he matters

thumb_Jozi Grant 1241_1024

Prime Minister Trudeau,

Just over 10 years ago, before you decided to represent the people of this country, you stood in front of our class at McGill talking about how, from a global perspective, children are the voices of our future. After, in the small classroom in the Education building, we continued the discussion. As an educator, you inspired me. As a human, you inspired me.

I write to you as a mother, Canadian and educator. An injustice has been served towards my son. I want to teach him the importance of having your voice heard and show him the value of being a citizen of this great country. As his parent, it is my responsibility to do this.

We welcomed our first child into the world on October 30th, 2014. He arrived the day after his due date, after a healthy ‘textbook’ pregnancy. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen complications during labour, he suffered a traumatic birth, irreparably damaging his brain. Days later, our newly enlarged hearts broken, we were told we would have to say goodbye to our beautiful boy, that we would have to make a decision no parent ever wants to have to make. We spent 5 days engulfed in cuddles, kisses and imparted wisdom. On November 3rd, we stood together as a family, as strong as the oak tree towering above us. We gave our son permission. We told him it was ok. Soothed by the comfort of his mother’s heartbeat, and his father’s embrace, he left his perfect little body.

A few days after the death of our son, amidst the very raw grief we were enduring, we knew we had to register his birth. We had to. We wanted, needed, the acknowledgment of his presence. We did it for him. We sat together, as new parents, answering questions with the pride that accompanied our new roles. His name that we had the honour of bestowing upon him, officially registered alongside his fellow Canadians. Owen Benjamin.

Shortly after, we received a letter in the mail. A warning that we would not be receiving a birth certificate, but instead a combined birth/death certificate. I collapsed. My heart wept. A callous, cold decision with no justifiable rationale. A letter, a decision, with the intention to belittle my son’s life. A certificate that someone decided would forever, officially, define my son’s existence as a Canadian. I wondered at what point it was decided a life mattered in this country, the duration of time someone needed to live. The injustice of this illusive timeframe causing further heartache.

Owen lived for 5 beautiful days in Vancouver. He lived, he breathed, in our arms. He felt the raindrops on his head as he took his last breaths resting on my chest. His impact, his lessons, and his spirit live on in our hearts and through the lives he has touched. He is an important member of our family.

He was born, he lived, he died. His life and value as a citizen of this country deserve recognition. An honour he is no less worthy of. Value – greatness – is not measured in time.

While we can no longer hear his voice, it still deserves to be heard. As his mother, I am helping him.

As a father, and leader of this country,  I ask that you contemplate the worth, the validity, of a life and revisit the legislation surrounding this. I ask that you recognize Owen’s birth, his life, as separate to his death. He is more than bureaucracy. He is more than a policy derived in a boardroom by individuals who have no idea how much two separate documents matter more than one. His life matters. He matters.

Owen Benjamin Edmondson, born October 30th 2014.

Thank you,

Robyn Edmondson
Mother, Canadian, Teacher



7 thoughts on “he matters

  1. Melissa Pearson August 11, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    Every time I read something you have written Robyn I feel your love for your beautiful little boy Owen💕He deserves a birth certificate, his birth changed you and made you into a mom for the first time!


  2. marshallrmb August 12, 2016 / 10:02 am

    Beautiful, Robyn….I would love to share it, but, I am not sure if allowed.
    Send it to Christie Clark, it may be her jurisdiction.
    You have made sure that Owen is loved and remembered by all whose life he touched.
    His little brother, Elliott, will be so proud of Owen when he understands.
    We cherish Owen’s life, and, Robyn, never forget how proud I am of you and Mark.
    Love, Dad.


  3. David Basskin August 12, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    Very sorry for your loss, but to the best of my knowledge this is a matter of Provincial, not Federal jurisdiction. Have you taken this up with your MLA/MPP?


  4. Bota28 August 14, 2016 / 11:16 am

    So sorry for your loss.. My heart feels for you and your husband.❤️ I am also going to share this story of a beautiful baby who entered this earth’s plane for a short few days with my politician friends… This needs to change.. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story ❤️


  5. sheri777 August 15, 2016 / 11:39 am

    Well done. So perfectly writen. Thank you. I know so many parents that wanted the same and never got it. Its not right when you are already suffering to be hit again.


  6. noandroblog June 23, 2017 / 11:51 am

    This was a very beautiful, moving and heartbreaking read. I stumbled across it and I am so glad I did.
    I hope you have been granted what you wish. You and your partner deserve it, and so does Owen.
    Lots of love from the UK. X


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