“Even though she was only here for 100 days, her life had a big, beautiful resounding impact not just on our lives but on anyone who met her or heard her story. Her legacy reminds us to live fiercely in the present, to enjoy this sacred gift called life and allow love and compassion for all beings to overflow from you”
Gaia and Candy’s daughter River was diagnosed with an incredibly rare genetic condition at just 10 weeks old and sadly passed 4 weeks later in her mothers’ arms.
Whose fingerprint is on your pieces and why are they special to you?
Our daughter River's fingerprint marks our pieces. To us each piece is so much more than jewellery, they hold a memory of our baby girl who died at 14 weeks old.
Are you able to share a little more about River and her story?
River was conceived first in our minds and hearts as an idea that took many years to come to fruition. We had always wanted to be mums and were overjoyed when we first became pregnant. We didn’t know that the arrival of our baby girl would bring with it so much pain and joy. River was born in April 2021, and as soon as she was born we knew something wasn’t right. It was every new mum's worst nightmare. She was around 10 weeks old when we got a diagnosis and entered paediatric palliative care. She was born with an exceptionally rare genetic condition, there are only 20 kids known across the world and River, in her style, had a unique variation specific just to her. We spent days and nights and weeks on end in and out of hospital watching our sweet baby struggle in her body. Exactly 100 days after she was born, she died. She took her last breaths in her mothers’ arms at home on a full moon. Surrounded by our families we all watched as she left her body. Even though she was only here for 100 days, her life had a big, beautiful resounding impact not just on our lives but on anyone who met her or heard her story. Her legacy reminds us to live fiercely in the present, to enjoy this sacred gift called life and allow love and compassion for all beings to overflow from you.
How did you find the impression process?
We felt so lucky to have stumbled across Linden Cook and to have been able to get the kits the day before she passed. The process of heating the wax and pressing her tiny thumb into a mould will be with us forever. We laughed and cried and knew that we would cherish these pieces of our special girl who touched all of our lives. We made a piece for the 6 closest women to River, grandmas, aunties and her cousin who saw River as a sister. Now whenever we think about her, talk about her or want to feel close to her we can touch a piece of her that we will always wear.
What is your favourite memory with River?
It might sound strange, but we cherish all of our time with her. When you only have such a short time with someone you love so deeply even the painful moments are sacred and cherished. There are a few that really come to mind and they are the simple ones, when we left the NICU to come home we would walk up to our local café with our dog Rupi, new mums out in the world, we felt so free and ready to enjoy our time just doing the simple things together. Our local park is an oasis, with lots of natives and beautiful walking tracks. We would stop and sit in the sun, picking a yellow flower and placing it in the pram or carrier. Now we can walk the same routes and feel close to her.
Are there any charities or organisations you would like to promote to the Linden Cook community to raise awareness for River's condition?
There are some amazing people and organisations that really touched our lives through this process, hard to mention them all but a stand out would be..
Bear cottage, based in Manly. They provide life changing support and services to kids with life limiting illnesses and their families. We stayed there for a week and without them things would’ve looked very different, they held us in the hardest week of our lives, providing medical care, emotional support and so much more. They are privately funded and do a remarkable job. The more financial support they get the better!