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Sharing the Journey from Bereaved to Shining Light Parent
The Wisdom of Greg - A Pilgrimage for Greg - The Journey Continues

The Wisdom of Greg - A Pilgrimage for Greg - The Journey Continues

  • Posted
    • Aug
    • 4
    • 2023
by Elizabeth Boisson
Above: Minceta Tower - The House of the Undying
Bill is just an ordinary guy who has had extraordinary things happen to him since the passing of his son Greg. Susan writes it all down. The Calgary, Canada affiliate leaders are on an amazing journey with their son. 
In last month's column, we started to tell the incredible story of how our son in spirit came with us on his pilgrimage to the Mediterranean. Greg had passed at the age of 27 two weeks before Bill and I were scheduled to leave on a Mediterranean cruise in September 2014, and although I couldn't imagine how I would be able to go ahead with it, Greg made sure we went. Bill called the trip a pilgrimage for Greg. (Click here Helping Parents Heal - Blog: The Wisdom of Greg - A Pilgrimage for Greg  to read Part 1 about how Greg convinced me to go, and the amazing first leg of our journey in Venice). 
After Venice, our next port of call was Dubrovnik in Croatia, the site of so many of the shooting locations for Greg's favorite television series, Game of Thrones. A few months before Greg left this Earth, I sat down with him at my laptop and had him point out to me all of the shooting locations that he wanted me to photograph for him. 
Bill and I got an early start and took a taxi from the cruise port to the Old Town of Dubrovnik, and on the way, the driver was playing Frank Sinatra songs. We knew Greg was with us because he was a big fan of Sinatra's music. The last time I saw Greg, he was driving away from our home blasting Sinatra's 'I Did It My Way' (Google the lyrics, as I did after he passed. Greg was sending a powerful message about his Soul Plan). 
We walked through the Old Town's ancient gates and went into a small office that sells tickets to walk Dubrovnik's City Walls, the centuries-old defensive stone walls that surround the Old Town. We were the only tourists there, and as Bill stood several steps behind me, I approached two young men who were standing behind a glass-partitioned ticket counter. I said, "Two tickets please," and one of the young men immediately said to me, "Three?" and then chuckled awkwardly as if he didn't know why he had just said that. I looked behind me to see if anyone else had come into the office behind Bill and I, but there was no one else there.
As we left the ticket office, I said to Bill that that was an odd encounter, but Bill told me he immediately knew it was Greg who nudged the ticket seller to say "Three" because Greg needed a ticket too! 
As I was purchasing the tickets I had noticed a sign informing visitors that HBO was filming Game of Thrones on the City Walls that day and offered apologies if the wall walk was interrupted for filming. We weren't stopped during our walk, but I did get photos of House Lannister flags and all the shooting locations Greg had pointed out to me. I knew he was loving this!
When I had sat down with Greg to ask him which shooting locations he wanted me to photograph, he was especially interested in a large round tower topped with a Gothic crown called the Minceta Tower, the highest point in the City Walls defense system. Greg told me the tower was called 'The House of the Undying' in Game of Thrones, and Bill and I knew because of this beautifully meaningful connection that this was where we would next spread some of Greg's ashes. We sprinkled some out a small window at the top of the tower and watched as a sudden gust of wind swirled his stardust into the sky and it glinted in the sun. 
We continued our pilgrimage for Greg at our next port of call on the island of Malta where we placed some of his ashes at the gate at Mdina, which stood in as the royal entrance to King's Landing in Game of Thrones. 
Then we arrived at our last stop, the Eternal City of Rome. The beautiful signs and synchronicities continued as we sat for a quick bite at our B&B's breakfast spot and Coldplay's song 'A Sky Full of Stars' played. It was one of Greg's favorites, and a few weeks earlier we discovered it was the last song Greg listened to on his MP3 player. 
After breakfast, we walked to the Colosseum and Bill said it would be the perfect place to sprinkle the last of Greg's ashes. Initially I was against doing this because of the bad karma of the place, but Bill said it was the ultimate stadium and Greg loved football, and our son owned a laminated poster of Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator. I decided that Greg could counter the bad karma and placed the last of my son's ashes in a discreet niche overlooking the gladiators' arena. 
The day before we returned home, we visited St. Peter's Basilica with my sole purpose being to see Michelangelo's Pietá, the marble statue of Mother Mary holding the body of her son Jesus on her lap after the crucifixion. Eight years earlier, on a trip we took with Greg and our daughter Kristin, I had seen the Pietá statue for the first time and I shed a few tears because I was deeply worried about my son and where his life was heading. As I stood before that incredibly evocative statue again, Greg had lost his struggle with his addiction and my worst fear was realized. But that night, the last night of our pilgrimage, Greg threw me a lifeline.
Greg had already shown his Dad in a dream a few weeks before that he was in the cosmos. He loved the Lord of the Rings movies and the character Gandalf, and before we went to sleep that night at our B&B, I said to Bill that Gandalf had it right when he said in the movie that "stars wheeled overhead" and he "strayed out of time" after losing the fight with a terrible creature called the Balrog. Gandalf lived on, however, and came back stronger than ever.
We went to sleep and some time later I startled awake and Greg's voice immediately popped into my head (this is the only time I've heard Greg talk to me as he does so often with his Dad). He said, "I'm free and I'm wheeling through time and space!"
Our pilgrimage for Greg ended with our son's reassuring words that he is free and flying through the cosmos!    
If you would like to hear more about our amazing experiences, click here to watch the video Bill made for the HPH YouTube channel.
~Written by Susan Van Oije with Bill and Greg

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