The 22-year-old died in January from serious injuries after being thrown from an ATV in Welshtown, Shelburne County.
Her mother, Cindy Symonds, misses her daughter and all of the adventures that kept them close while she was alive. In those days when Cindy couldn’t join her daughter, Tori would Facetime her mother so she could be a part of her life. “She used to say no adventure without mom,” says Symonds. When Tori was on life support in the Halifax hospital, the mother whispered to her daughter there would also be no adventure without her.
Tori loved the outdoors, fishing, wake boarding and was always soaking up all that summer had to offer.
“This summer has been bad for missing her,” Symonds says.
On one particular day that was especially bad, Symonds went to the graveyard in Shelburne where her daughter is buried.
When she arrived she noticed there was a gift bag – blue with white polka dots and tissue paper – resting on a bench next to her daughter’s grave.
When she peeked inside the bag she saw a familiar site of smooth black painted rocks with her daughter’s name and a colourful design painted on one side.
“No adventure without you,” was painted carefully on one of the rocks.
Symonds has seen similar rocks before.
The rocks had first appeared outside of the Needs store in Shelburne and then in Barrington.
“I really cried,” says Symonds, when she recalls first seeing them. “Someone took the time to express feeling through these rocks.”
Each of the rocks had a saying that was tied to who Tori was, even her nickname Back Woods Beauty Queen, which made Symonds smile.
To this day Symonds doesn’t know who is leaving the rocks.
ANOTHER YOUNG LIFE
In the graveyard not far from where Tori’s grave site is, another life taken too soon, and a friend of Tori’s, is buried.
Dustin Conrad passed away in 2011 at the age of 21. One day Symonds could see a gift bag next to his grave with the identical polka dots and tissue paper.
She called up Karen Conrad, Dustin’s mom, and asked if she could open up the gift bag. Inside were other painted memory stones, but this time with sayings only those who knew Dustin would recognize.
“Always stay humble and kind, Dustin Bruce,” read one.
A MOTHER’S PLAN
It was because of these stones that Symonds came up with a plan.
Symonds packed up her vehicle on Aug. 30 to fulfill one more adventure for her daughter. Carefully wrapped in the car were stones for Tori and Dustin. With each stone was a note Tori’s mom had carefully written out.
“I am going on a little solo adventure to clear my mind. I promised my daughter there would be no adventure without her so I am taking her and Dustin’s stones along with me,” explained Symonds.
Her plan has been to place the stones, along with a note, in well-known tourist locations across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Through the notes she leaves with the stones, she asks the finder to take it to another location, take a picture of it and post the photo on social media along with the hashtag #noadventurewithoutyou. The mother then asks people to contact her so she can see where the stones have gone next.
She’s also asked that the finders leave a note explaining what to do for the next person who comes across these memory stones.
“This is as far as I can take them,” Symonds says about wanting to see Tori and Dustin have another adventure.
She hopes with the help of others their adventures will live on.