In this holiday edition of loss(t) convos I chat with Cambrea Strubin, a 32 year-old Advertising Account Manager who shares her story of losing her infant son two Decembers ago, and how the hell she survived it. So much love and light to Cambrea for sharing her story!
Remember, you ain't alone.
What is the most significant loss you've endured and why?
The most significant loss I will ever endure in my lifetime, is the loss of our four month old son: Coen Michael Strubin. Coen was our first born, entering the world 5 weeks early on July 27, 2014. Showing my husband and I, a kind of love that we could only have imagined. He was absolutely perfect and the most beautiful baby we had ever seen.
Coen was born with a cardiac condition called AVSD. This meant that Coen would need heart surgery when he was 3-6 months old. We were lucky enough to enjoy Coen at home for 2.5 months until his surgery. Coen was supposed to be in and out of the hospital in approximately one week following the surgery. However, our lives changed drastically as the surgery did not go as planned and Coen’s heart stopped in front of our very eyes as we sat with him in the recovery room (an image I still have nightmares of to this day).
Coen was the bravest boy I will ever know. He underwent multiple surgeries over the next few weeks as doctors tried to repair his heart. He was such a fighter and battled hard for 19 days at BC Childrens PICU before laying to rest on December 5, 2014.
What did you learn from this loss?
I learned that life is short and not to take it for granted. That time numbs your wounds, however it will never, ever, go away. A loss this significant becomes a part of you and you somehow learn to keep going and live life with it.
Most of all I learnt that I am stronger than I ever could have imagined. I will never understand why the world would allow us to make such a beautiful boy and have him taken away so soon. However, I am so grateful to have met Coen and feel lucky that he chose me as his mom. He made me a better person, stronger mother and continues to inspire me every day.
What is your advice for others living with grief from a similar loss?
That you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to tell your story and accept help. If it wasn’t for our army of amazing friends and family, I don’t know how we would have picked ourselves back up, and got the courage to try again.
I also found that focusing on something positive out of this tragedy gave me a reason to keep going. My husband and I started a British Columbia Children's Hospital Foundation tribute page to honour Coen’s legacy and help give back to the hospital and doctors that fought so hard to keep Coen in this world. We were able to raise over $32,000 for the cardiology department at BC Children’s hospital.
To anyone suffering from a similar loss, time will help you find some kind of peace. Take it hour by hour, then day by day, week by week and so on. My husband and I found the strength to try again, three short months after losing Coen and found out we were pregnant with twins. The universe works in mysterious ways and I truly believe that Coen is watching over us and made sure that his brother and sister arrived safely. We welcomed Rylan Coen Strubin and Chloe Katherine Strubin into the world on September 28, 2015. We see little bits of Coen in each of them every day.
In honour of Coen, Cambrea, the entire Strubin family and all sick and dying children, you can donate to Coen's legacy fund here. Tis the season y'all. xo R
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