Leo went to Europe for a historical trip in early 2010 when he was in Grade 12. He was there for three weeks with a group of his fellow students and teachers. They visited museums. They went to places like Omaha Beach and Vimy Ridge.
They went to the grave sites of fallen soldiers. They visited places where the worst atrocities against Humanity were committed.
When he came home, I asked him what had impressed him the most. He replied in a solemn tone: “Mom, they were only my age.” I will never forget that statement. My son was deeply touched by that experience. He was 17 years old at that time. He felt the transience and impermanence of life. Sadly for us, it was less than two years after the European trip that he, my only child, exited this human plane suddenly and unexpectedly because of meningitis.
On November 10, 2009, Leo gave a speech on behalf of his secondary school to honour Remembrance Day, 11/11. According to his Principal, he was the only student ever chosen to do that.
After his transition, I tried to get that recorded speech, but was told it had been deleted. I found out that these words had been included within it: “LEST WE FORGET.” And I am sure the following poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was also included. Dr. McCrae was a Canadian physician who wrote this poem in memory of his fallen comrade.
In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Sacred heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields”.
Leo had taken many pictures on the European trip and saved them on his laptop. It took me all these years to be able to view them.
It took me a lot of courage to read some of his papers written for his Political Science professors. His writings were a record of his academic brilliance and they had earned him A and A+ grades. What touched me most was the Compassion that permeated his writings. He spoke strongly against the violence and cruelty that human beings had inflicted on each other beneath the guise of their ideology and religions. All the ‘isms’ from Nazism to Imperialism had been the cause of suffering of enormous magnitude around the world.
As I was writing the words ‘suffering of enormous magnitude,’ I clearly heard in my head the singing of these words, “When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?” I thought they sounded familiar. They are the lyrics in “Where have all the flowers gone,” a song by Peter, Paul and Mary who were noted for their anti-war stance in the 60s.
The delivery of the Remembrance Day speech, the European trip, and his remarkable writings are no coincidence. All synchronistic!
I was nudged to write about Remembrance Day, and, in doing so, I feel that I have pieced together a clearer picture. Not only was Leo a patriotic Canadian boy, he truly cared and still cares greatly about Humanity. That was echoed by his professors in his Celebration of Life.
Leo has always been passionate about making positive changes for Canada and the world. He is adamant about equal rights for all human beings. He believes in inclusiveness and not separation. Compassion and the love for all beings has been the driving force of his thoughts, words and actions during his short but well-lived life of 19 years. I use present tense knowing that my son continues to exist and his love for this world has not ended.
Remembrance Day has become a significant time for me and my husband. Every 11/11 we pay homage to the fallen soldiers and veterans who had served their countries. It is also a special day for us to hold a private ceremony in memory of our son and all the sons and daughters who have transitioned before us, their parents, regardless of their age and the way they have departed.
Leo has shown us in many ways that he is with us all the time. Signs and synchronicities have been plentiful on those poignant days around 11/11. I am highlighting here the synchronistic events on the Remembrance Day of last year and the current year.
We held a sacred ceremony at Leo’s Tree. We did not know in advance who would be there. It turned out that we had a gathering of people from various age groups and diverse backgrounds: race, colour, ethnicity, and faiths. It was the first time for some of them to be there and the first time they had ever met one another. Many of them were healers from different traditions. We had a ceremony accompanied by the otherworldly sounds of the singing bowls and the Native American drum. We all knew that Leo had brought us together at his Tree. We shared food and drink as we talked and laughed.
We were all united as ONE as we sent our love and prayers to those who are in spirit. All were included. There was no separation as we prayed for the alleviation of suffering for ALL BEINGS.
This was also known as 11/11/11, the most powerful day of the year. 2018 is an 11 year in numerology as I was told by those who know (2+0+1+8=11).
It was a glorious autumn day in one of Leo’s favourite places in the world, Victoria BC. Dear friends accompanied my husband and I for sacred ceremony. We could hear the hummingbirds in the trees. The gentle sun was casting magical colours and hues on everything around us. I started playing a small metal singing bowl just to try it out. As I heard the high-frequency tone filling the space, through the trees I saw a man stop in his tracks. His face had an intense expression. He was still there when I finished and I invited him to join us.
He shared with us how the sound had touched his heart; the playing of the singing bowl had been banned in his country of origin, yet he had grown up with the sound all around him as a boy. My playing the bowl had triggered a lot of memories for him.
My husband and I shared the reason of our being at the tree and about our son. He went on to tell us his homeland had been wrought with war and there had been many deaths of young people. Yet he had not been able to cry, even with his own parents’ passing. He felt that he had to hold it together for his family or he might fall apart. Our dear friend said it aptly, “he was carrying a deep wound of trauma from growing up in a war-torn country. He might not have lost a child, but he had seen much bloodshed and he carried a great burden of sadness with him.”
We felt that his heart has been lightened a bit after seeing us all together laughing and celebrating amidst our grief. We knew that his moment of awakening had begun at Leo’s Tree.
We thank Leo for always bringing the people who need to be there at his Tree at the right time. We usually have the ceremony at 11:11 am on the 11/11, but as our friends could not make it until late afternoon, we had changed the time to 3:03 pm. Had we not changed it, we would not have had this synchronistic meeting with our new friend. I found out later that ‘888’ is an important part of his daily life. Those who have read my blog post ‘The Infinite Bond’ would know the significance of that number for us.
It is apparent that violence and bloodshed have not stopped after the World Wars. We witness human suffering around the world mainly created by humans. When will we ever learn?
Let history teach us what not to repeat. Let Love and Compassion for one another be more powerful than hatred and division.
I am hearing that from my precious Son and Spirit. Thank you, Leo. We love you ❤️
“LEST WE FORGET” ❣️❣️❣️
It never fails. No trip is complete without ‘888’ appearing. On arriving Victoria, we’d brought flowers to Leo’s Tree and then we had to make a detour before driving to the hotel. It was the first and most likely the last time we will ever take that route. When we had finished the visit, we had to look for the shortest way to get to the hotel. Our car was at a stop sign and I saw ‘880’ on the street sign! And to emphasize the point even further, someone had added a smaller sign with ‘888’ underneath it. We knew that was Leo’s way of confirming his presence with us.
On our last day in Victoria, just before we left, we strolled around the Inner Harbour. It looked like a hummingbird was waiting for us on a tree. I had just enough time to take some pictures before it flew away. The magical bird has been our frequent messenger. We thanked Leo and our feathered friend!