happy 4th birthday Florence Marigold!

March 7, 2016, Michaela Evanow, 18 Comments

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 love notes and “I miss you” notes.

We had cake and we sang Happy Birthday to you!Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetDSC_0507 DSC_0499The room was filled with daffodils, the birth flower of March. The month you were born!

There were little butterfly tattoos for all of our guests to apply. I know you would have loved them!

We lit sparklers and took time to gaze upon some of your treasures and remember you.

We watched a slideshow about your life and listened to some of your favourite songs. We cried a lot.

We blew lots of bubbles and gathered in a circle to share how you have impacted our lives.

DSC_0653Processed with VSCOcam with m4 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with m4 presetWe hung your Tinkerbell stuffie and your 3rd birthday dress in the living room, and the F-L-O banner that used to be in your bedroom.

We wrote love notes to you on balloons and released them to the heavens. We played “Forever Young” by Joan Baez, one of my favourite Flo songs, and I tilted my head back so far and cried so hard, I felt like I would fall over. I could feel you, right there, in my tears and in the sunshine. And yet releasing the balloons was like releasing you all over again. I never ever want to let you go. It hurts every time I do.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with k2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with m4 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with m4 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with k2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with k2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with m4 presetAll of these things made us feel closer to you, Florence.


We must always remember and celebrate and mourn those that we have lost. Especially our children. Whether they are born still or live to be three years old, they all matter. Our village gathered around us, both in spirit, in the flesh and online, and they have wrapped us up in their love and support. It is the greatest gift, to be able to share and have our family and friends stand with us and bear witness.

Rituals help us take the time to remember. They help us heal, mourn, celebrate and embrace the grief that has impacted us all.

Happy Birthday, dear Florence.

We miss you and love you and celebrate you.

Thank you for being our little girl.


In honour of Florence’s birthday, consider making a donation to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice on Flo’s fundraising page or to Families of SMA Canada or The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.

Florence and Charlie’s 10K to end SMA will be held August 7th at Second Beach in Vancouver BC. All are welcome to run, walk, roll 10K or less. Details can be found here.

Photos by Tina Francis. @teenbug


  • Reply Ebele April 21, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    Thank you Micheala for sharing your story. You are a strong mama! For the first time I read a blog of a mom that I could truly connect with. I am a mother of three children 4yrs, 2yrs, and 9months and all three have been diagnosed with SMA. One trached with Gbutton, one with Bipap and nasal feeding.Their symptoms didn’t have the early onset presentation, they were diagnosed at about the same time, so there was no warning towards future pregnancies. God has been my strength everyday, I try my best to stay strong daily with the challenges my family faces everyday.Thank you for being an inspiration to me!

    • Reply Michaela Evanow April 29, 2016 at 5:45 PM

      Oh wow, what a story. My heart goes out to you. I’m so glad my words resonate with you. YOU are a strong mama.

  • Reply Nellie March 8, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    Thought about you and your beautiful family. I can’t even begin to imagine the depth, breath and width of what this day means to you. My daughter is 8 1/2 years old and I have shared Florence’s story with her and many of the other precious SMA children.

    You are ALWAYS in my heart and in my prayers. Your writing alone captures the beauty and love of Florence Marigold.

    Love & Support from New York…FOREVER!!

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:54 PM

      Thank you so much, Nellie.

  • Reply Julie Sims March 7, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    Thank you for allowing us to read your heart on this blog. I have thought about your precious family on and off all day.

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:54 PM

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply Andrea March 7, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    I’ve been watching for marigolds to plant – haven’t seen any yet, but know it won’t be long now.

    Thank you for continuing to share your girl with us – for helping us remember her, and for living your life with your heart so wide open.

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:54 PM

      Thanks, Andrea.

  • Reply Bronwyn Lea March 7, 2016 at 1:44 PM

    So much love to you, Michaela, and happy birthday to a little girl whose grace still shines.

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:55 PM

      Thank you Bronwyn!

  • Reply Kathleen Chafin March 7, 2016 at 11:22 AM

    Happy 4th Birthday Florence..you are so loved by your parents and everyone who you have touched. You are a gift to us all now and always.

    And to Mommy, where did the beautiful poem on the caulkboard come from?

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:56 PM

      The author is Nishu Mathur, poem is Marigolds.

  • Reply Susan Biddle March 7, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    Happy 4th Birthday Florence! Your sweet momma has done such a beautiful job sharing your birth story with her “village” so it’s been an honor to learn all about the wonderful treasure of your life…today, I pray you enjoy your day from the other side of the sun…blessings, Susan:)

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:57 PM

      Thank you for being a part. xo

  • Reply Idelette March 7, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    So so beautiful. We cherish and remember you, Florence.

    Michaela, thinking about you and carrying you in my heart.

    Love you so much.

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:57 PM

      Thank you so much my dear friend. Love you.

  • Reply Sue Keida March 7, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    Oh sweetie, you and Jay are so strong, so loving, so loved.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful celebration
    PS. Soon I’ll be planting my new crop of marigolds for Florence and for you.

    • Reply Michaela Evanow March 11, 2016 at 12:57 PM

      Thank you so much!

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