Last year at the 2018 retreat in Nashville when it was announced that the 2019 retreat would be held in Texas I was so over the top excited. Then when I was asked if I would head up the planning committee I was both excited and scared to death. I knew exactly who I wanted to recruit to help and could not have had a more awesome team. Barbara and Valerie are both amazing, you throw in my BFF Diana and we literally became the Fab 4 on a mission.
My brain kicked into overdrive as soon as I got home from Nashville and all I could think about was how I wanted our retreat to ooze one thing, PEACE. I wanted that to be the central focus of the whole weekend just peace and so much love. I thought about what had given me the most peaceful moments I have had over the last 10 years since losing my precious Cameron and the times that came to my mind, aside from the past retreats with my sisters, were the surprise dove release my best girlfriends arranged for me on the 5th Angelversary of Cameron's departure to heaven. 5 beautiful healthy white birds so graceful and smooth in flight when released gave me the most calm and peaceful feeling in my heart that I had experienced in a very long time. Then when I married last year I wanted that feeling again, to keep from falling apart at the thought of marrying without my son there, so I hired a local dove person and released 2 prior to my ceremony, one in remembrance of my son and one for my husband's mother who could not be there for that special day either. It was so beautiful and healing for us both to remember them in that way.
This is exactly the feeling I wanted to bring to every mom that attended our retreat in San Antonio, so I set out on a mission to make the dream a reality. In November I stumbled upon Amazing Grace doves in S.A., online and I emailed Victor that day inquiring about a quote to see if this was even remotely possible. I had paid $200 for the 2 doves released at my wedding and my friends paid $400 for the 5 all those years ago. And I was wanting at least 25-30 birds, so imagine how far out of reach I felt this was going to be.
He called me within 30 minutes of that email and asked me to tell him a little more about our group. As I am talking he stops me and says, "God is laying on my heart to gift this release to your group". I was stunned, and for those that know me there is never a moment in time when I am at a loss for words, but in this moment I had nothing but grateful tears.
So, from that point forward our planning was centered and all done around that moment, how I felt and wanting to share that with all of our Sisters of the heart.
I will forever be grateful for this opportunity to see the vision from birth to full life form. From the T-shirt designing, the painting design, the gorgeous custom gift bags and the Dove release we put every ounce of pure love, heart and peace fueled energy into this event and sincerely hope everyone who attended walked away feeling just that way and can carry it into their ever evolving grief journey.