Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.


Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323

“Memorials tell the story of lives taken too soon. They are personal statements bearing witness to a life lost and they act as a memento to others both to offer a moment of quiet reflection on the significance of the fragility of a person’s life, and as a heeded warning of dangers we have become too complacent in noticing.

Roadside memorials are folk art created out of love and grief. Unfettered by regulations or cost, they are creative acts, restorative acts in the face of destruction. They allow the remembrance to be matched with the death; the death happened in public, the memorial needs to be public, in the very venue that is so intimately connected with the deceased, the place where he died. And since the death was sudden, unexpected, and maybe senseless but not unique, roadside memorials let people know that a particular person, an individual, was alive. They say, we will not let you die unnoticed, you are valuable, you deserve to be remembered. And they invite the world to join in.”

A quote Brigitte found from http://www.debate.org

After looking online for examples of memorials, Brigitte came up with a design to honour Zackaël at the site of the accident. Our good friends Aris and Andrew generously offered to help us with the coordination and installation of the memorial. Brigitte forwarded the design to Aris who took the lead and coordinated with her friend Chris, whose company Ercon Welding was able to create a metal structure that would be solid enough for the side of Highway 323.

On Saturday November 7th, after picking up the structure from Ercon, Andrew and I drove to the site. I had found the accident site on Google maps with information from the accident report. When I got there, the surroundings looked unfortunately familiar. In case there were any doubts that we were indeed at the right spot, in the ditch I found the plastic shell of one of the rear view mirrors and a piece of the roof rack from our van.

Two more friends, Tony and Mike, met us at the site to help with the installation. This was no minor undertaking as the iron monument was very heavy and even had rebar at the bottom of the legs to allow it to be poured into concrete, keeping it stable. Andrew’s engineering skills and general know-how came in very handy. A huge thank you to Aris and Andrew for helping us with the creation of the structure and to our friends for the installation.

This was my first time back at the accident site and it was great to have the support of my friends. We are very happy on how it turned out. Brigitte did an amazing job with the design and planning of everything, including little details like solar lights, lanterns and glow-in-the-dark pebble rocks so the structure will be visible at night. It really all came together very nicely. She also had a large printed photo of Zackaël, with a different photo on each side (see pictures below).

If you ever drive on the 323 and have time to stop and/or take a photo, especially at night, please let us know. We would love to hear your comments. Click on this link for the exact location of the memorial. Please note that it is eastbound, so it will be on your right if you’re going towards Tremblant. (If you stop and see any snow on the solar lights, we would appreciate if it could be removed so the light can absorb the sunlight.)

Green Glow in the Dark Rocks are underneath the years.
This is the view from the back of the structure (westbound).

“These photos are only for the people who need them” Chrissy Teigen


You may remember that on October 1st, model Chrissy Teigen posted heartbreaking photos taken shortly after her miscarriage on Instagram, some with her baby, alongside her husband John Legend. While some people were supportive, these posts resulted in Chrissy being criticized and harassed online. On October 27, Chrissy spoke out in an open letter that she didn’t care if some people disliked the photos she published after the loss of her baby.

“I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos. How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done. I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me.”

Source: Instagram, chrissyteigen
Source: Instagram, chrissyteigen

I agree 100% with Chrissy. People who hate photos don’t have to look at them. Here’s what I would like to say to them:

“If you happen to see the photo and it doesn’t interest you, just move on. How long would it take to skip the post, maybe one second? One second, that’s nothing … it won’t have an impact on you just because you dislike the picture. On the other hand, think about the benefits such a post could bring to others. To all those who had miscarriages and those who’ve lost their babies?”


Actress Kate Beckinsale has come to Chrissy’s defense by exposing herself to her miscarriage and collapsing inside, saying it can become the loneliest, most soul destroying period of time.

source: Instagram, allontheboard @katebeckinsale

In one of my previous posts, I talked about virtual support groups offering the bereaved a chance to share without fear of being judged. Those groups are often private, in the sense that only the bereaved are accepted. Facebook or Instagram pages allow another dynamic; the option to share with other people. This includes the exchange of memories, a virtual tribute, the sharing of emotions, etc. Studies show that all of these types of exchanges can help reduce the pain we feel after losing a loved one. I can confirm it myself. The benefits are not necessarily for only the publisher, readers can also feel many of the benefits.

You might recall that in 2018, Melinda Karlsson (wife of hockey player Erik Karlsson) lost her baby (stillborn). On their Instagram post, other families were able to share their grief and experience, and offered their support to the Karlsson family. All of these people certainly felt less alone in their grief, and now had the opportunity to help another family.

However, as can sadly happen with any post, even during a tragedy where those concerned only deserve empathy, web monsters can surface. Here is what Sandydandy45 wrote in response to Melinda about the loss of her baby. “I feel bad for the baby he didn’t have a chance with Melinda popping pain killer medication everyday.” According to Karlsson, they were being harassed by the wife of teammate Mike Hoffman.

Karlsson’s response suggested that this was not the first such comment they were receiving. He quickly responded:

“How dare you. You have been making fake accounts and buying hacked ones for months to harass me and my wife but this is an all new low even for you. You are a disgusting person.”

It is high time we lifted the taboo on miscarriages, stillbirths and mourning. It is time to stop being ashamed of our difficulties. There is little benefit to keeping our emotions inside.

What about you? Do you prefer seeing posts of substance that show the real world issues, struggles, and challenges that people can relate to? Or do you prefer to see posts of people who only show off their good side, posts that are often exaggerated and even sometimes fake?




That’s it for now! Upcoming post will be about the roadside memorial.

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Hockey and community support – Le soutien à travers le hockey

 

English follows…

Premièrement, j’aimerais vous remercier pour vos messages suite à ma publication précédente. Justement, parlant de cette publication, j’ai mentionné que je me suis souvent sentie seule suite à l’accident, malgré que j’étais entourée de gens remarquables. Il ne faut pas confondre ce commentaire de ma part en pensant que je n’appréciais pas l’entraide de mes proches et de la communauté, au contraire. En fait, sans l’aide des gens autour de moi, je ne sais pas si j’aurais réussi à « survivre ». J’étais tellement anéantie que je réussissais à peine à fonctionner. Comme vous le savez, en temps d’événements tristes, il est important de s’entraider et c’est ce que beaucoup d’entre vous ont fait, et pour ceci je vous remercie infiniment.

Ceci dit, j’aimerais partager quelques photos qui prouvent à quel point une communauté puisse être là pour aider les autres en moments difficiles. Suite au décès de Zackaël, l’association de hockey mineur de Blackburn Hamlet (BMHA Stingers) a débuté le port de lacets verts. Grâce à cette association, vous avez été par la suite nombreux à porter du vert dans vos équipes de hockey! Zackaël adorait jouer au hockey.

Sachez que ces gestes n’ont pas restés inaperçus. Quand je voyais une photo comme une de celles ci-bas, ça me faisait chaud au cœur. Je me rappelle très bien de certains moments durant lesquels je regardais ma fille encore dans le coma, je me sentais totalement abolie par le deuil pour la perte de Zackaël ainsi que l’impuissance envers la condition d’Adélie. On n’a pas la tête et l’énergie pour rien faire… donc on est assis et on espère le mieux dans un cauchemar qui perdure. Durant ces moments, en voyant vos photos de vos équipes de hockey sur mon cellulaire, ça me permettait de sortir de ce cauchemar pour quelques minutes. C’était non seulement une belle distraction, mais un geste de leur solidarité remarquable. Vous démontriez votre appui et soutien envers notre famille « une famille de hockey » comme beaucoup ont dit. Vous avez été généreux et avez démontré que vous pensiez à nous. Je vous remercie de tout cœur pour tous ces gestes, et non seulement ceux de hockey car il y a eu bien d’autres aussi. Une maman m’a dit récemment que son fils voulait garder ses lacets verts pour Zackaël pour ne pas l’oublier, j’ai trouvé cela très touchant. Tous ces gestes de la dernière année nous ont permis à nous sentir moins seuls. Quelle belle communauté!

Je joins les photos de vos équipes d’hockey. Désolée si j’ai oublié de publier la vôtre, envoyez-moi la et je la rajouterai!!

 

Merci à ma cousine Julie ainsi qu’aux Puckhounds de Temiskaming Shores d’avoir porté du vert en l’honneur de Zackaël!

 

 

Thank you Gloucester CumberlandGirls hockey teams for your support by taping your sticks in green!

 

 

Merci à Constance Turpin, les Ice Dogs de Casselman – Embrun, ainsi que les Metcalfe Jets d’avoir porté du ruban et des lacets verts!

 

 

 

Thank you Nichole and your boys for wearing green laces and supporting our family

 

 

 

Maxandre de retour sur la glace après la perte de son frère, quel courage!
Maxandre back on the ice after the loss of his brother, so brave!
Breakaway!

 

Before I begin, I would like to thank you for all of the messages in regards to my previous post. In that post, I mentioned that I often felt lonely following the accident, despite being surrounded by remarkable people. This comment on my part should not be confused with thinking that I did not appreciate the help from my loved ones and the community, on the contrary. In fact, without the help of the people around me, I don’t know if I would have been able to “survive”. I was so devastated that I could barely function. As you know, in times of sad events, it is important to help each other and that is what so many of you have done, and for this I thank you very much.

Further to that, I would like to share a few photos that demonstrate how much a community can be there and come together to help others in difficult times. Following Zackaël’s death, the Blackburn Minor Hockey Association (BMHA) began wearing green laces. Thanks to the BMHA, many of you decided to wear some green on your hockey teams! Zackaël loved hockey.

Please know that these gestures did not go unnoticed. When I saw photos like the ones above, it warmed my heart. I vividly remember certain moments while my daughter still in a coma, feeling totally overwhelmed by mourning for the loss of Zackaël as well as helplessness towards Adélie’s condition. I didn’t have the will or the energy to do anything… all we could do was sit and hope for the best during a never-ending nightmare. During those moments, seeing the photos of your hockey teams on my cell, it allowed me to get out of this nightmare for a few minutes. It was not only a nice distraction, but a gesture of your remarkable support and solidarity. The hockey community was showing its support for a member of the “hockey family”. You have been generous and have shown that you are thinking of us. We thank you wholeheartedly for these gestures, and not just those from the hockey community because there were many others as well. Recently, a mom told me that her All these gestures have made us feel less alone. Wow what a great community!

I have attached photos of your hockey teams. Sorry if I forgot to post yours, send it to me and I’ll add it !!

 

The Year of Firsts Is Not Done

English follows…

Comme vous l’avez peut-être lu sur ma page d’accueil, j’ai plusieurs objectifs avec ce blogue. Un de ces objectifs est d’aider et partager avec d’autres endeuillés ou d’autres gens qui passent des moments difficiles. J’aimerais qu’on s’aide à passer à travers nos pertes, des situations difficiles et/ou à se sentir moins seul. N’inquiétez-vous pas, vous n’avez pas à avoir perdu un enfant pour participer et écrire sur mon blogue.

Dans les mois qui ont suivi l’accident, je me suis sentie seule en tant que maman qui avait perdu un enfant de façon tragique. Je n’étais pas seule physiquement car nous recevions énormément d’aide de nos proches, et pour cela, j’en serai toujours reconnaissante. Nous étions à l’hôpital (pour Adélie) où nous étions entourés de gens magnifiques. Malgré la présence et la générosité des gens, je me sentais tout de même seule, mis à part mon mari Carl qui lui aussi venait de perdre Zackaël. Cela dit, la situation d’enfer aurait été encore plus pénible sans mon conjoint.

J’ai finalement trouvé un groupe de soutien sur Facebook pour parents endeuillés. Un groupe avec des parents forts et remarquables avec qui on peut échanger notre histoire et partager nos émotions. Ce groupe, qui se nomme « Parent d’un ange », a été créé par Lisette Massy, une maman extraordinaire qui est vraiment là pour nous les . Mme Massy est la maman de Hugo St-Cyr, comédien/musicien que l’on a connu en tant que Michel Couillard dans l’émission populaire Watatatow. Hugo est malheureusement décédé du cancer des os en 2015. J’aime beaucoup ce que Mme Massy a confié aux TVA nouvelles (voir article) :

« Sans vouloir faire de critiques, il y a juste les parents endeuillés qui peuvent comprendre des parents endeuillés », affirme Mme Massy, en ajoutant qu’elle a une très bonne amie qui a perdu son fils, trois ans avant elle. « Je pensais que je la comprenais, mais c’est le jour où j’ai perdu mon fils que j’ai compris que je n’avais rien compris, explique-t-elle. « On peut imaginer la chose, mais il faut le vivre pour le comprendre. »

Il y a aussi le groupe “The Compassionate Friends of Canada » que j’ai trouvé sur Facebook. Par contre, je cherchais également des blogues personnels écrits de parents endeuillés. Les blogues sont bien différents de groupes Facebook et comportent certains autres avantages. J’en ai trouvé un en France d’une maman et quelques uns aux États-Unis, mais j’ai eu de la difficulté en trouver au Canada, surtout en français.

À travers mes prochaines publications, je discuterai de plusieurs sujets qui ont malheureusement fait partie de notre vie durant la dernière année; deuil, trauma, blessure, anxiété, etc. En contrepartie, je parlerai aussi de sujets plus positifs tels la persévérance, l’entraide et mes enfants bien-sûr! Bonne lecture, et j’espère de pouvoir également lire vos avis et avoir des discussions avec vous tous!

Zackaël
trauma
deuil
perte d'enfant
grieving parent
angel
Flintoff
Zackaël, environ 1 mois avant son décès

As you may have read on my home page, I have several goals with this blog. One of those goals is to help and share with other bereaved or anyone who is going through difficult times. I would like us to help each other through our losses, difficult situations and/or feel less alone. You don’t have to have lost a child to participate and/or my blog, it’s for everyone!

As a mother who had tragically lost a child, I felt lonely in the months following the accident. I was not alone physically as we received a lot of help from our loved ones, and for that I will always be grateful. We were at the hospital (for Adélie) where we were surrounded by wonderful people. Despite the presence and generosity of so many people, I still felt alone, apart from my husband Carl who as going through the same thing I was, having just lost Zackaël. Having said that, the hellish situation we were in would have been even more painful without my partner.

I finally found a support group on Facebook for bereaved parents. A group with strong and remarkable parents with whom we can exchange our story and share our emotions. This group, called “Parent d’un ange”, was created by Lisette Massy, an amazing mom who is really there for us. Ms. Massy is the mother of Hugo St-Cyr, actor / musician who we knew as Michel Couillard on the popular show Watatatow. Hugo unfortunately died of bone cancer in 2015. I really like what Ms. Massy told TVA Nouvelles (see article):

“Without wanting to be critical, only the bereaved parents can truly understand bereaved parents,” said Ms. Massy, adding that she has a very good friend who lost her son three years before her. “I thought I understood her, but it was the day I lost my son that I realized I hadn’t understood a thing,” she explains. “You can imagine it, but you have to experience it to understand it. “


There is the group “The Compassionate Friends of Canada”, also on Facebook. However, I was also looking to find personal blogs from bereaved parents. Blogs are quite different from Facebook groups and have some other benefits. I found one in France from a mother and a few from the US, but I had more difficulty finding some in Canada, especially bilingual or French ones.


In my next posts, I will be discussing several topics that have unfortunately been part of our life over the past year; bereavement, trauma, injury, anxiety, etc. Conversely, I will also talk about more positive subjects such as perseverance, mutual aid and my children of course! Happy reading, and I hope I can also read your thoughts and have discussions with all of you!

Adélie update – Mise à jour Adélie

English follows…

Juste avant que je commence ma publication d’aujourd’hui, j’aimerais vous laisser savoir que j’ai mis à jour celle à propos de l’arbre à l’école, notamment rajouté une photo avec les lumières! Si jamais vous passez, n’hésitez pas à rajouter une petite décoration ou lumière.

Beaucoup de gens me demandent souvent “comment Adélie va?”. Voici un petit résumé à propos d’Adélie et quelques mises à jour.

Sa thérapie continue et elle fait des beaux progrès. Nous avons passé 103 jours à l’hôpital avec elle, remplis de hauts et de bas. Nous sommes sortis de l’hôpital le 27 février, le lendemain de la fête à Zackaël. Depuis sa rentrée à la maison, nous avons fait de notre mieux pour continuer sa thérapie (par nous-mêmes ou en ligne) pendant le confinement. Durant ce temps, elle a continué à réapprendre à marcher et par la fin mars elle marchait par elle-même. Nous continuons à travailler très fort sur sa mobilité de ses membres du côté droit, particulièrement son bras et sa main. Elle porte également et encore aujourd’hui une orthèse de soutien pour son pied et sa jambe. Sa jambe et son pied sont beaucoup moins raides avec son orthèse. Depuis la fin juin, nous avons pu reprendre les services de thérapie pour Adélie. Elle obtient des services hebdomadaires d’ergothérapie, de physiothérapie ainsi que d’orthophonie. Nous sommes choyés de travailler avec une équipe fabuleuse de thérapeutes. Nous sommes tellement fiers d’elle et de sa détermination. Elle est une petite fille très enjouée qui adore les gens.

Adélie a recommencé la garderie le 2 octobre (elle n’était jamais retournée après l’accident). Depuis le début octobre, elle a toutefois passé beaucoup à la maison dû à des rhumes et une infection (qui est maintenant complétement traitée). Elle a également reçu certains traitements et rendez-vous médicaux récemment, dont j’en parlerai dans une autre publication.

Ci-dessous vous trouverez deux vidéos et une photo prises à son retour à la garderie, presque 11 mois depuis l’accident. Pendant presque 1 an, elle n’avait pas joué avec ses amis (à part une visite à l’hôpital de sa meilleure amie Addison). Vous pouvez voir qu’elle était très excitée de commencer la garderie! “Bye bye!” nous a-t-elle dit. La photo est avec son frère Maxandre.

Encore une fois, merci à vous tous qui nous ont aidé durant la dernière année. Merci également à vous qui continuez à nous écrire et de démontrer votre appui.

Adélie Flintoff

Just before I start my post today, I’d like to let you know that I updated the one about the tree at school, including added a photo with the lights! If you ever pass by, don’t hesitate to add a little decoration or light.

Here’s a quick recap about Adélie over the last year and some updates. Her therapy continues and she is making great progress. We spent 103 days in the hospital with her, which was filled with ups and downs. We were released from the hospital on February 27, the day after the Zackaël party. Since coming home, we have done our best to continue her therapy (some on our own or online) while in lockdown. During this time, she continued to relearn to walk and by the end of March she was walking on her own. We continue to work very hard to recover her mobility of her limbs on her right side, especially her arm and hand. She also still wears a supportive brace for her foot and leg. Her leg and foot are much less stiff with the brace. Since the end of June, we have been able to resume therapy services for Adélie. She obtains weekly occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy services. We are blessed to work with a fabulous team of therapists. We are so proud of her and her determination. She is a very playful little girl who adores people.

Adélie started daycare again on October 2 (first time since the accident). However, since the beginning of October, she has spent a lot at home due to colds and an infection (which is now fully treated). She also received some medical treatments and appointments, which I will discuss at some point in another post.

Above are two videos taken on the first day back at daycare, almost 11 months since the accident. For almost a year, she hadn’t played with her friends (other than a visit during her stay in the hospital from her best friend Addison). You can see that she was very excited to start daycare! “Bye bye” she told us! The picture is with her brother Maxandre.

Once again, thank you to all of you who have helped us over the past year. Thank you also to continue to write to us and show your support.

Zackaël’s Honour Book (Mixbook)

Pour la version originale de cette publication (version française), cliquez ici.


I can’t believe we got the books today of all days! They were supposed to arrive on Thursday. Maybe Zackaël made it that they arrived today. This honour book about Zackaël was ordered last Monday on Mixbook. The book displays 77 beautiful coloured pages and includes stories, souvenirs, letters, poems and lots of pictures. We ordered 17 books in total.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to stories about Zackaël and to Adelaide for her immense help with the book; without her we wouldn’t been able to make this beautiful memory book.

I plan to write a review of Mixbook and creating a memory book. Make sure to subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss out that review!

That’s it for now!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much and your private messages!

If you would like to receive my next post, you can click “Follow by email”.
Or you can send me a message and I will send you an invitation!

Frame in honour of Zackaël – Cadre en l’honneur de Zackaël

Demain le 17 novembre, 1 an depuis le départ de Zackaël. Tout le monde est triste ici. Si vous avez un profil Facebook et aimeriez placer un petit geste en sa mémoire, svp utiliser ce cadre. Voir le lien ci-dessous. Est-ce que ça l’a fonctionné pour vous?

Tomorrow November 17, 1 year since Zackaël was taken away from us. Everyone is sad here. If you have a Facebook profile and would like to make a small gesture in his memory, please use this frame. See the link below. Did it work for you?

 www.facebook.com/profilepicframes/?selected_overlay_id=361653395071929

Commemorative Tree for Zackaël

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.


At the end of October, a beautiful tree was planted at the Prélude school (in Orléans) in honour of Zackaël. We chose an ornamental chanticleer pear tree. In spring, the tree will be clothed in stunning clusters of white flowers . The white and the beauty of the flowers represent Zackaël, a beautiful, sweet, innocent and angelic little boy. In summer, it will also grow small fruits and will display a superb orange-red fall color by fall.

École le Prélude
Zackaël Flintoff

Above is a photo of the tree in the fall. The tree was planted just accross the kindergarten / garden school yard where Zackaël played during recess. The tree is also near the school bus waiting area where his brother Maxandre awaits us every evening after school.

We ordered a custom plaque in his honour which will be placed in front of the tree. On November 17th, we installed small green lights, it is Zackaël’s favourite colour. Don’t hesitate to add a small solar or battery-powered lantern to the tree, or a small decoration.

Thank you to my friends Cindy Thibodeau and Patrick Drolet for the beautiful tree!

That’s it for now!
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much and your private messages!

If you would like to receive my next post, you can click “Follow by email”.
Or you can send me a message and I will send you an invitation!


Zackaël’s vigil – Vigile en mémoire de Zackaël

English follows…

La vigile en mémoire de Zackaël a eu lieu vendredi soir le 13 novembre 2020. Un énorme merci pour tous ceux et celles qui sont venus. C’était une soirée mémorable…. plus à venir à propos de cette soirée!

À noter que nous continuerons d’allumer les chandelles de la petite présentation avec photo que nous avons préparée, jusqu’au 17 novembre. Venez allumer une chandelle ou lampe solaire en sa mémoire, la présentation est à Ottawa jusqu’au 17 novembre.

A vigil in memory of Zackaël took place on Friday night November 13 2020. A huge thank you to everyone who came. It was a memorable evening …. more to come on about the vigil!

Please note that we will continue to light the candles for the beautiful display we have prepared, until November 17. Come light a candle or bring a solar lamp in his memory. It is located in Ottawa.