On October 26th, 2010, at 9 weeks old, Phoebe Rose was diagnosed with high risk MLL + Infantile Leukemia. On November 18th 2015 , she took her last breath. This is her story of hope and love in the face of cancer and despair. Phoebe always brought the joy and continues to inspire us to make a difference. It is best read from the beginning. Thank-you for visiting.

Friday, August 7, 2020


It’s Phoebe’s tenth birthday. Happy birthday to our beautiful Phoebs. 

Phoebe would have been a spectacular ten year old and she would have absolutely loved being ten. Instead, she celebrated 5 birthdays and we have lived almost five years without her. Very soon, she will be gone longer than she lived. Knowing this is true seems impossible. It is more than heartbreaking or devastating, it just feels impossible. I mean really, how is it possible that we have lived this long without her? How is it possible that we will keep on living without her? 

Writing about Phoebe and about our grief is hard and it gets increasingly more difficult as time passes. Just like my living kids, I want to share milestones and moments. I wish I had photos and stories. Instead I have 5 years, 3 months, and 10 days of some breathtakingly beautiful and some absolutely heartbreaking memories, photos, stories, and moments. I have a lifetime to grieve and to wonder what if. 

I thought instead of sharing my deepest and darkest thoughts about grief and how it will never truly end, I would just write about Phoebe. I think this might be easier. 

I miss everything about her. Every. Little. Thing. But, here are a few highlights.

Her laugh. Phoebe’s laugh was the best I have ever heard. It came from deep within her tiny self and made everyone around her laugh too. She would often throw her head back and get her whole body into it. Even as a baby, her laugh filled a room. She could be quite serious at times, but when she laughed, it just made the world better.

Watching her eat. Phoebe was a true foodie and she loved to eat. This is surprising to some given that she was tube fed for much of her life, but when she had the chance, she would try anything. She loved to cook with her Daddy and I miss this so much too. 

Singing. Phoebe’s favourite band was Weezer, but she loved all music, and she loved to sing. I still find myself glancing to the backseat when one of her songs comes on the radio. 

Watching her grow. This will never get easier. I miss watching her grow and learn and being constantly amazed by her. 

The beautiful love she shared with Mae. I will always be grateful for the closeness that Phoebe and Mae had together. They were inseparable and Mae misses Phoebe everyday.

Cake. Phoebe loved elaborate birthday cakes and even if what Jon and I created was far from the photo inspiration she found on the internet, she loved it just the same. This year, Mae designed, planned, baked and decorated a “campfire themed cake” for Phoebe’s big day. It is incredible. 

Sitting with her. Just sitting and watching a show or reading a book. 

Breakfast. When we lived in Memphis, Phoebe started a breakfast tradition where we would alternate making breakfast in bed. She would make breakfast with Jon for Mae and I, and then the next morning we would switch. Phoebe would shout, “good morning!” at the top of her lungs as she woke. It was the best.

Freeze dance. 

Her voice. I miss talking to her and listening to her sweet little voice. She had so many questions and even more incredibly thoughtful observations about the world around her. One of my personal favourites is when she told me “if there’s no bugs, there’s no people” and then went on to discuss in detail the many wonderful things worms, bees, and dragonflies do for the world. 

Hugging, holding, rocking, singing, cuddling, smelling, kissing. 

Running after her. Running with her. Chasing her bike. Carrying her when she was tired. 

Holding her hand. 

Putting her to bed. Waking up with her in the middle of the night. Waking up with her in the morning. Watching her sleep. 

Colouring, crafting, and watching her draw. Phoebe was an artist, even at 5 years old. 

The little smiles she would give from across the room. 

How particular and matter of fact she was about so many things. Birthdays could only be celebrated once and on the actual day. She was very clear about this. 

Her wise eyes and how she would take everything in. 

Her sense of humour. After being in patient at St.Jude for weeks, Phoebe decided she wanted to play some tricks on her nurses and doctors. With Mae’s help, she hid plastic bugs under her blankets, so when nurses pulled them back to check vitals ... surprise! She even convinced us to stick bugs to door handles and watched in delight as her doctors and nurses squirmed, wondering if they were real. This escalated to battery powered bugs that scurried frantically all over the floor. 

Her big heart. Phoebe wanted to (and then did) feed all of the squirrels at the Target House, she brought water to birds when it was hot outside, and if someone said “ouch”, Phoebe was the first to ask if they were okay. 

Her energy. Phoebe often seemed unstoppable. She had an uncanny ability to look perfectly well even when she was very sick. She played hard. She lived joyfully. She taught me so much. 

Caring for her, taking care of her, being her caregiver, advocating for her, teaching her. 

Everything. I miss everything.

Happy birthday, Phoebe. Being your mom is a gift. We love you and miss you and wish so much that you were here. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Tomorrow is Phoebe’s ninth birthday. Nine. I can hardly believe it. She would have loved being nine. I can just imagine her soaking up all of the newfound freedom and independence that comes with being a year older. As a five year old, Phoebe was fiercely independent and wise. I can only imagine her at nine. I can only imagine. 

I think about Phoebe every single day, as parents do about their kids, only my thoughts are often consumed with questions and sadness. Phoebe isn’t here. As time marches on, I am learning how to manage these thoughts as I try to move forward and keep it together. Literally. I need to do this, so I can keep it together. We go about our days, and from the outside looking in, I think we appear to be a “normal” and happy family. We do often get comments about the large age gap between Mae and Penny - things like, “you waited a long time” or, “that’s smart because now you have a little helper”, or perhaps the most painful, “a lot easier than having two close in age”. The explanation to these comments leaves strangers feeling awkward and sad and probably regretting they asked, but for us the age gap between our living kids is more than a convenient lack of tandem diaper changes. We are forever aware of the person who fills this gap. Our beautiful Phoebe. I often imagine her in between her sisters, laughing, heads tilted toward each other, sharing secrets and snacks. As it should be. 

That there is a missing piece is perhaps most obvious to Mae who lost her best friend and partner when Phoebe died. She is resilient, but lately, her often joyful and resilient exterior has begun to crumble slightly, revealing immense hurt, regret, and sadness. She is aware of the unfairness of it all and that her would be nine year old sister should have sat beside her on the rollercoaster this summer, or walked with her to the local pool, shared stories, rode the school bus, graduated to the next grade, and that she didn’t, is painful. Mae quietly struggles with this and parenting while also grieving is at times overwhelming. More than that, it is heartbreaking. Mostly because I know that other than be there when she needs me, there really isn’t anything I can do to fix her harsh reality. When Mae asks me hard questions like why couldn’t we help Phoebe, I don’t have any answers. Perhaps the most devastating is when she cries at night because she just can’t remember the sound of Phoebe’s voice, or picture her face when she closes her eyes. She says she’s afraid she will forget her face and it takes everything I have not to completely fall apart with grief. How did this happen? 

Mae and I went to Roger Neilson House today, to meet with a memory quilt volunteer. Carrying bags of Phoebe’s special clothes, each piece filled with precious memories and moments, we sat with a volunteer and shared stories of Phoebe while holding her little things. The volunteer asked to see a photo of Phoebe and she spoke to Mae with kindness and understanding about how difficult it must be to lose a sister. We both left feeling a bit lighter and I realized when I got home how long it has been since I have spoken about Phoebe to someone who didn’t know her. How long it has been since Phoebe’s name wasn’t followed by awkward silence or sadness. We shared memories and stories and it meant everything to me and to Mae to laugh when remembering how much fun we had with Phoebe. The quilt will be a beautiful gift, but sitting with this woman and being able to share our sweet Phoebe was a gift too. 

Phoebe’s birthday is a difficult day, but it is also a day that reminds us of the incredible little person that we got to call ours. The day that Phoebe came into this world was one of the happiest of my life. That I got to be her mom, to hold her, and care for her, to love her and be loved by her is worth this sadness and I would do it all over again (and again) if I could. If only I could. For Phoebe, I am forever thankful. Our immense grief and sadness is so because of the great big love we shared. 

Do something kind today, in honour of our sweet Phoebe. She would love that. 

Happy birthday, Phoebe Rose. 

We work really hard to honour Phoebe’s memory by giving back and funding childhood cancer research. You can help by joining us at our annual golf tournament. It is going to be an awesome day and we need your help to “make it okay” https://canadiangolfclub.com/collections/phoebe-rose-rocks

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

8 Should be Great.

Phoebe's 8th birthday is approaching. I don't need to look at a calendar to know this, instead, I can feel it. My heart knows that, once upon a time, I counted the days until Phoebe arrived, two weeks behind schedule, on the 8th of August. My mind knows that once, I spent this time planning parties and searching the internet for elaborate cake ideas. Cake ideas inspired by requests spoken in the sweetest of voices; "Mama, do you and Daddy know how to make a wiggle cake?". Wiggle will forever be code word for minion, and that year, Jon and I pulled off the most impressively ugly, coloured with turmeric instead of chemicals, love filled Minion. We basked in the glow of Phoebe as she blew out her 5 candles in one impressive breath. She was a super hero. 

We hoped for so many more, but that was the very last birthday we would spend with our precious Phoebe. As we approach the third birthday that we will spend without her, it pains me to know that we are over halfway to the day that Phoebe will be gone longer than she was here. How is this even possible? 

My heart literally aches. It hurts. My memories are fading and as hard as I try to keep them sharp and fresh, they still fade because time marches on and Phoebe gets farther and farther away. How can I keep her here? How can I continue to remember her sweet voice, her smile, her laugh? What happens if the videos and pictures we hold so dear and depend on to see, hear, and remember her, disappear? This is one of my many nightmares, despite backing everything up countless times, and I often wonder, what grieving parents did before we were able to capture these precious images? Then I realize that all of the videos and photographs in the world can't comfort a grieving parent who only wants to hold and feel and breath in their precious child. 

In less than a week, Phoebe should be/would be turning 8. She should be taking the swim test at the local pool and walking there with her big sister. She should be going to summer camp, trying out the new neighbourhood ice-cream shop, picking new recipes to make with her Daddy, playing until the sun sets, pushing Penny on the swing and laughing as she screams her name. She should be here, but she's not.

I don't really think it's possible to ever be completely "okay" after losing a child, but I have found myself in moments of okay and I have even experienced moments of joy. In fact, I often feel joy and sadness all at the same time. I have learned that managing grief is constant. It takes work to control the relentless push and pull, to weather the many storms and emotions that often take hold without notice, and often, to pretend it's okay. It's exhausting. Pain, regret, and sadness are magnified and at times unbearable as occasions like Phoebe's birthday approach. I don't get to watch her grow up. I don't get to watch and smile and take photos of Phoebe as she blows out 8 candles. I have a photo of Phoebe blowing out 5 candles and when all of my other children have grown so big that we make jokes of candles taking over the cake, my Phoebe, she will always be 5.

I can't really imagine Phoebe at 8 because Phoebe is 5. She is feisty, determined and so smart. Phoebe loves Minions, Sid the Science Kid, Frozen and singing along to her favourite songs. She can build the most complicated Lego, like a boss. Phoebe's voice is sweet and feisty and she has a hard time pronouncing the letter l, saying "whittle", instead of "little" which is so endearing when you are 5. It is painful and heartbreaking for me to try to imagine what my daughter would be like if she were here and 8 years old because as hard as I try, I just don't know. We have already missed and ached for so much lost time.

And so, we exist in two places. We are in the here and now where we go about our days, raise our kids and watch them grow with a deep and profoundly thankful gratitude, we laugh often, and we struggle daily through the pain and emptiness of losing a child. 

And then we exist in the past, because this is when we were with Phoebe.

Living in the past doesn't mean we are stuck. It doesn't mean we can't and don't appreciate what we have here today and all that the future holds. We exist in the past because, in many ways, this is where Phoebe lives. We exist in the past because it is the only way we know how to keep our fading memories alive and the only way we can help Phoebe's baby sister know her, even if just a little bit. We exist in the past because we will never again have another photo, or memory, or experience with our sweet girl.

This August 8th, please take a moment to honour and celebrate Phoebe's birthday and her life by doing something kind in her memory. If you are able to, please consider giving blood. You never really know how precious a gift this is until the life of someone you love literally depends on it.

We would also love for you to join us in our quest to "make it okay". The Third Annual Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation Golf tournament is coming up on September 9th at the Gatineau Golf and Country club, and all funds raised will support much needed childhood cancer research. Details can be found at www.phoeberoserocks.com 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Two years ...

Two years ago, we slept upright in a hospital arm chair pulled up as close as possible to Phoebe's bed. This was not our first time sleeping in a hospital chair, Jon and I alternated chair sleeping for months, years actually, but this chair sleep would be our last. We honestly had no idea that Phoebe would leave us so quickly. We had hoped that we would be able to bring her home, to witness another miracle, to heal infections, to surround her with family and friends. As hard as it was for us to accept or even admit, we knew that she was dying and going home meant we would be able to leave the ICU. Home has a pediatric residential hospice which I realize is something that is hard to talk about, but is a service that is needed and something we desperately wanted for Phoebe. 

On this last night two years ago, I wish I had curled up next to her. I wish I had asked the million questions that were running through my mind. I wish I had asked her if she was scared. I wish we had talked about what was happening. We talked about Christmas, her birthday, and writing letters to Santa, but not a word was said about dying. I just couldn't do it. Instead, our brave, brave Phoebe let us know it was okay. She told us she didn't want to get better. She said she didn't want anymore tubes, and she told us in a way only Phoebe could, not to be upset. I wonder everyday if she knew she was dying. I would do anything to go back and be strong enough to talk to her about it. I would do anything for just one more moment. 

I replay these last moments on last days over and over in my head. I remember two nights before Phoebe passed, I had left the ICU briefly to take Mae and my mum back to the Target House. I had to sneak Mae out of the hospital that night as Phoebe didn't want her to leave. I remember telling her that I was putting Mae to bed, so she wouldn't get upset (they had parent rooms actually connected to the patient room at St.Jude). I came back to Phoebe's room in the ICU to find that she wasn't there. I started to panic until I saw her in a nearby room smiling from ear to ear and waving at me. The room she was in was too cold, so she was moved. She was excited to be in this new room and she insisted that the lights, and all of them, be on with the dimmer on the brightest setting. It was crazy bright and close to, if not after midnight, and there was Phoebe basking in the glow of the lights. She was just beaming and I often wonder if she knew something that we didn't. That she may have is honestly what keeps me going on the very darkest days. 

On November 18th 2015, we woke up from a night of very little sleep expecting to take a medical flight home to Ottawa. I know the staff at CHEO were expecting us and that the preparations made by both hospitals to try to get Phoebe home were nothing short of heroic. That morning we learned that Phoebe would not survive the flight and so we did what Phoebe asked us to do and we removed the bipap mask that had been helping her to breathe and replaced it with high flow nasal oxygen. We naively thought she would be okay and would hold on, if only for a little bit. Having never spent a lot of time in the ICU despite our many struggles, we truly didn't understand or allow ourselves to believe she was really so sick, but as soon as the mask came off and she could speak, she asked where her Mae and her Granny were and then waited for them to arrive before she closed her eyes and never came back. We had three hours with Phoebe that morning, from the moment she woke, to the moment she took her very last breath. I still can't believe she is gone. 

We lost a lifetime of moments when Phoebe died. We lost her presence in every single future moment of our lives and because this is true, it often feels like we lose her over and over again. We are as heartbroken, lost, shattered, and devastated as we were two years ago, but we have somehow learned how to better carry the incredible weight of our pain and sadness, although at times it is honestly just too much to bear. The world keeps turning despite the huge piece that we know is missing and so we do the only thing that we can, we keep turning too.

Phoebe taught us that even on the very darkest days - there is reason to laugh and hope. She taught us to always look for the joy and when I close my eyes, I can still see her twinkling eyes and hear her great big belly laugh. It truly was the greatest sound. I can still see her; bright and shining.

We miss you so much, sweet Phoebe. 

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Happy 7th Birthday Phoebe

Phoebe's seventh birthday is tomorrow. Instead of blowing up balloons and decorating the house in anticipation of my sweet seven year old Phoebe waking up in the morning, today I planted flowers at her grave and tomorrow we will have her favourite foods, release balloons, and search for a sign that she knows how much she is loved and missed. My heart aches.

I wish I could watch her grow. I wish I knew what kind of cake she would want me to bake. I wish I could see her blow out the candles. I wish Mae and Penny could have their sister. I wish. I wish. I wish.

I wonder often what she would be like. How tall would she be? Would she be riding a bike without training wheels? Would she still love the beach? Would she like school and be excited for grade 2? Would she have the same favourite foods? Would she still like us to put her to bed? What kind of books, music and movies would she like? Would she still love to dance? Would she help feed and change Penny? What would her and Mae talk about for hours at bedtime?

This grief is harder and heavier than I ever could have imagined. There is a constant and dull ache, but some times it hurts so much I can barely stand it. Like a relentless storm, it wakes me up in the middle of the night or stops me in the middle of the day. It leaves me breathless, broken, and longing for just one more moment with Phoebe. Just one conversation - I have so much to tell her. One cuddle. One moment just to hear her laugh. Once moment to hear her voice. One chance to tell her how much we love her and miss her. One chance to tell her that we would have done anything to save her and we tried as hard as we could.

In the absence of these moments, I plant flowers, search for signs, release balloons, light candles, and celebrate the birth of my sweet Phoebe Rose. She came into this world fierce, strong, and determined and that day is one of the happiest and best days of my life. I can still remember every single moment and in many ways it feels like it was yesterday. I am so grateful that I got to be Phoebe's mom, even if we only had 5 years. I soaked up the beauty and the feistiness of Phoebe and I took none of it for granted. I wish with everything I have that we could have watched her grow up and it still feels impossible that we can't.

And so, on this second birthday without our precious Phoebe we will hold Mae and Phoebe's baby sister Penny close and do what we can to honour Phoebe's life. What Phoebe went through is not okay, it never will be, but we are working hard to make things better for other kids and families who are affected by childhood cancer. I think Phoebe would be proud.

Spread some love and kindness in honour of our sweet Phoebe tomorrow and share your random acts of kindness with us on social media. We would love to know that people smiled and were happy on Phoebe's birthday.

Let's start a movement of kindness, love and HOPE in memory of Phoebe.

And, if you would like to join us to golf on August 12th - it's not too late to sign up and we still have room for golfers. It's going to be an amazing day and all funds raised will fund childhood cancer research and help us fulfill our promise to Phoebe - to make it okay. For more information please visit www.phoeberoserocks.com

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces I would still plant my apple tree". Martin Luther.

We love you so much, Phoebe.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

While buying groceries yesterday, the cashier and I started talking about how close it is to school getting out for the summer. 

It was hot yesterday and I probably looked tired. She looked at me and said, I bet mom isn't looking forward to school ending. Then; well you just have the one and a baby, so you won't have kids fighting. I have three all grown up, she said, and they always fought. 

Oh, how I miss my feisty Phoebe. 

I smiled and said that I can't wait for school to get out for the summer. That I love having my kids at home. She said - well I bet you won't be saying that in August. I smiled again, but this time said nothing. She looked at me, again noticing the baby I was carrying, and said that waiting to have kids so far apart was smart. No fighting, she said again.  

I smiled again, but on the inside, I was screaming. I wanted to tell her that I have three kids too. That I didn't wait. That I had it perfect once. I wanted to tell her all about Phoebe. How she should be 6, but instead I just smiled and pretended everything is okay. 

I miss Phoebe so much. I miss her feisty personality. I miss her laugh. I miss her little voice. I miss how she felt in my arms. I miss every single thing about her. I wanted this woman to know that I would do anything to have it perfect again. That even fighting, tired out from summer, frustrated kids, are perfect if they are here and healthy. That we shouldn't take anything for granted. 

It has been a long time since I have posted a blog. We are still here and "we" are now 5. Mae and Phoebe have a baby sister named Penelope. 

Little Penny (that's what we call her) is a bundle of happiness and laughter and she brightens our days. She is like a ray of sunshine and she reminds us to look for the joy, just as her big sister Phoebe would have wanted. It is so nice to see Mae's face light up with pure happiness and love again. Penny looks just like Phoebe, but also like Mae. She has Phoebe's wise eyes and Mae's big smile. 

Learning that I was pregnant brought a huge range of emotions - mostly joy, but also sadness. Perhaps the hardest part was knowing that Penny will never get to meet her big sister Phoebe. She will know her, we will make sure of that, but it will be through photographs, stories and videos. I know that Phoebe would have been a wonderful and attentive big sister - I imagine her laughing like crazy at some of the things Penny does and it breaks my heart again and again that she was never given a chance. 

As we waited for Penny's arrival, Jon and I completed the impossibly hard task of emptying Phoebe's drawers and closet. Phoebe shared a room with Mae, but her clothes and things were always in the playroom. Packing her little things into boxes and bins was heart crushing and so much harder than I imagined. It took months. We came across clothes and toys that brought back beautiful and happy memories, but many of the clothes in her drawers were never worn; they were size 5 dresses, shirts and pants tucked away in anticipation of the return of a little girl that never came. 

We miss her so very much. 

The thought that Phoebe should/would be turning 7 in August takes my breath away. How can that be when I still can't believe she's gone? I wonder what she would be like. What music would she sing along to? How tall would she be? She seems so far away, yet I think of her multiple times a day. I worry that my memories of her are getting blurry - that one day I will no longer be able to close my eyes and see her perfect face or hear her laughter. I worry that as time marches on, she will slip farther away, and because of this I feel like I lose her over and over again, every single day. 

I now understand why people say that the second year is harder than the first. The numbness has faded and has left behind a desperate need to keep Phoebe close; to keep her from slipping away even more. We live in the past because this is when Phoebe was here, but as more time passes, it becomes harder. Life just doesn't allow this and so we straddle the here and now with the time when we had Phoebe. As the world and everyone around us keeps moving forward, Phoebe remains forever five years old. The things she will never see or do just keep adding up and each one breaks my heart. They each represent something else we have lost and at times the loss and ache is constant. 

And so, we do something everyday to honour and remember Phoebe. We talk about her. We laugh. We hold Mae and Penny close and love to watch them thrive and grow. We work to fulfill our promise to Phoebe; to make it okay.

In April, the Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation became recognized by Revenue Canada as an official registered charity. Our mission and goal is to fund promising childhood cancer research, specifically research of cancers that have a low prognosis, while supporting families who need to travel for treatment. We have big plans and have been working hard. We are partnering with Childhood Cancer Canada to fund a national research grant competition that will focus on hard to treat cancers. The cureless. We want to drive research into areas that have seen little progress. We are volunteer driven, which makes it possible for us to give all that we raise, and we are still fueled by hope, only now our hope is for other families. We wish nothing more than for no other family to feel the pain we feel everyday. 

Our second annual golf tournament is coming up on August 12th at Mont Cascades golf course in Cantley, Quebec. We are busy planning a great tournament, we have amazing prizes (like 2 return tickets to any WestJet destination), and all funds raised will be matched by Childhood Cancer Canada. An incredible oppurtunity for us to double our impact.

Please join us. Tell a friend. Help us make a difference. There is strength in numbers. 

To register to golf or sponsor a hole please visit: 


Monday, November 7, 2016

One year

On Friday, we will have spent an entire year without our precious Phoebe. A year. I'm still not sure how this is possible. I still think I must be having a nightmare. I still expect to see her, hug her, hear her voice - I still look for her everywhere.

Yet, we get up everyday and greet the day. We take good care of Mae and love her with everything we have. We honour Phoebe's life and legacy with everything we do. We put one foot in front of the other despite how painful and exhausting this can be. We look for the joy, as Phoebe taught us. We have come to understand that our hearts will never fully heal, but in those places where we are broken, I imagine that the great big love we have for Phoebe is building pathways around this pain, helping us to breathe in and out, and find our way. I know that Phoebe would want exactly this. 

As time passes, the reality that Phoebe is not here has become painfully clear and because of this, at times, the grieving process is so much harder. The reality that, in this lifetime, we will never see Phoebe again, never hear her sweet voice in the present, hold her, kiss her, hug her, listen to her wise stories, watch her grow, and hear her beautiful laugh - is unbelievably hard to accept. How is this possible? I can't accept it. I will live with this reality, but I will never accept that I don't get to watch Phoebe grow up with all of the beauty, chaos, and worry that would surely come with this. I would do anything to be given the gift of seeing the beautiful person Phoebe would become, year after year. I would do anything to argue with my teenage Phoebe. I would do anything for just one more day. 

This year has allowed us a lot of time to think. I have learned that grief is not a neat little package of stages that we work through to a conclusion of acceptance and then move on. I have learned that losing a child is not something that can be overcome, rather it is a weight that can only be carried. It is a lifetime of missed moments and within those moments; heartache. I imagine and I hope that I will get better at carrying this weight, but I know that, for as long as I live, every occasion or moment that Phoebe is missing from, everything, be it Christmas, birthdays, first days of school, walks to the park, bike rides, bed time, Halloween, days at the beach, or just simple mealtimes - her absence, and this weight, are simply unbearable. 

As the date of Phoebe's death approaches, I am overwhelmed with flashbacks to those finals days, moments and hours. The last night we spent together. The last week. Phoebe's last breath. Moments of heart shattering desperation and helplessness. Moments of clarity and peace. Moments that no parent or child should have to endure. I wonder if we could have done more. I worry that we didn't do enough. I wish we had more time. We had been hearing terrible news regarding Phoebe's health for years. We had many talks with doctors about end of life before it was our time, that when it was Phoebe's time, we were very much in the dark. Everyone in the ICU knew that Phoebe was dying, except us. We still believed and hoped and prayed for one more day. We even tried to get Phoebe home, but in the end - just like everything else - Phoebe left us on her terms. 

We miss her every single day. Every moment. She is present in everything we do, yet her absence is profound and painful. She is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time and it often takes my breath away.

Mae talks about her love for Phoebe and her sadness every single day. At bedtime, she wishes out loud for Phoebe to come back - even if just in her dreams. She worries and wonders if Phoebe is okay. She talks to Phoebe and hears her voice and despite her sadness, despite all of our sadness - we continue to look for and choose joy and hope. Phoebe would want exactly this. 

On November 18th (and every day because the world needs it) please spread some extra love and kindness in honour and memory of our sweet Phoebe. Surprise strangers with a random act of kindness, tell them Phoebe sent you and ask them to pay it forward. We would love for you to share your kind acts with us on facebook or twitter @phoeberoserocks. Say Phoebe's name, share her story. Give the best gift and sign up to donate blood. Make a donation to childhood cancer research - you can give to our run for St.Jude at http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=2109846&pg=personal&fr_id=59186

Hug your kids and your loved ones - hug them tight and then hug them again. Never miss an opportunity to tell those you love just that. Be thankful.