Written on the homepage of the Heartprints KIDS for a Cause website are the words:
♥ As we walk along in life, we leave footprints,
♥ As we touch, we leave fingerprints and handprints,
♥ As we touch hearts, we will leave heartprints.
Throughout her life, Bev Boyden touched many lives and left many heartprints. Yesterday, I received a message from her beautiful daughter, Tamara letting me know that sometime during the early morning hours of May 9th, Bev’s heart gave its last beat. Her heartprints remain. Indelible. Enduring. Forever imprinted on my heart and the heart of the many lives she impacted with her gentle manner, her soft voice, her loving heart and her giving nature.
I first met Bev in 2006 when she walked into my office at the adult emergency homeless shelter where I worked. She and her daughter, Tamara Van Staden, had called me a few days before to set up the appointment. Tamara, then 11-years-old, was doing a ‘Pay-It-Forward’ project in her Grade 5 Class and had heard about the artshow we were holding just before Christmas. Tamara wanted to sell her handmade jewelry at the show.
I don’t think I will ever forget the image of Tamara and her mom sitting behind their table, laughing and chatting together as they strung beads onto wires, or knit and crocheted the many items they made to raise funds for homeless shelters in Calgary. Over the years, Heartprints: KIDS for a Cause, the not-for-profit Tamara started when she was 12, has raised over $15,000 for homeless-serving agencies. One bead, one stitch, one heartbeat at a time.
And woven into every piece they created is the love and care Bev wove into her life and the life of her daughter.
Bev was an incredible mom. It was the thing she was most proud of in her life, she once told me. Being a mother to Tamara gave her joy, laughter, purpose. It sparked her creative juices, it made her want to be the best human being she could possibly be.
And she was. A beautiful, magnificent human being.
Over the years, Bev and I formed a friendship through our shared passion for making a difference in the world, especially our daughters’ worlds, and our desire to heal and grow and expand our understanding of ourselves and how we are in this world so that we could share the best of who we are with the world around us.
She did it well.
The sharing of herself. The caring. The loving. The creating. The being.
She poured it into Tamara. Her fur-babies. Her garden. Her friends. Her community. Her world.
No matter where she was, the world was, and will always be, a better place because of Bev.
Dearest Bev, your heart has stopped. Your heartprints live on. In my heart and the hearts of all those you touched with your kindness, grace and love.
There are so many ways I am grateful for you in my life. Our paths crossed by coincidence. They stayed connected through choice. One of the many things I so admired about you is how, when I told you about Choices, you put it on your bucket list and in 2015 you made it come true. I was in awe of your commitment and dedication to your personal growth so that you could be a better mother, friend, human being. Your willingness to trust me with your beautiful heart touched me deeply.
Yesterday, after receiving the news from Tamara, I asked how I could support her. She asked me to write something for her mother.
I said down and wrote the following letter. And though I can’t deliver it in person, I believe Bev can read it, feel it, sense it.
Dear friend, I am struggling for words to tell you how much I appreciated you in my life and what a difference you made in my heart.
And, as I read back through our messages, I am reminded of what a difference you made in our community. Like the time you convinced your Charity Committee at work to take on fulfilling the needs of CWES that also included the Women’s Centre because you accidentally phoned them (thinking you were calling CWES) to ask for their needs list.
I loved how you were so excited to be able to deliver what both organizations needed. You thought your mistake was the best thing ever because you were helping even more women. As you wrote in your message telling me about the event, “…after hearing what they were in desperate need of (shampoo/ conditioner, lotion and baby care items), I could not ignore that calling! So the CWES got all their pillows replaced and will get all the other items requested … 3 baby monitors, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, baby care items. The Women’s Centre will receive all the items they said they were in desperate need of. Feeling very satisfied as it was over a year ago that I presented the idea to our firm Charity Committee to do a fundraiser to collect items for personal care and to accomplish that around Valentine’s Day.”
That’s who you were Bev. Determined. Committed. Always there to help out. Always willing to do what ever was needed to make a difference. To do one thing every day to make the world a better place.
I will miss you my friend. I will miss our lunches, though this past year they were impossible to have. I will miss your lovely gratitude messages on FB and your commitment to keeping your Choices FB page full of inspiring messages and most of all, I will miss learning more of your journey as you fulfilled on your big bucket list item this year by stepping out of your comfort zone to seek new, exciting opportunities for employment. I was so excited that you were off on another adventure.
Much love, hugs and beans as you journey to the other side and beyond,
In 2013, Bev wrote a guest blog HERE on de-cluttering. It is a lovely view into her heart. I am so grateful to have memories of Bev to carry with me always.