Japanese tradition holds that anyone folding a 1000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. The cranes are a symbol of peace and hope and often given as gifts.
As the one year mark of Melinda’s accident approached in May, 2014, we struggled to find a way to face the most devastating day of our lives but also honour our daughter.
I was reminded how, as a child, Melinda read a story called “Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes” about a young Japanese girl who developed leukemia after the bombing of Hiroshima and began folding cranes to have her wish granted. After reading the story, Melinda started making cranes, and they could be found all over the house. She made them like other people doodle. Every piece of scrap paper was a potential crane. I knew as soon as the memory came to me that I would fold a 1000 paper cranes in honour of my daughter.
For the next two months I folded rainbow coloured squares into delicate cranes that Melinda’s father and I strung on fishing line in order to hang them from the tree above Melinda’s resting place. After making about 250 of them, I starting researching more about the symbolism of the cranes and discovered they are also traditionally made by grieving mothers to ensure their children’s spirits fly to paradise on the wings of the crane. I was now determined to make all 1000 by last May so Melinda would have her cranes.
Around this same time, I had started a blog about the loss of our beautiful girl and wrote about the cranes in one of the posts. Several grieving moms contacted me asking how to make the cranes. It made me wonder if others could find even the tiniest bit of comfort in this small piece of folded paper like we did when we saw them hung and swaying in the breeze. I offered to send a crane to each grieving mother who sent me her address and very quickly requests started coming in. I started a Facebook page called Wings To Paradise in order to keep track of the requests.To date, I have mailed out over 450 cranes to grieving mothers in memory of their children and Melinda. They have traveled across Canada, into the U.S., and overseas to the U.K. Scotland, Australia, and South Africa. My hope is that they all bring with them a little bit of peace.