Tribute to Sophie

I remember the moment I met Sophie.

It was at the gate to Ryder’s preschool in Chiang Mai. I was thrilled there would be another boy Ryder’s age who was also an English speaker.

She was from England, and had a pleasant yet shy way about her, as did her son, Shaye.

“Will you ever go back to England?” I asked.

“I don’t think so. I like it here.”

Silently I was surprised. Thailand, for me, was polluted, wracked with bumper-to-bumper traffic, and void of the comfortable lifestyle I preferred.

“I’m going to have my baby here,” she said, beaming, her hand on her belly.

“Congratulations!” I replied. I couldn’t tell she was pregnant by looking at her, and she seemed a little older to be having a baby.

Ryder and Shaye got along great. Since it was June, Ryder invited him to his birthday party.

It turned out both Sophie and Shaye were vegan. So going to the zoo-my original plan- was out.

Ryder wanted to go to the haunted house. It was much too scary for Ryder, but Shaye loved it enough to go through a second time.

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We got to know Sophie a bit while there.

She was a sex educator and polyamorous life coach. It was an interesting job description for such a mild-seeming woman.

My appreciation of who Sophie was and what she stood for came only later, after leaving Thailand. Our stay there was brief—less than a month. Three weeks only, maybe. As I have said, Thailand for me is not where my soul reverberates. So much so, I’m realizing sadly, I never shared with her the photos I have of the two of our kids together.

We stayed friends on Facebook, and I discovered her videos. I learned she was still breastfeeding Shaye, and that her mission in life was to normalize attachment parenting and breastfeeding of older children. It was a message I had never heard anyone be so unashamed about, and one that I appreciated as someone who breastfed my son until the age of four.

She ended up miscarrying that baby which she publicly announced on her Youtube channel, and then she fell pregnant again. She was 41 and six months pregnant, having moved to Phuket.

Phuket is where Jacob and I met with Jefferson and Erica back in 2010.

I saw on social media this week that she had been killed in a scooter accident.

I had messaged her in February that Shaye and Ryder should Skype. It never happened. Immediately as I found this out I was gutted at that fact.

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We all have different ways of processing things. Mine is writing and I guess that’s one reason I’m writing this. And now, one of the most difficult emotions to process is one of the injustice.

Not only that a woman who was living her dream—whose entire life was devoted to her bond to her young son, and the long-awaited unborn daughter—whose message among others was one of joy—(her social media page is called Sophie’s Joy)—and of nonviolence to animals—would lose her life so young.

But that she could be taken from the earth in such a gritty, undignified, and violent manner is difficult to comprehend.

Danny, her boyfriend, posted a video in his grief that was far too raphic about what happened. I wish I hadn’t heard those details. At the same time, it was also a sweet message-that he said he could feel her spirit there-and while she was angry at him at first, because she didn’t want to go, he then felt that she was telling him to be compassionate to himself-as the driver of the scooter.

 

And as the rest of us  have had to come to terms with this absolutely senseless information—and watch Shaye have to go live with his father and say goodbye to his truest supporter and devotee—I’m left with these thoughts:

First: Southeast Asia’s traffic is the worst in the world. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t protect the spiritually advanced and eliminate the sex tourists. It’s a terrible problem. I myself saw a dead person in the road in Cambodia after an accident.

Second: I believe—though there’s no way to prove it— that Sophie was a Mystic-Communal. A Universalizer.

One friend wrote this about Sophie on Facebook:

“Dakini Sophie you were one of my favourite people on the earth living, because you were really doing it as few even have an inkling how to do. And yet you were dedicated, in such a natural, straightforward, personal, direct and unafraid way to showing us how we can live better. Watching your recent breastfeeding videos and all the others, I am convinced that you are a joy-revolutionary, and you already gave so much to this planet.”

John Fowler’s Stages of Faith describes the final stage of faith as  “The rare persons who may be described by this stage have a special grace that makes them seem more lucid, more simple, and yet somehow more fully human than the rest of us. They are “contagious” in the sense that they create zones of liberation from the social, political, economic and ideological shackles we place and endure on human futurity. Living with felt participation in a power that unifies and transforms the world, Universalizers are often experienced as subversive of the structures (including religious structures) by which we sustain our individual and corporate survival, security and significance.”

People in this stage often die young. It’s as if their peaceful and loving ideas are so radical,  this broken world can not bear or accept their presence and it has to catapult them out of it.

I’m not trying to say she was an angel. She was human. She was not someone I was close to in the friendship sense of the word, though we occasionally commented on each other’s posts and supported each other in a worldschooling mama kind of way. But she was someone who inspired me, whose energy and presence drew me in, and whose example of motherhood will remain with me.  She is someone who chose her own mission and life and who chased it fearlessly.

She radiated peace, joy, and love. She had a mission to share with the world.  At times I experienced her messages and videos as confronting. But I found myself returning because she was living with such openness and authenticity. She was bold, but not pushy. She was brave, but quietly so. She was strong, but gentle. She was a magnificent example of femininity.

Sophie…I know you would never leave Shaye of your own choosing but I believe your influence will dwell in him forever. If I see him again, when he’s older, I will tell him about you as I’m sure others will tell him. That your love of him was the most important priority in your life, how happy and proud he made you, and that you practiced what you preached-you led by example as a force for radical compassion for animals and humans, and taught women to believe in their own power, not society’s whims, as mothers.

I will never forget that life holds no guarantees even for beautiful souls like yourself. I also hold onto hope that you now have moved into a higher plane of existence and, together with your much-desired daughter “Joy”—Shaye’s sibling— who you were carrying in your belly, are guiding your loved ones from above.

 

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Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 369 awesome articles for us.

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