Heartfelt Message from Resident Raw Foodie – Afke Zonderland

Sara Catherine O’Brien (nee Brookes) 1979-2015 

“Every time we see your little ones, we see you and we miss you. Every time we hug your husband we feel the anguish of his lost love.  Every time we see your mother, your sister and a close family member we see the loss as well as their valiant courage towards acceptance and recovery.  

Okanagan RawsomeI see my daughter cry as she nurses her new born a month after she lost her best friend.  If only we could reverse that fateful morning on June 19th, 2015 when your pain was too great and you left us all forever.  Sara, the epitome of loveliness.  A spirit of courage and gentleness that suffered under the cruel mental illness of postpartum depression.

You kept it hidden behind a smile, being a caring mother, keeping an organized home life and showing professional competence at your place of work. 

I remember our walks on the trails behind your home when you carried little Emma under your heart with Evan going like a ninja at age three on his run-bike.  

I remember your road trips with Anna during your University years and your wedding in Victoria to Trevor.  

I remember the summers you and Anna partnered in your business venture at the River Mouth Burger Shack.  John would sometimes buy two burgers, just to increase your sales when Mabel Lake Road was flooded and business came to a virtual halt.  I still see the sign; “Gone swimming- back in five”.  

You were Anna’s best friend from grade eight on and as best friends do, you became a part of our family too.  Your sister is running the Vernon Farmer’s market with help from your mom for our business now.  It feels a little like we are doing this for you.

 Today, a year later, we are succeeding one day at a time to accept that which can never be changed.  We have been wanting to participate in lending a helping hand to moms and dads that are finding themselves in the same trap of depression and hopelessness.  Depression is incredibly common.  In fact, you may be near someone every day and not even know that he or she is suffering from depression. “

Sara, you will forever live in our hearts.

Canadian Mental Health AssociationOkanagan Rawsome commits to providing a percentage of its profits to the Vernon Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association in remembrance of Sara and anyone struggling with mental illness.  Learn how you can donate in your area, or in honour of someone you know.  Read Afke’s article on Okanagan Rawsome

essential-oil-massage-therapyEssential Oils Massage Blend for Depression

  • 20–30 drops pure lavender essential oil
  • 20–30 drops pure roman chamomile essential oil
  • 2 ounces grapeseed oil

Other essential oils that get high marks for being helpful are: Bergamot oil and Ylang Ylang.


  • Blend all ingredients well into a glass jar.  Massage into your entire body, or take it to your masseuse and ask him or her to use it, 2–3 times per month.
  • You can also use hand and neck massage oil daily or even massage into the bottoms of your feet at night before going to bed.

Afke’s Recommended Reading

 Post Partum Depression

This Isn’t What I Expected. Overcoming Postpartum Depression
Offering compassionate advice for the approximately 400,000 women who suffer each year from postpartum depression, two doctors provide information on overcoming self-defeating thoughts, medical and therapy treatment options, self-esteem, and depression.

The Postpartum Husband: Practical Solutions for Living with Postpartum Depression
This hands-on guide includes straightforward, supportive information and specific recommendations to help partners deal with the impact of depression after the birth of a baby.

Afke ZonderlandAfke Zonderland is a Raw Food Chef and Co-Founder of Okanagan Rawsome.  She and daughter Anna, mix Okanagan apples and carrots with carefully sourced and sprouted seeds and fruit. With the tincture of time and low temperature as their agents, the resulting crisps offer great gluten-free fuel for the health conscious, celiacs and athletes alike. Watch the video