Book to help children deal with death inspired by Woodstock family's real-life loss
A Woodstock, Ont. family grieving the death of their son are taking their tragedy and using it to help other families.
Xavier Garrett was just eight months old when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“We were devastated, just devastated. Our whole world was taken away from us like the carpet being pulled out from under our feet,” says his father Mark Garrett.
Xavier, who has a twin sister, spent the next several years of his life undergoing surgeries, radiation and cancer therapies and was doing better, but it didn't last.
“He was in remission for almost five years and we started talking about a remission five-year party when it came back.”
His mother Carla Garrett says she will never forget that day, “I remember really clearly when we found out going through my head thinking I will not bury my child and even at that point I was so scared.”
Unfortunately, Xavier’s brain cancer was deemed incurable and the family was left knowing it wouldn’t be long until he lost his battle.
His father says, “I cried and cried but the hardest part was asking a seven-year-old where do you want to die? Do you want to stay in hospital or go home?”
Xavier chose home, and died just shy of his eighth birthda. His mom says she’s happy he at least died surrounded by his family.
“I do feel fortunate we got to be there for his last breaths and comfort him in the end.”
Even though they were grieving, Mark and Carla wanted to help other families in the same situation and the one thing they remembered was a lack of resources when it came to how to talk to their child about his death.
So they decided to write a book to help guide other families.
The book is called 'My Love Will Follow You There' and Mark says they have already distributed around 100 copies across North America
“We want to be able to give these books away as a resource to families who really need it and want it to be a free resource to anybody.”
Because they aren’t selling the book the Garrett family is looking for donors to help with the cost of printing more copies - copies of a book inspired by their son whose memory will live on by helping others.
“I miss how silly he was and I miss really watching the two of our kids growing up together and just the noise of them playing together and I just miss being his mom,” Carla says.
You can get details on donating to help fund printing and distributing more books by emailing Carla Garrett. Her contact information can be found here.