This is my story of love, laughter, heartbreak and loss, and the ensuing days, months and years of healing from intense grief following the death of my son.
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, I have experienced the solace of angels and wish you the comfort I have known.
—Monica Hofer, from the Prologue to "Heal My Broken Heart"
The death of a child. It is every parents worst nightmare, and one that Winnipeg author Monica Hofer has been living for the past twelve years.
Hofer's four-year-old son Jordi was killed in a car accident in Maple, Ontario in July 2000, not long after Monica and her family had moved there from Winnipeg.
Over the ensuing years Hofer has taken the grief head on, literally writing through the pain. The result is the heart-breaking book about grieving, Heal My Broken Heart, an intimate portrait of loss and healing that will stay with you long after you've finished.
Monica will be launching Heal My Broken Heart on Wednesday, July 18 at Winnipeg's McNally Robinson starting at 7:30. Below is an excerpt from the book.
From Chapter 16, "I Will Always Remember You."
Heal My Broken Heart cover (Healing Soul Press)
I take comfort in knowing that apart from family and friends, and our neighbours at the time of the accident, there is another person who will always remember our son; a thoughtful paramedic who left a note for me one day on the hydro pole. Duct taped to the Tree, it read:
I am sorry.
We did all we could for you. I am sorry it was not enough.
I will always remember what happened here.
I will always remember you.
- A York region Paramedic"
I read the note and wondered where the laminated photo of Jordi that I had left there weeks earlier had gone, then brushed the dust off the teddy bears. To my surprise, the Monarch butterfly was still buried there in the white bow that secured the teddy bears to the hydro pole. I looked at the area where tire tracks had once been left in the lawn by the sitter's vehicle and wondered what it must have been like to have been there that day.
The wind blew softly, the bitter cold pitilessly penetrating my jacket. Having had enough of the chill, I turned away from the Tree intending to head home. I looked back, my gaze lingering near the spot my Monarch had once hovered, capturing my attention that balmy summer afternoon before fluttering across the road.
Rather than head home, I decided to cross the wide street to the spot where I had seen my Monarch go. I had long contemplated doing so but was hesitant, perhaps even afraid for some unknown reason, but that day the note from the caring paramedic provided the encouragement I needed to take those steps. I was driven by a strong desire to follow my Monarch's path, to see what my Monarch had seen when he had fluttered across the road.
Author Monica Hofer (Healing Soul Press)
Leaving all reluctance behind me, I crossed to the other side. There before my eyes was a field of such simple beauty. The snow rested on the tall wild grass magnifying its splendor. The serenity instantly captivated me. It seemed to belong in Banff, or somewhere in the wilderness, definitely not here on Rutherford Road, a busy thoroughfare, and definitely not on this street, the one that had claimed my son's life.
Excerpt from Heal My Broken Heart: How one mother found comfort and healing after the loss of her child
. (Copyright © 2012 by Monica Hofer. Published by Healing Soul Press.)