* The photo is the sign referred to in the story below. Submitted by the writer, Becky Livingston
On a rare, sunny Vancouver morning I set off to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens, a tranquil space housed in the city’s Chinatown. In the 30 years of living in this city, it was my first-ever visit. It was also fourteen months since my 23-year daughter had died. A void remained which had me secretly wish that to disappear for a week, like an all-inclusive vacation, was an available option. I needed a reprieve from the waves of heartbreak.
Only a week earlier, at Mary Oliver’s urging in The Journey to ‘save the only life I could save’, I had decided to take an indefinite leave from my teaching job, give up the apartment I’d leased only months earlier, put my few possessions into storage and set off overseas. Removing myself from all things familiar and taking that first step required giving up control and being OK with not knowing. I just wished I could be sure.
Entering the gardens, meandering the gentle pathways and bridges, my mind slowed, inviting reflection as intended. Things were looking up. Making things right in my world seemed courageous, even necessary, but I kept wondering if this decision was smart or foolish. As I rounded a bend, my eyes were suddenly drawn toward giant letters affixed high up on the wall of a neighboring building. They read:
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT
I stared in disbelief, caught the cry in my mittoned-hand. For three decades I had lived in this city yet never seen, or heard about this sign. I was certain the message was meant just for me: a sign from both this side and the other. A silent blessing.
“Thank you,” I whispered, heartened by the confirmation that my decision to move on, to start a new life was the right one. It was just what I needed, a reminder that everything is happening at the right time and to trust that guidance comes when and where we least expect.
Two years have passed since that day. I’ve traveled far and wide, met many wonderful people, lived bigger than I could have ever imagined. In fact, it’s the happiest I’ve been in years. Everything turned out even better than alright.
Originally from England, Becky spent 20 years working as an elementary school teacher in B.C. Following the deaths of her fiancé and, three years later her 23-year-old daughter, she found writing as a way to heal. She spent the past 18 months as a ‘gentle traveller’, writing a blog of her outer and inner journeys, www.blivingrock.com. Most recently she launched Joyful Mourning, a Facebook Page to provide others a place to share stories of joy and gratitude to celebrate the life of a loved one. The link is www.facebook.com/joyfulmourning101. Her upcoming book of the same name is due for release in 2013.