“I never imagined my firstborn, my daughter, would die before me. But she did. And she passed away in the most beautiful, loving environment. We will never see her grow up, but we were able to plan how we wanted to release her.”
Time is all too precious for parents with children with life-threatening illnesses. But in the short time that Florence Marigold was alive, she taught her mother Michaela, the timelessness of love.
At 4 months old, Florence was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1, a disease that results in physical challenges, including muscle weakness, trouble breathing, coughing, and swallowing. She became physically dependent upon her parents for care and support.
Yet despite the debilitating disease, her mind was never affected. “She was wise beyond her years as she fought her disease,” Michaela noted. “Florence was a very gentle soul. She could look right at you, and you’d feel such love and acceptance.”
During their emotional and exhausting journey, Canuck Place provided continuous care and endless support for the family, ensuring that they felt safe and comfortable in a home-like environment. “There is absolutely no way we could have done it on our own,” Michaela said. “The team guided us with a steady hand through the most agonizing moments of our lives.”
The day before Mother’s Day, Florence passed away peacefully leaving behind a timeless aroma of marigolds.
“In her last moments, we were able to be fully present. We were mama and daddy. We were a piece of her, moving as one, as she left this earth.”
Her presence still endures at Canuck Place. Along the pathway, a trail of planted marigolds still blooms.
“I wish my little girl didn’t die,” Michaela said, “but I also feel overwhelmed by her legacy and the bright, flame of love that she left us. My life has been changed by her, in the best possible way. Our journey with our living, breathing Florence is over, but our grief journey is just beginning, and Canuck Place isn’t letting us go.”
Michaela and her family continued to be supported by Canuck Place, where they can introduce their son to the place that helped them say good-bye, and teach him about the sister he knew too briefly.
“When we visit, we feel at peace, knowing Florence had the finest care. Standing in the place where our daughter found rest and finally received a heavenly strength brings tremendous healing to us.”
Although Florence is no longer with her family, her love lives on, a timeless memory that lives with her family, and inspires Canuck Place supporters to donate and plant Marigold flowers in her honour.
Timelessness is featured in 2016’s 12 Gratitudes. Follow along as we share joy and gratitude.