Soar Fiona Soar


When Pip was first born I desperately wanted to connect with other mommas who were new to parenting a baby with Down syndrome...It's easy enough to find Down syndrome groups online & seek out information but I wanted to kinda walk hand in hand with someone at the same pace...And then I happened upon Stephanie Palewicz who had a little girl with the most stunning Brushfield speckled brilliant blue eyes I'd ever seen. Her name was Fiona and like Pip she had Down syndrome, heart issues and was almost the same age...


It was fun to watch our girls grow up online, see similarities and celebrate milestones or successful surgeries....However, it was beyond devastating two months ago when Fiona passed away...It really shook me up, the unfairness of it all, seeing this momma utterly broken and wondering why I was lucky enough to get to keep my Pip...


While I am moved to tears constantly whenever Stephanie shares in her grief, it is in watching the grace she's shown in honouring her sweet girl that makes me in absolute awe of her...


Stephanie started Fiona's Hope Totes and explains:
"During our 9 month hospital stay, we experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows.  There were nights we couldn't leave the hospital because she was so sick and days we feared may be our last with her. There are no words that do justice to the way a parent feels as they helplessly watch their child fight for their lives. We understand your pain, your sadness, your fear...we also understand how important it is to never, ever give up hope, and that is what we aim to reinforce with our tote bag care packages.
 These totes are just a little way to help with some of those things you find yourself needing or wishing you had when you are spending long days or nights...or both, in the hospital with your sick child. It's a good "hospital bag" to haul things back and forth between the hospital and home and back. It's basics for those unexpected overnight stays.  It's something to occupy your mind for a while when you feel like you can't take another minute there.  
It's a cozy blanket to use when you try to catch a nap on an uncomfortable hospital couch or chair and real Kleenex to use when you can't stop those tears from falling. It's snacks for when you can't leave the room to get dinner or candy when you just need a comforting treat. 
 It's a little reminder that even though sometimes it feels like it, you are not alone in this world."

To find out more about Fiona's Hope Totes click HERE 


So today marks 2 months since Fiona has been gone....And Stephanie has been so brave in allowing us in on her grief - She shares herself and all her raw and heartbreaking thoughts:
"What I want to accomplish by sharing this grief journey with others is to teach people what grief really means.  If it is a loved one grieving, here is what they are going through no matter how strong they try to be.  If you are going through grief, if you have lost a child, don't be ashamed of your grief or feel like you need to get over it or move on faster than you are ready.  There is no timeline.  And you can ask for help, that does NOT make you weak, it actually makes you stronger.  I learned that a long time ago when Fiona was critically ill at a month old.  I felt like I couldn't get through the day, I couldn't function, I couldn't focus.  I was depressed and anxious, I was worthless.  I asked for help then and I have asked for it time and time again.  And thats ok.  I feel weak, but I know that I am strong because I am alive.  I may have pills to help me sleep, to keep away the horrible flashbacks, to keep me from falling back into severe depression.  And I am okay with that right now because I am alive.  There isn't a mom alive that has lost a child that has not contemplated their own death because the feelings of despair without them are so intense, they can't imagine living anymore.  Its not a pretty subject to talk about, but it is important.  Because unfortunately, there have been mommies that have made that decision.  They didn't get the help they needed, didn't ask for it.  I totally understand that feeling.  It is the worst feeling in the world.
I have been told that this feeling will subside over time.  I have to have faith in that and keep pushing forward, asking Fiona for strength so that I can spend the rest of my life continuing her message and keeping her legacy eternal.  That is what I am trying to accomplish through sharing our journey here on caringbridge, sharing past videos and pictures, and pushing forward with Fiona's Hope Totes through www.fionashope.com  


This momma and her heartbreak are always on my mind...So I wanted to do something to let her know she isn't alone, that we grieve with her and that Fiona will always be remembered...So with the help of talented artist Becca Smith and the generosity of Stella & Dot Stylist Melanie Jackson we we're able to put together this little Awesome Eh? Package...  


Stephanie, please know your grace and bravery is inspiring and I'm so very sad I can't watch our girls grow together...My heart is so heavy for what you are going through...

Soar Fiona soar...






1 comment:

  1. That was such a wonderful thing to do for Stephanie! Both of you--keep doing what you're doing. It's making a big difference!

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