We lost our precious lil' love to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. As an incredibly strong family unit, we fought this horrid disease for 2 1/2 years........only for it to come back a fourth time to finally claim Hunter's life. Zen and I are truly devastated and the beautiful light that used to brighten our days and enhance our souls, no longer exists. Our hearts are truly and forever broken. We have a long journey ahead of us, but we are committed and devoted to surviving and living our life embracing Hunter's amazing spirit. With tremendous honor, we will carry on his legacy of love, his legacy of courage and his remarkable ambition to live strong, live fearlessly and live with passion.

You will remain forever in our hearts baby love. We carry you with us every moment of every hour of every day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hunter and Ryder at the Great Vow Zen Monastery

So one of Ryder's first adventures was visiting the Great Vow Zen Monastery here in Oregon. We packed Ryder up in the car at 9 days old and took a 2-hour road trip up in the hills, where we went to share another little wonderful piece of Hunter and honor his beautiful soul.

We attended a Jizo Ceremony that is held to remember children who have been called back into the ocean of life.......away from sadness and away from suffering. The Jizo "Bodhisattva" is a much beloved figure in Japan, Korea, and China, and is a special protector of children, travelers, and women. Zen and I felt naturally drawn to this and thought it would be a special place to share some of Hunter's love, (Zen is Korean and Caucasian, I am African American and Caucasian.......so Hunter and Ryder are Korean, African American and Caucasian).

It was a very touching ceremony and upon it's completion we walked the beautiful remembrance gardens and chose a Jizo statue that we felt represented Hunter and everything he embodies. This particular one stood out to us and had a very warrior-like presence about him and seemed to be pretty studly and very unique.

We decorated the Jizo with our little touch of Hunter, (and Lightning McQueen of course), and also left him a sweet note with a piece of one of his favorite blankets..........and Hudson Hornet:

Love you so much Baby Cakes. Your amazing soul is an overwhelming amount of love, warmth and inspiration to us. We cherish you and carry you with us wherever we go. May you dance on forever to the rhythm of our hearts. XoXo and warm snuggles - Mom and Dad

After we decorated the statue, we moved on to an amazingly beautiful tree, which was two trees intertwined into one, and spread some of Hunter's ashes. As his ashes gracefully blew in the wind and fell to the bottom of the tree - I felt as if the earth was going to open up and swallow me whole. The pain in my heart was so incredibly intense and it was aching with such sadness and disbelief. We were so, so sad at this particular moment and it was reality slamming us in the face, once again, confirming that Hunter is gone. It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking.

Zen holding Ryder right before the Jizo Ceremony began.

Overall, I felt as if this day brought another level of peace to us. I was comforted and proud to leave some of Hunter's preciousness in this beautiful garden. It felt safe and warm and visited by many kind and loving souls. Another amazing place for Hunter to frolic in on the days he feels like running in the wilderness.

About the Jizo Bodhisattva:

Jizo is the bodhisattva who plunges fearlessly into any place or situation to help those in need. For anyone who has lost a child, Jizo is a powerful image of hope and solace. Jizo's qualities include unflagging optimism, fearlessness, and gentleness.

Jizo Bodhisattva is usually portrayed as a child-monk, often carrying a pilgrim's staff with six rings that jingle to warn animals of his approach and prevent mutual harm.

Jizo also carries the bright jewel of Dharma truth whose light banishes all fear. Jizo travels to wherever there are people who are mired in the darkness of unhappiness and fear, unable to free themselves.

Jizo is the Japanese name of this Bodhisattva, who was also known in ancient India as Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva, the Earthstore Bodhisattva, guardian of the great earth

A Bodhisattva is one who devotes his or her life to freeing others from suffering. Bodhisattvas are not worshipped, but are an inspiration to awaken to the qualities of an enlightened being that are inherent in everyone.

At Great Vow Zen Monastery, they practice with Jizo to help awaken the Bodhisatta's qualities in ourselves.


  1. Now I know what you will do with the rest of your life. You will help others who have tragic losses learn how to more then survive. You will teach them how to live and create more beauty in the world. I will keep watching and applauding as you do it.

  2. Kelli Zook - Thank you for sharing this with us. What a touching tribute.

  3. Codi Kodama Lloyd - Every day that passes you both amaze me with your strength and the amount of love that you both have for precious Hunter. What a very wonderful tribute.

  4. Shannon Boothe Ruiz - Just read your most recent blog update. Sounds like you made a beautiful memory in a wonderful place. Just wanted to let you know that as the rest of us continue forward in our lives we haven't forgotten your pain or your little man. I watched your slide show of Hunter and was again touched by such a handsome little boy. Thinking about you.

  5. Hilde Burm : Lenore this is so pure love...I'm sure Hunter will be always close to you, Zen and Ryder . Thank you for let us share this spiritual moment . Your family will be always in my mind and in my prayers . x x x

  6. Emily Perry-Tresser - oh my...Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and tender moment with us. The photo of Hunter's ashes in your hand brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad you got to go here, and be together as a family.

  7. Lenore,

    What a beautiful ceremony! We just got back from observing Obon, a holiday in Japan commemorating the dead, and were at a Lotus Sect Buddhist Temple in Nagano. Mark, my husband, is Japanese (his dad) and Caucasian (his mom) and grew up in Japan. Max, our son who is adopted from Korea, really enjoyed being a part of this special ceremony. (Lydia was adopted from China). I know how very real this moment made things for you, but looking at the statue you picked out, I just know that Hunter is at peace and that he was right there with you in spirit.

    Much Love,

    Monica Miyashita, Mama to ^Liddy^ and Max

  8. I continue to be moved beyond words with your ability to share such an intimate part of your life with the rest of us. I'm so, so proud of you and Zen and your dedication to gain strength and share your love. Hunter Bean is our angel and I think about him every single day...his giggle and wiggle dance moves will ALWAYS and forever bring me joy.
    Hunter is clearly with you and Zen & now little Ryder...his presence is obvious through your strength. I think the Jizo ceremony was lovely and the Bean will feel forever peaceful, safe and at home.

  9. Lenore, Zen, Hunter and Ryder,

    I need to thank you for the peace and tranquility that this entry brought to me, and took over my soul at this moment.

    The tree that you chose, absolutely evoked a calm presence, its strength and beauty, enveloped my soul. Hunter has got to feel, even more peace now.

    And how truly special it is, that his lil brother was there, to share in this ceremony. It is something that Ryder will always have with him, and something that Hunter can always give back to Ryder ~ this loving memory, that they both share.

    Lenore, Zen, Hunter and Baby Ryder~ May Loving Light, and Bountiful Blessings Surround You All, ... Always

    Big XoXoXo, Brooke Kester

    PS- Please give lil Ryder a toe tickle kiss from me!

  10. Lenore and Zen,

    WHAT a beautiful ceremony.. The tree was breathtaking.. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    ALl of my love, hugs and smooches

  11. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us (me). I've grown and been inspired by your example. What a wonderful family you are. I pray for all of you and wish you life's continued blessings.

  12. beautiful♥♥
    what a very special day, thanks for sharing with everyone

  13. So much gratitude to you for sharing this wondrous day and for making me aware of the Jizo
    Ceremony, truly a beautiful, traditional wonder and gift, in and of itself,. I felt very peaceful reading your words of description... thank you, Lenore. Hunter must be so proud of his little brother..... anna Perry

  14. Lenore, this is a beautiful post - I keep coming back to re-read it. Thank you for sharing.

  15. This is absolutely beautiful... Thank you.

  16. Francesca Maria -
    Congratulations and so much love I send to this beautiful family of four! We love you and support you now and always!

  17. Terry Robertson Ince -
    Brought tears to my eyes... Much love...

  18. Colleen Dooley -
    Wow! What a beautiful day it must have been...amazing! Thanks for sharing....can't wait to meet lil' Ryder! Thoughts and continual Prayers....

  19. my name is dean ,im new to the zen way of life .Im so great to find my path to the heart though the dharma and eight fold path.its like a throwing a pebble in a pond the ripple effect touch every one namo amida buddha