Today was Mother’s Day and I was delighted to receive messages on my phone from my children when I reached my first cafe of the day. When I got up this morning, I didn’t realize today was the day I would reach the Cruz De Ferro, an iron cross at the top of a challenging mountain climb. Pilgrims often leave a token or stone from their home country and perhaps reconnect with the purpose of their journey. I brought a small pink granite rock that I had looked for as I trained on the country roads at home. I was looking for a smooth, pink stone to represent home, but when I finally found the right one several days before I left, it was heart shaped as well! Ironically, as I packed my knapsack this morning in the semi dark room, I took a last glance back at the area I had been and saw my stone lying there. How it got out of my coat pocket did not make sense. However, as the day progressed, I realized that Mother’s Day and reaching the cross would coincide and I took time to remember my own mother, whom I still miss intensely, although she has been gone from our lives over 3O years. Time does not diminish the love I still have for her and the beautiful person that she was. She loved people and I consider it a great compliment when people tell me I am like her. I think the relationships we have and the people we love take a little piece of our hearts that we never quite get back when they leave, especially when our farewells are forever. Our heart longs for wholeness that it will never obtain until reunited with our loved one, either in this life or the one beyond. I think that each farewell on the Camino is like that as well, although in six weeks feelings are intensified, as time is short and we know endings are part of each beginning. Those with whom we have connected take a piece of us with them, and the heart longs to reunite and be whole again. Fortunately, the heart’s capacity to love is perpetual and we keep on loving and opening ourselves to new experiences. However, each farewell reminds me of my forever farewells and comes with a certain sadness. It is the cost of being open to loving others, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.