Friday, June 6, 2014

Memories of Gabrielle Mae Ross

One year ago tomorrow you left us, and to quote the poet from the last post, we're working hard to make that all alright.

Of course no one knows what to say... Like how many people have lost a child? And you can't make anything better with words. And that's okay.

But I'll tell ya what bereaved parents (especially mothers) absolutely love, is when they hear other people talking about a memory or story about their child who passed. Or even how their child made them feel. Or how they made them think about something. Or inspired them. Or anything.

There's a light out there. We all have it. And, if you don't mind, both Amy and I would be eternally grateful if you shared one of those memories or moments or feelings or thoughts you have with Gabrielle right below (like in the comments section).

It would be the biggest gift to us... just to hear and see and read that Gabrielle's light and love and laughter is still flickering away in more than our own souls... and is alive and well.


  1. Gabs, I love how you got sick enough two July's ago when your Mom was scheduled for a C-section at BC Women's Hospital that we had to take you to BC Children's Hospital, which is one and the same building ... and solved a problem we had been dreading for months: How do we all be together when your little brother Jonathan was born. I love how your spirit guided you there, knowing damn well you wouldn't miss your little brother's arrival come hell or high water, like an elderly women packs her bags to see her family in a distant land one last time before her time runs out. And what a big sister you were. I love this picture.

  2. I can remember the first time I held you. You were not very old... maybe just a week or two. It was a sunny day and we sat in the armchair by the window in the living room. I can remember the warmth of the sun through the window. You were sleeping so soundly and you looked so perfect. James came up to us and placed a tiny and very soggy little stuffed animal on you and said "Everything that Gabby touches needs to be cleaned first". He had gone and washed his little stuffy in the sink with soap and water. What a thoughtful big brother you had, from the moment you arrived he was always looking out for you. I know him and your other two brothers miss you very much and I know you are now watching over them. We miss you little Gabby girl!!
    Love Ashley.

  3. I still feel so honored that I got to meet you, Gabby! I will never forget the way your smile lit up the room when I spoke to you, and how it made me feel like I'd been blessed by an angel! I think about you often, Dear One. Sending you so much love, Regan and Amy.

  4. Every time I see a rainbow or a sunset or a heavenly cloud formation, I remember precious Gabrielle. I was so very changed by her strength, her inner light, and her smile. Her unforgettable smile. As long as there is love and hope in my heart, I will always remember this sweet angel.

  5. Dear Gabby, I will never forget your big shining blue eyes, so full of light. You inspired me to live my life with gratitude. It was your strength that helped me get through any down times of my own. You will never be forgotten little one, your spirit lives on. Sending much love to your amazing parents and brothers.
    Angie H

  6. I only met Gabrielle a handful of times, but each time she was in her stroller, and I was amazed at how perfectly content she was just "to be". As Amy pushed her around the soccer field, I loved seeing how Gabby would observe everything and everyone with those big beautiful eyes, and she just exuded contentment- no ego holding her back. But most of all, I loved seeing Gabby look up at her mommy: an unbreakable bond of pure love. Inspiring, amazing, beautiful.

  7. My favorite memory of Gabby is when I came out one winter and had a great visit with the Ross/Baldwin crew. We stayed up late one night chatting away and Gabby was in her exersaucer. She stayed up extra late trying to be a part of our conversation and with the biggest smile on her face.... Happy to hang out and made noise when she wanted some attention. Love you always Gabby.

  8. I never got to meet Gabby. But I followed your blog and read all your posts and I want to thank you so much Amy and Regan for sharing your journey with us. Even though I never got to know her she has taught me so much. She has taught me to cherish every day. She has taught me to pause and drink in the moment, even when it seems like nothing special is happening. There is nothing I love more than an ORDINARY morning with my three busy boys: (and busy husband) pottering round playing, (fighting), laughing, eating, messing up the kitchen I have just cleaned, reading, cuddling, (fighting), drawing, (sometimes on paper, sometimes the table, floor, each other), wrestling, messing up the beds I have just made... It is noisy, it is dirty, it is rough, it is not very relaxing... but it is LOVE. Thank you Gabby for helping me realize how special these moments are and how we cannot take them for granted. They are a most precious, wonderful gift. I bet your three brothers are just the same and I bet you loved to get in the middle of it all. I am thinking of you and your awesome Mum and Dad on this special day. Thanks for helping me be a better Mum (I mean Mom ;)
    From Kirsty (and Bones)

  9. I love the pictures and the videos of Gabrielle. She was always smiling, always observing the world, taking in every movement her brothers made. She was always giving little pieces of herself to everyone she met, making change in this world one small moment at a time. She truly is an angel.
    Love, cousin Amy Roy

  10. I had the privilege of meeting Gabby just before she passed. Your house was a flurry of activity, boys getting ready for soccer, mom looking after Gabby, checking her temp, giving her medicine. Regan and Amy discussing their plan for Gabby and if they were going to have to take her into Vancouver. And here's little Gabrielle, sick, can barely breathe and she's giving me the biggest smiles. All I could think of is here we sit around complaining about all kinds of stuff and this sweet little girl who had much to worry about smiled through it all, and the thing is she didn't stop smiling the whole time I was there. I will never forget it. Looking at video's posted here on the blog and on FB I noticed she had her brothers wrapped around her finger and although she had that magic smile she seemed to me that she could hold her own and in fact don't tick her off. Seeing her brothers love her they way they did, pretty special those little boys. I know your lives will be forever changed, what a blessing she was. Thinking about you all today and everyday, hugs and kisses to the Ross's.

    Roxanne Black

  11. Gabrielle was open and accepting, happy to be with her brothers and family. Whenever I visited, she never seemed to tire of peek-a-boo, or saying "hi". Her needs were so simple, and yet so complex. She was a joy to be with, and the biggest life lesson on enjoying the time that we have. Thank you Gabrielle, I hold you in my heart always.

  12. This is so appropriate that you've posted this because I was just thinking of Gabrielle yesterday during my spin class! My girlfriend and I had just been discussing how this time last year we were training for Tough Mudder. I was thinking about one training session in particular - I was doing laps on the monkey bars at HT Thrift school and it was raining a little so they were wet and slippery, making it pretty difficult to get across. You had just left us Gabrielle, and I remember thinking that if such a small being could have so much courage and strength then I could muster what I had inside to conquer these monkey bars and train my hardest for tough mudder. Needless to say, I didn't make it across the tough mudder monkey bars, but I did finish the obstacle course/race and I was thinking of you Gabrielle most of the time! You gave me wings to get through the obstacles I just didn't want to do or just plain scared me, but I did them anyway and completed the race. You've inspired and touched so many of us, teaching us what is really important in this world. We miss you so much Gabrielle!!

    Love and Hugs, Ames

  13. Your family's strength is a source of inspiration. I often go to it when I need to dig deep to deal with my own daughter's health issues. She was a beautiful gift and touched so many of us.

  14. I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to meet Gabby. Her smile and personality won me over in an instant and I enjoyed getting to know her through this blog. My favourite vid is definitely the lollipop one! It makes me smile every time.

  15. Remember when she would play her game and tilt her head to one side, you had to copy her, then to the other side. It made me laugh everytime, her funny games! Elena xo

  16. I never had the privilege of meeting Gabby but felt like I knew her through your blog. I loved seeing her gorgeous smile which truly was like a ray of sunshine. I loved seeing her interact with her brothers and seeing the love between them. I loved seeing what a calm beautiful soul she was, but knowing that she could be a feisty little boss when she needed to be. I miss seeing new pictures and reading new stories, but I love seeing her in the brightest star in the sky, every pink sunset and every calm ocean. She will always have a piece of my heart.

    Antonella (Julian's mum) xxx

  17. I never got to meet Gabby, but feel she helped me appreciate everything that much more. I also learned through Amy and Regan's journey what it means to be a parent and how far you will go for your child and how much love a parent is capable of. Whenever I think life is hard I think of your family and how you used such a difficult situation to make yourself more loving, thoughtful and wonderful! Gabby was the inspiration for so many, and an inspiration that will continue to carry on.
    Lori Fairbairn

  18. Gabby was born a precious being with the gift of touching so many lives, yet in too short a time. We were hoping and dreaming of a child of our own for so many years. It was only just after a visit with you and Gabby at BC Children's Hospital, when I got to hold her, snuggle her, and share beautiful smiles with her, that I finally got pregnant. We know it was something in Gabby's touch that day that made our dreams come true. Thank you Gabby, and love and hugs to you both Amy & Regan, XO Angela & Ole

  19. Those eyes...oh those eyes! They had an other-worldliness, calm and deep, deep knowing. I remember a few glances that I caught of yours that seemed to go right to my very soul, and literally took my breath away. Thank you, thank you Gabrielle. You old soul. I'm so blessed to have met you.

  20. Gabrielle, (such a beautiful name for such a beautiful little girl) I never had the pleasure of meeting you but I have been blessed by getting to know you from this loving blog that your mom and dad have so generously shared with us. Your spirit and love of your family was so evident in the pictures and videos they shared with us. I think of you and them very often and pray for your mom, dad and brothers. They are a strong and loving family and have gained more strength and love from having you as part of them. Thank you for giving us all a true sense of what matters in this world .

  21. Amy and Regan - Although I was only able to spend one weekend with Gabrielle, I feel as though I have many memories of her through the stories you guys shared. I remember how excited Tim and I were to get the e-mail that she was born! The miracle baby (and the very smart mamma!) who went back into that hospital after being discharged declaring it was time for this baby to come, regardless of what the doctors thought! I remember a follow up e-mail, explaining Gabrielle's illness, and while this was devastating, I also remember Regan's tell-tale optimism - an optimism that certainly gave Gabrielle great strength in her much too short life. During the weekend that Auntie Robyn and I came for a visit, I recall the four of us "ladies" (Gabrielle included), sitting together in the hospital, swapping tales, eating, and laughing. Robyn and I were fighting to hold sweet little Gabrielle who was about as darling as I could have imagined. She was so precious and little, and, even while sick, she had so much life in her! Such a personality! She smiled and laughed, mimicking the girl talk we were having. Maybe it was her first real "Ladies Night"? What I also remember about that weekend is the remarkable strength that all of you possessed. I recall reading to James in bed one evening after we returned from the hospital (Amy - you were staying with Gabrielle), and laughing as he instructed me I was not reading in the right manner - in short, mom and dad were better readers than I was, but he would settle for me. When we finished our story, we turned off the light, and he told me all about Gabrielle. You gave your boys the power to talk about an incredibly hard and beautiful thing, and you also helped them, in the best way possible, to try and make sense of something that was relatively impossible to understand. That is a lesson that will stick with them forever. Upon leaving that weekend, I realized that while your world was being turned upside down, every one of you was also living in the moment, learning from one another, supporting one another, and fully taking in every little thing that Gabrielle had to share with you. And what she shared was plentiful - desires, likes, laughter, and joy. I know that everyone who followed your blog and stayed up to date through e-mails, phone calls, and visits drew inspiration from your family and from Gabrielle. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, for reminding us that it is not over, and for showing us how to live with such beauty and grace.

  22. I never met Gabrielle, but I can think of so many moments over the span of the blog - your enjoyment with your brothers play with you, seeing you out and about with your family. My son has cerebral palsy, and reading the blog has given me such an appreciation for life itself. Thank you Gabby.

  23. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories and thoughts about our beautiful girl Gabrielle. I hung on to every word in everybody's post and it filled me up with such peace and love. There is nothing as healing as hearing that your little girl who faced such adversity and whose life was much too short, is not forgotten in the hearts of others. We miss her terribly and her spirit is alive in all of us and I am so grateful that she is alive in the hearts and minds of our dear family and friends. Thank you and much love to you all.

  24. I'll always remember her "super winks", the very quick and fleeting smile and a double eye wink! I always laughed and she would usually do it again :)
    And of course, the super fun "Auntie/Gabby" sleepovers in the hospital!
    Auntie Julie

  25. Today is Gabrielle's "Angel Day" and I just wanted to share something withyou both.
    When we had Gabby's Celebration of Life, we had one of the Councillors ,Joanne Charles, from the Semiahmoo First Nation do a prayer and a blessing.
    At the end, she said to Amy and Regan, 'look for signs in nature- Gabrielle
    will let you know that she is there.'
    The next day, we were all at the soccer field watching the boys play. Atone point everyone started looking into the sky. Overhead was a Sundog. I
    have never before seen one. It is a weird atmospheric event where the sun is
    reflected somehow in the atmosphere and creates a ring of suns in the sky.
    To top it off, there was an eagle right in the centre that was spiralling
    upwards - carrying Gabby to heaven.
    Fast forward to yesterday. Julie was driving home from Anna's balltournament and saw the second Sundog of her life in the sky. People were
    phoning the radio station she was listening to to ask what was going on - so
    I guess we weren't the only ones who hadn't seen one before. Julie phoned
    Amy , and they agreed to meet later on the beach to take the kids for some
    ice cream. There was a new shop that had ice cream on the waterfront so they
    decided to give it a try.
    The shop had ice cream on one side and Indian artifacts and art on theother side. It was a nice little place and they wanted to know the name of
    it for future reference. On the way out, they checked out the name . It was
    called "Heavenly Angel".
    Gabby is still sending signs. Love Mom and Dad

    1. May her memory be a blessing. The moon went completely dark the night she passed. Gabrielle passed just before a new moon occurred. I hope the family finds strength and is renewed to their full brightness just like the heavenly moon does each month.

  26. Regan, thank you so much for giving me a glimpse of your beautiful, amazing daughter, and your family and friends. Her gentle and fun-loving spirit shines from these videos and photographs. It is a privilege to play peek-a-boo with her, wherever her strong spirit resides. I was so touched by your Mom and Dad's post about her signs, and the ways she continues to speak to you. All the best.

  27. I never got to meet Gabby face to face, and it has been 20 years (!!!) since I last saw Regan, but she has touched me incredibly. I found this blog on a Sunday in May, 2011, just a few months pregnant with my now 2 and a half year old. It became my weekend ritual to visit this site and spend some time with your family and Gabby. I often cried and then smiled, laughed, then cried some more. I prayed for her, thought about her and I learned a most valuable lesson- every day is a blessing. We never know what may happen tomorrow, so live in the now and just cherish it. This moment is all we are guaranteed.

    I remember videos and pictures of Gabby and what always struck me was that she always looked so strong. And just wise beyond her years. Like she knew exactly why she was here and what she was teaching so many. I love how her brothers loved her and played with her. She was truly the little princess :)

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing her life with me. She was SO lucky to have you as her family. She chose you for a reason :)