Sunday, January 12, 2014

In Memory of Siobhan McKay

I have been so grateful recently for my in-person and online community of friends, doulas and other birth workers.

There are many concerns about social media, and obviously many of them are valid.  But when things like Facebook and blogs are used for the purpose of outreach with healing intent, their value becomes overwhelmingly clear.

It is astonishingly helpful in times of confusion to be able to type in a question to my online doula sisterhood and receive not only valuable information, but also loving support in the form of little hearts, smiley faces, and kind words.  This builds up my confidence and gives me strength to be a source of peace and comfort for my clients in a real way.  We are nourished by the kindness of others.  And when nourished, we give from a grounded place.

When I was seriously ill last year, I received prayers, kind words, gifts, cards, and the receiving of a massive outpouring of love, a huge percentage of that from my online community (and friends of people in that community) that it is no wonder I healed up so well.  These days, when I see a doula sister asking for support in any form, be it good energy sent, information, or talking her off a ledge, I do my best to jump in, knowing personally how deeply these gestures have touched my own life.  I try to use this gift of social media we have with the highest intent.  Most of the time, anyway.

I want to share a story that has touched me deeply.  My dear doula sister who lives in Toronto named Nicole McKay, lost her six year old daughter Siobhan suddenly on January 9th.  Siobhan had not been feeling well early in the morning, and before the day came to an end, she had left this Earthside home.

Needless to say, being a mother and a doula who deals regularly with parents and children, this story has touched me deeply.

Nicole and her husband, Siobhan's father James have expressed how it is the support that is getting them through.  In the end, it is all about community, the folks we know and the ones we don't, for we are all part of the much larger sense of community social media has to offer.  And for this right now, I am grateful.

I never met Siobhan personally, but from what I have been told and what I have seen reflected in the eyes of her mother, she was an exceptionally beautiful little soul, funny and wise.  Her favourite colours were pink and purple.  She loved to dance.  She was clearly here for big things.  When she was born prematurely, Nicole and James were told she would not survive.  She had many challenges, but overcame them fiercely and not only survived, but thrived wholly.  Though she left this world so young, the belief that she was here for great things holds fast for me nonetheless.  "Great" doesn't always mean big intentional acts of fame.  It is about how much love you bring out of people.

As I look around at the beautiful responses from people online, my heart is incredibly moved.  I like to believe that the love being poured from so many hearts in so many forms is a reflection to Nicole and James of their daughter's light.  I like to think that in some mysterious way we can't explain, the essence of Siobhan's sweetness  is working through us, making sure her mom, dad, and brother are held up during this dark time of loss and despair, bringing about massive waves of compassion and Grace from all over the globe in her memory.   For a teeny little girl to crack open people's hearts for all this love to pour forth so palpably speaks of the Great-ness of her spirit.  I feel her everywhere, a little ballerina on her star journey, but still very connected to us.

In this time of immeasurable loss, the best way to honour Siobhan is to take care of her precious family.  If I may humbly ask that if you read this, you take a small moment to send them a little love.  Light a candle.  Say a prayer if that is your wish, or envision their healing.  These things seem nebulous and ethereal, but if there were any small chance it could work to bring about even an inch of healing and comfort for Siobhan's family, it is worth a minute of your time.

On Monday, January 13th a lot of people will be wearing pink and purple in honour of Siobhan.  This standing together in respect and compassion is something I will participate in.  I also take time every day to think of her family and envision them healing, surrounded and permeated by all the love we pour forth for them collectively, inspired by their sweet daughter.

 I am a doula, who knows well the hardships my family can suffer if I cannot work.  There is no sane way Nicole can attend births right now as she grieves this unspeakable loss.  As a doula trainer who has had the pleasure of spending an intensive week with Nicole, I feel I know what Nicole's heart is made out of, and let me tell you, it is good.  I have never heard an unkindness come out of this woman.  How much she gives to others in her work as a doula and La Leche League Leader, is something to behold.  She works tirelessly to see babies into the world, providing loving attention to the creation of a peaceful environment for mothers, fathers, and babies to become a family within.  Nicole and her husband James are amazing parents, and are focusing right now on supporting their young son Cayden while he grieves the loss of his older sister.

If it feels right to you, my friend Renee Mercuri  has set up a page that enables us to contribute to Nicole and Jame's finances in this difficult time so they may focus on grieving and healing without the extra worry of lost income.

If you would like to leave a loving message of condolence or light a virtual candle, you can visit Siobhan's online memorial site.

Love, Light, and Blessings,