honouring the one year anniversary of loss: a photo collection

Observing the death anniversary of one of the loves of your life is difficult to navigate, make sense of and find your rhythm in. I know for me, it’s important to have many rituals in place. Orchestrated mourning, I suppose. I find it really healthy, helpful and healing. I will carry these rituals with me for my entire life, because she is always my girl. Some days I feel awe and shock, that she once breathed this same air, saw the same trees and heard the same birds. When I see her face printed on photo paper, I’m hit with the realization that she was here and is no longer. There’s a simple forgetting that happens in between these moments. I know her so well. I carried her for nine months and three years. We both did, my husband and I. We carried her for her entire life. And because of that, we were incredibly close to her, flesh against flesh, hearts beating side by side.

We needed to feel physically close to her on her anniversary. So we went to the place where we last held her and took our shoes off and put our hands into the earth.

I really didn’t want the day to go by with my head under the covers. I wanted to stay tethered. Mother’s Day, the day before Florence’s anniversary, was a hard day.

There was a lot of love and support in the online community, and we felt cared for. Someone sent us a gift certificate for a meal service. Another sent flowers. And, the day after, someone else painted on the street: Florence Marigold in Bloom.

The day itself did feel heavy. I felt like it was the middle of summer. The heat was a little oppressive and it seemed to weigh me down even more. I was feeling all sorts of things. Nervous, on edge, serene and sad. It’s unfair to observe the death anniversary of your first born child. Nothing feels right.

We had a photographer friend come with us to Canuck Place, where we spent the majority of the day. We planted marigolds in the hot soil. We planted memories.

Florence had many exciting moments at Canuck Place, truly living and experiencing things she wouldn’t have been able to elsewhere. And she also spent her last days there, truly living out the last of her glorious moments on earth. She passed away very peacefully at 4:27PM, a sunny Saturday on May 9th 2015.

Katie Cross Photography took these beautiful photos that we will always cherish. She is also a fellow bereaved mama, so we knew she would know what to do.

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We love you so much, sweet Florence Marigold.

Thank you so much, Katie.

Photographer: Katie Cross Photography, Vancouver BC.

Donate to Canuck Place.

12 months of mama grief and undying love


As the one year anniversary approaches, I am starting to see that I have laid expectations on myself. I also feel that others may expect me to act differently. Somehow a year feels like a great marker in the grief journey, because it is a whole 12 months, but the truth is, I feel like she died a handful […]

Marigolds in bloom at Canuck Place

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This post was originally published on the Canuck Place blog. This wonderful place has made such a difference in our lives. They recently sent out a letter and packets of Marigold seeds in honour of #FlorenceMarigoldinBloom Click here to donate to Florence’s Canuck Place page in honour of Mother’s Day and our beautiful daughter. + Never in a […]

g o l d e n.

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It’s that time of year. Marigold season. This time last year we had no idea that Florence would be gone from us in a month. I heard marigolds were finally in bloom, and everything inside of me wanted to hop in the car and find them. I felt drawn to them. So, in the evening, […]

happy 4th birthday Florence Marigold!

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On Saturday we celebrated you, Florence Marigold. It was supposed to rain all day, but guess what? The sun came out! It always has on your birthday party. We wrote in the book that was at your celebration of life and also on banners that we have hung on our wall. We wrote happy birthday notes and […]

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Dear Village, I don’t know how to ask this, without sounding quite desperate. But, the truth is, I am feeling desperate. Desperate to celebrate my daughter and have you alongside me.  Her birthday is on March 7th. She would have been 4 years old. Every fibre of my being is screaming out: please acknowledge it. […]