The Eulogy

* The formatting is being stupid, so the bullet list is the only way to make it stay together -.-


  • “Once upon a time
  • I stood where you stand,
  • staring up at the same stars
  • as they sparked against the night,
  • and I believed
  • for a moment
  • that I could live forever.
  • Nobody does.
  • But I was and you are
  • because love put us here,
  • because hope made us fight,
  • because being in the world is worth
  • the deep ache of the too few hours we are granted.
  • See?
  • Sunshine
  • laughter, singing,
  • trees whisper in a breeze
  • that sighs down from tumbled clouds a whole sky high.
  • There are books and birds and infinite particles of sand,
  • hands to hold and warmth to share,
  • hearts full,
  • salt sea air and grass just cut,
  • and shifting shades of light
  • at dawn, at dusk,
  • and even after the dark falls over us,
  • love will burn on
  • and on.”
  •  – Claire Greer

This poem was written for Noah by a dear friend of mine who lives half a world away. When Noah was just a few months old, Caleb’s sister Olivia directed me to a blog about a little girl named Sophie who had HIE just like Noah. Through that blog I met her mother, Claire, and through her I found a wonderful tribe of women who understood exactly the trauma that Caleb and I had experienced over Noah’s first few days. I am endlessly grateful to Claire for all of the support that she has given me over the years and this poem, that she wrote especially for Noah, was so fitting that it deserved the place on the back of his memorial booklet.

Noah’s birth and following days were the most difficult and the most traumatic days of my life. My therapist once said that I was having to grieve the baby that I thought I would have while also adjusting to the new one that I brought home. I found this to be especially true as the years went on, and Noah got further behind his peers developmentally.

Caleb said to me the other day that we’ve basically been grieving for the past five years. As sad as this all is, Noah’s passing also provides us with a bit of closure and relief. We’ll never have to worry about him being bullied or ostracized at school; his classmates loved him and read to him and missed him when he was gone. We’ll never have to worry about who will take care of him when we’re gone, because we know that he had the absolute best care in the world. We’ll never have to worry about his body getting too big for us to carry… he may have been half of the length of my body but he was still a tiny thing.

In a way, that’s sad in and of itself. I have always said that I wished that I had a crystal ball to see what Noah’s future would be like. Caleb was always so much better than me at living in the present, while I was always thinking ahead about things like harness systems and lift vans, thinking about how difficult it would be to take care of Noah as a teenager or an adult. That’s the thing, though. In life, there are no crystal balls. If we would have known ahead of time when Noah’s last day on earth would be, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the time we had with him, it would have always felt like a ticking clock above our heads. Life is so fragile and fleeting, and I think that we forget that so easily.

When I was pregnant with him, Noah gave me a reason to live. When I was deep in depression and actively planning my suicide when he was almost two years old, thinking of leaving Noah motherless or leaving Caleb to raise Noah alone, led me to getting the help that I direly needed. When I was ruining myself and my body, Noah gave me the strength to strive for and accomplish many of my personal goals. He has saved my life in so many different ways over these five short years he granted to spend with us, and I will continue to grow and learn in memory of him and all of the strength he had in his short life.

Noah may not have had the life that Caleb and I dreamed and wished for him, but he loved the life that he did have. He did not speak words, but his smile spoke volumes.  He had a gentle soul and a quiet strength that inspired me every day. He was always the happiest boy, and animals loved him for his soft and gentle nature. He loved going to school, and swimming, especially in the hot tub. Whenever I took him to the pool he would always smile so big when I put him on his back and guided him through the jets in the hot tub. He loved to be read to, and his favorite foods were chocolate cupcakes and yogurt.

Noah was the shining light in his daddy’s life, and vice versa. I used to always say that Noah only needed me to keep him fed and warm and his Video on Trial on loop, a placeholder until his daddy came home from work every day. The love between them inspired me to be a better mother, even though I felt like I could never measure up. I am beyond grateful to have shared this parenting journey with the wonderful person that Caleb is. Noah was his carbon copy, and he will always be his special little boy.

Noah has taught me so much about love and compassion, and through him I have met so many children with many different conditions and issues that the typical child doesn’t have to deal with.

He turned me into an advocate, and someone who isn’t afraid to speak her mind when something isn’t right. I was 19 years old when I got pregnant, and I thought that I had everything figured out. Noah threw a huge curveball into my life and taught me that babies aren’t like a Huggies commercial, and sometimes things go wrong even when you do everything right. Life is so precious, and yet so unkind at times. He taught me to appreciate what I have; my health, a fully functioning body, and the support system around me.

It’s so strange, now, knowing that he isn’t here. As mothers we throw so much of ourselves aside the minute we see those two pink lines. Every minute of our day, at least subconsciously, is spent wondering if our babies are okay. I never had to actively worry about Noah when he was with Caleb, I was never one of those mothers who couldn’t leave their child with someone else, but I would still think of him during the day or think of what my next responsibility for him was. I’d be at work and thinking about how I had to get up at 6:30 the next morning to go to Caleb’s to get Noah ready and drive him to school. I’d think about how I had to email the teacher about something, or think about planning Noah’s birthday or taking him to a playdate, whatever. This week has felt very surreal even just in that sense. Driving past the school almost every day but not driving in. Not seeing Noah’s carseat or bear hat-topped head in my rearview mirror. Hearing his baby cousin squawk from the other room and thinking for a moment that it was him, and quickly reminding myself that it wasn’t.

The amount of love and support we’ve gotten this week has been overwhelming, but also so beautiful, and an excellent testament to the impact that Noah’s short life has made on the people around us, or even people we’ve never actually met.

We called today a celebration of life, because Noah has brought so much life into our lives, and we will forever be grateful for those lessons that he has taught us. His memory will bring us strength, and the love he brought into our lives will resonate forever. Our little boy is gone, but he will never be forgotten.

  • I’ll love you forever,
  • I’ll like you for always,
  • As long as I’m living,
  • My baby you’ll be.

The Celebration of Life

Noah James Hiebert’s Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday November 28th at 10AM at Oliver’s Funeral Home (10005 107 Ave, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 1L8).

There will be a luncheon held after the non-denominational service. Semi-formal is preferred but really your presence is appreciated no matter what you choose to wear.

Thank you to everyone for all of the beautiful words of support. It is beyond overwhelming to see how loved and appreciated Noah was by so many.

** If you would like to donate to help us cover the expenses of the service, my lovely friend Jill set us up a GoFundMe, you can find it here


And the waves crash down.

My little boy is gone. He passed away in his sleep this morning.

I keep swinging between forgetting and remembering.

So much of this was reminiscent of when we were in the hospital when he was born, it’s weird.

I was supposed to take him to my parents’ house today  so that he could get a haircut.

I woke up and saw a text from my mom, cancelling on me. I said, can we do it Wednesday? And she said she worked every day besides Sunday now (she used to have Wednesdays off).

I looked at the next text message, and it was my friend wishing me a good morning. I texted him back asking him what his plans were for this afternoon, as I have to work at 5 and was now not taking Noah for a haircut.

My next text message was from Caleb, and it said “Call me right away!”, sent 1.5 hours before. I assumed he was mad at me for something. I called him back and he didn’t answer. I was just texting him saying that I was sorry I had missed his call as I was sleeping in, when he called me back.

I thought he was joking. He said, I would never joke about something like that. I said, no, you wouldn’t. He said that the police were there, and victim services.

I told him that I would be right there.

Then I screamed in a tone that I have never heard from myself. I was hysterical. I could barely stand. I got my roommate to drive me to Caleb’s (Caleb had mentioned getting someone to drive me, I hadn’t even thought of that).

My logical brain took over and I posted on the Facebook group for my work, asking if someone could take my shift tonight and possibly tomorrow.

When we were told that he was being airlifted, my logical brain took over there too.  I knew that I *needed* to find the hospital social worker so that she could connect me with the social worker at the Stollery, and I *needed* to find my doctor so that I could be discharged early…. Very much like, “okay, I need to do this, this, and this, in this order”.

I also emailed his teacher. Because logical brain told me that he’s supposed to go to school tomorrow, so they should know. Because any time that he’s ever missed school, I’ve emailed the teacher to let her know. And I didn’t want to call her right before school tomorrow, she has to put on a happy face for two different classes of kids, I figured giving her some time would be the best. She’s been with Noah for three years now.

There was a woman there for some reason, I’m not sure what her role specifically was, but she handed me a folder with pamphlets/information booklets from the various local funeral homes in it. I opened it a little and the first one on the top was the same funeral home that the hospital had given us the number to when we brought him home. We chose that one.

I laid on  his bed with him. His face looked like so many stillbirth baby pictures I’ve seen. For some reason it never occurred to me that that’s what everyone’s face would look like. I pointed that out to the victim’s services lady (she accompanied me into his room), and she told me the scientific reasoning behind it. I said something like, “that’s the science,  Noah”.

My brain is weird.

I had to make a statement to the police. The policeman said that it is very common for children with his condition to pass like that. I knew that already, from years of being in HIE groups.

We had to decide if we wanted an autopsy or not. We chose not to.

They called the funeral home for us to arrange for his transfer.

I had to call my parents. My mother was hysterical. Caleb started crying again when I said those words.

I told my birth club. I remember telling them about when we took Noah off life support when we were in the hospital.

I told another group that I’m close to.

I told my HIE group.

The funeral home workers showed up.  My parents wanted to see him before he was moved. So the workers waited outside.

My parents and sister showed up.

The funeral home workers came inside again, and moved him. I watched them load him up and put him in their vehicle. They had wrapped him in the blankets he slept on. The blankets that his Auntie Olivia made for him before he was even born.

When he was born he was immediately sent to the NICU and I sent Caleb up with him while I got stitched up. This was the opposite. Caleb was downstairs and I went up and watched him go. I had to make sure he was safe.

I called a few of my friends. I messaged a few others.

My parents drove me home. I had a shower and ate. A friend came over.

Another one is staying with me tonight.

Today is bizarre. It feels like I have two different brains, and logical brain is the only one around right now. Emotional brain keeps coming in at random times and asking if this is real.

Logical brain is letting me function.

My sweet baby boy is gone.




More Changes

As of about two weeks ago, I officially rented my first apartment 🙂 it’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom (!) condo, with an outdoor power parking stall and an underground parking stall included. There’s also an exercise room in the building! It’s a cute little place and it’s nice to not feel like a hobo anymore.

Mentally and emotionally, things are difficult. I feel like in general we are fed this storyline of life, where we are supposed to grow up, find someone, fall in love, marry them, have their babies, and live happily ever after. I thought I found that at 19 years old. I was wrong and now what? What do you do when you’ve been in that stable type of relationship for so long and now you’re not?

I think the biggest thing is that I have let my hobbies go in the process. I had to step down from the Run Walk Club and I miss it so much that it hurts sometimes. I can’t make the monthly meetings now because I work most Mondays and can’t afford to miss work. I haven’t been going to the gym at all and I’ve been stuffing my facehole.

I definitely need to get some hobbies going again, lately all I’ve been doing is watching Netflix, eating, and napping if I’m not taking Noah to and from school or at work. I don’t even know what I used to do with myself all day before I had Noah….I didn’t work that much! It’s weird feeling like a single lady again but yet still having Noah responsibilities. The juxtaposition is hard and some things just hit me right in the feels….like when Noah and I got our flu shots the other day and I had to fill out our forms. I just ended up putting the condo address down for both of us because I didn’t know our new addresses offhand, but it really drove home the fact that Noah and I have *separate addresses* now. I don’t live with my child. That made me feel incredibly sad, even if logically it’s the best set-up for us.

This time of year is always difficult for me. I know that this year will be worse, guaranteed.