Nova Scotia

Memorial balloon from Pennsylvania finds resting place in Cape Breton

A week ago, some of Penny Dively's family gathered in a graveyard in the tiny community of New Enterprise, Pa., where they released balloons to celebrate her life. One of the balloons showed up on a beach in Inverness, N.S., three days later.

Inverness woman found balloon, reached out to family

Penny Dively of New Enterprise, Pa., died last December. A balloon from a memorial event held for her last week has made its way to Cape Breton. (Submitted by Lindsey Brode)

Some of Penny Dively's family gathered in a graveyard in the tiny community of New Enterprise, Pa., last week.

Dively, 60, died last December. June 3 was her birthday, and this would be the family's first without her.

To mark the occasion, they released a couple of dozen balloons, inscribed with the saying, "Those we love don't go away. They walk beside us every day."

On the back of each balloon, family members wrote Dively's name and the dates of her birth and death.

They watched as the balloons drifted off into the sky.

Three days later, Angie MacDonnell and her friend were running along the boardwalk in Inverness, N.S., when MacDonnell noticed a balloon between the boardwalk and the beach.

MacDonnell said they didn't recognize the name, but her friend suggested posting a photo of the balloon on Facebook.

A friend on Facebook found Dively's obituary online, and MacDonnell reached out to the family to let them know she'd found the balloon.

Within hours, the family responded.

"That's one of the neat things about social media, how quickly and easily we can be connected," said MacDonnell.

Lindsey Brode, Dively's niece, said she couldn't believe it when she heard one of the balloons had been found in Nova Scotia, some 2,000 kilometres from New Enterprise.

'It's amazing'

"It's amazing," said Brode.  "I'm so thankful that she [MacDonnell] posted it and let us know."

Brode said it's fitting that the balloon came to rest where it did.

"She loved the beach," Brode said of her aunt. "To know that it made it to the beach, that's just so her."

MacDonnell said she was curious to find out more about Dively, and was touched to read comments and articles that had been written about her many volunteer activities.

"This lady sounded like she did just about everything, from every turkey dinner to [being] a volunteer firefighter," said MacDonnell.

"It sounded like she will be, and still is, missed in her community."

MacDonnell said she left the balloon where she found it, on a small dune between the boardwalk and the beach.

"It's a pretty special place."

With files from CBC Cape Breton's Mainstreet

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