My sweet little angel

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.


Before I begin this week’s post, I would like to reveal the significant changes I made to the blog! Some of you might notice that the website looks different. The main reason is that I added a language switcher, rather than reading a long post with both languages. I had to install a plug-in and rework the website (I also improved the menu structure). So this is now officially a multilingual blog (yay!). Multilingual personal blogs are rare I think, so I’m happy to continue in both languages. After all, it’s good for the brain to practice two languages!

Please note that I write each post in French first, and then translate in English. As my first language is French, if you can read French, I suggest reading the posts in French as they are “better written” in my opinion. 🙂

All that to say, this change will bring a cleaner layout, and you as a reader can easily from English to French, and vice-versa. You will find the language switcher drop-down (EN-FR) at the top-right of the menu in green. In the main menu, you will also notice changes with the groupings of the pages.

Sorry to those of you who were trying to open the last email, it was an error that occurred during my redesign and it was the same post as last week (a duplicate). Thank you still for letting me know!


Another week with the kids at home, time flies! For everyone’s health, I sure hope that classroom-based school will start again soon. Keeping our fingers crossed. Yesterday, we received a message from school: once a week, the afternoon will be asynchronous, and without connectivity. The school says it is to help with the health and well-being of students and staff. It’s a good initiative!

I received some kind messages this week from Isabelle, someone I didn’t know. Isabelle told me that she and her husband Pascal often drive by the accident site on the 323 to get to their cottage. For those who haven’t read the post about the accident site, you can find it here.

Isabelle shared with me that she and her family were deeply moved by our story and they think of us and Zackaël a lot. Receiving this kind of message always touches me; it reminds us that Zackaël is always in our hearts, even for people who did not know him.

What touched me the most was when she told me that she and her husband often stopped to clear snow at the site. What a thoughtful gesture! Remember the definitions of empathy and compassion? Well, this gesture is a great testament to that. They are empathetic people because they are wholeheartedly with us, and saw that it was important for us to keep the monument and photo visible. They are also very compassionate because it is a helping gesture that no one has asked them to do. Isabelle and Pascal, you have a big heart, and I thank you very much for what you do!

Zackaël’s roadside memorial during the Holidays
Before Pascal et Isabelle remove the snow
Pascal removing the show
Almost cleared up – Zackaël’s monument on the 323

Pascal et Isabelle removing the snow
Zackaël’s monument
Many people stopped and added decorations during the Holidays

Zackaël’s roadside memorial at night


I would also like to thank everyone who has taken the time to stop at the monument, some of you even added a little something. Thank you Marielle & Raynald, and Tim & Amélie for the pictures. Since I’m not able to visit the monument because of its location, it means a lot when I receive new pictures. I’m able to see if little items were added, which always warms my heart.

As Zackaël favourite colour was green, don’t hesitate to add a little green something (like a green light or ribbon) if you’re ever on the 323 and decide to stop.

My aunt at Zackaël’s roadside memorial
My aunt and uncle Marielle & Raynald often take the time to stop


I would love to share about Zackaël more often and his photos on this blog, but it’s not easy. As some of you know, I am often caught in a battle of emotions.

For today, I’m going to share a poem I wrote last spring. The original language of the poem is French. I quickly did a translation to English. I have to admit that the English version isn’t very good as the flow and rhymes disappear in the translation. If you know French, please read the French version instead.

Ce n’était pas assez (It was not enough)
Click here for original version

Poem in honor of Zackaël
My lapin d’amour (my honey bunny),
the most beautiful human I have ever known,
in my heart forever

It was not enough
That we did everything to make you happy
They still took you from us
Without telling you goodbye

It was not enough
That you always made us smile
They still took away
The chance to see you grow up

It was not enough
That you were the most patient
They still took from us
All our future moments

It was not enough
That you were good to her
They still took away
Her big brother Zackaël

It was not enough
That you were the best brother
They still took you
From their little world

It was not enough
To be an model student
They still took you
From your little classmates

It was not enough
That you were a best friend
They still took you
From your friend Alexi

It was not enough
That you were the sweetest boy
They still took you
To be with them in heaven

It was not enough
That you were our little sunshine
They took you anyway
The cruelest separation

It was not enough
That you are my beautiful “lapin”
They took you anyway
An endless November day

It was not enough
That everyone loved you
They still took you
We’ll never see you again

It was not enough
To be my beloved son
They still took you
Why did nothing protect you?

It was not enough
That you had a heart bigger than your body
They still took you
I hope there’s life is after death

My beautiful Zackaël
My heavenly angel
My love is unconditional
I send you a sweet kiss
Don’t worry, you will never be forgotten

Maman xox

Zackaël Flintoff, August 2019

Gone but never forgotten

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.


Gone but never forgotten

Since Zackael’s death, Carl and I have been particularly touched when we hear other tragic stories, especially when we hear about other children dying too young. We, unfortunately, understand the pain and emptiness those bereaved parents feel all too well.

December 13 was Worldwide Candle Lighting Day in memory of the children who left us too early. It is believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe. At 7 pm, people all around the world lit candles for the children gone too soon. I personally lit a green candle in honor of my Zackaël. The other candle, I lit it for all the other children who have left us. I thought of little Laurence, daughter of my cousin Sophie, and sweet Genevieve, Carl’s cousin.

Chandelles allumées le 13 décembre


I will always have in my heart all the children who are no longer with us, as well as their parents. Some parents have lost 2 or 3 children in a road accident, it is so cruel and unfair. They are the strongest parents I know.

I think of Clare McBride who lost her two daughters in an accident, caused by a drunk driver who didn’t do his stop. Here is a picture of little Oksana (6 years old) and Quinn (4 years old).

I didn’t know that Clare also has her own blog. Clare just shared it with me, I recommend you read it. Here is an excerpt of a poignant letter she wrote to the driver. It begins with:

“Dear Joe *, On August 16th 2019 you killed both of my children, Lucy *, 6, and Betty *, 4.”

Here is the link for the full version.

It is important to keep talking about our children, even though they are physically no longer here. Often, friends and relatives mistakenly believe that it is best to avoid mentioning the deceased child in the presence of the bereaved parent. They believe that if they talk about them, it may bring grief to the parent. It is quite the opposite. Most bereaved parents want people to keep talking about their child who left us too soon. In fact, the worst thing to do is ignore that they existed, and ignore their grief and loss. This can actually cause the grieving parent more pain.

I will always continue to talk about Zackaël. Most people didn’t have a chance to get to know Zackaël, but I can make him known to others. Today, I am sharing a story about him, and I will continue to share some from time to time.

Zackaël’s School Photos

In October 2019, a few weeks before the accident, we received some proofs of Zackaël’s school pictures. Looking at the pictures, I quickly said to Zackaël something like, “You look cute, but you’re laughing a little too much, we can’t see your beautiful eyes. Maybe for the next photo… you could smile just a little less”. This whole conversation was very quick, as it probably was interrupted.

Zackaël, end of September 2019 – Credit: Photomania (photomania.ca)

A few weeks later, on October 23, I picked up the kids from school after work. Zackaël immediately told me that there was a re-shoot that day and assured me that he hadn’t smiled too much. I told Zackaël that I didn’t know the re-takes were that day, I was a little disappointed because I would have dressed him better. He was wearing heavily used jogging pants and a Star Wars t-shirt. I also asked him if his smile was smaller than the last time. He said “yes”. It surprised me that he remembered because I had only told him once and it had been about twenty days since that conversation.

Fast-forward to the beginning of November, I received the new proofs of Zackaël’s photos. These photos made me laugh so much. Zackaël had really paid attention to what I had told him at the beginning of October, but maybe a little too much! He had remembered not to smile too much in the next few photos … so here is the result below! The photos are so different, it’s so funny when we compare them to each other!

Zackaël, October 23 2019 – Credit: Photomania (photomania.ca)

Zackaël was always a good listener. When you told him something, he paid attention and remembered. He was very observant. Even though these photos didn’t showcase his beautiful smile that would highlight his beautiful eyes, I still love these two photos. They demonstrate how cute he was, whether he was grinning from ear to ear, or looking very serious. They demonstrate how attentive he was when I spoke to him. And above all, these photos represent a memory that I hold dear in my heart, only a few weeks before he left us. I love you Zackaël.

That’s it for now! I hope you’ve enjoyed the memory I shared about Zackaël.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much! Feel free to leave messages to the other bereaved parents too.

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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 !!