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Saturday, March 1, 2008


Thursday, May 17, 2007


Current mood: calm
Category: Life

I wrote this story earlier today and shared it with one of my support groups...and then decided to share it with all of you as well.'

I love you Bennett-Chadlen

What does "NIMKEE" mean?: "NIMKEE" means "LITTLE THUNDER". It is Bennett-Chadlen's spirit name. It was given to him by the spirits themselves. My father is native....from the Ojibwe/Odawa tribe......and very traditional.
I was unaware that this was happening.....but.......following Bennett-Chadlen's death, my father was in touch with a couple of ladies from his reserve. These ladies were in touch with a medicine man (I all sounds very bizarre....but bear with me)....the medicine man laid out tobacco on the ground, which is one of the 4 sacred medicines (tobacco, sage, sweet grass, and cedar).....and asked the Spirits to provide a name for my precious boy. The medicine man also provided some sort of medicinal tea for me to drink that day.....and right before Bennett-Chadlen was laid to rest. I have no idea what was in it, but it helped to settle my nerves!
Anyway, I attended the funeral home with these 2 women, my mom, dad, and sister were there also. The native ladies had prepared a cedar tea that I was to clean Bennett with. They began by undressing him, and they "smudged" him with the smoke from the burning of the 4 sacred medicines....with his very own eagle feather to cleanse his soul and keep away bad spirits. They had me drink some of the tea, and one of the women began to wipe him down with the cloths dipped in the cedar tea. Apparently this is customary to prepare each body this way. I was told to release all my tears and was handed a cloth to wipe him down with myself.
All the while the other woman was drumming and singing a traditional native was very moving......and I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life....but afterwards I felt better. That is all part of the ceremony......for the mother to shed all her tears and grieve as she prepares her loved one for the wake and burial......afterwards there are few tears, and more strength. Amazing, but true. My sister was having a difficult time watching me cleaning Bennett, so she too was given a cloth of her own, and was told to "help your sister clean her baby......and cry all your sadness away."
{We are not to be sad following the passing of our loved ones.....they are in a happy place, a place of honor, and we are to celebrate their life....not mourn them. They do not want to see us sad, for it will make them feel guilty for leaving us......occasional tears are long as we tell them that they are happy tears, because we love them so much and are happy to have them in our lives. They understand.}
The woman that was drumming suddenly announced in our native language...but here is the translation, "NIMKEE.......Your little boy will be known as NIMKEE.......this is the name that the Spirits have given to him. It means LITTLE THUNDER.....and from now on whenever you hear the Thunder, you are to know that it is your little boy coming to say HELLO!".
On Monday evening, May 14th......we heard our first thunder since Nimkee's passing. It was about 8pm, and was just beginning to get dark. It was our Tristan's 9th we believe that Nimkee was coming by to 'sing Happy Birthday' to his brother Tristan. The thunder rumbled non-stop for hours, accompanied by the strangest show of lightning that we have ever seen. It was incredible.
I will also add the story behind our traditional native burial ceremony....incase anyone else is interested. It is a long story, but interesting if you are a spiritual person. I believe that the following is true, because of the photo that I posted earlier of the "Orbs" surrounding us in some of the photos taken following his passing. Check it out.....they are not fake.
It is our native belief that the deceased spirit does not cross-over to the other side for 4 days following their passing. This does not mean that the spirit remains in the body.....only nearby. For this reason the body is not to be unattended at all during the next 4 days until they are laid to rest.
Bennett-Chadlen passed away on Good Friday. Due to the holiday weekend, there wasn't going to be anyone available to deliver Bennett to the funeral home in my hometown......until Tuesday!!!!!. My father knew that I would be terribly upset if I found this out, so he drove to Toronto (7 hrs away) to retrieve Bennett's body. He and a very close family friend that I call Uncle Louie, went to the hospital with papers from the funeral home and just posed as drivers/employees. Before placing Bennett-Chadlen in the car, a 'smudging' ceremony was done all around each keep away evil spirits. Uncle Louie performed this ceremony, and he said that when he opened the door for my father to place Bennett inside, that my Great-Grandpa Roy got in also, and that he held Bennett on his lap all the way home. I got goosebumps when I heard that. I lived with my Great-Grandpa Roy until he passed away in 1987...I was 17.....we were very close, and I am not surprised that he was there to meet and watch over my precious boy. My father was not sure how he was going to be able to drive, with his grandson's lifeless body in the back seat....but he said that once he got into the car...he felt an instant peace surround him. He believes that my Grandpa was there with them....just like Uncle Louie said.
I know this all sounds a bit weird....but trust me.....we are not 'strange' people.
There have been many times that I have felt the presence of my grandpa, or smelled him, while at my father's home where we all lived in the house that my grandpa built. This is where my father still lives.....and where Bennett-Chadlen was brought for his wake.
Bennett was delivered to the funeral home at about 4 am, Sunday morning. The funeral director lives above the funeral home, so Bennett was not alone while he waited for me to come and get him. At 10 am, I performed his cleansing ceremony and dressed him in his burial outfit. At no time did anyone besides me touch Bennett-Chadlen. I bathed him and placed him in the bodybag and handed him over to the security guards at the hospital, and the funeral director did not touch him....he was not enbalmed. I removed him from the bodybag at the funeral home.
It was difficult, but I know that nobody touched my boy besides me, and the native ladies, and my family.......just the way it has been done for centuries. I even carried him out of the funeral home, got into the car, and held him as we drove down the street to my father's home. First we drove around the block, to show Bennett where he came from....and brother and my mom also live on the same street so we showed him where they live too.
Upon arrival to my father's home, I had to wait outside until the home was "smudged/cleansed"....again to keep out/cast out evil spirits that might try to 'steal' my baby's soul. As per brother built him his cross & casket. The cross had to be brought into the home ahead of him......and when possible, every body is brought in through the back door.....and goes out through the front door.
There also has to be a live cedar tree at the back my eldest son (20 yrs old) had to go out and dig one up and place it in a bucket.....that tree is still waiting to be planted in our yard. I then carried Bennett into the house through the back door, passed his cross.....and into the living room where he was to lay in wake for the next 2 nights, 3 days. Bennett was never left alone......there was someone with him 24hrs per day....protecting his soul. It is also the custom to light and burn a sacred fire, which signifies the light that the spirit is to go lights the "Path of Souls" so that the Spirit can find its way to its final destination. Because of burning restrictions in our town.....we kept a candle lit by him. The flame is not to go out until he is laid to rest on the fourth day.
Timeline.....Good Friday:
Bennett passed away on Good Friday, approx 2:30 PM his heart stopped. I was holding him in my arms.....with his father by my side.
We all took turns having hand moulds made with Bennett. The bereavement staff were so patient and wonderfully kind to us. Each of my young boys have moulds of them holding onto Bennett's tiny hand. I made mine holding onto his tiny feet.....his father held his hand.....our mother's also got to have a mould made with Bennett. These are precious keepsakes.
Chadlen and I had photos taken with him.
I dressed him, and moved to a sitting room, and our entire family spent time a few hours with him....and then they left. My mom and I stayed with Bennett-Chadlen...and with the help of the night nurse, I was able to make some gold embossed feet prints. They are so beautiful......and unique. Remember...he has 6 toes on each well as 6 fingers on each hand.
I gave him his first and only tub mom took some photos.....priceless. I dried him.....rubbed lotion on him.....and dressed him in a tiny robe, hat, and booties supplied by donations to the NICU. I swaddled him, and rocked him as long as I wanted to. Around 11:30pm I helped the nurse to wrap him and place him in the bodybag for cold storage. He was wrapped beautifully, complete with bows....just like a precious gift! I held him and rocked him like that until the security arrived to take him. My mom and I left the hospital at midnight, and spent the night at a nearby hotel, courtesy of the hospital.
Saturday....returned home.....a long 8 hr trip.
Sunday morning....brought Bennett-Chadlen home after prepping him.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.....spent all my time with Bennett....holding him, looking at him....and just being in his presence. I even slept on the sofa nearby....I couldn't leave his side.
Sunday & Monday evening.....prayer & song services held.
Tuesday evening.....his funeral service was held in my father's home....and he was laid to rest, as the sun went down.....and the stars came out.
Sorry this is so is the first time I have written this complete was very therapeutic.
So, as you can see, it was a long 5 days.....but a very precious time that I will never forget....and I was able to spend ample time with my beautiful boy before I had to let him go forever. Chadlen and his mother attended the entire wake, even though they too had a very long drive.....7 hrs......but it is a time they will always cherish as well. They have never before witnessed such a "Celebration of Life".

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Love, Peace, & Nimkee Blessings to you all....M