A local author is sharing her experience of a devastating loss and how she found the silver lining by writing a children’s book.

Last summer on July 28th, Greg Gaudette a local paramedic/firefighter and his friend Jonah Swen  – who was a paramedic and registered nurse in Calgary – passed away unexpectedly in a hiking tragedy near Crowsnest Pass. 

 Colby Gaudette, wife of Greg, managed to find some comfort in writing her book called “I Wish You Could See.” 

“The book did unfortunately start from kind of a really negative, experience in our lives. We lost my husband tragically in an accident last July. My son was 13 months old at the time of his passing, and he passed away with a friend of his. So naturally, it was a very, very hard thing for me and our families to go through,” Gaudette said Tuesday. 

“I Wish You Could See” can be purchased through Amazon and will soon be available at local stores. 

Gaudette said she did not write the book right away after losing her husband, but rather focused on other ways to overcome her grief.

“The way I kind of saw it is I had a couple of choices with how I was going to manage and kind of cope with my own grief. And I didn’t want our son Kace to lose both of his parents because of this accident. 

“I kind of chose to focus on what I had left that I still loved and was kind of dear to me. And that was obviously my son. I kind of turned my grief and focus a little bit more on what could I do to support him, and how I was going to raise him with his dad being in heaven,” she said.

She said after the passing of her husband she began to look at and order children’s books about loss and grief but could not find the story that relayed the message she was seeking for her son. But in time found herself finding inspiration and would write it down.

“Then I started kind of the writing process using all of those ideas that I had been documenting down. Then as I was going through writing this, it was honestly probably the most therapeutic experience for me to let me focus on me trying to kind of take some sort of silver lining out of a terrible experience. 

“But it also kind of helped me connect with what I thought my husband would want to say to my son. And it really helped me kind of work, work through my grief.”

Gaudette said she made her book more customizable to those who have lost a loved one and added a section where children can write memories of their relationship they had with their loved ones.

“It made me really start to think about how many different kids are affected by grief every day. And I feel like grief affects all of us whether like regardless of the relationship with a person that passed, whether it’s a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, heaven forbid, or a child. 

“So I kind of took what I had written in my first initial draft of this book. And I wanted to kind of make it more inclusive to all kids that were affected by loss,” said Gaudette. 

Gaudette said she has received much support from the community and her book is a way to give back. 

“We were very supported by the community and everything through this. So in a way, this was kind of me trying to give back. And I’ve been pretty lucky with so many other people reaching out to me, just saying how they’ve had young children and their families who have really connected to the story,” she said. 

Gaudette worked for nine years as firefighter/paramedic with Lethbridge Fire/EMS. He and Colby were married in July of 2019 and they became parents to Kace in June of 2022.

By Steffanie Costigan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 06, 2024 at 15:44

This item reprinted with permission from   Lethbridge Herald    Lethbridge, Alberta

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