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Mother pens book about dealing with child's death

By Chris Abbott, Postmedia Network

Helen and Darrell Klassen with their children Seth, Devon, Jedidiah and two-year-old Liberty Joy. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Helen and Darrell Klassen with their children Seth, Devon, Jedidiah and two-year-old Liberty Joy. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

In July 2012 a two-year-old girl died after being struck by a minivan at Triple C Bible Camp in Port Ryerse, near Port Dover.

The child, Charity Mariah Klassen from Aylmer, was treated at the scene by paramedics before being transferred to Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe where she succumbed to her injuries.

No charges were laid after the accident.

"We were vacationing there," said Charity's mother, Helen Klassen. "We stayed there one night and it happened the very first morning."

Four years later Helen decided to write a book about her life, the tragedy, and a long healing process.

"The climax of the story is the loss of my child and dealing with it afterwards - my grieving and trauma process," said Helen, 35, who is self-publishing her book, Stepping Out of My Darkness and Into His Light - a true testimonial of the trials and tribulations through the tragic loss of a child.

"I've been hospitalized a few times in the last four years because of it. I ended up in the mental health ward three times in three years, a couple months at a time due to grief and depression. They say now it was bipolar psychosis depression.

"I'm on medication for it and it's been over a year since I was hospitalized. I'm looking to lower the dosage of my medication because I feel I don't have bipolar any more - it was just a circumstantial thing, I believe. I didn't have any symptoms before the accident."

Last month she decided to share her story. Not just the story of her loss, but the story of her life.

"The book starts off with my childhood to my teen years, to my adulthood, the losing of my child, and my grieving process."

Born in Tillsonburg, Helen grew up in Aylmer, later marrying Darrell Klassen. Charity Mariah had three older brothers - Seth, Devon and Jedidiah, now ages 13, 11 and 9.

"We had a healing baby after Charity passed," said Helen, noting the birth of another daughter in 2013, Liberty Joy.

It took Helen one week to write her book.

"I sat down and I wrote. One day I wrote 12 straight hours worth. That's why I felt led. I'm a believer, I'm a Christian. So I felt the light of the Lord to write this. After... I felt a big healing effect, a big relief. There's some wrongs in my life, secret sins that nobody knew about, exposed in my book. I felt a big relief that I have actually let go, and let God heal."

Helen, who attends Open Bible Baptist Church in Aylmer, said she is having 300 copies printed for the first edition.

"There will be two book signings, one at St. Thomas Gospel Lighthouse and one at Gospel Lighthouse in Simcoe. Tentative dates are the end of July and the beginning of August. We're just waiting to make sure the books are ready on time (July 14)."

Helen said Tillsonburg's Gospel Lighthouse store is considering the book as well, and a possible book signing, after the St. Thomas and Simcoe signing events. Three small bookstores in London will also sell it on consignment, as well as a Waterloo bookstore. People can also order the book directly from Helen by emailing her at  darrellhelenklassen@amtelecom.net.

"There's been some healing writing this book, and a big response from the Christian community."

And there will be some healing for readers, she added.

"Learning to trust in something other than themselves. Learning to trust and having faith that there are some answers in this world. And healing for themselves, that they are not the only ones going through it."