STONEWALL, MB – Family, friends and some strangers packed the MacKenzie Funeral Home in Stonewall Thursday to mourn Lisa Gibson, 32, and her children Anna, 2, and three-month-old Nicholas.
Hundreds of people hugged and cried outside the funeral home after the 45-minute service. They called the service heartbreaking and beautiful.
There were so many people in attendance that some mourners had to listen to the service from the legion building next door.
The Gibson children were found unresponsive in the bathtub on July 24 and the body of their mother, who police said was the last person with them, was recovered from the Red River three days later.
Her obituary put her death on the same day her children died and asked for donations in her name to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba. An extended family member has told Global Winnipeg that Gibson sought treatment for postpartum depression before her death.
Earlier in the day a public memorial was cleared from the lawn of the Gibsons’ Westwood home. The memorial was replaced by a sign thanking those who had placed the tributes.
“Thank you for your understanding and compassion as we come to terms with our loss,” a sign erected at the site of the memorial says. “Your generous tributes to Lisa, Anna and Nicholas have been donated to Child and Family Services in the hopes of helping other families in need.
“Your thoughts and prayers have brought us comfort in this tragic time, and we are thankful for the support of the community.”
Some Winnipeggers have responded to the deaths with a campaign to raise awareness of postpartum depression and call for more support for mothers who might suffer from it.
Brenda and Eddie Marion-Gerula are among those who felt they needed to respond constructively to the deaths.
The couple, who have four children, are organizing a Run for Moms that will take place at Kildonan Park on Sept. 25.
It will be a fundraiser for the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba as well as an attempt to increase awareness of postpartum depression, Brenda Marion-Gerula said.
They posted the event on Facebook at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and by Thursday morning, more than 200 people had committed to attend and almost 4,000 people had been invited.
“My heart is wanting to cry every time I see more people coming,” Marion-Gerula said.
The Running Room is supporting the event and will have online registration available in a few days, Running Room event manager Kathy Turner said.
Marion-Gerula didn’t suffer from postpartum depression and she didn’t know Gibson, but she and others who are helping felt something needed to be done to help people who do suffer from the condition.
“I’m actually already thinking ahead that this might be an annual event,” Marion-Gerula said.
© Shaw Media, 2013