"It's always a good time for Chai"
Welcome to the world Heather and I created. We so enjoyed our time building this website, adding recipes, developing the FAQ’s, and absolutely loving our product. It was obvious to anyone who new us that we had a special relationship. We would laugh because we noticed when we introduced each other as my partner we might have to clarify, “business” partner.
When Heather passed away, that supportive and joy filled area of my life was gone. We held a life celebration, her family slowly went through her things and then the family gathered again in the Fall to spread her ashes. Life just moved on, day after day after day. The pain in my core, the grief and sadness were there every morning. The only thing I knew was to get up and move forward and so I did that. I kept asking myself, what now? Where do I go from here?
I needed to make decisions about what to do for the next while with regards to our business. I had to formulate a plan, even if it did not work out. My first decision was to not do any gift markets and since that was our money maker it was a big decision. I found that carried a great deal of relief. The next big decision I made was to talk with a counselor at Primary Care Network. Those few weeks of talking about my experience, saying things out loud, even to a perfect stranger, was so helpful. It brought everything to the surface, made it raw again but also helped me heal. I have the best friends and family, but I did not want that to be their job. Hiring someone to listen, completely, was the perfect answer. After four sessions, a little light began to filter into my life.
At the 1 years mark I started to talk with others about doing a project in Heather’s name and everyone was encouraging. We called the project “Hearts for Heather” from the name on a Facebook page we had set up for friends and family. That fit in perfectly with our heart shaped, spiced cookie making project. It was a lovely adventure with her two daughters Amy and Becky and super fun working with people who also really missed her. Heather was on the board of the Red Deer Arts Council for 3 years, so we decided to donate the money to them. Making 2500 cookies with Heather’s community allowed more light to filter into my days.
Every business decision I made over the next year I would consider Heather. What would Heather want me to do? I started with baby steps. To this date, the feeling she is here in my heart guiding me brings me joy. This joy also comes from the relationships we built with our chai community, the beautiful children she raised and recalling the wisdom and deep love she shared with the world. That is now the joy I try to share every day.
Through the last 3 years, sharing and listening others, I have learned that grief is so personal and looks vastly different for everyone. I hope genuinely, everyone who has experienced a loss can, in their own time, make their way back to seeing the light and experiencing joy.
Chai is always a good idea,