How do you decorate the shoes to represent someone that you loved? How do you sum up everything that you loved about them in one little pair of shoes? Well, the simple answer is that you don’t. Don’t think of them as one pair of shoes to squeeze in everything, think of it more as a quilt with each shoe being a panel. Make a “quilt” with shoes for each victim/survivor. Get together as a group and each pick a theme/hobby/colour/something that made them special to you. Then each of you can share materials and spend a day putting the shoes together and going through pictures. Make a day to share what you love and what you miss about them.
As an example, my husband is doing her flippers because she was going to be his scuba buddy. I am debating between her love of all things Scooby-Doo or her first dance costume (a bumble bee) or the words of wisdom and humour that she had for all of us. Her old babysitter told me the other night that she was going to donate a pair of plain white shoes and not put anything on them because the first time that Grace met Gill’s boyfriend (husband now), she was buck naked (which was also her favourite outfit). Another close friend (who claims to be artistically challenged, is just going to put the shoes backwards because he always remembered that Grace wore her shoes on the wrong feet and could never tell.
Most importantly, just get together, share stories, celebrate their life, have a good laugh at the fun memories and a good cry over missing them but do it together. The whole idea of this project for me was to recognize each person’s community of family and friends and what we have all lost. So be a community for a day.
Then pack up the shoes, with pictures and stories and send them to me so that the rest of Canada can see them as you do.
PS – I need them by October 15th so that I can get them to Ottawa. And let me know on the website how many are coming so that I have enough transportation. My biggest hope is that I have to call in favours for trailers to get them there.