This story took place in April 2009, on the day I was to leave to fly home from Toronto, Ontario. I’d spent four amazing days at the “I Can Do It Conference” listening to some of my favorite writers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer and Dr. Christiane Northrup. There were times when it had felt surreal just to be in a place with teachers who had played a key role in my daily growth. My friends Alexis and Dawn had encouraged me to make the trip with them and I was grateful I’d listened to their advice.
In my purse, I carried a heartpass. Now you might be wondering what in the world are heartpasses? The best way I can explain them to you is they were a gift inspired by my mother. I had left my position in Colchester County, teaching computer to women in the area. My mother needed daily care and I had decided to move her into my home and look after her. I admit to feeling a little lost as I’d been used to traveling everyday with my job, helping women find their strengths to move forward with their lives. Suddenly I found myself at home everyday and it was a huge transition in my life. Because I worked with polymer clay I began designing small hearts to give to the caregivers who came into our home to help with Mum’s care. I decided to name them heartpasses because they were created with the intention of inspiring a journey of kindness. It is important for you to know in the beginning my mother never truly understood why the little hearts meant so much to me.
On the morning before I was to leave for the airport to fly back to Nova Scotia, I set out to find some of my mum’s favorite yarn. Little did I know finding the yarn was not as important as the experience that was to come. I walked through the hallways of the shops underground on my way to the Eaton’s Centre. A few minutes into my walk I came across a shoe store. Now there is something you need to know about me. “I love shoes. I mean love, love, love!” Many of you reading will totally get that and therefore understand my excitement when I was met with a store hosting a banquet of foot creations in every color and design you can imagine.
Now here is another thing you need to know. There was very little money in my bank account. I had chosen to put my career on hold to care for my mother. It’s a decision I will never regret for I am a different woman now because of spending this time with my Mum.
Back at the shoestore, I started looking at the prices and my heart dropped, knowing all I would be able to do was look. The temptation to buy a pair even though I couldn’t afford it was difficult to curb, yet somehow I overcame it and left the store proud I had won the battle of indulgence. I quickly crossed over to the other side of the mall only to be met with another struggle of shoe temptation.
I walked into this new store and was met by a pleasant saleswoman. My words to her were, “I think I’ve died and gone to shoe heaven!” She laughed and we immediately sparked up a “soleful” conversation. I told her I was walking around with mini- pads on my feet. Momentarily I saw a look of terror in her eyes. If I could have read her mind I think she may have been wondering if she should run to the back, to escape this strange woman donning feminine hygiene products in her boots? Afterall what normal person would dare admit to such an eccentric act? Finally with a look of bewilderment she asked me why.
Now I had come to Toronto with nothing but high heels and my feet had been burning with discomfort most of the week; all in name of fashion. It was on my way out of my hotel room that morning when I suddenly had an idea. If I took a mini-pad, folded it in three, stuck it to the front part of my foot, I thought it it might take some of the pressure of my throbbing, aching feet. Seemed pretty rational to me. Well I did and it worked as well as mini-pads could. It had been raining heavily that day so the mini-pads proved a secondary function being quite absorbant when walking through puddles.
Upon sharing the mini-pad story the saleswoman left momentarily and on her return she was carrying a set of foam inserts for my boots. I was touched by her kindness and reached into my purse to give her the heartpass. What happened next surprised me.
This woman, who was a total stranger only minutes before, began to cry right there on the spot. “How did you know?” she said. “How did you know hearts were my favorite thing in the world?” I explained to her I that I gave the heartpasses to people who were kind to me as a way of saying thank you. She then pointed to her necklace which I hadn’t noticed until that very moment. It was a beautiful silver heart. She told me people made fun of her for loving hearts and the one on her neck she had just started wearing again in memory of a parent she had lost with the anniversary of that loss coming near.
Well then I started to cry and asked if I could hug her. We embraced in a connection of two complete strangers sharing a moment because of a small heart that meant something special to both of us. I’ll never forget that morning. I had no idea then I would lose my mother less than two short weeks later. When I left the store I went back the way I had come knowing I had completed a small journey that was meant to be shared in that moment… all because of mini-pads and tired tootsies!
When I returned to Nova Scotia, I immediately went to the Shiretown Nursing Home where my mother had been staying while I was away. She’d had a wonderful experience and asked me if I had any heartpasses to give the nurses who had cared for her. I told her I would bring some on the following morning when I came back to take her home. I did just that and as we said our goodbyes to the nurses, she passed a heartpass to each one telling them the story of their creation. The miracle here was my mum never truly understood why I created the kindness hearts until that very day. She got it!
Mum passed away shortly after my return home but the memories of that special trip and our moment in the Shiretown will live on in my heart forever. Six years later I am still creating heartpasses and they are traveling the world uniting hearts all because I took the time to care for my Mum just as she had cared for me in my younger years.
As an added note, I did leave the store in Toronto with a pair of boots. There was a sales rack in the back with an assortment of boots. The saleswoman pointed out a very practical pair that would make my sore feet happy. Now right beside those boots were a pair of shiny, sexy boots with heels a little higher than I usually wear.
Guess which ones I chose?