The Sun Valley Wellness Festival 2017

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Vicky Bates Speaker/Presenter Vicky Bates lives in Sun Valley, Idaho with her husband Steve. After experiencing the loss of her son she initiated a blog “Losing a Child Finding Hope.” She has published articles for “Open to Hope,” a resource for people who have lost children and has also written a spiritual column for Woman Magazine, a quarterly publication about cancer, health and spirituality. Bates also volunteers for hospice and runs retreats for women. Bate’s new book is “Empty Jacket” Blending honesty, humor and wonderfully insightful observations, “Empty Jacket” leaves us all laughing, angry, scared and wondering. Wise, hopeful and spiritual, Bates’ writing moves all readers. Inspired by the loss of her 10-year-old son, Sun Valley author Vicky Bates released an insightful memoir detailing a self-deprecating tour of an older mother of adopted children who has been faced with a daily struggle and, ultimately, tragedy. Through wit and snappy prose as well as an acute awareness for her emotional and exasperating situation, Bates presents a true-life incident with all of its nuances, which carries the…

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Another Mother’s Day…

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  About hundred years ago when I was a young married woman everyone who was a mother received a carnation at mass. I did not have children and felt awkward and left out. Crazy right? Shouldn’t everyone receive a carnation because they were women? Women who helped friends, made soup for neighbors or drove someone to a doctor’s appointment? Everyone is put in categories. Now I’m in a different category, a mother who has lost a child. It has been years since my son died and even though that day is a gentle reminder of our bond it still brings a pang. So when Mother’s Day approaches remember this, this beautiful person who called you mother blessed you. And for those who know a mother, who has lost, don’t forget her. Give her the gift of you remembering her child. You are not making her sad. She remembers every breathing moment of that day and the days that followed. She wonders if friends think about what she has lost. Do they remember what a wonderful…

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Hope

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My son died in the fall. When spring came it was a chance to take a breath. Aimlessly walking around our yard I watched small birds flying with pieces of debris sticking out of their beaks. A robin displaying his brilliant chest proudly hopped across my yard. I glanced a green shoot popping up through a crack in the sidewalk. This gave me a glint into what hope feels like, the innate power of a pushing forward against all odds. Winter is quiet and dark. Spring comes in bright, warm and noisy no matter what our circumstances. That is what grief is like. Time goes by and one day you wake up to the fact that you can breath again. The season of your loss has shifted. Your lost one is still the first thing you think of when waking but it softens with time. Like the weed we move ahead toward the sun trying to regain hope, knowing it is there.        

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Another kind of a March Madness

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  Now, after a many months I look at the snow like those relatives over-staying their welcome. Enough already. Spring is finally approaching. Brown-laced leaves are being forced upward by the long forgotten tulips giving us the image of tiny ballerinas. The spring breeze runs over our faces as we stand among the returning songbirds. Another season arrives. We count the seasons by a different standard now, years of loss. We stand still, hoping for hope. Like a whisper in the quiet space, our lost children embrace us with a spiritual energy that runs through us like an electrical currant. “You are doing good, be brave, we are still here and always will be for you.” EmptyJacketVickyBates

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February

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“Wishing and wanting to see you, I step on thin ice.” –  Madoka Mayuzumi Coming out of one of those big box stores I witnessed a man leaning over to carefully zip up a small yellow snow jacket. The boy was looking up at his dad with practiced patience, nether one paying attention, each thinking their own thoughts. I never thought about this but that particular morning it made me pause and think how we do so many things out of habit each day. We are always in a hurry to move ahead and get to the next task. Not really paying attention to the “now”. This often happens raising children in this over-scheduled world. I don’t know what caught my eye that morning. We observe those acts daily, shoes being tied, noses being wiped and hair being fingered combed by moms going somewhere. We take much for granted in life. Those simple memories make us pause and wish we had a do-over. For those that have lost someone special we must honor them by…

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Galileo Knew

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“The sun keeps all the planets on their appointed orbits yet some how manages to ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do.” Gallieo There is so much we do not understand as souls. In the beginning, some of us seem to glide through lives with an abundance of blessings, while others seem to be daunted by daily struggles, and yes, even deaths. Why is that? Is someone picking on us from the “cosmos”? We are all here to learn lessons and some of us are in the graduate school of spiritual awareness. We are given all the equipment to grow in grace and knowledge the moment we enter the world. We must trust that this is true. Every soul walks a different path to the same endpoint. We arrive to different countries, skin colors and come to have different spiritual and political beliefs. But the true essence of who we are is that we are part of the one. If the sun can take care of the lowly grape then…

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Tis” The Season

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I remember the care my mother took unwrapping the holy family nativity set at Christmas. Nothing had changed from the previous year. There she sat on her knees in front of the tree slightly turning to face us. “Sit still, stop grabbing things and settle down now, you’re going to break something,” our mother said. Mom tenderly unwrapped Joseph then Mary, followed by a worn out one- eyed sheep and a lumbering cow. But where was baby Jesus? “Were you kids in this box grabbing things? I swear you can’t even leave the holy family in peace”. Christmas miracle took place, baby Jesus fell out of the straw. As kids it was exciting to see all the familiar ornaments. Mickey Mouse with his Christmas attire, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head in fur caps, that sameness was comforting. Holidays came and went, some better than others, but always good. When we had our own families we continued the traditions adding a few martinis. I remember one Christmas morning when the boys came flying downstairs in their…

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Thanksgiving without loved ones…

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As our Thanksgiving tables overflow with turkey and stuffing we give thanks for our many blessings. We have to rise above the piercing arrow of loss and realize how small our lives would have been without our beloved children. On this day let’s be grateful and see the bright shining light of our children reflected back in our love of others. We must remember to open our hearts and pray not only for our children who are no longer with us, but for children everywhere. Knowing the more love we send out the more we connect with the grace of our kids who are always surrounding us. We are all connected. Much is asked of those who have walked the path of grief. We need to be strong torchbearers for those that cannot lift their own torches. And what of those children who are not our own in the war torn areas of the world? The children who have no pie or turkey, who are starving with nothing to eat, who are cold and cower…

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The Vine?

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What? The vine is closing down before I figured out what it was and how to use it! I got an “A” in the Palmer method of penmanship used a hundred years ago at St. Michael’s grammar school, any points for that talent? Thank God for the computer or I would still be writing and crossing out lines for Empty Jacket with my writing skills taught by Sister Ann Marie.  

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