When Rachel Polite speaks to her brother about where he’s gone, it can be an emotional moment.
“It’s still a lot of, like, ‘I wish you were here,’ and, ‘Where are you?’” said Polite. “I do know so much in my core what he would say to me, like, there are some times when I ask him questions I just know what he would say.”
“But a lot of the times I’m talking to him, it’s just me saying, ‘I just really wish you were still here. I miss my brother,’” she continued.
But Polite has found at least a small measure of relief knowing that one year since his death, her brother, Squamish base jumper Mike “Treehouse” Racicot, is still adventuring all over the world.
In a letter that was to be read in case of a fatal accident, Racicot requested that his ashes be spread across the globe.
“Please don’t keep me in a box on a shelf,” said Polite, remembering the letter’s request.
Shortly after Racicot’s memorial last year, a friend asked if he could take some of the ashes to be released at a jump from the KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Racicot had jumped from that tower in a previous adventure.
“That kind of started the rest,” said Polite. “I basically started sending ashes out to his different friends in Squamish and all over Canada, really. But any time they were going on a big trip, they would take him with them.”
As a result, Racicot’s ashes have been scattered in over 17 places around the world in the past year.
Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, China, Switzerland, Germany, France, South Africa, the Bahamas, Mexico, New Mexico, Utah, California, Malaysia — these are just some examples of where Racicot’s friends, many from the base jumping community, have taken him.
But his recent travels haven’t been limited to just base-jumping trips.
For example, one of Racicot’s friends took his ashes on a diving trip around Prince Edward Island.
As the diver neared an iceberg in the area, she released the ashes underwater.
The ash spread, looking for a moment as if it had formed the outline of a heart, Polite said.
Racicot’s friends also have sent Polite mementos of the locations where they’ve released his ashes.
For example, Polite received a scalloped shell that was taken during the PEI trip.
But Racicot’s memory doesn’t just live on in the travels of his friends.
While it may be cliche to say that the memories of loved ones live inside the people they’ve touched, in the case of Polite, this is literally the case.
Polite had some of the ashes of Racicot tattooed onto her arm, along with her brother’s favourite saying, ‘Enjoy life.’
The design is that of Racicot flying through the air after taking a leap from the famed KL Tower. The image was featured in a 2015 story by The Chief.
“[I felt] lots of emotions, for sure, because...that jump in Kuala Lumpur was just such an epic moment for my brother. It was such a dream come true for him,” said Polite.
“I love to have it memorialized. I wanted it visible, because I wanted that every day for the rest of my life, somebody ask me who that is, and I can tell them about Treehouse Mike.”
Racicot’s 39th birthday would’ve been on Aug. 26.
“I feel like he’s with me,” Polite said.