Thursday, 4 June 2015

A Mother's Joy and Grief

My mom and dad had four children. Ralph was born December 21, 1927- the first day of winter - the shortest day of the year. Josephine was born in the winter in January 15th, 1930. Roman was born in 1933 and I was born in the summer on July 7th,1940.

Roman was born oxygen-deprived at birth because the attending nurses tried to keep him from being delivered, as the doctor hadn't arrived yet! This caused him to be severely disabled. He couldn't walk or mature normally. This was a great burden to my parents but they kept him at home as long as they could. People suggested that he be placed in a care home as my mother was now pregnant and wouldn't be able to care for him and a new baby. They placed him in a home called the Ontario Hospital School in Orillia, about a hundred miles away. I don't imagine my parents would have been able to visit with him very often, as travel by car in those days was not as easy as it is today. This broke my mother's heart and it was said, my brother Roman's too. He died a short time later at the age of seven.

This tragedy, one of many in my mother's life, has led me to believe, attributed to her mental breakdown later in her life. I will expand on this later.                                 

I was born at the Mount Hamilton Hospital.  In those days babies were kept in the maternity ward for a week, unlike today where often the mother and child go home the next day, if all is well.  I was taken home to an unfinished house that my father started to build by himself. We lived in the basement until they could afford to buy the supplies to build the upper levels; mortgages and credit cards were not the norm!  The house was never actually finished, but we did move upstairs eventually.

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