Bereaved Families of Ontario

Before it happens in your life, you don't spend much time thinking about the uncomfortable truth that children die. At least I never thought much about it, until it happened to me.

My daughter Violet was diagnosed before she was born with Trisomy 18, which in 2009, and still in many circles, is a condition considered "incompatible with life". At the time of her birth, the average lifespan of a child with Trisomy 18 that survived birth was about three days... which is how many glorious, amazing days Violet spent with me and our family that September.

The death of a child turns the world inside out for a parent. In those first days and weeks after Violet's birth and death, nothing made sense anymore. I was walking around in a kind of fog. It was as if the rest of humanity was going on, business as usual, with me as an uninterested spectator. I had no idea when or if ever I would feel like a part of the world again.

It was Bereaved Families that helped me start living again. I had never been a part of a support organization before I called, and didn't know what to expect. What I found at Bereaved Families was understanding. Community. Support. Love. And over the years, opportunities to share Violet's story with people who know first-hand how much it means to a parent to say and hear their child's name, even if that child has died. Since 2009, I have made beautiful memories with other bereaved families. I have allowed my other children to know and to grieve their sister in healthy ways. I have volunteered, and now work in a staff role, to support other parents through those initial, indescribable days and all the weeks, months and years to come. I have done it all to honour Violet, and I am so grateful to Bereaved Families for the chance to continue to make my daughter proud.

- Bronagh