Hans and I would joke about it, how we wished he could be home to devour leftovers during his late night hunger moments. We all have many things in our lives that we need to let go of, bad habits, negative thoughts, but letting go of our children and of things we are passionate about is difficult, even though we know the time may come when we have to.
It took no time at all to start Boomer’s Legacy, and get involved in all the minutia details, but it is taking me awhile to “let go”. I knew that I was seriously burning out in 2013, and I arranged a meeting with Peter MacKay , the Minister of National Defence. I had first met him at Brett Wilson’s garden party, when Brett raised funds for Boomer’s Legacy back in 2010. At our meeting Greg Stevens, a great friend, Boomer’s Legacy volunteer and supporter came with me. I asked Peter MacKay about the possibility of getting Boomer’s Legacy to become a recognized military charity. We were supposed to have a 30 minute mtg, it was well over an hour and half before we left. That was when I first met Joe Varner, Peter’s Executive Assistant, (another amazing man that I will write more about in the future).
Hence fast forward, the military brick wall that I been beating my head against had fallen, and Boomer’s Legacy became a fund within Support Our Troops , held by Canadian Forces Moral & Welfare in Sept of 2014. They took over our income tax receipting, what a relief for Adrienne, Pamela and Hans. However It meant that we had to let go of Boomer’s Legacy as a Foundation, that was not easy.This cause had become my “baby” , what I did, who I was, my new identity, since Andrew was killed. The fund is still a Canadian charity, but under the “right of the crown”. Dave Berry and I worked on our terms of agreement with the folks at CFMWS during the previous year. I recognized that I was not able to function as clear and efficiently as I had prior, I just did not have the same energy, a sure sign of “burnout”. So it was a relief to know that others would carry the torch.
However, By spring of 2016, I honestly thought that the fund was going to just get buried in the bureaucracy. Some great people, but nothing much was happening. So I booked a meeting with CDS General Jon Vance in Nov 2016, where I met Cmdre Sean Cantelon, who had just become the head of CFMWS. What a breathe of fresh air, he truly “got it”! The terminology I use for those who understand that when we help someone else to do good we help that person too. Hence, Helping our Soldiers Help Others.
What I find interesting is that Sean is Navy, and some of my best moral support has come from the Navy members in Esquimalt. Interesting because I was born in Victoria, my father was in the Navy. It was a Navy Base Commander, Capt Craig Blake, back in 2011, who at the time, asked if there could ever be funds for his military members on the base to help others within the greater Victoria community. Craig planted the seed for us to open up to help at home as well as abroad. A couple of months ago I had a chance meeting with Admiral Art MacDonald on a BC ferry that truly enabled me to open my hands fully flat and let go. His words resonated within my soul, prior to hearing them, my fingers always wanted to curl up and hang on a little. Another truly “get it” man.
I am an organizer, and I admit like having control, but I know that for my own well being I have to let go. According to General Vance, Admiral MacDonald and the folks at CFMWS, Boomer’s Legacy is here to stay, it just makes sense and it does a lot of good. Andrew wanted to help the people he saw in Afghanistan , and there are so many more people that our military can give additional aid to whether at home or abroad.
I write these thoughts while my husband, Hans and I are on a flight to Fort Lauderdale where tomorrow we will board a cruise ship and go through the Panama Canal, a trip we talked about doing for many years. I leave for this trip with a calm and a peace about the direction of Boomer’s Legacy, like never before. A great third party one day fundraising event called Camp Boomer is happening at CFB Comox on June 16, 2018. On this cruise, I am planning on doing lots of physical activity to get ready for the walk and bike relay as well as lots of relaxing having a wonderful time with our great friends, Dale and Laurel Erhart ( you will want to come and hear him talk at the Camp Boomer event, he flew a Nieuport replica over Vimy Ridge for the 100th anniversary celebrations, with Boomer’s Legacy on his plane and a pic of Andrew in his cockpit). Dale has lots of amazing stories. So check out our event and join my Founder’s Team or,start your own and join us to raise funds to Help Our Soldiers Help Others at Home and Abroad.
In some ways letting go of Boomer’s Legacy feels like I am letting go of Andrew. I admit that doing something to help be a part of a solution rather than a passive observer after he was killed, helped me to keep him close. Somehow the busyness of all those minutia details kept me focused and perhaps better able to cope with his death. Something good happened, lives were saved in Afghanistan because of some great caring soldiers being able to use the funds that were donated. Right now I think about Dr Jamie Thibodeau and the amazing “Kare” programs he started, literally the hundreds of baby lives and their Mom’s that he and his medics helped save. That is also another whole amazing story – someday.
My life has been enriched in ways that I could never have imagined. I have met so many amazing caring people and been so blessed. Now there is to be a change, and I have comfort and peace in knowing that other great things will unfold. The future holds much to be excited about.
So if there is something in your life that you need to let go of – just do it! Better things are yet to come. Maureen Eykelenboom