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.
About the author
CATHERINE GOURDIER owned her own sales agency for sixteen years prior to her career as an assistant director, producer and writer in the film industry. Fundraising for the Special Olympics in memory of her sister, Julie, has become a passion for her. Catherine Gourdier divides her time between the Kawarthas, Toronto and California, but Kingston, Ontario, will always be her home. This is her first book. Please visit her at catherinegourdier.com.
"Gourdier gently guides the reader across the dangerous, dark road of a preventable tragedy and its resulting devastation, then leads us back to a haven of hope and determination with candor, vulnerability, and mercifully, even humour."
<strong>Erin Davis, author of <em>Mourning Has Broken</em></strong>
"Catherine Gourdier's heart wrenching tale of tragedy and grief is beautifully and hauntingly told. But more importantly, it provides an intimate and tender road map out of the darkness and into the light: a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and the power of everlasting love."
<strong>Jeanne Beker, journalist </strong>
“Reading Gourdier’s book is like sitting down with a friend and realizing you are not as alone as you thought you may have been on your own grief journey. She shows you that even in the weight of sadness you can still find the lightness of joy, laughter and love.”
Naomi Snieckus, actor and comedian
"Breathe Cry Breathe makes you realize that it’s not impossible to thrive in and amongst the chaos of grief and grieving – that you can still have an authentic life and move forward with love and optimism."
<strong>Jann Arden, singer, songwriter, author of <em>If I Knew Then</em> </strong>
"In Breathe Cry Breathe, Gourdier has crafted a memoir about grief that is at once intensely personal yet completely universal. After suffering an incalculable loss followed by another and another at warp speed, Gourdier’s detailed account of her life before and after tragedy is so brutally honest that you feel plunged into her heart and soul as she struggles to keep living when those she loved have been lost."
<strong>Kim Izzo, bestselling author of <em>The Jane Austen Marriage Manual</em></strong>
"A heartfelt testament to the pain and isolation of grief. Breathe Cry Breathe is a hopeful journey that proves there is no one way to survive a devastating loss: as bad as it can get, there is always a way through."
<strong>Anita Lahey, author of <em>The Last Goldfish: A True Tale of Friendship</em></strong><strong> </strong>