hence, Marion and I would become Walk Buddies – five days a week.
Throughout that study, Marion confirmed my suspicion that she housed a soul both deep and wide. During discussions, her spirituality seemed strong, steady and mature. If there’s a way to be comfortable in the spiritual energy bubble we create for ourselves, Marion sat like a Buddha in the center of hers.
Marion’s husband, David, was an artist and, together, they were parenting a young daughter Cathrine Honour. At that time, Cat would have been experiencing the thrill and bombardment of primary school years. I wonder now if Marion suspected the incredible beauty they were raising.
In September of 2010, Cat and two friends drove from Vancouver to Seattle to attend a Dave Matthews Concert. These young adults had not been drinking or drugging. Though the hour was late, one of the threesome decided to head back to Vancouver after the concert. Cat was asleep in the back seat. There was an accident. Marion received the call that all parents dread. Her brilliant daughter was in the hospital. There wasn’t much hope. There was severe brain damage.
Marion and David, now divorced, both arrived at Cat’s bedside in Seattle within a few hours. Hard decisions had to be made – Marion knew that Cat would want to donate her organs. David agreed.
Cat died on September 6 of 2010. A Celebration of Cat’s life was held on her island home. It was attended by hundreds of people. For the family members in the other parts of the world who were not able to attend, a friend kindly set up a Live Cast capacity so all could be connected.
As we arrived at the Celebration on that sunny autumn day, we each received a tiny memento containing a heart, a pearl and a photo. On the back is written, “Cat, our pearl”:
The Celebration lasted for hours. Marion greeted people with grace and quiet dignity the entire time. I imagined her angels calling in all numbers of support and saying, “Bring on the Love. She will shine for her girl.”
Thanks to her beauty, her talent, and loving personality, Cat will continue to influence hearts because, phenomenally, she remained sincerely humble. A friend spotlit this virtue when he commented on this photo on her Face Book site:
Posted two days after her death, her friend, George K, wrote about this picture: “This photo is perfect….I’m so sorry Cat. You were so good. You could always make everyone around you feel happier, calmer and warmer, even all the animals around that you loved so much…I’ll always remember you in this way. September 8, 2010 at 7:38pm”.
About six weeks ago, Marion-My-Walk-Buddy and I began putting on our running shoes for a good stomp that conditions body and soul. We step into another dimension. I learn about Cat – her shenanigans, her successes, her challenges, her love of nature and her incredible character. I learn about a mother’s unfathomable grief.
I learn how the generous spirit of an incredibly beautiful young woman lives on as donors continue to receive from the seven organs Marion and David approved for donation..
I learn how the love of one mother swells with joy when our walks deliver nature’s reminders of Cat’s spirit. Dragonflies flit about us. Butterflies splay their markings in bright sunlight. Deer lay motionless in our presence. It seems Cat is saying, “See mom? I’m right here with you.”
Cat causes me to look at moths differently. Like Marion, I usually want them out of the way. However, the other night, as Marion read a Kingsolver novel that unexpectedly had drawings of dragonflies and moths, one flew in through the open window. It landed on the book and did its walk-about. Not just once. Several times. Instead of the usual action to get it away, Marion received its presence as Cat’s reminder, “I love you, Mom. I’m okay.”
The heart and pearl memento from Cat’s Celebration stays on my fridge. The other day, I listened to a webcast on which a person was channeling information authenticating angels, spirits and guides. The channeler was saying, “Angels carry messages from the Divine Source. They are the Speakers. Let go of expectation. Stop asking. Just listen.”
At that very moment, I heard a delicate sound in the kitchen. Instead of turning from my desk to look, I checked the clock. It was 11:11 a.m. I knew the source of the sound. The pearl had fallen off Cat’s memento onto the hard wood flooring. “Okay, Cat.” I said. “I know you’re here. Thanks for accepting me.”
I re-glued the pearl with a tomboy grin.
Marion has approved this post by sending me an email message that started out, “Beautifully Perfect”.
Words cannot describe the beauty of this post. I hope Marion approves because everyone should read this. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Ruth, for your welcome comment.
Hey Susan…I still think about you frequently. I so respect your work with training service dogs that every time I see, read or hear about one, you are on my mind.
Thanks for this beautiful story Amy. My eyes fill with tears and my heart swells with love for this story and the reminder of how those that may not be here physically are with us in many other ways as long as we can be open to this belief. It is kind of ironic because my last blog was about my daughter, about the memories and the hope that one day she will let go and we can reconnect. I am sure Marion will love this story and want to share it with others. I would.
Thank you, beautiful Sam. I cried at times in the writing…I am astonished at times by Marion. The post made me realize just how much I love that woman. Plus I think back to the day I called her about being a walk buddy. The idea hit me and I picked up the phone the next second. It wasn’t even a decision.
Bravo for taking the initiative to call about being a walk buddy. After our son died, a gal I didn’t really know that well called me about walking together. We started walking about six months after Jason’s death…don’t know what I would have done without her!! She literally saved my life!
Thanks for commenting, Rebecca. You know what I love about our Walk Buddy time? I had been longing for time with a soul like Marion . We share sooooo much that I come home full! I feel a quiet joy that hums and vibrates inside sweaty clothes. It penetrates my fatigue and serves peace along with well-being. It’s like I’ve fed my soul a most nutritious meal. The walks end too soon, but the joy is…there’s the next one.
thank you for sharing that beautiful story
You are so very welcome. I enjoyed the very different perspectives of Sydney in the photos you posted. Felt I was there!
my work is done 🙂
thank you for sharing Marion and Cat’s story in this way.
I know Marion, did not really know Cat…this story fills me with warmth, and tears, tears of joy, that Marion is so connected to Cat and always will be.
Such honestly and love is amazingly wonderful to read, thank you
Thank you for commenting so beautifully, Christina.
Amy Aunty, I am not going to try define this post and and it’s beauty, by using any adjective. It’s a beautiful story, of one beautiful soul written by another beautiful soul. It’s a story of a wonderful person, which I am going to remember forever.
Arindam, you man of great heart. Thank you for your insight and sensitivity. That means a great deal.
Awww…I have teared up….beautiful post.
Lots of love.
Oh there you are, my friend! I just came back from visiting you, Granny… Good that you are taking a sabbatical and I hope includes some fun and frivolity.
So beautiful. You brought tears to my eyes.
Thanks for visiting and commenting, Sarah. Your tears reflect the contents of your soul! I bounced over to your site and loved the question your youngest asked. I enjoy the intentional wisdom of children, but the unintentional is pure delight!
Beautiful and deeply moving. Thank you Amy.
Hello Madhu, I sense you are exactly what you saw in Cat. You are building your masterhood in such a unique manner. Thank you.
Absolutely awesome post in memory of a fabulous soul. Mom’s don’t say goodbye because the spirits are all around us, always.
Yes, SuZen, and so many believe those are just words meant to comfort: “the spirits are all around us, always.” As humanity evolves, the reality of those words become acceptable.
Oooo, My heart. My heart.
Cat is beautiful beyond belief & so is her mother.
Kay donated all of her organs, too…except her heart. (her greatest organ)
I have a feeling she and Cat are getting to know one another in Heaven…Oh, yes, I do.
Superb Post. I loved it. Xxx
***NEVER SAY GOODBYE…Only I’ll see you soon, dear.***
Kim, Marion is the Mom with whom I shared the Neruda poem you linked to my blog. You faced the murder of your sister just over 3 months before Marion received her phone call. Something I see in both of you – your hearts were crushed, yet both of you give so much love to this planet.
Oh, Amy, this filled me with emotion. A poem I posted yesterday also speaks of a loved one who keeps “intruding” in my life…giving me a small reminder that we are still together in a way that’s not yet clear to me. What a gift, and what a special person Cat was/is and it’s easy to see why! Reading your blog is like a mini retreat, my friend.
Many thanks to Marion for being willing to share Cat in this way.
Wow, what a poem you wrote about your sister’s death. Like my teacher of Contemplation, you speak what I hadn’t yet noticed in my soul.
Hi Amy. Thanks for sharing that beautiful story. On a sader note, I will share with you that my mother died last week after a long and difficult illness. We burried her yesterday. I miss her already.
Oh, my friend, I am so very sorry. I hope you have loved ones around you to share the heartache and the great memories.
I certainly understand that you miss her. My mother died 10 years ago and I still long to hear her voice saying my name…the way only she could.
Carol, be gentle with yourself. Grief can create feelings, symptoms, actions, emotions and physical conditions that can make us think we are falling apart or becoming slightly off our rocker. None of us think it will happen to us. As a Hospice Companion, I thought I’d be immune. Ha! So be extra loving and accepting of yourself when you find emotions rising more than you want. Or, when you become so forgetful you think you have Alzheimer’s. It’s all so natural. Not easy, but natural.
Please accept a bundle of Love flowing your way.
Tears are streaming down my face, how beautifuul you have written about Cat and her Mom. Cat was so attractive physically and her spirit seems to have had boundless energy, and her soul full of love for friends and family. I cannot even imagine Marion’s grief at losing her child, but I am so pleased you guys are walk buddies, so you can share the love in your souls.
Ah, Dee, I know how close grief is to your heart and life. I’m happy you “saw” those traits in Cat that caused her to be so loved by so many. Marion and I are both prairie girls, our vintage is not far apart and we both love the spiritual side of our existence. So we have miles and miles of conversation in us yet! 😀
Beautiful tribute. My thoughts are with Cat, your walking buddy, Marion, and another beautiful spirit named Maura.
Welcome to Maura, Georgette, in joining Cat’s circle of Love. When it’s time to see through the mystery of life, I suspect many of us will take a big sigh of relief that we continued believing in the presence of those who finished this stage ahead of us.
Oh, the turn this post took. I wasn’t prepared for Cat’s demise. I guess no one was, so that is more than appropriate. I’m glad she hasn’t left her loved ones too far behind, especially her mother. What a heartbreaking tragedy.
There’s no way I could even begin to know the depth of Marion’s despair. I can only listen and be a student when it comes to Cat. However, by gum, if she ever challenges me to a game of Crib, there’ll be no mercy.
My thoughts to Carol as she struggles through her loss. (((((((((( Carol ))))))))))))
I cannot fathom getting that phone call……. But I can envision the moment of the moth landing and feel the message brought.
Both bring tears–one of joy, one of sorrow.
I’m glad Cat finds her mother to reassure her.
And I’m glad you have a buddy who works you– in multiple ways.
Blessings to Marion…..and many more moments with her angel.
Mel, thanks for your consideration for Carol.
Yes, as a mom and grandmom, the thought of that call must be hugely horrible.
You’ve got it, Mel! She does work me! I’m fascinated by her incredible attitude towards working her marriage. I like it a lot. It’s like she influences my attitude about a man who is making noises about visiting me for a while. He and I are both on a “it’s time to play again in life” kick. Having him here for a while gave me great pause…but I’m beginning to like the idea. Truly, I can point the finger at Marion. If I start messing around with this man, the blame will lie squarely on her fabulous attitude!
A sad but beautifully written reminder that love outlasts our physical presense. Thank you for sharing this.
Thank you, Diana. Thank goodness love does outlast this physical incarnation. Can you imagine spiritual (or any) energy only having some 70 years in this incredible set-up known as the Universe? What a waste! Considering we only use this incredibly intelligent physical body for those short years, it will be awesome to see the phenomena outside this wondrous confinement.
This moved me to tears. What a beautiful young woman. I can not imagine her parents’ pain at the loss. What a tribute to them all ….to the parents who raised a young woman who touched people on such a level and to that young woman herself.
Appreciate your visit, May, but even more, thank you for such a sensitive and welcome comment. I just popped over for a visit. Hello Texas!
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul!
How beautiful and poignant this post is. Thank you. Not only about a beautiful child but of a beautiful friendship. My BFF died 15 months ago. I miss her so much.
If it’s true that we’re never given more than we can handle, from reading over your blog posts, it seems you have one very large capacity. May you be blessed with much love all around you and strong hearts to buoy you. I’m sending a special package of loving energy to all of you.
Oh, I am sitting here with tears streaming. A truly perfect tribute. My love goes out to Marion, please pass it on.
I’m certain Marion will find your welcome comment here, Cin. Thank you, beautiful one.
AYIEE…my heart breaks for Marion’s loss and then…alas, is open fully…able/willing to accept the beauty and grace in the life of Cat reverberating back into this day that holds us all so tentatively. Blessings to all.
Many thanks, Anna of the Ocean. Yes, this day does hold all of us tentatively, doesn’t it?! It suspect it uses the hands of our friends and loved ones.
Extreme joy and sadness in a single post…thank you for sharing her story.
As in life, Charles.
Thank you for this post. You are right a Mother never says goodbye. My niece died in a car accident 8 DEC 2009 and my sister will never forget and neither do we. As a family we are still grieving, waiting for the time when we will all be together again.
Oh Beverley, please accept a big hug. You’ve given me cause to imagine the experience of facing the death of a niece or nephew. I’m an aunt many times – I have nieces and nephews who are grandparents! It makes me shudder. Cousins are gone, but not one of my nieces or nephews. I cannot imagine my siblings having to suffer so!
knowing that you will see them again in another life doesn’t make it any easier to live in this one.
I had goose-bumps while reading this. Marion wasn’t the only one who approved of this post. Cat does, too. You honored them both in this tribute to love, life and reminding us to be present for both.
Thanks, Lorna. Both Marion and Cat have remarkable soul qualities, but preparing this post was quite an experience. Each time I wanted to write about walking with Marion, Cat would loom large and determined. I realized I needed to ask Marion if she would be okay with that. Once she gave me her okay, the post practically “appeared”. Yes, I agree with you…Cat approved.
Beautifully perfect, indeed, Amy. With wonderful eloquence, you captured and conveyed the celebration of Cat’s life, as well as the “unfathomable grief” felt by all who knew her. I’m sure your friendship is a great gift to Marion, and hers is to you.
You know, Charles, how we can take the tiniest “snip” off the heart, put it in a beaker and it will begin beating? That’s the connection I feel with Marion.
Thank you Amy! Beautiful message’s and knowing we are never really separated from our loved ones! xo
And for you and me, Karen, we could say, “A daughter never says goodbye”.
so much grief, so often, my heart goes out to all the mothers after reading this beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl.. wonderful writing.. c
Thank you, Celi. A bereaved father said not long ago that only parents who have had a child die can have any clues as to the depth of grief. Thank goodness we can be listeners.
A meteor, Amy: appearing momentarily here and then blazing off to some other part of the universe. What a beautiful tribute.
Good concept, Kate, and likely one that describes the speed with which Cat’s life came and went for her mother.
What a beautiful and heart rending post/tribute to come back to after another long absence Amy…thank you!
What a stunningly beautiful soul Cat obviously was…in so many more ways than are apparent! Marion’s loss is one that I pray no mother has to undergo…it is one beyond comprehension, one, that we cannot even begin to fathom…the heart goes out to her with prayers for strength, understanding and inner peace…amen!
Amy, I am sure your friendship must be a pillar of support and comfort to Marion…may love and faith be always with her and may she always be surrounded with the love of those near and…not so near…
God bless you and Marion…
Your blessing, Shamasheikh, is so very welcome. Many thanks.
I’m delighted to receive your comment, Wise and Loving One. Your words are a balm to any recipient’s heart. May you be fed with the same love you offer so generously.
What an absolute glorious post of tribute, inspiration, peace and joy. What a blessing for you to share with us. 🙂
Thank you, Becca for your fabulous comment. I hope that you have not had to be frightened of H. Isaac in Texas!
Have been wrestling with some challenges in life and hence have become a bit infrequent here. Just read this tragic and heartwarming story. Reading it brought in me an unique mix of sadness ( through moistening eyes) and positivity ( a great feel good and liberating feeling).
Moms indeed are there to remind all of us that God and Selfless love exist in the world. Moms are always there for us, a safe and trusting cocoon to turn to.
Thank you for this great post.
Shakti, I’m so sorry you have been having a tough stretch. Hopefully, you will come through these challenges twice the warrior you were already. Those of us who have known the loving cocoon of motherhood do not forget. Forgetting would mean extracting the DNA from our beings and we know how possible that is. Take good care and remember your mom’s best wisdom.
Oh what a beautiful person she was. I am sure this blessed Marion so much to hear you say those wonderful things. And the title…well, I’m a young mom myself and I’m just sitting here with tears. Beautiful.
Hi Hilljean – thanks so much for stopping by. I just visited you, as well! Marion told me she reads this post at different times and gleans a sense of comfort from it. That makes me happy, indeed! I have to praise my readers who leave such loving words.
Truly beautiful and heartbreaking. I lost my sister at age 28. Like Cat, she was beautiful, kind and loving – a remarkable young woman who left us far too early. Blessings to you and your friend.
Some losses never leave us. I’m so sorry you had experience the loss of your sister. I cannot imagine. I am the youngest of my family so will likely have a few heartaches up the road. Thank you for the blessings.
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