At the age of 42, my life was amazing! I was full of energy and vitality. I was not only in a new relationship, but also on my path to enlightenment and pregnant with my second child. This infant was a love child conceived by two soul mates united in a marriage made in heaven. The whole pregnancy had an aura of mysticism about it. While in gestation, my child and I communicated with each other - one nudge meant yes and two nudges meant no. We picked out the wallpaper for her room using our code language. Teddy bears it was! I could hardly wait to meet this very special person.
Finally, on January 23, 1996 Eliana Casey Victoria was born. This long-awaited moment which was supposed to be filled with joy and happiness suddenly became one of sadness and fear. Eliana had Downe’s Syndrome, a congenital heart malformation, and a tumor on her liver. How could this be? I felt betrayed, cheated, deceived beyond words. I had held a vision of spending a lifetime together, playing, singing, dancing, growing, and learning from each other... a vision which abruptly disappeared when she died on the operating table only 15 days later.
She touched down, as some souls do, with such grace and speed that one scarcely knew she had arrived, let alone left. It had been as though she was just visiting!
So the journey began, the journey of overcoming the loss of my child. An immense piece was missing from my soul, it had gone with Eliana. I would never hear her tiny footsteps or her girlish giggle nor feel her gentle fingers pat my hair trying to pull me from my sleep.
Outliving one’s child is undoubtedly the hardest thing a parent can endure and I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
Many people attended her funeral – only a few of them had actually met her. Some told me how they felt the power of her energy and some were just curious as to who this little being had been.
The celebration was quickly over but the arduous process of grieving and of creating memories to testify of her existence would endure. Daisies, the flower of Jesus, had cascaded the top of her small white coffin. After the celebration, the flowers adorned the coffee table without water. To my surprise, they lasted more than a month. I interpreted this to be a sign of Eliana’s presence. In her honour, I decided to save the dried daisies and used them to bed the hole where we planted an apple tree that spring. To this very day, a circle of wild daisies ornaments her tree during the blooming season - a sign that she is with us in spirit.
Indeed, her spirit has been felt by many. Those people who knew of Eliana have told me that she comes to visit them when they are strolling, writing or just sitting in silence – it seems that she comes to assist in her angelic manner, longing to help others. Knowing that I am not the only one to feel her presence and to share stories of Eliana’s visits is balm to my soul.
In 2004, I was moving through a difficult period in my life. Her father had recently left to start a new family. I was devastated! Another loss! I knew I had to complete the letting go of Eliana and her father in order to move on but the emotions simply overwhelmed me. I drew a hot bath and asked Eliana to help me through this difficult period. I asked for a message, a sign that she was with me. I was bathing with a small piece of very thin cinnamon soap and thought this would be the last time I used it.
A few hours later, I returned to the bathroom and my eyes fell upon the soap dish. To my utter amazement, there was Eliana’s face gently looking back at me from the soap’s surface! Goosebumps covered my body and I was elated that she had heard my message and had made her presence known in such a clear form. Words cannot describe the spiritual awakening and profound healing that followed. It was magical, phenomenal!
I realized at that moment that although we can never prepare for the loss of a loved one, they are never really lost to us. We each experience death in our own way but what sustains me is my belief that life exists beyond the physical. I believe we can touch loved ones in the spirit world and that, in turn, they can touch us in ways that we cannot fathom... unless we allow them.
Reinvigorated with Eliana’s healing touch, I spontaneously shared my experience with others. I noticed that parents or others who had lost loved ones, regardless of circumstance, shifted emotionally and spiritually when told of our story. Eliana’s face in the soap was becoming a healing mandala. Determined to spread hope, every year, on the anniversary of her birth, I sought permission from Eliana to share our beautiful story of healing and connection.
On January 23rd, 2008 – 12 years later – I asked Eliana once more for a clear message. Was it time to tell others, on a wider scale, about this wonderful healing experience? Could I put the image of her face on a pendant, a piece of jewelry to be worn for comfort and support?
The very next morning I received an email from my sister living in Los Angeles who did not know of my request. She mentioned that she and her husband had been watching TV when they saw an advertisement for Iliana’s Jewelry. There was my answer! In no time, I had pendants designed with Eliana’s face from the soap and began to offer them to those seeking comfort and healing. Through these exchanges, people have purged unbelievable stories of loss and sorrow and have received connection, love, healing, and hope in return.
Eliana’s jewelry is a magnificent symbol of the soothing gifts she has to offer to those yearning for a relationship beyond earthly existence. As if this was not enough, this year, her apple tree bore the sweetest, mostly heart-shaped, fruit in 13 years! An energy radiated from the tree which I knew was hers. I shared this joyous manifestation with friends and family, many of whom came to receive a basket of these most special apples filled with love.
Every time I tell my story of the apple tree or distribute another pendant, my memory of Eliana is deepened and the joy she gives me is multiplied. Her pendants are worn in remembrance of children and other loved ones who have passed into the light, yet are always with us. Eliana was on her own path clearing out her karma and pain to help others. Despite her very short life, she came to teach unconditional love and that she did. This awakening has changed my life and, for this, I will be forever grateful.
Co-editor, Marie-Claude Lessard, ACC 4D Excellence