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Rising Stars: Meet Patty Hutchison

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patty Hutchison.

Patty, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My story begins and ends with family. I am 56 years old, the oldest of four children born to a Korean mother and an African American father. My parents met when my father was enlisted in the Army and stationed in Korea. I was an honor student in high school, graduated in the Top 10 of my senior class with an academic scholarship to Austin Peay State University. I married my high school sweetheart when I was 22 years old and we started a family soon after. Today, 34 years later, we are very proud parents of 3 beautiful children and 3 adorable grandchildren.

I am a very spiritual person. Most of my important personal and professional decisions were guided by my faith. I’d say my life was pretty ordinary with a sprinkle of blessings here and there, occasionally the blessings would come down like showers. My world was/is my family; my life revolved around my children. My world came to a screeching halt in 2019 when my youngest child, my only son, was tragically killed in a car accident on Mother’s Day at the age of 27. My seemingly blessed life shattered into a million pieces. I lost all sense of self, my faith, my aspirations and the will to live.

My son, Cedric, was an educator and world traveler at the time of his death. After he graduated college, he took a teaching job in Beijing, China. During his time in Beijing, he loved traveling to neighboring countries. His goal was to travel to 30 countries before his 30th birthday – he achieved it with 3 years to spare. Cedric was very influential in the black travel industry. He shared colorful stories about his travels on Instagram under the profile @cedinthecity. He was very passionate about motivating young people of color to step outside of their comfort zone and to explore the world. He started a scholarship in 2018 for African American college students enrolled in a study abroad program. Our family is honoring his legacy and memory through the Cedinthecity Scholars program. He also co-founded a travel group called The Roaming Republic. The company curated group trips for millennials interested in traveling (primarily outside of the US). Their debut in Thailand in 2018 was a huge success with over 35 men & women in attendance from various cities/countries and from various backgrounds. Our family lived vicariously through Cedric’s travels and bold adventures. We hope to inspire young children to travel and to embrace diversity and cultures through our Ced In the City® children’s book series.

When Cedric died, I knew that I would find healing through travel, but wasn’t sure exactly how to make it happen. My husband did not have a desire to travel at the time and I was very apprehensive about traveling solo. We also didn’t have a lot of reserves to travel to the destinations I had in mind, let alone to travel as often as I felt I needed. And then Covid shut down all hopes of travel in 2020. I was utterly despondent.

It was during this time at the lowest point in my life that I began to hear and see messages from God and my son. The seed was planted in my heart to start a travel group for mothers who have lost a child. I felt God’s presence so strongly as he orchestrated every detail for this group, including the name Sunrise in Heaven. It was with His help that I curated a trip to Costa Rica for nine other women who had also lost a child.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has been anything but a smooth road. As one can imagine, the pain of losing a child is indescribable. The journey through grief is overwhelming – to say the least. I cried every single day the first year. Nothing and no one could prepare me for life without my son. After several long months of living in a fog, the breakthrough would come after a near nervous, mental, health and spiritual breakdown. A glimmer of hope after crying out to the only source that could give me strength, comfort and healing – my Lord and Savior.

Once the idea came to me about Sunrise in Heaven, there have been minor challenges in the trip planning phase due to the unpredictability of Covid and its impact on travel. I know that we will overcome each obstacle because of the divine inception of this mission.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Sunrise in Heaven is a not-for-profit support group for mothers who have lost a child/children who are also interested in traveling. The company was founded in August 2020. We have a private Facebook group with about 30 members from several states. People join by way of invitation from an existing member. It is a safe forum to share thoughts, ideas, announcements, etc. In addition to the Facebook group page, we also hold zoom meetings and occasionally meet for brunch.

Our first trip was a huge success. Most of us were strangers when we arrived in Costa Rica in August 2021, but we left as lifelong friends/sisters. The trip was so amazing – we focused on self-love & care, health & wellness, cultural immersion, bonding and just having fun. We laughed, cried, danced, explored, faced our fears….it was everything we didn’t know we needed. By the end of the trip, we all knew we had something special and we wanted more of it. Plans are currently underway to go on at least two international trips each year. The typical setting is a luxury villa with several bedrooms & en-suite bathrooms, meals prepared by private chefs, outdoor living space, swimming pool, preferably near the ocean. We also enjoy yoga, spa/massages, excursions, shopping, etc. We plan to host weekend getaways in the US for those not interested in international travel.

The bond shared between mothers navigating a similar journey is truly cathartic. The travel aspect is an added bonus. For me, personally, it is an opportunity to get closer to God and my son through nature and the sights and sounds of His wondrous creation. The collective energy/vibe and love from the other mothers is so uplifting. I am so grateful for my newfound sisterhood and am looking forward to traveling the world with them.

Sadly, there are so many mothers that have endured the pain of losing a child, and many more will be faced with the unspeakable tragedy. Our hearts are open to anyone who is interested in joining the group, whether they want to travel or not.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
I can’t think of an actual event. In general, my favorite childhood memory is time spent with friends at school, sporting events, going to the movies, teen clubs, etc.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Instagram: |
  • Facebook: Patty Edwards Hutchison

Image Credits

Talens Photography (Costa Rica)

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