This post is part of our series throughout the month of May on motherhood. This story is the third part to “Moments in Time – Part 1,” and “Moments in Time – Part 2”, reflections from our Executive Director Elisabeth Zimmermann on the death of her grandson, Coby.
We post this story in honour of all the mothers who have experienced the tragedy of loosing a child.
This past January we gathered together to mark what would have been Coby’s second birthday. It is still difficult. We came together as family to remember the child who we never had the chance to know. I couldn’t help but think about what he would have been doing, what kind of little boy would he have been. I know if he had been anything like Kirstin he would have been taking the world by storm, inquisitive, exploring and full of energy. We would have probably have had lots of grandma and Coby time by now, secret times, just the two of us as I helped him learn about the world around him. The grief has softened as time has gone on as I knew it would, yet it is still there. There are moments that still catch me by surprise, a sentimental commercial, a little blond haired two year old boy. Moments that remind me of what we have lost. Those moments aren’t as often as they once were but they are still there and when they happen are still as intense and full of sorrow as they were from the beginning.
This year life has evolved and continued as it does, Kirstin and Jason now have Alice who was born in August after an anxiety filled pregnancy. The first time I saw Alice within hours of her birth was the same way I saw Coby for the first time, in the arms of her father. It took my breath away how much she looked like her brother. There are moments when I look at her as she is growing and thriving I can’t help but wonder about Coby and what kind of big brother he would have been.
“It is the great comfort that children bring, life goes on and the immediate needs take precedent and in that there is healing.”
Kirstin and Jason’s first weeks of parenting this new baby had all of the typical new parent anxieties but all of it was amplified. Layered over everything was the loss of Coby, the knowledge of how badly things can go wrong is always there. As the weeks and months have gone by and Alice is growing and becoming more and more her own person it has forced them to be present in who she is. It is the great comfort that children bring, life goes on and the immediate needs take precedent and in that there is healing. What having Alice has done for all of us is crea
te the space for the joy of this new child without diminishing the importance of who Coby was in our lives and in so doing has created some peace with what happened.
Here we are now at Mother’s Day, the 3rd one since we lost Coby. It has been a different Mother’s Day this year because of Alice’s presence it was marked by the duality of joy and sorrow. The journey of parenthood has been a struggle for Kirstin and Jason because of the loss of Coby, it has had an everlasting impact on how they and I as well view the world. I am grateful to see that Kirstin and Jason are finding peace with losing Coby and that Alice has brought them such great joy. I know they will always miss him and that he will always have a place in their lives and that Alice will grow up knowing that she had a big brother even if she didn’t get to know him.
I continue to share our family’s experience and will always share this experience because I believe that in so doing we honour the time that Coby was with us and as well it is my hope that in so doing it creates the space for families who have lived in silence to share their own experiences.
I also continue to share my perspective of our experience because of how much Coby has impacted my life even though we only had him for a moment.
He will always be remembered, he will always be a part of our lives.