Simone actively finds ways to honour him in her life and continues to share his story, hoping to inspire others.
She also shares that the kindness and empathy shown by the health care team was unbelievable in taking care of her, and providing exceptional care for Elliott.
"It has taken time, but almost 15 years later I am able to smile as I remember how happy he made me being a mum. I hope you all know how amazing you are and because of your support, I am still standing. I watch outside my window as I see my boy's spirit soar high as an eagle and he sends his message of gratitude right back at to you," says Simone.
This kind of loss changes you forever and I am definitely not the same person I was. I do not take things for granted and realize now that I need to live in the moment – you cannot predict what is around the next corner, good or bad. I have met many other parents who have lost children and I am grateful I have some comfort knowing Elliott was able to give the gift of life and leave a legacy.
I have also met other donor families and transplant recipients in amazing groups, and paddled alongside them on a dragon boat team. Celebrating their lives gave me hope for Elliott's recipients and for the difference I hope his gift made for others. In the face of such tragedy and trauma, there was some hope.
I wrote to Elliott's recipients on the one-year anniversary but I have not received anything back yet. I want them to know that Elliott loved to cook and even cooked curry for many of his friends the day of his accident. He had a wicked UK sense of humour and loved British humour (he was born there) and he loved marmite and chocolate. A piece of chocolate could always make things better. He was an eclectic music lover from Bob Marley to Ray Charles and Chopin – he played piano and was due for his Grade 9 piano exams the day he passed. Those are a few of his favorite things, and he loved to sing Disney songs and musicals with his mum in the car.
Take time to grieve – time will allow you to find ways to learn to live with this loss. Talk to your loved one, say their name often… Elliott helps me find things all the time!
Find ways to honour your loved one and have them be a part of your special days. I have a bench I love to visit and I feel comforted that he is with me. I light candles, toast him and am so grateful for many of his friends (now adults) who stay in touch and tell me stories. I can never hear enough (even the ones mums wish they did not know).
Do print photos of your smiling loved one and include them in your special events too. I had his St. Cristopher given to him at his christening, included in my wedding bouquet.
Sometimes it is hard to not ask the questions… why me? What did I do wrong? What if? Please surround yourself with loved ones and accept help, shoulders and support. You need a village to raise a child and a village to support a grieving mother/parent.
Elliott began reading chapter books when he was 7 or 8 and friends of ours sent him the first Harry Potter book from the UK for Christmas in 1997, before it came out in Canada. He took the books with him everywhere, chatting to others on the ferry, and in line at midnight in Whistler to buy the next book. He dressed up as Harry Potter and Ron and even had some of the books on cassette that he would listen to every night in his room, the car, planes and trains.
He was in French immersion and had a few of the books in French and would watch the movies and critique the translations. For his 11th birthday, I hired a limo to pick up Elliott and his friends so they could watch the second Harry Potter movie in style.
He was re-reading the sixth book in anticipation of the seventh final booking coming out but sadly never got to read it. He was so excited for it.
We held his second celebration of life in the UK at an old 12th century church where he was christened in Stinsford, Dorset. At the service, I asked my godson to say a few words and he ended his speech with reading the last paragraph of the book for Elliott.