Norton girl who celebrated fairytale party on hospice dies of mitochondrial disease

NORTON, Mass. — A 6-year-old Norton girl who celebrated a fairytale party fit for a princess along with countless other happy memories in her final weeks died of the same mitochondrial disease that took the life of her baby brother.

Aubriella Derosier, a spunky, fun-loving first grader who enjoyed techno music, beach days and bubbles, died October 8 surrounded by her parents, Jamie and Jeremy, and other loved ones.

Her parents, with help from a community of generous friends, family and strangers, made Aubriella’s final weeks fun and memorable – from an invitation to a Red Sox game and meet-and-greet with mascot Wally to the celebration of life last month at Oakholm Farm in Brookfield, where every perfect, pink detail was donated.

“We started writing out our list of what we wanted Aubs to accomplish in her life and how important it would be for us to have those memories with her,” mom Jamie Derosier said of planning Aubriella’s final weeks while on hospice. “And I really don’t feel we missed anything.”

Aubriella arrived at her celebration of life last month in a Cinderella carriage. Jamie and Jeremy exchanged vows and rings with her and shared a daddy-daughter dance they knew they wouldn’t get to experience years down the road.

“It was probably the single-handed greatest moment of my life outside of the birth of both of our kids,” Jeremy said of the celebration. “It’s not easy, and we’re really hurting, but we can look back and say that was the best times of our lives.”

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Aubriella’s younger brother, Bryce, died of the same genetic disease in 2018. The disease strips away muscle and brain function, often causes seizures and eventually forces the body to shut down.

Aubriella and Bryce, though young, made a mark on the world and changed everyone they met for the better, their parents said.

“They could not speak words that most people understood, and they still were able to capture people and tell their story with no words,” Jamie said. “And that’s what people live for…is to make that type of mark on the world in such a limited amount of time.”

Although they are heartbroken, Jamie and Jeremy say they feel lucky to have loved their children as long as they did.

“If we could do another 16 months with Bryce, another 6.5 years with Aubriella, we would do it all over again, just for the magnitude of fun and blessings and experiences we had with them during that time,” Jeremy said. “They’re the true warriors and heroes in our family. It was an honor for us to know them the time we got to know them, and parent them and be their friends.”

The same horses that escorted Aubriella to her party last month carried her casket in a custom-built carriage to be laid to rest last Friday. The carriage ride, donated to the family, was fitting for Aubriella, who rode in style and personality to her final services.

“The community and the way they rallied themselves around us to help us bring those moments we really wanted to fruition, it carries you through,” Jamie said. “It helps you remember you’re not alone when you feel this is a lonely time.”

The greatest source of strength for Jamie and Jeremy are the memories of their children’s smiles, their personalities and their courage unmatched by any adult.

“Grief is also love,” Jamie said. “When we feel that pain, it’s going to hurt, but it’s also loving on them still in life. And they’ll always be with us, just in a different way.”

Donations toward the Derosiers’ GoFundMe account will help cover medical expenses incurred during treatment and the cost of services and final arrangements.