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

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.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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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!

perte d'enfant
grieving parent
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!