Thursday, July 25, 2013

For Lisa Gibson

I haven't been able to think of much else today, except you.  I keep coming back to the computer - checking the Winnipeg Free Press web site to see if there have been any developments and hoping that you've been found.  I want you to be found, Lisa.  You deserve that.

I don't know much about you except that you are 32 and were a momma to two.  I imagine that Anna and Nicholas were two gifts you must have hoped for your whole life.  I know you are a pharmacist at the Concordia Hospital who is on maternity leave, as Nicholas was born only three months ago.  A pharmacist.  That means you knew and understood the pharmacology that existed to help you overcome the dark dogs that were obviously lapping at your heels.  All the knowledge in the world can't help you sometimes.

I know that.
I hope you know that many people know it too.

You had a husband and other family who were helping you.  They must have tried so hard.  It must have killed you to watch them try.  In moments when the light found a way to sneak in, you must have looked over at your daughter, or your newborn son and everything in you must have wanted to extend your hand.

Only you couldn't.

I don't know what the darkness or the voices were telling you to do yesterday morning.  It must have been so convincing and so terrifying.  You must have felt like you had control for just a fleeting moment.  You took that control - the feeling that must have been absent for so long - and you acted.  I know you didn't understand what you were doing.

I know you loved your beautiful babies.

I am so sorry that the darkness that plagued you was bigger than anyone knew.  I'm sorry there wasn't enough help or understanding.  I'm sorry that you found yourself alone with your babies, even for that short while.  You must have been so afraid.

I know you loved them.

I don't know where you are today.  No one does.  I hope that you were able to find a place to truly rest yesterday, even with those dark dogs chasing you.  I hope your soul and your spirit found a way to rescue you from your tormentors.  I hope you found peace.  I hope you are at rest.

There is no blame found here, Lisa.  Not at the end of these words that I write.  I look at the pictures of you and those of your children and I know you must have loved them.

I am grieving for so much today.  For your husband, for your babies, for all who knew and loved them.  But mostly I am grieving for you.  It wasn't you, Lisa.  I hope you know that so many of us believe that.

You were educated, middle-class, supported, and surrounded, but still it wasn't enough.
It was too big for you.

I know you loved them.
I'm sorry.
Be at peace.

At the time of writing, Lisa Gibson is still missing.
Update - Lisa Gibson's body was recovered from the Red River on Saturday, July 27th.


  1. Beautiful Karla. Lisa actually works at Concordia. I read the Free Press article and felt so sad as neighbours that did not know her, made statements about her. Terence said that she is a sweet, kind woman. I also pray that she is found alive and will get the help that she needs. That she will know that she is loved.

  2. Thank you Karla, for this compassionate and beautiful reflection on a very painful situation.

  3. Such compassionate words for a horrible situation. Thank you for writing them.

  4. Thank you for writing this Karla. I wish she could have known how some of us struggle everyday in our own way. Lisa, I know you loved your babies.....

  5. thank you for articulating what many women (and others) are feeling right now.

  6. I too suffered from postpardom depression and my husband at the time didn't understand or want to believe. I had to deal with it on my own. No one understands that you have no control over what your brain is doing, no one understands the hurt, the pain, the anxiety and the fear that you deal with. Just wish someone could have realized sooner what this poor woman was going thru.

  7. Thank you for putting into words what many of us are feeling. I am so sorry for your unbearable pain Lisa and for the darkness that took over your life. I am sorry that we failed you - you reached out for our help but we were not there for you. Rest in peace sweet Lisa and babies-your suffering is over and we will learn from this tragedy.

  8. It is funny how everyone is so empathic, compassionate and caring for this woman with mental health issues after killing her children but a certain Asian man the public wanted in jail which is not where he belonged, certainly there was no compassion there! He had the same psychosis and did the same thing but the public's reaction was very different. His wife had tried to get help for him but nobody listened. Everyone with mental illness needs help and we need more mental health beds plus gov't involvement, funding etc. They have cut mental health beds which is not appropriate today, we need more not less. Compassion and empathy for all people with mental illness not just the select few.

  9. Concerned - I agree 100%. Mental illness doesn't discriminate and neither should we. I have long been a proponent of beginning "mental health education" within the school system at an early age. If we were educated and aware earlier, if children were given language for their struggles, if mental illness was presented as something anyone at any time can experience, there would be less stigma and far more acceptance for everyone.

  10. Your compassion and unconditional love is truly moving. Not many can be capable of those words without knowing her personally and you just bring it to basics; that Lisa was a human being that was hurting and that is really what we should be caring about. The sole purpose to life is to love so why can't we show love, kindness and patience? Dr. Maya Angelou said, "I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me." Lisa was a human being. I am a human being. And so are you therefore we all share the components that lead us to certain choices; whether they be positive or negative. So, before you judge and think "How could she?", really think about how different we are from each other. Thank you for this blog!