About Me

HeleneThe tragic loss of my three children caused me almost unbearable pain. But survival has taught me critically important lessons that provide my life today with joy, friends and hope.

I was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. I married at 21 and gave birth to three beautiful children.  My daughter Anne was the first, followed by sons Paul & Adam.  All three were killed in accidents, leaving me in near hopeless despair for 15 years.

During that painful time, doctor would ask if I had suicidal thoughts. I replied that I would not commit suicide but if I dropped dead that minute, it would be alright.  In reality I was slowly killing myself with alcohol, cigarettes and depression.  Ultimately I had a choice, to continue my dark path or surrender my grief and seek hope.  I chose hope.

A chance event or comment can still trigger thoughts of my loss at any time but, sad as those can be, they no longer paralyze me with sorrow or self pity.  My glass of life is half full and I have the tools to overcome negativity.

Until now I have never wanted to dwell on this hurt nor share it.  For the curious my response was, “I really don’t want to talk about it.”

But a few months ago I opened a food blog which included a post on “Ten reasons you should write a blog”.  I realized I had something important to share, a survival story and a personal recipe for recovery from the loss of a mother’s most treasured blesssings – her children.

Thank you for reading this.  I hope it can help you or someone you know.

 

Edited by my friend John Warren; thank you John

and

Thank  you Willy for being his secretary

 

 

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66 Comments

  1. I am anxious to read your story and the observations of others on this painful topic, your grief and how your dealt with it.

  2. Hi there – I can’t even imagine what you went through. Like you said to lose one child is terrible and sad. To lose all three, horrific. I know you have come along way since those tragedies. Your gift of this blog will help others understand that they can come through it too with support and love and the healing comfort of sharing their story. Love and hugs to you my friend. You know I am there for you. xo ~m

    • Because of these tragedies, my life has taken a different path and because of this, I have met wonderful people like yourself. Thanks Michele

  3. Helene, my heart goes out to you, I could not and can not imagine what u have gone through. I remember the accidents of your children as they were cousins to my best friends. I see the cross’ for your children and think of you and your children. I would really like to know where I can purchase your book…It is very inspiring to me how parents can overcome such tragedies. I do not know u or your journey through these events but I would love to read your book to get to know your story.

  4. Hi Hélène, i still remember that day!! Not being there but hearing about it and seeing it on the news. My self being pregnant and due in a month, attending the funeral made me realize that our children are lenght to us, and that we do not own them!! What strenght you have nice to see you are able to share!!! Take care

  5. Bonjour Hélène,

    This is very well written. I remember the day of the accident that took Anne and Adam. We were coming back from a family trip. Then when I heard about Paul my heart just ached for you. I knew Anne and Paul from school. Now being a mother of 3 myself, I can’t image what you have gone through. Stay strong.

  6. To this day I still have a hard time coming to terms with these tragedies. I think of your children often. Thank you for writing this blog. I am looking forward to reading your posts. Are you writing a book?

    • Hi Josée
      Thank you for your thoughts. Not writing a book, just blogging. Not finished building my blog. I will get it out there once I’m done.
      Thanks
      Hélène

  7. My Dear Hel`en,
    So proud of you, what tremendous strength to share with the world your horrible loss.
    Our friends in Spain were still talking about your share last year, sharing not only your loss but your amazing recovery and the help you have given to so many. I am proud to call you a friend, and look forward to seeing you again soon (golf course?).
    Love ya Lots
    Ron

    • Hi Ron, thanks for your kind words. Oh yes, that was a great share in Spain. You were the person that was put on my path of recovery. It took 2 years but we gotter done…lol
      Also, now that I’m retire, I am taking my clubs out next week and giving them another swing. You’ll have to come visit.
      Thanks
      The Nut

    • Thanks Ghislaine. You are another beautiful person I have met on this journey. Thank you for everything you do for me. xo

  8. Thank you for sharing your journey through the darkest time of your life. What I have read up to now is very well written, thought provoking and clear. It is so good to see you taking control and through it all, the new you, is still that wonderful person you were when we first met. xoxo

    • Thanks Pat. I’m so happy you remained close to us after Norm (my brother) died. You have remained part of our family. We certainly have gone through lots of tragedy but we are survivors.
      Thanks xo

  9. Helene – I remember driving up Hwy 144 many times, seeing those crosses on the highway, wondering who had passed there. I never heard of the accident. Having met you now years later I can only imagine what you have been through. I am so glad to call you a friend now, on our journey together 🙂 I admire your strength and courage, so grateful beyond words…see you soon!

    • Hey Sherry,
      I know, here’s another great example of another family I have met; more great friends and travel, due to my finding things to turn my life around and joining this wonderful group. See you in Vegas. xo

  10. Hélène,
    Je pense à toi souvent. Connaissant déjà ton histoire, tu es souvent dans mes pensées, mes prières. Je vais lire attentivement ton blogue et j’espère que celui-ci t’aidera dans ton chemin vers le bien-être.

    • Salut Sophie,
      Ah oui, c’est tout un projet. Et c’est de prendre les choses que j’avais déposé sur une tablette et maintenant je viens des reprendres pour les regarder et partager.
      Prend soins.
      Hélène

  11. Helene
    Your journey has been one of incomprehensible loss.
    As you walked your journey, angels walked with you, and many of us, just silently by your side.
    This Blog is heartfelt by many.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Oh yes Sharon, I’m sure there are angels walking with me. Sometimes things happen where I know if they weren’t there, things would have happened.
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Hélène

  12. You are one of the most amazing people I have ever met. You are beautiful, kind and the most courageous person I have ever met. I always said, that for all you have gone through, you had the nicest personality and widest most beautiful smile I had ever seen, but I new by your eyes…..your sadness showed. I never wanted to ask you about it, because I did not want to cause you anymore pain, but I always prayed for you and your little ones. I can not even imagine such pain and nor do I want to ever. Just know that you are loved and held in the highest esteem. love you hon

    • Hi Ushy
      Thank you for your kind words. I admire you and the love you have for your grand children. They are very lucky to have a Nana like you.
      Enjoy, xo

  13. Wow Hélène, Je ne savais pas la souffrance que la vie a présenté sur ton chemin. Tu es une femme très courageuse pour avoir passé au travers et pour pouvoir encore sourire à la vie aujourd’hui. Je te souhaite que du bien en allant de l’avant. Je suis bénis que tu fasses partie de ma vie.

    • Susan
      Une autre belle chose qui m’arrive avec tout ce trajet triste est d’avoir rencontré des bonnes amies comme toi.
      Merci
      Hélène

  14. Bravo Hélène, tout un blog,
    Je te souhaite bonne chance chère amie. Jusqu’à tout récemment, nous étions seulement des connaissances au bureau et un jour tu m’as raconté ton histoire. Il va s’en dire une histoire très bouleversante. J’ai tout de suite sentie en toi une personne très spéciale. Je ne peux même pas commencer à imaginer ce que tu as vécu, mais je sais que tu es une personne qui m’inspire et que j’admire beaucoup. Que Dieu te bénisse….je suis certaine qu’Il est juste à tes cotés.

    • Merci pour tes beaux mots Lynn. Un autre de mes projets que je vais faire pendant ma belle retraite est de traduire mon blog en français.
      Hélène xo

  15. Very sorry for your lost. We lost a 19 year old daughter. She got diagnosed with a brain tumor and 2 weeks later cross over. This was 14 years ago. So knowing the feeling of losing a child, I just can’t imagine your lost. We are doing ok but it certainly took our spiritual faith to continue living in a normal way.
    Two of my favorites books are The disappearance of the universe and A course in Miracles.
    Hope parents that lost children uses your blog to share their stories so they can find ways to continue living a life with a purpose.
    Great idea.
    Don

    • Hi Don,
      Thank you for sharing. This is the purpose of this blog, for people who have lost children to come and share.
      Yes, there are so many great books out there and not only on loosing a loved one and grief but on how to move forward and change your thinking.
      One of my future blogs will be on ”Books I have read”.
      Thanks again
      Hélène

  16. Allo Helene

    On se connait un peu, a travers les annees, de Sudbury, ensuite Orillia, et maintenant Ottawa. On se voit pas beaucoup,moi et toi, mais je pense souvent a toi, sachant ce que tu as passé a travers, et tu es une personne que j’admire, pour ton courage et ta force. Continue, car tu es sur le bon chemin de guerissage, et je tu souhaite les meilleures annees dans le future.

    • Allo JoAnne. Oui, je me souviens bien lorsque Paul est décédé, tu es venue chez moi me consoler et m’aider. Merci xo

  17. Allo Helene, ca fait tres longtemps. Je suis contente t’entendre parler de toi. Chaque fois que je passe par le hwy 144 (qui est chaque jour depuis 40 ans) je pense as toi. J’ai toujours ete inquiete de toi et me demandais toujours comment tu avais survecu ces 2 accidents tres tragique. Alors je suis tres fiere de toi, tu est tres forte et tu as choisi le meilleur path “hope”. Est-ce que tu demeures a Ottawa? si oui, j’amerais te voir si jamais je vais visiter mon fils a Ottawa. Tellement contente que tout va bien et que tu as survecu et que tu peut vivre ta vie et recommencer a t’enjoyer plus. Tu etait toujours pleine de vie au highschool et toujours souriante…..et je le vois encore dans ta photo ci-haut. FELICITATIONS!!! LOVE U lots…..x0x0x0x0 🙂

  18. Thank-you Helene. You gave me the strength to move forward and to find positive in all the dark that could have been all consuming. I respect you tremendously as a friend and someone who knew what to say when I needed to hear words of reassurance. Much love .

  19. My dear Hélène,
    I admire you so much for your strength and courage in writing such a powerful and insightful message which has touched my heart, as it will many others, thank you for sharing.
    You are the most amazing friend that anyone could ever have and I feel blessed to have you in my life. You totally live life to the fullest!!!
    With love, Anne

  20. Helene….all I can say is I’m so proud of you and I am honoured to call you my friend ❤️

  21. My friend Helene…
    Dale and I think of you often…
    I’m still awed and amazed at how much there is out in the world to be inspired by. Your journey…this blog… I am sure that this forum will help others…and will become a powerful and empowered voice for those who have suffered loss.
    You are the true embodiment of courage and fortitude in the face of what seemed to be unbeatable odds…”YOUR personal recipe for recovery” will inspire others others to hopefully succeed and overcome the deep challenges of loss in the way of greater fulfillment, peace and contribution. I AM INSPIRED!
    (We never did do our “10 year trip to Cuba”)
    Love to you Always….Wendi

  22. Bonjour Helene, tout en lisant ton blog, tu m’ as rapeller comment tu est une personne forte. Je suis certain que ton blog rendera service a beaucoup de personnes qui ont perdus des enfants…..pour moi j,ai perdu mon epoux et tu m’a montrer que la force et le courage sont des bons outils pour aider a guerir. Je suis contente de voir que les choses vont bien pour toi. Continue la belle ouvrage. Tu dis que les anges sont avec toi, je dois dire que tu est l’ange de beaucoup de personnes. Prend soins de toi et bonne chance avec ton blog….

  23. Hi Hélène
    I’m from Chelmsford and I heard your tragic story many times but never knew who you were but always felt deep compassion for you. Every time I see those crosses my heart goes out to you…and I always wonder where you are and how you are doing even though I don’t know you. I too have lost a child …a long, long time ago (1991) and I know grief of loosing a child so when I hear about someone who has lost 3 children leaves me in awwwe….I have lived with the loss of 1 child I can’t imagine 3. I just turned 18 a few weeks before my son died…I’ve never been the same since. …I’m now 42 have 3 children and even a grandchild and his death (crib death S.I.D.S. at the age of 15 months) still haunts me. You are a very strong woman to have endured all that pain and can share your story…Thank you.

  24. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary story of such tragic loss and insurmountable survival. I know you will help many who have suffered because you are a beacon and your genuine personality shines in your words.
    I am proud to call you my friend Helene. May God continue to bless you.
    hugs,
    Claudette

  25. Thank you for sharing your experiences and sadness around the loss of your family. I admire your strength to share such a difficult experience. I hope it will be cathartic for you, while helping other grieving families. As you said, only a person that has gone through the loss of a child can identify with the depth of pain and sorrow. I’m happy that you are in a place where you are able to to write about it. I always knew you were a special woman. All my love, my dear friend.

  26. I love you ….thank you for being so caring to open up and share these intimate details to help others !

    You are such a special human ! Xo

  27. Helene, your story is one of strength and of courage. The hardest most intense pain anyone can ever endure is the loss of their child and you had to to give back 3. In 2001 my son was called back to heaven at the age of 9 and my husband. By the grace of God and the strength of my other 3 children I was able to continue walking my journey. I’m sending you much love and respect for sharing your heart with everyone here and I hope one day we meet as I’m sure our children in heaven have! Xoxo Shannon

  28. Helene – I could and can never understand surviving the loss of one child, and you have endured three. You are an inspiration to all of us that we can not only survive, but find a way to live again. I loved that someone used the word beacon. That is what you will be to many who are chartering this same painful journey. God bless you.

  29. Can I simply say what a reduction to search out somebody who truly is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know the right way to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people have to read this and understand this facet of the story. I cant consider youre not more in style since you positively have the gift.

  30. I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  31. Hi Helene,
    I also lost a son in a car accident.His name was Michel Gravelle.He was 21 years old and I loved him with all my heart.The accident happened September 1 1996.I must say losing a child is the worse pain I have ever felt.Im so sorry for the loss of your 3 children.Our lives do go on but the pain is always there.It took me years to accept my child would never come home.Our angels are with us all the time.What keeps me strong is knowing I will be with my son again so day.

  32. We were driving home when we came across your accident. I prayed so much for you and your husband. Then found out that you lost your third child. We live a block away. I once again prayed for you. I think of you often and wondered how you were doing. You are such an inspiration. I will share your information with my sister who lost her son a year ago. Thank you and I will continue to think of you and pray for you.

  33. I lost my son….I find it very hard…It,s unbeleivable….I miss him so much…at times I feel I am close to going crazy…the pain….you lost 3 children…my God….

  34. You are an amazing woman. Most people would continue to suffer and live with their pain for the rest of their lives, however, by the grace of God, you have found strength to open your heart to help others through your blog. I hope you continue to heal, and by doing so, you will be stronger in your quest to help others that have experience loosing a child.

    Proud to be your friend.

    Hugs, Jeannette

  35. My dear Helene, we had a chance meeting at a birthday party recently and you shared almost immediately with me about the loss of your beautiful Anne, Adam and Paul. I am privileged and honoured to have heard from you yourself about your tragic losses and I am humbled to have been in the presence of a woman of such strength and courage. That day will stand out in my memory always. And it was lovely to meet you again last Saturday and to hear about your plans for the holiday season and your four months in the sun. God wants all of some of us. Why we don’t know. However, you have a special purpose in this life now and you are not wasting it because you are sharing and showing your world that the worst that is imaginable for any Mother can be survived and can bring hope and faith to others through your example, perhaps where none exists for others who need to hear your story. God bless you. With my affection and admiration, Shirley Bradley

  36. Quelle inspiration tu es, Hélène! Ce drame de ta vie n’a pas eu raison de toi; avec ta force, ton courage et ta foi, tu as trouvé moyen de surmonter la plus horrible tragédie pour une mère…. Ça dépasse l’entendement… Sois certaine que tu as 3 beaux anges qui veillent sur toi! Avec ce blogue, tu vas sûrement jouer un rôle particulier dans la vie d’autres mamans qui vivent ou ont vécu de tels drames. Je ne peux que reconnaître la femme spéciale que tu es devenue en dépit de toute cette souffrance! On dit que toute personne a son mystère… c’est une richesse à découvrir! Je suis très heureuse que tu sois sur ma route de vie! Tu es tout à fait inspirante!

  37. …Helene…thank you for adding me. I am in awe of what you are doing here and look forward to reading about you and your 3 children and have you have survived, chosen to survive, a most horrific loss. I lost my only child, my son Tommy…he was 12 years old…I too turned to alcohol but am in AA recovery and doing my best to honour my son’s memory…one moment, one day at a time…thank you for being here my friend…this is quite amazing what you are doing…your friend, Teresa

  38. Hi Hélène, your courage and strength amazes me. I remember Adam when my mom was babysitting him They say that losing a child is the hardest thing to go through so you must have incredible strength. I know you didn’t feel like that for many years and that’s ok. You are human and as humans we fall but we do get back up. And you did get back up and what you share in your blog is an inspiration to many. I send you love and light and the strength to continue on your road to self discovery and to heal your mind body and soul <3

  39. Héléne….The courage you have is extraordinary and your not only beautiful,you are inside and out.I have very fond memories of you when i was teaching sewing especially when you came to model with Anne.I deeply admire you and continue with what you chose “hope”. I sure remember when i heard,i deeply felt for you and cried.Hope you have all what your ❤desires for the future.
    Love,peace and joy.
    Henriette

  40. Je t’admire Helene, tu es une personne très forte, malgré tes grands malheurs tu as toujours continué à foncer. Michel te dit allo aussi……

  41. Ton histoire va sûrement aider beaucoup de personnes, c’est beau de voir une personne forte comme toi, sa fait penser….

  42. Hi Helene

    I was happy to read that you are doing well. It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken. I’ll always remember the time we went golfing at Hawk Ridge. That’s one of my most cherished memories. Miss you and hope to see you again someday. Cheers!!!

    Francis Gauthier

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