Monday, August 7, 2017

Six little words.

Six little words.

"I am so proud of you"

"I am so proud of you", she said in a soft, smiling voice. Her eyes gleaming, and gently moistened, it appeared, just as mine definitely did. 

Those six little words I have heard often. But, in that moment, none were more poignant to me than hers.

Her name is Sarah. She is young, full of life. She only has known me a short time.

She never knew Ella.

She is part of my adopted family in Vancouver. Or is it adoptive family?

The kind that cheers me on. Fundraises with me. Supports me.
I am grateful for her words. They mean the world to me. Because I know she meant it.

I know she is proud of me. Of what I have achieved.

But each time I hear those six little words, I feel like a fraud.

That pride that my loved ones and friends have for what I do, what I have achieved, comes from one simple moment in life.

From one single situation.

From a dark place.

My daughter died.

Today, August 7, 2017, would be Ella’s 9th birthday.

What would she look like? What would her laugh sound like?

What would be her favourite band or singer? And movie? 

Would she love horses, as I do? Or still sleep in the same position her daddy did, as she did when she was just a newborn?

So many unanswered questions have built up in 8 years and 4 months since I lost Ella.

But one thing is true. And real. 

Ella has inspired, enabled and given me the strength to help others. And by the same token, commemorate her.

So on Ella’s 9th birthday, I say ‘’I am so proud of you’’.

I say it outloud. To myself. In tears.

Because as much as it hurts, I know it to be true.

And I say it to you, my PVNH family.

To each and every one of you who today are being fierce.

Are being brave.

Are shining a light on PVNH.

"I am so proud of YOU"!

#BecauseIcan #BecauseIdo #BecauseItsTrue

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Let the countdown begin...

You'd think that after nearly six years,
I'd know.

That come February,
My heart loses it.

Piece by piece.
Day by day.

You'd think,
Unless you've been in my shoes,
That's I'd also learned.

Learned to cope?

But why would I?
And most importantly,
Why should I?

What does 'learning to cope' mean?

That you move forward?
That you heal?
That you forget?

It's been nearly six years,
And I know I've managed
To keep breathing.
To keep living.

Something Ella was not able to do.

It's true,
I've found my ''new'' happiness.

One filled with angels,
Winged creatures.
The memory of your smile.

And loved ones by my side, too.

Those who bring out the smiles,
And the heartfelt laughs,
Out of my mangled heart.

One's happiness who survives,
Despite the loss.
Depiste the pain.

I am surrounded,
By love.
And and by hope.

And I guess that's moving forward,
Learning to cope,
And even healing.

But sometimes,
That's just not enough,
To mend my heart.

Come February,
the countdown begins.

Come February,
The tears flow,

And the memory
Of you,
Of your smile,
Of your life

Fills my heart.

And that,
I will never forget.

ELLA - Everyone Loves Little Angels

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My heart and soul

A few days before Ella's passing, I was gifted with one of the most precious memento: a ceramic double heart - the inside heart was to become Ella's and the outer, mine. 

It was a gift from spiritual care at BCCH for parents losing a child. I knew first hand how important that gift was to become so, after Ella's passing, I became the funder of bereament hearts for the perinatal unit. Afterall, Ella had been laid to rest wearing hers, and I wore mine every day. 

Until Rare Disease Day 2013, that is, when my ceramic heart tragically got caught in my mom's wedding ring which had been on my finger since right before mom died. The heart crashed in pieces on the floor of the hotel bathroom where I was about to step into the shower. I was devastated, but had to let go - there was no time to lose it. Thee conference I received a grant to attend was about to begin. I found a box, put all the pieces in it, and proceeded about my day. 

With hindsight, I can honestly say that had the heart been broken in any other fashion, I would have lost it. But this scenario was as though my late mom and Ella had it all planned. I had to let go and there was no way i could be angry, because it got caught in mom's ring... my late's mom's ring...

I did spend the better part of the following month touching my neck each time I needed strength - the almost same gesture I did since Ella's death as I clutched for the ceremic heart around my neck when I needed strength. When I was sad. When I was happy. When I missed Ella. 

And then, the reflex happened less often and I realized I did not need the pendant to find stength. It was already in me. So I started wearing other pieces of jewelry again - all pink, this time of course, the colour I wear to honour Ella daily.  One of the pieces I wores most often was offered to me by my sister: a multilayered string necklace of pink and coral pieces.

Earlier this year, BCCH found a supplier of different hearts that don't break. Although they are much more expensive than the ceramic hearts, they are so worth it!!! The hospital asked me if I would still consider funding the hearts, despite the increased cost. There was no hesitation on saying yes.

While I was on a business last week, one of the strings broke. And that's when I knew my girl was sending me another message....

In mid-September, as a thank you for continuing to fund the hearts, I got a new double heart as a gift. It is just beautiful as the original. And now, it has become the one piece closest to my heart. 

Ella's and mine, together again. ‪#‎feelingblessed‬

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Parent's Perspective - Remembrance Speech - Sept. 19, 2014

This is the speech I gave on Sept. 19, 2014 at the Remembrance celebrations at BC Children's Hospital. I was to address the parent's perspective.  I started speaking, shaking like a leaf, thinking my knees would buckle. And then out of no where, a tea light from the 'row of light' just jumped out almost in front of me, and landed on the floor. It was just a few seconds before I spoke of signs Ella sends and tricks she plays on me. Needless to say, my girl is a trickster. :) 
row of light
Tea light dropped down

Hello everyone, 

My name is Yolaine Dupont.  My daughter Ella passed away in March 2009 right here at Children’s Hospital.

First, let me say I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

When Linda first asked me to speak today, I was actually speechless. What could I have to say to bring hope and comfort to you?

As a bereaved mom almost 6 years in the making, I can tell you it has been a tough journey. It has been a long journey. But it also has been a rewarding journey. It has been my journey, and my family’s journey to live.

I can also assure you that while grief is now a part of us and always will be, it will mold and shape itself in many different ways as each of us learns to live it with it.  The operative word here for me is and always will be, as I hope it will be for you too: LIVE.

There is a quote that I have used early on to explain to others my views on my grief:

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” 

Dr. Seuss always spoke the truth. This quote has become my personal motto and my way of living.

Yes, Ella is gone. True, I cannot share with her a great meal. A first day of school. The joy of her first love or wrap her in my arms after her first heartbreak. But I can live life with her in my heart and live life for and with her through my eyes.

Ella was. And Ella still is. I am her mother and forever will be.  

You too are a parent. And forever will be.

Yes, I cried. Every day. Multiple times a day. For days on end.  

Yes, I was in a fog, as though my body had shut down to protect it. And that lasted well over a year. 

And I felt guilty. Guilty of moving forward. Guilty for laughing. Guilty for living. Because if I lived I would forget her is what I thought. But in living I keep her very much alive
There is not a second of every day when I don’t wish for a different outcome. But in the end, Ella’s short life has changed me for the better. In helping others afflicted by her rare disease. In supporting bereaved families likes yours too.

In living my life without regrets.

Yes, I still cry. Out of the blue.

On occasions.

But I live too. And I laugh.  

I actually laugh a lot.

And, most importantly, I live.

I’ve chosen that path for myself. Although everyone will walk their path in a different way, for me, living came as a conscious decision to honour Ella every day in everything that I do. From the day she passed, I started wearing pink – the colour she wore so well and which I had once sworn she’d never be dressed in. You may not always see it, but it is always there. Every single day.

There are other traditions that came out of losing Ella. And those like grief, have evolved at their own pace.

And best of all, I’ve opened myself to signs: ladybugs that show up where they have np business, songs from Ella Fitzgerald – her namesake – that play unexpectedly where ever I am and funny tricks only a little girl with a sense a humour could play on her mom.

I remember shortly after she passed coming across photos taken on the day she died. There on the most difficult day of my life, I was captured bursting into laughter, my mom by my side.

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”  

And I have no doubt that you will too.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I've been robbed...

Today was June 2, 2013
Day 2 of the BCCH Miracle Weekend Telethon

4 years after losing my girl
And more so than ever
Today, the stories of miracles
Really got to me...

Where was my miracle???

Aside from the obvious
Ella was probably already too sick to be born
And live for 7 months and 20 days

Where was my miracle???

All weekend, the stories came
Yes, I love it.
 Yes, I get it.

But where was my miracle???

It's not supposed to get worse.
Or is it?

Where was my miracle???

I don't want to sound ungrateful.
I know i got my miracle.
But why should they get more than one.
And I all i have is one miracle.

As I sat with friends tonight
I could not help but think
What would Ella look like now?
How much of a daddy's girl would she be?
And what kind of a daddy would he be?

Where was my miracle???

And I felt robbed.

For him.
And for me.

For her.
For us.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yet another Mother's Day

I dreaded this day. The day when I should be receiving A special hug A sweet kiss A handmade card. The day when Ella Would likely be Attempting to make Pancakes with her daddy. The day when She'd choose on a pretty dress Instead of sneakers A fun tee, and shorts. And we'd play, And giggle And giggle some more. Five years ago Mother's Day Was beautiful and sunny Surrounded by friends At the ball park. Some with round bellies, like mine And most others, just enjoying life And playing in the sun. A Mother's Day Full of laughter Joy And hope. Four years ago Was a complete nightmare Although built on a sweet intention. Brunch at a fave restaurant Ended up being A reminder of a life lost As little half & half girls Twirled around us Oblivious to pain. Three years ago Back at the ball park No more bellies Tons of babies But not mine. I held tears Numb Until I could no longer When the crew raised a glass And wished me A Happy Mother's Day. Last year I burried my head in the sand Along with my pain Of not being with Ella Of losing Mom A few short months before And so I went to the ballpark To be with friends. But this year No amount of energy Would be enough To put on a brave face At the ballpark. I woke up to a message from Ella's daddy And then one from a fellow angel mom. Made myself brunch, and as I headed out I found a card on my doorstep. My only Mother's Day card. And once again, I held tears. Then went on to pick up flowers. For Ella For Mom And some for me. Upon leaving the cemetery I, too, was handed flowers Two gerberas One pink, one orange So the tears arose. Being strong sometimes means Letting go And so I let the tears flow. And then I went on Because that's what angels mom do. To wash my car of all things And minutes into it, I thought 'One more thing Ella will never do, No learning to drive, no begging for my keys'. And when tears were on the verge of coming again Ella, my darling, Showed her most clever sense of humour Driving all signs of sadness away As she put a hose handle in my way To soak her maman Through and through And from head to toe. I swear in that rmoment I heard the roar of giggles And snap of hive five As Ella and my maman, wished me 'Happy Mother's Day'!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Look How Far We've Come, Baby

Look how far we've come, Baby...
You and me...

Can you see what you inspired, Baby?

A movement...
To pay it forward....

A network ...
To show we care for sick children...

A place...
Of support for bereaved parents...
Who like me...
Lived through a kiddo being taken from them...
So tragically...

Look how far we've come, Baby...

Thousands and thousands of dollars raised...
Teddies and angels offered as comfort...
And Stuffies too...

To bring out a smile...
A smile that warms up the heart...

Just like yours did and continues to do...

Look how far we've come, Baby...
You and me...

A diagnosis...
An actual name for what happened...
To you, Baby...

And from there...
A group which united...
A world of rare families...
As we are too...
You and me...
Supported by moms, dads and friends..
Who know so well...
What a brave little girl you are...

Loved and cherished always...
By families and friends...
Who commemorate...
Your beautiful spirit...
Every day...

Look how far we've come, Baby...

One website...
Two websites...
Online support groups...

A research case about to be published...
And soon, Ella's Wish to be granted...

Look how far we've come, Baby...
You and me...

Your story generates tears...
But more importantly...
It's touching hearts...

And it also is reaching the ear...
And grabbing the attention...
Of researchers and geneticists...
Who see our vision...
Who hear our goal...
And believe in it too...

Look how far we've come, Baby...
You and me...

Can you see what you inspired, Baby?

Can you tell how wide...
Your wings are spreading?

Look how far we've come, Ella...
You and me...

ELLA - Everyone Loves Little Angels