One accident. Two victims. Three deaths. A moving account of grief and its aftermath.

In the fall of 2009, Catherine Gourdier and the other members of her family were happily gathering for a surprise horror-themed birthday party for their youngest member, Julie, when the unthinkable happened.

As Julie and her parents were walking home from church, they were hit by a car driven by an eighty-four-year-old woman. While Catherine’s father somehow escaped without harm, Julie and her mother were rushed to hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries. The family was still reeling from the tragedy when, several weeks later, Catherine’s father died suddenly, most likely from a broken heart.

Breathe Cry Breathe is the story of Catherine’s journey through grief, as she tries to come to terms with the traumatic loss of three close family members. In the ensuing weeks, months and years, Catherine realizes that “grief doesn’t vanish so quickly. It packs a suitcase and moves into your heart and head.”

To help overcome and accept her loss, Catherine seeks alternative healing therapies and throws herself into practical diversions—trying to get a crosswalk installed at the site of the accident; advocating for organ donation and mandatory road tests for elderly drivers; and hosting fundraisers for Special Olympics. After years of struggle, it is these pursuits that finally help her to move beyond her devastating grief.

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