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The resilience of Marilyne Picard



Despite the recent death of her two sons-in-law, the member for Soulanges finds the strength to fight new battles.

(Quebec) Marilyne Picard removed all family portraits from the walls of her house in Saint-Lazare, in her riding of Soulanges.

Those of Noah-Leewis and London-Eliot, who disappeared less than a year apart in 2021 and 2022.

Their ballot boxes, their locks of hair, she put everything in a big chest when the second died last November.

“It was too difficult. We removed everything that reminded us of them, ”recounts the MP gently. “I said to my spouse: when we want to cry, when we want to see them to reminisce, we will make the decision to open the safe. »

Marilyne Picard welcomes us to her newly renovated office at the National Assembly. On the wall, a large photo of her youngest, Dylane, who has suffered from a rare genetic disease since birth.

Despite this gray February day, the place is bright with the large windows overlooking the Grande Allée. The week of parliamentary work has just ended. “There, I can’t wait to see my little family,” she breathes. She must return the same afternoon.

Recently back at work, the 41-year-old mother accepted an invitation from The Press to look back on the last months of his life. Months during which Marilyne’s clan had its share of misfortunes.

“There is nothing in life that surprises us anymore. We are just… anything can happen, ”she underlines. It stops, then resumes.

We lost [notre] innocence. You know, before, you think you’re going to be old, you prepare for your old age… but you don’t realize how life can be so short, that it can end anytime.

MP Marilyne Picard

“It was impossible, unimaginable”

Fate struck for the first time on the evening of December 18, 2021. Noah-Leewis Mercier died after a car accident where he was the occupant, in the Pointe-Claire sector. The driver faces criminal charges, we learned on Tuesday.

The teenager took his last breath three days later, on December 21, the day before his 17e anniversary.

Fate had not said its last word. Eleven months later, her second son-in-law, London-Eliot Mercier, was fatally hit on a Montreal street by a vehicle. He was 19 years old.

“It couldn’t even be, one, but there, two, it’s just… […] It was impossible, unimaginable, ”says the MP, who struggles to put words to the pain felt.

“We kept Eliot’s room intact, we didn’t even do his last washing,” she says, letting out a burst of laughter, as if to soften her pain. “We’re postponing this…it’s still too fresh. »

A leap into politics for parents of children with disabilities

London-Eliot and Noah-Leewis were the sons of Marilyne Picard’s spouse. He also has an eldest daughter. When Marilyne came into their lives, the three were under 6 years old. The couple then had two other children, including Dylane, who is severely disabled.

The little one, who is 11, needs 24/7 care. “My cocotte, she doesn’t talk, she doesn’t walk, she doesn’t eat either; she has a force-feeding, you have to do everything for her, ”says the mother, who goes back and forth to Quebec during the parliamentary session.

It was her battle for the parents of disabled children that led the member for Soulanges to make the leap into politics in 2018, after having participated in the founding of the Parents until the end group.

During the election campaign, François Legault made a touching stop at the home of Marilyne Picard, where he was able to see the extent of the daily needs required for Dylane. He promised the creation of 500 places in respite centers for disabled children.

It was she who pleaded with the Prime Minister for such a commitment. She is also working to reduce the administrative paperwork of the employment-service check allowance program, which makes it possible to use home help services.

“I just want to change things even more”

And despite recent hardships, Marilyne finds the strength to fight new battles, this time for the bereaved parents. She points to the fact that a parent can only be absent for five days, two of which with pay, after the death of a child.

“That doesn’t make sense,” she exclaims. “I just want to change things even more […]that justifies my presence here even more […]. It’s really sad, what happened, but we have to get out of… I don’t want to say ‘positive’, but we have to get up, ”she pleads.

She also says she is staying the course thanks to her family nucleus, which she compares to a “really solid block”.

Together, we stand together. We understand each other, we have the same pain.

MP Marilyne Picard

For the rest, Marilyne Picard wants to take time to resume “gently” her professional activities, time also to experience mourning. “There are days when I’m not so very, very resilient,” she admits, laughing.

The smile never leaves Marilyne’s face for long during the interview. A force which makes it possible to believe that those of London-Eliot and Noah-Leewis will find their place on the walls of the house.

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