Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This is me

Thanks for this idea Julie! I have really enjoyed reading about you and the other Moms who have posted this. Sometimes I feel like I am totally defined by losing Jacob, but there was so much to me before that. This is a nice reminder.

I was born in a smallish city 1.5 hours outside of Toronto. I lived there until I was 10 and then my family moved to a city 45 minutes west of Toronto. I have three younger sisters and I have always helped my Mom take care of them. I love having so many sisters. We all get along really well and it is nice having people who have known me for so long and who I have shared so many experiences with.
I was 8 in this picture.
We grew up going to the family cottages in the summer (there were 4 on one property, my great-grandfather built them). They were sold about 10 years ago. Six months after they were sold, some teenagers from the small town where the cottages are burned down three of them (the kids were caught). My parents bought a new cottage a few years later and we enjoy going there every summer.
The cottage is in the background. This picture taken
when we were closing the cottage for the winter
I've always wanted to be a Mom. I still call my sisters "the kids" sometimes, even though the youngest one is 26, because I helped my Mom with them alot when I was younger. I always played "Mom" and house when I was little. I have a clear memory of giving birth to my stuffed animals when I was 6 or 7. I guess I learned early how it all really worked.

When I was younger, I took gymnastics and piano lessons and played soccer. I have also played on a soccer team with some of my colleagues at work for a few years.

That's me, #3
I also like to ski and usually go with my Dad (but didn't this winter since I was pregnant).

I have never been to the Caribbean, but I have been to Europe a few times. I have been to London, Scotland (a bunch of different cities), Ireland (a bunch of different cities), Amsterdam, a few cities in Belgium, Paris, Nice, Lichtenstein, Lucerne, Cologne, Frankfurt, Innsbruck, Athens, some Greek Islands (Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Crete, Patmos) and Kusadesi, Turkey. I have also been to a few different States in the US. I went to Disney World 2 years ago for the first time.

My sisters and I all got married within 2 years of each other and I was the last one to get married (by a month).

August 2007
October 2008

August 2009
We got married last September.

Our honeymoon was the trip to Greece and France.

Patmos, Greece
I met my husband 10 years ago at work. He was originally hired as a temp to help me through a really busy time. When that busy time was over, they kept him on and we became really good friends until 4 years ago when we started dating. We have a great relationship. I never thought I would actually marry someone that I get along so well with. He has a 21 year old daughter who is in med school and she is great.

I have a degree is psychology and sociology, but I don't really use it. I wanted to be a nurse or a Child Life Specialist, but I didn't end up doing either. Maybe it isn't too late, losing Jacob has renewed my enthusiasm for doing it, but going back to school right now isn't really an option. I volunteer for the Toronto International Film Festival (but I wasn't going to this year because I should have been 8 months pregnant!). I also volunteered at the Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto for a few years on the organ transplant floor and held babies whose parents couldn't be there, gave parents who were there all the time a chance to get out, and played with the older kids. The stories were heartbreaking and a few of the kids I got close to died after alot of struggling. It was heartbreaking. There are a few babies that really stand out because I spent so much time with them. Two of them died and one went home after a liver transplant. I was so happy the day I came for my shift and her Mom said they were going home and gave me a big hug. She was waiting for me every Monday night when I got there so she could have a shower and spend some time in the outside world.

I am quiet until I get to know people. I have never shared my feelings with anyone as much as I have since losing Jacob.

I have a 2 year old nephew who makes me really happy and has helped me heal, but I also feel sad sometimes when I see him because Jacob will never get the chance to do the same things he gets to do and they won't grow up together like we planned.

I have 2 cats, Oliver and Sadie, but my parents have had them since I got pregnant because DH wouldn't do the litter (the cats came with me when we got together, he isn't really an animal person). They still have the cats because we were selling our condo and thought it better not to have pets here. Everytime we go to my parents house, my cats run over and follow me around. I feel bad when I leave them there.



There are 8 cats in the family, everyone has 2 cats except one sister, who is allergic (but she loves them and cat sits for us all when needed). All of the cats have interesting stories of where they came from. One has 3 legs and one has an extra toe on each paw.

We are moving to our new house at the beginning of September and are looking forward to it. We will be living an 8 minute walk away from my sister Laurie and nephew Ben. We were really looking forward to walking to each other's house with our kids, going to parks with the kids, etc. It might still happen, just not when we thought it would.

I knit alot, mostly baby clothes because they are the most fun to make, but I have also made blankets, sweaters for adults, hats, scarves and socks. I love to read and play games on my ipod touch (I also like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, although I haven't played them in awhile because the XBox is broken). I love to sing, but I'm not very good at it. When I was younger, I really wanted to be in musicals, but over the years I've come to accept that I just don't have the voice for it. I memorized several musicals when I was a teenager and could act out many of the scenes (my favorite was Les Miserables - I wanted to be Eponine).

So all in all, a very happy life.

And then this:

We are still grateful for everything we have, but now we walk around with a hole in our hearts.


Kristin said...

Loved getting to know more about you, Dana! The last couple pics are absolutely heartbreaking. I teared up the second I saw the one with you crying and sweet baby Jacob. Xoxo

Danae said...

Thank you for sharing the pictures, and your story with us! It is great to know more about you! I am so glad we have found each other on this journey!

Julie said...

dana, thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. your cats are beautiful, and your family pics w/ jacob are heartbreaking.

i'm jealous of all your travel! i've yet to make it to europe.

Angela said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Dana. I love the pictures of your cat and sweet Jacob.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us Dana! I too teared up at the photos of you with Jacob and you and DH. So beautiful. <3 Oh! I am a huge Les Mis fan too! I still dream of playing Eponine some day. : )

Emily said...

Dana, some of your life experiences are much like mine and you probably live within driving distance of me. We had a cottage growing up that belonged to my grandparents. It's currently still in the family and it's where we went for a few days after Aidan died as well as for our summer vacation this year. I also volunteered at HSC, and I'm sure you've figured out via my blog that it's where I work. I was a volunteer on 8C (burns and plastics) during university. I have been to the Caribbean, but I liked Europe better. We did Amsterdam, Paris, Florence and Rome last year and it was by far the best trip of my life.

Nice to learn more about you.

Drew's Parents said...

I am so glad to learn more about you, Dana. Thank you for sharing your stories and your pictures. I also teared up when I saw the picture of you, your husband, and Jacob. That family picture should have been so different, and it is so unfair and heartbreaking. I really hope that your new house brings you many good memories along with a beautiful rainbow. I know that Jacob's presence will be with you always.

Elaine said...

Thank you for sharing yourself and your photos. It's good to know the women behind the loss. I am so sorry for you and your husband.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing more about your life with us. It's true we are so much more before our loss.

Nicole said...

Dana, I loved reading your story and seeing your photos! I feel like I know you better now. :) Thanks for sharing! What a good idea, I think I'll have to do a post like this soon too.
Of course, at the end, I teared up seeing the pics of you and your hubby with sweet Jacob. <3

Heather said...

I think this was one of the greatest epitomes to me in the first few months of grief - that while our losses are a huge part of who we are, they are not all that defines us. It's hard to see that in the most raw stages of grief.
Sending hugs.

Anonymous said...

Loved finding out more about you! It's very true that our loss seems to define us but there is a whole person behind the grief that has lived. Your pictures are very beautiful and heartbreaking.