Coping with the Accident Aftermath and Grief during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you who shared my last social media post. Since I write this blog on my own time, leaving comments and sharing my posts are important for the continuation of this blog. On Facebook, shares (in lieu of “likes”) are more helpful with wider distribution of posts.

Thanks to the sharing of my most recent post, we now have some new readers with us. Welcome new readers, I am excited to have you onboard!

Today’s post will be a little different. Instead of covering a specific topic, I will provide a general update instead. It’s been a few months since I posted an update on our family.


We are still quite busy, and trying to get on top of things is an ongoing challenge. In particular, the fall months are filled with appointments. Since the accident, which was followed by the pandemic, I had to cancel and postpone several appointments. You may remember the topic of “secondary losses” from trauma / bereavement, a subject I briefly introduced a few months ago.

Effects of the accident and the pandemic

Last year, our focus and energy were absorbed by what was most important; Adélie’s recovery, our time with the kids, our grief journey and our mental health. Additionally, we were overwhelmed with appointments and paperwork related to the accident. As a result, I had cancelled several regular appointments, and postponed many others that we’ve been wanting to reschedule for a while.

Current situation

For myself, my focus is now on trying to regain my health. I have recurring appointments for immunotherapy (allergy shots), other medical appointments, and finally rescheduled previously cancelled dental appointments. I’m expecting cavities (which I don’t usually have), since certain elements of my dental care have not been up to par (e.g. flossing); yet another item overlooked as a result of the accident.

When our children’s health becomes our primary preoccupation, in addition to grieving, unfortunately our own health is likely to suffer. The same goes for exercise, which can be nearly impossible when you don’t have energy.  My heartache, due to depression, initially caused me to lose weight, which lasted for 10 months after the accident. I’m now trying to find enough time, energy and motivation to get in better shape.

An appointment with the hairdresser is also on my list; it’s been 2 ½ years since I went. I’m apprehensive to go since it usually involves chatting. My situation is not very rosy to talk about, and what if I suddenly start to cry?

School for Adélie

As for Adélie, she just started junior kindergarten! During back-to-school week, we met with all her health workers and school staff to ensure a smooth transition. Even with school, Adélie is expected to continue her occupational therapy, speech therapy and two physiotherapy sessions every week.  Unfortunately, health restrictions and the school board’s position are still unclear. We are still awaiting a response as to whether Adélie can receive services on the school premises.

Adélie is qualified to take paratransit, which is helpful, especially once I return to work. In October, we are planning another constraint therapy for Adélie, which will further reduce her mobility. Paratransit will be even more essential.

Adélie taking the paratransit to school


For his part, Maxandre is restarting hockey, playing for the Blackburn Stingers. I think it will be good for him.

At the renovated arena in Blackburn Hamlet (Lois Kemp Arena)

Obviously, it hasn’t been easy for Maxandre the past two years. Not only was he traumatized by Zackaël’s death, and nearly lost Adélie, the pandemic really added to his anxiety and isolation. Stuck at  home, he didn’t have his brother to play with. The big age difference with his sister doesn’t allow for the same type of play that he and Zackaël enjoyed together. He adores his sister, but she can be very demanding and prone to tantrums which can be very challenging for all of us.

Last year, although Maxandre had a great teacher, virtual school was not for him. When we kept Adélie home from daycare, which was at least half the time, it was even more difficult for all of us. At the same time, we had to support Maxandre and encourage him to stay focused.

Virtual Learning for Maxandre

On this point, a few years ago, it was suggested Maxandre be assessed for ADHD (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder). We have suspected ADHD for several years, but once again, the accident turned our plans upside in so many areas. Plans to set up an assessment were postponed; our priorities were no longer to diagnose ADHD, but to support a child who also had PTSD.

Maxandre is very open on this subject, and I made sure that he was okay with me talking about it. The assessment is scheduled for this November. Following the results, we hope to receive tools that can support Maxandre and our family.

Funeral monument at St-Joseph cemetery

Last fall, I had started looking at options for a funeral monument. In the months following the accident, it was something that neither Carl nor I felt ready to take on (not by ourselves anyway). Finally in the fall, I posted a message on my Facebook wall which basically stated that I was overwhelmed, and needed help with some things.

I am grateful that many people came forward and replied to my post. Specifically, for the funeral monument (which was my top priority), I want to thank Crystal and Noémie who both offered their help with this difficult task. Together, we were able to start the process, which provided answers to some initial questions I had.

Over the winter, Carl and I had more time to think about want we really wanted. Since the kids were with us all summer, we decided to wait until school began to make an appointment. Last week, we finally made an appointment with a funeral monument company and ordered a headstone.

At the funeral monument company (Martel’s)

Even though it’s been 22 months since the accident, it is still painful for us to go to this type of place and choosing what we want. The monument will be installed in St-Joseph’s cemetery in Orleans, where Zackaël is buried. We hope it will be ready for this fall. Once it’s installed, I will share a post in case anyone is interested in visiting the cemetery.

Coming soon

I am currently working on a slideshow about Adélie’s journey. After going through many photos and videos, I selected the ones that best highlight her recovery. Creating the slideshow is time-consuming, especially since I am also adding text to it. The last step will be to add some music. All of it will undoubtedly make a beautiful memory for her and all of us.

In August, we had a photography session that Adélie won in a contest. I will share the photos in my next blog post. Adélie is wearing a magnificent princess dress, so you won’t want to miss it!!

Here is a link to my last post in case you missed it. If you can share it (with the Facebook “share” button), it would be much appreciated!

That’s it for now! If you liked this post, please help me keeping my blog alive by sharing this post on social media and subscribing to my blog by clicking “Follow by email”. You will also be sure to receive our next post which will include pictures of our family and Adélie’s wearing a luxurious gown by Anna Triant Couture!

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7 responses to “Coping with the Accident Aftermath and Grief during the COVID-19 Pandemic”

  1. Emmanuelle Rheault Avatar
    Emmanuelle Rheault

    J’ai bien apprécié cette mise à jour sur votre famille. Ça vous fait beaucoup de pain sur la planche avec tous ces rendez-vous… Mais c’est bien, ça veut dire que vous prenez soins de vous. Pour les caries, je ne serais pas inquiète à ta place, surtout s’il n’y a pas de douleur. Et contente de voir que Adélie a de si bons services. Enfin, pour ta remise en forme, c’est un bon signe ça aussi. N’oublie pas que ce n’est pas nécessaire de mettre la barre trop haute au début. Juste le fait d’avoir envie de bouger est déjà beaucoup!

  2. François Lehoux Avatar
    François Lehoux

    Merci Brigitte pour ton récit sur ton parcours et celui de ta famille suite au décès. Tu résumes très bien les défis qui sont arrivés suite à l’accident. Vous êtes une famille magnifique et forte. Merci pour les détails sur Adélie et Maxandre. Etant ton père, et étant grand-parent, je souffre encore et souffrirerai toujours de cette douleur. Par contre, je me dis toujours qu’il faut penser à l’avenir tout en se rappellant du passé. Je crois sincèrement, que malgré l’accident vous avez fait un bon bout de chemin et que l’on peut voir , dans ton texte que tu penses beaucoup à l’avenir tout en respectant le passé. Adélie a commencé l’école et Maxandre commence le hockey bientôt. Il ne faut pas oublier de prendre soin de votre santé, toi et Carl.

    Merci pour ton texte qui me sert d’encouragement

    Je t’aime

  3. Elaine Shepherd Avatar
    Elaine Shepherd

    J’ai bien aimé ta publication d’hier Brigitte et la précédente. C’est incroyable de voir Adélie en début d’année scolaire et à l’aréna dans les photos. Elle a tellement grandi depuis nos premières sessions en mars 2020. Sa complicité avec Maxandre est belle à voir! Tu es une maman remarquable!

  4. Ryan Toole Avatar
    Ryan Toole

    Nice update.

    Glad to see that Max is suiting up for hockey — he’ll do great! Great pictures of Adelie as well.

    Any monument you guys choose will be a wonderful tribute to Zac, just like your roadside memorial and the beautiful book that was created.

    Hope to see you all soon!

  5. Judy Avatar

    Wow, I just read your last 2 posts and again… are an amazing writer. You have great insight especially since you’ve gone through such trauma, but it is a unique quality to be able to share your thoughts, ideas and helpful suggestions so well. Our little girl is amazing, and Maxandre is such a good big brother. Wonderful photos!💚💚

  6. Veronica Avatar

    Thanks for giving us such a heartfelt, detailed update. Adelie looks excited to be in school with her big brother Max. Can’t wait for the pictures of her in her princess dress. I am hoping you can make your hair appointment, however your reasons for being apprehensive are very true and understandable.
    The frame for Zackael at the arena is such a nice tribute to a little guy who loved hockey!

  7. Nichole Avatar

    I loved this update, thank you for sharing! The Blackburn Arena looks incredible. Ben has had a Psycho-Ed assessment so, assuming this is what Max is going to experience, if you have any questions or wants to “compare notes”, feel free to reach out. I can’t wait to see Adélie’s photos, I remember her winning the shoot!

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