A spiritual awakening, anniversaries and more

November 18, 2013

After my sons deaths I searched far and wide for answers…Questions like ‘Why me, and why us, what did we do to deserve this, were we really bad people in a previous life?’ It drove me crazy, the end result was nothing really tangible. I did research and read a lot of books on grief, death, the human spirit etc. I then felt an instant connection and hence a spiritual awakening from the information I had read.

So I am not sure, many say that going through the experience of losing a loved one can swing your loyalties towards god or away. For me it was a case of becoming more open and aware of a spiritual connection with my sons.

I came from a reasonably strong christian back round, my grandparents (on my father’s side) were very active within their church, and my grandmother played the piano at church gatherings. Growing up as kids we attended sunday school and the odd church service, but it was never enforced on my sister or I as we grew up.

This I might add is purely my own opinion, but there were signs Luke’s aura or spirit was around us in those early years after his death. I can remember having this most incredible, vivid dream that we (Luke and I) were floating or levitating above our bed . It was the most beautiful feeling, I felt so much love, so much light, so much peace, it felt so real. I could still smell Luke’s scent in his bedroom and on his clothes for many months after his death. At times you feel as though someone is watching you, and feel this cold tingle down your back to the base of your spine!


We visited a spiritual counsellor after Luke’s death, and when our daughter was born she mentioned that Tayla had Luke’s spirit. There is also a small scar on Tayla’s stomach, up near her ribs. Luke had a CVC for his chemo, blood tests and other drugs to be administered, basically it was an intravenous line which went into his aorta. Once Luke finished his treatment the line was removed leaving a very tiny scar…was this a coincidence? Luke was born on the 8th August 1996, Tayla was born on the 28th August 1999, and conceived within a month of Luke’s death, funny how things turn out.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of both our boys deaths – Cody (September 2nd 1998) and Luke ( 20th December 1998). As with every year on birthdays and anniversaries, we will spend time down at the cemetery where the boys were cremated, for the anniversary of Luke’s death, as well as Christmas Day. We normally search for things to put on the boys graves, like ornaments, pot plant stakes etc anything to brighten up this area. It is well maintained and roses bloom during the summer. Ironically the area is called E46 ‘ The Children’s Rose Garden’ my husband’s grandfather was called Eric and he died at age 46. David’s youngest brother Simon died at two days old in 1969 with a hole in his heart, and all the boys are in the same garden bed, near each other.

Christmas is a difficult time, as a bereaved parent you are torn between acknowledging your angels, and also sharing in the festivities and excitement for other siblings at Christmas. Our girls were born after the boys died, and so after some explaining (when they were old enough to understand) they were told about  their older brothers. They would often ask who the children in the photos were. We have photos of Luke adorning our walls, and there are some images of him where he looked so well, you would not even know he had cancer. His hair had grown back, and his familiar cheeky smile was prominent. I feel like we are veterans now having survived fifteen years without the boys. Although no longer part of the present they are and were a big part of our past.

Now we embark on a new journey with our eldest daughter fourteen, and her condition which can often be mistaken for her brothers. We still continue to weather the storm, and take the good with the bad. I will still continue to raise awareness and advocate Luke’s type of cancer; Neuroblastoma, stillbirth and Tayla’s rare disease which is a type of neuroendocrine tumour. Just like the child and pregnancy loss community, we need to share our stories and break the silence.  As members of the bereaved community we never signed up for this, but now that we are here, we all feel the same way, and will continue to offer each other support, show compassion and listen. I am continually inspired by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It takes more courage to just get on with it, than it does to give up.

Cody and Luke

  • Jackie Barreau

    I am a resident of Adelaide, South Australia and an independently published author. I am happily married with two girls, and am also a bereaved mother of two sons. A student of life and still a work in progress, inspired by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

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