Celebrating life stories...

Memories

 

Memorial created 06-14-2008 by
Audrey Hogarth
Cole and Breanna Hogarth
May 3 2008 - May 4 2008

December - We are pregnant!!

After a 16 day fertility cycle at ISIS with LH shot on December 4th and possibly 5 follicles released I was ecstatic to find out I was pregnant.

On December 11th I woke up in the morning ready to throw up. I had to run to the toilet to spit out all the water in my mouth.  Was this the first sign of morning sickness?  So early?  It was only the one day so I figured it couldn't be.

On December 17th as I drove to work my mouth was watery again... much like it was the first time I was pregnant last year. I got so excited that I couldn't wait for the blood test to find out if I was pregnant so I bought a pee test at the drug store next to my work on my way to school. At lunch time I took the test and couldn't believe it was positive.

I called Dug and told him the amazing news.... for a moment we thought.... oh my god we could have 5 in there.  Yikes!! But it didn't matter.... we were going to be parents!!

On December 19th I went to the clinic for my first blood test. They called later that day and said the result was positive... yay!! and needed to come back in 2days for a second test.

On December 21st I had my 2nd positive blood test.... and this time the HCG hormone levels increased at an excellent rate. I was soooooo excited!!! Next step was to book an ultrasound and make sure it wasn't ectopic again!!


 

 

January 3rd, 2008 - Wow!!!! Twins!!!!

We spent xmas and new years tucked in at home because I was so nauseous.  The blood tests showed that I was pregnant and my levels were increasing very well but I was very nervous for the ultrasound. 

The ultrasound took forever and the technician was very stone faced and didn't say a word.  I laid there on the verge of tears that something was wrong.  Eventually she called Dug in.  Then she showed us the pictures of our baby and said everything looked good.  I was so excited.  Just as we thought the ultrasound was over then she moved the wand over and said "and here is the other one".  Other one?!!!  Oh my god!!! After a year and a half of fertility treatments we got more than we could have dreamed of.  Not only were we pregnant but we were having Twins!  We were overjoyed! 

Just to be sure that there were no more surprises I asked "that's it right?  just the two, right?"  Thankfully she confirmed that there were only two and everything looked fine.


 

 

January 16, 2008 - Yay, two strong heart beats

Our second ultrasound was soooooo long, over 1 hour, and again the technician was stone faced and didn't say a word.  It drove me crazy.  Why couldn't she just put my mind at ease and say everything looked fine and then do all the necessary measurements.  Dug told me that while he was in the waiting room he was so scared something was wrong because it took so long and he kept on seeing doctors getting called into ultrasound rooms, which is usually not a good thing.

Finally the ultrasound technician got Dug from the waiting room and showed us our babies.  Everything was great and they were both progressing and growing normally.  We were so ecstatic to be able to see two strong heartbeats flickering away on the ultrasound screen.


 

February 15th, 2008 - We made it through the first trimester

Why they call it MORNING sickness I have no idea because I was so nauseas and exhausted ALL OF THE TIME.  In fact it got worse as the day progressed and I'd throw up between 8-10pm.  Almost immediately our house became a "No Cooking zone".  The smell of food cooking made me even more nauseous.  My dad was amazing.  He would come over every Friday night with loads of food already cooked.  My ever decreasing list of foods I could/wanted to eat created quite the challenge for my dad.  Basically as soon as I threw something up I could never eat it again.  Right away red meat was a no go and when my favourite Israeli salad made me sick we both knew we were in for some trouble. (I still can't eat it)  I couldn't eat too much anyway because even the smallest amount of food made me feel like I was going to burst.  My little ones were taking up so much room I had no room left for my stomach.

I was soooo tired that I got a doctor's note so that I could get a modified work schedule and only teach 2 classes instead of 3.  During the periods off I would take naps anywhere I could find a place to lay down which was hard because it was too early to tell people at work that I was pregnant and the only couch I could find where no one was around was in the staff lounge which was next to the cafeteria and the smell just mad me more nauseous. When I got home from work I would go straight to bed and would sleep from 4pm till about 7pm.  Then I'd eat, maybe throw up, and go back to bed. On weekends Dug would try to get me out of the house to go to the mall or do something but I just felt so tired and crappy I didn't want to go anywhere or see anyone.

At our 3rd ultrasound, and final appointment at the fertility clinic, we were so excited to see our little babies growing so big.  They were doing great and everything was best case scenario with the both of them in separate sacks and both being the same size.  I was so happy that we had all made it through the 1st trimester!  Hopefully the nausea would start to subside and I could finally have a life.

Because we were having twins, I was over 32, we were coming from a fertility clinic and I had already miscarried once we needed to go to an OB/hospital with a high risk clinic and level 1 or 2 NICU.  The fertility clinic gave us referral options and we chose Credit Valley hospital because it was the closest with the best facilities.


 

 

March 19th, 2008 - A Boy and A Girl!

The Credit Valley high risk clinic felt much like the assembly line format that the fertility clinic ran.  The clinic was in a separate building across the parking lot from the hospital.  We had to do the same thing for every appointment.  Sign in, pee in a cup, wait for the nurse to call you, give her your cup, she tests it for something, then weighs you, then back to the waiting room, then another nurse calls you, takes your blood pressure and then wait to see the doctor.  He/she asks how you are, listens to the heartbeats and then you book your next appointment for a few weeks later. C'est tu. 

The ultrasounds were done at the hospital and everything was great... no signs of anything to worry about.  At our first ultrasound in the hospital the technician shared with us that it looked like we were having one boy and one girl. She was sure one was a boy but wasn't 100% about the second being a girl but it looked like it.  We were soooooo excited.  Our perfect little family would be complete all at once. 

The plan for names was that the initials of all our first names would be A, B, C, and D so our babies' names had to start with a B and a C.  Dug and I had already discussed and picked out two boys names and two girls names to go with that plan.   Now that we knew we were having one boy and one girl, the names were finalized; Our little girl would be Breanna and our boy would be Cole.  Our growing alphabet was complete.  We would be A,B,C,D!  Audrey, Breanna, Cole and Dug.


 

 

17 weeks - belly pic

My belly started growing and I could not fit into my regular clothes anymore.  Almost every weekend Dug would drag me to the mall and I'd buy a couple more items to add to maternity wardrobe.  I felt so fat!!  I knew I was pregnant but I felt like I didn't look pregnant I just looked fat!  Even worse, I didn't feel like a happy glowing pregnant woman.  I was nauseas, tired, somewhat in denial and surprisingly scared.  I felt like shit and looked even worse.  I was soooo tired all of the time and started feeling them move around, which was so exciting.  It felt like a little flutter or like gas (maybe it was gas... heeheehee). 

The nausea started to subside and there were some days that I just could not get enough to eat but others that I felt sick just thinking about eating.  I had a difficult time figuring out what to eat because as soon as I would decide that something sounded good, a second later that same idea would make me nauseous.  I had to chew gum or have a candy in my mouth almost all of the time.  I had some cravings such as there were a couple of times that I just had to have tempura and I could not get enough of creamy dressings and mayonnaise.  I was loving ceasar salads, poppy seed dressing, chicken McGrills at mcds with loads of sauce and egg salad sandwiches, which I never really fancied before.  The clinic eventually made an appointment for me to meet with a nutritionist because I was worried that I was eating well enough.  She gave me a nutritional food guide and I could not believe how much I was supposed to eat.  It was ridiculous.  There was no way I could eat that much... especially since even after the smallest meal I felt like a huge weight was pushing down on my belly and I was going to pop!


 

 

March 2008 - Daddy getting room ready

Dug was over the moon excited.  Unlike me, he had told EVERYONE at work that we were expecting.  He was so eager to get started on the babies' room.  We went to all the paint stores and checked out so many colours.  I wanted periwinkle and Dug graciously obliged.  We decided to do two different shades with a border in the middle.  Dug spent many late nights painting two coats of the two different shades and making sure the edges were straight.

Dug really wanted a Winnie the Pooh theme so we searched all over for big stickers and wall borders.  Dug finally found some online and ordered them.  Once they arrived we worked together to carefully place the border on straight and figure out the best arrangement for the pictures. One weekend we went to the Baby Show at the international convention centre by the airport.  We found these amazing personalized name plaques that I wanted for above their cribs so we ordered them for Cole and Breanna.

We were so excited and knew that our babies would come early so we bought all sorts of stuff and clothes for Cole and Breanna.  Whenever we saw preemie clothes (which are really hard to find) we bought them thinking that at least we'd have them in a pinch if we needed them and donate them if Cole and Breanna were too big for them.

We had all sorts of furniture and clothes lined up and coming our way.  Dug had a friend at work that had triplets and was going to lend us two cribs and a bunch of baby clothes.  We bought this awesome glider (from costco of course) that took Dug hours to put together but was so comfortable.  We were buying an amazing double stroller from friends of Dug's aunt and my older brother bought us a double snap 'n go from the states which was the best way to go anywhere with 2 baby car seats.  We were ready to rock and roll, literally!!


 

 

April 8th, 2008

Another ultrasound and all was good.  Cole and Breanna were doing great, growing perfectly.  I remember vividly at this appointment the doctor saying that from here on in if anything out of the ordinary happens I was to go directly to Credit Valley hospital.

I was finally getting to the point that I actually believed that I was pregnant.  I was starting to really show and could only wear maternity clothes.  I didn't just look fat, I looked pregnant!  I was finally confident and comfortable enough to tell people I was pregnant.  I was slowly starting to send out emails and make calls to friends that I hadn't seen since before I got pregnant and told them the great news.

Eventually I thought I could even tell the difference between who was moving.  Cole was on my right and head down.  He was always really active and moving around alot, punching and kicking a storm.  Breanna was on my left side and head up.  She was mellower and only kicked when I lay down on my left side although sometimes it felt she was doing a little dance on my bladder.

 The nausea was under control with three doses of diclectin a day.  The fatigue was still overwhelming and finding a comfortable sleeping position was next to impossible.  I couldn't sleep on my tummy, I wasn't supposed to lay on my back and when I laid on one side Cole would kick and when I laid on the other side Breanna would kick.  I still took naps during my periods off and at lunch at school and as soon as I got home from work.  I had to pee a million times a day.  In fact, as soon as I walked out of the bathroom I would have to pee again.  I could feel them punching, kicking and moving all the time.


 

 

April 17th, 2008

Out of nowhere, at almost 21 weeks during a late afternoon nap, my water broke.  At first it started as a little drip but then it just wouldn’t stop and it felt like I was peeing down my leg. Scared out of my mind I drove myself to the hospital and called Dug on the way to meet me there.  When I got out of the car I was leaking even more and my pants were soaking wet. When I got to emergency I budded everyone in line and went right up to the triage counter and insisted I get admitted to the labour and delivery ward immediately. As I waited for a porter I just kept on leaking and left a huge puddle of water on the floor.  Just as I was finally heading upstairs, Dug arrived.
 
Once we got to labour and delivery they went to check my cervix and just as they did, a huge gush of water came out.  Okay, my water was broken.  We were told that the next 48 hours were critical to see if I was going to go into labour.  We waited and prayed that I wouldn't go into labour and thankfully I didn't.  I was admitted to the hospital, moved to the post partum ward and was ordered to stay on bed rest for as long as possible.  Doctors told us that if the babies were born now their odds of survival were very low and that every day and week that passed improved their odds.  At first it seemed that even with all that water leaking things were fine but unfortunately through regular ultrasound checkups they saw that Cole had critically low levels of fluid around him and may likely not be able to have his lungs develop no matter how long he waited to be born.  We hoped and prayed at each ultrasound that he would have more fluid around him and that even if we did not see it that it was enough for him to develop his lungs and make it.
 

 

 

April 18th – May 2nd

I made myself comfortable in the hospital preparing to stay there for weeks, preferably months... whatever it took to help my babies survive.  Dug took off work and stayed with me in the hospital the first week and the second week my dad was there most of the time.  I had lots of visitors and things to keep me busy. Dug’s dad came from Kelowna for a few days, Vicki from school came to visit a few times, Susan came by and Amy hung out for hours and we had a great time thinking of ideas for her upcoming wedding.  Dug and I watched entire seasons of CSI and Scrubs, I kept myself busy playing Sudoku and other math puzzle games that Paul sent me.  I got some phone calls from friends and eventually got internet hooked up and sent out some emails.  I received flowers, cards and care packages from people at work and Vicki and Geoff brought me magazines.  Eric even made a surprise visit from Phoenix and bought me a video game to keep my brain active…. Turns out I have the brain of an 80 year old (not good). It was nice having people there to distract me, but most of the time I was just so tired and slept.
 
I was in the post partum ward so everyone there had their babies. I was in a private room but I could hear the sound of crying babies all the time.  New people were constantly moving into the room across the hall and then leaving a day or two later. The food was fairly good but I needed to supplement it seeing as I was eating for 3 so Dug brought me all sorts of food; popcorn, bagels, donuts and Yogen Fruz and Dad made me salads. Eventually, I changed out of the hospital gown and started wearing my own pjs instead and Dug brought me my slippers.  I was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom and my belly was getting bigger so getting in and out of bed was getting more difficult.
 
Cole was still kicking up a storm and moving lots while Breanna was still much more mellow and only seemed to kick once in a while.  The doctors said Breanna was perfectly fine and wasn't affected at all by the trauma from Cole's water breaking.  I was still leaking fluids, which the doctors said was normal because Cole was constantly making more fluid.  My heart rate, blood pressure and temperature were taken regularly to make sure I wasn’t getting an infection. At first they were checking Cole and Breanna's heart rates a few times a day too but they always kicked a punched so much at those times that I could tell they really hated being poked so eventually I asked that their heart rates only be checked every couple of days.  I was also getting ultrasounds every couple of days to check on them and see how much fluid Cole had.  At each ultrasound I hoped that miraculously Cole would have lots of fluid and that I had nothing to be worried about, but that never happened.  The results were always the same.  I cried alot thinking about Cole and how even if I made it full term he still might not survive but I also prayed that he would beat the odds and that the ultrasounds were just not catching the times that he had lots of fluids. The doctor told us one time that the technician noted that Cole was practicing breathing during an ultrasound.  This was good news.   

 

 

May 2nd, 2008

At around dinner time I started feel gas cramps that would go away and then come back.  I called the nurse in and they attached contraction monitors but everything seemed fine.  At one point I even talked about how it felt like the babies were lower or somehow heavier when I stood up to go to the bathroom.
 
That night I could not sleep.  The pain was too much and it kept coming and going.  Not knowing what labour pains were I thought I was constipated and needed a laxative or an enema.  I kept going to the bathroom but I still felt backed up until at about 4am when I was on the toilet and felt like I might have pushed too hard and something wasn't right.  I screamed for the nurse to get the doctor and as the pains kept coming I held on for dear life not to push anymore.
 
When the doctor finally arrived he checked me and he said that I was in labour and Cole was in the birth canal.  He rushed me to labour and delivery as I called Dug to come to the hospital.  The doctor asked if I wanted to deliver now or wait for Dug.  I wanted to wait.  I couldn't believe this was happening.  Why now?
 

 

May 3rd, 2008

As soon as Dug arrived the doctor was ready.  "With the next contraction I want you to push" he said.   Two pushes and at 7:49am Cole had arrived with a faint cry.  Dug cut the umbilical cord and the doctor tied it off and let it go back inside me in hopes that by not removing the placenta, and thus aggravating the uterus, Breanna would not come.
 
The next few hours are kind of a blur.  I know the first time I held Cole I was surprised at how perfect he looked.  I don't really know what I was expecting.  I never knew what a baby would look like at 23 weeks.  I guess I imagined he would look kind of like a tadpole, like the pictures you see of babies in their first stages of development. I don't know what I was thinking but I certainly wasn't expecting him to be so perfect.  I mean he had a bit of a cone head which I had seen before on TV when babies are first born and he was bruised a bit probably from the fact that he had no fluids protecting him for 2 weeks.  But I didn't understand why they couldn't do anything to save him.  He had all his parts just smaller; little fingers and toes, tiny nose, lips and ears and even eyebrows.  To my surprise he moved his little fingers and I was so shocked to even see him move.  Again, I didn't know what I was expecting but this just seemed unreal to me.  He had his thumb in his mouth for a while too and I just thought he was so cute.  I wanted to take pictures but thought that people will think I'm crazy... why would I take pictures of my baby that's going to die.  I finally didn't care and when they took him to be weighed and measured I asked Dug to take a picture of him.  Cole weighed 620grams (1lb 5.8oz) and measured 12 3/4 inches (32.5cm).  They dressed him, wrapped him up in a blanket and put a little hat on him.  He looked so precious. 
 
We took very few photos and for some reason I did not want to be in any of them... I just knew that I looked awful and so sad and would never want to look at those pictures.  I wish now that I had taken hundreds of photos and videos of his little hands moving and held him more and kissed him more.  It was the only time I had with him but I was in too much shock to really understand what had happened.
 
I know I cried alot but I also remember trying so hard not to "lose it" since I still had Breanna inside of me and I thought that my getting over emotional would induce her to come to.  The doctors and nurses waited an hour to see if I would go into labour again for Breanna and when I didn't they called for me to be transferred to Mount Sinai hospital down town Toronto.  It has the best NICU around so that when Breanna finally arrived she would have the best care possible.  An hour later the ambulance arrived and I was being sent off to another hospital.  I held my little boy one last time, kissed him and told him I loved him and then left him and my husband behind.
 
Dug spent a few more hours holding Cole who died shortly after I left. He called the grand parents and let them all talk to Cole and say their hellos and goodbyes. Eventually he had to leave Cole, pack up my room at Credit Valley hospital where I had been living for the last two weeks, and met me at Mount Sinai hospital. 
 

 

May 3, 2008

The ambulance ride to Mount Sinai was surreal.  I felt like I was watching myself from above.  I had left Dug and Cole at Credit Valley but Brenna was still inside of me.  I laid on my side and craddled my belly to try and protect Breanna as the ambulance made sharp turns and movements.  Once we arrived at the hospital I distinctly remember the nurse, ambulnace driver and attendant trying to figure out where to take me and moving me in sorts of places and then back again.  They had no clue as to where to go or where to take me.  I just kept my eyes closed, craddled my belly and thought to myself 'this has got to be some sort of joke.'
 
At Mount Sinai we waited for hours to see if I would go into labour again.  We were told that there were very slim odds that I would not go back into labour in the next 48 hours but we hoped for a miracle.  I was back down to 4 cm dilated and things looked good that Breanna might not come right away. 

We talked with the NICU staff and were given a bunch of statistics on her odds of living if she was born at 23 weeks and if she did live how horrible her quality of life would be. She would likely be blind, be developmentally and physically challenged, and require life-long custodial care. We did not want that kind of life for her so we decided that if she were born that week we would chose palliative care but if I had managed not to go into labour that week and she stayed inside of me then we would revisit our decision based on her new odds.
 
They kept an eye on my contractions and asked about the pain.  I kept saying that in comparison to the pain I had earlier with Cole this was nothing.  If the pain with Cole was a 10 then these minor cramps were a 2 or 3.  But eventually they checked me again and I was back up to 9 centimetres dilated.  There was nothing that could be done anymore.  Breanna was going to come so they gave me drugs to increase the contractions.  The next few hours are a blur. I can’t even imagine what I was thinking or doing having just lost Cole and knowing that I was now going to lose Breanna as well. All I know is at some point they gave me an IV for the pain, I was moved to a bigger, nicer delivery room and Dug's parents arrived from Kelowna BC.
 

 

May 4, 2008

The next few hours were fairly uneventful. I was in labour but on pain killers so the pain was nowhere near as bad as with Cole. The pain killers were on a timer so that I could not OD and it would only allow me to push the button every 3 minutes. I was pushing it every time I felt a contraction and eventually the contractions were obviously less than 3 minutes apart because it wouldn’t accept my requests anymore. Finally I started feeling the urge to push. Having been through labour the day before I now knew what that meant.
 
With each contraction I was told to push.  Usually by the third push of the contraction I would run out of breath.  Breanna was breach coming out bum down in her sac.  Just before she came out the doctor said okay with the next push there is going to be a gush of fluid.... that was the understatement of the year.  With the next push a huge splash occurred and everyone got soaked.  I few more pushes and at 2:10 am, just over 18 hours after delivering Cole, Breanna was born with a faint cry.  They handed her to me and I could not believe how cute she was.  She had my chin and looked just like me.  Thankfully this time I was less afraid to take a picture and I got a picture of her in my arms holding my finger.  Again I was surprised to see her little fingers move.  She also tried to take some breaths... her entire body moved as she tried to take a breath.  Dug took her and held her for a while and then handed her back to me.  Then the nurse took her.  She weighed and measured Breanna and then put her in a cute little dress and hat.  She weighed 615grams (1lb 5.6oz) and measured 12 1/2 inches (31.8cm); almost the same as Cole. 
 
The grandparents came into the room just as Breanna's heart was beating it's last beats.  She had passed away less than 30 minutes after being born.  They each said their goodbyes and then Dug and I held her, kissed her and told her how much we loved her for another hour or so.  As I held her I sang her a song in my head ... You are so beautiful to me.  I could finally let myself go emotionally.  There was nothing else I could do.  It was all over.  Then Dug took her and I felt so tired.  I had no idea what day it was or what time it was but I knew that I had not slept since before I went into labour with Cole and it felt like a long time ago.
 

 

May 4th – 6th, 2008

When I woke up at 8am (the same day but it felt like days later) I felt like it was just all a bad dream.  Did I really just give birth to my two babies yesterday and today?  Are they really gone?
 
After breakfast they moved Dug and I to a recovery room in another ward and the grieving started.  I could not stop crying.  How could this have happened?  I read every brochure, pamphlet and booklet on infant loss and grieving the two hospitals gave us.  I needed something to make sense. Dug stayed with me and we were both grieving and feeling the same things.  We would talk for hours about what we were thinking and feeling.  It was so comforting to have him there with me.  He did not leave my side and slept in a cot in my hospital room for the next two days.
 
Planning the funeral was a surreal experience.  I had never had anyone close to me die, I don't even recall being at a funeral before let alone plan one.  I didn't even know where to start. Thankfully Dug's parents stepped in to guide us and bring us the information so that we could make choices that we were comfortable with.  They found us a cemetery in Georgetown so that our babies would be close by and we could visit them as often as we wanted.  We opted to get a three plot burial space which a month earlier I would have thought was the craziest thing... buying your own grave... how morbid.  But I couldn't just bury them and leave them alone.  I knew that when the time comes I would want to be buried next to my babies.  This was just another moment in this entire experience that would change me forever.
 

 

May 6, 2008

Just before noon I was finally able to check out of the hospital.  For the first time in 3 weeks I walked more than the few steps to go to the washroom.  For the first time in 3 weeks I was able to go outside.  It was such a weird feeling. It did not feel real.
Before Dug and I went home we were on a mission to find items for Cole and Breanna to go in their casket.  Dug really wanted to get something engraved and I wanted to give them some Winnie-the-pooh dolls.  We ran around to malls and finally found the perfect gifts for our baby angels.
 
That afternoon we were meeting with the funeral home to go over the final details and drop off the items to go in the casket.  Despite being told that it was not a good idea I insisted that I see Cole and Breanna again, one last time, and finally together.  The funeral director was worried that I may be disturbed by what they look like now due to decay so Roy went first to see if we would be okay.  Thankfully he felt we could handle it.
 
As I walked into the room where the funeral director set up Cole and Breanna on a table for us to view I was blown away by how small they were.  I didn't believe it.... were they really THAT small?  We set up their gifts around them and took a couple of pictures.  We asked the funeral director to change their position so that we could get a nice picture of the two of them together and he obliged.  I was relieved to finally have my two babies together and no matter how they looked I wanted to remember them together so I took a picture.
 
That night I could not sleep.  I had so many little things that I wanted to do for my babies and their funeral.  I wrote messages on the backs of photos for them and Dug and I worked on doing an embossed print out of the song "You are so Beautiful" (Dug is the embosinator!), I wrote out what I wanted the funeral director to say at the funeral and printed out maps from the cemetery to our house for the reception afterwards and scanned and took photos of everything that was going in the casket so that I would have a copy for their scrapbook.  Dug worried about me being too tried the next day and not being alert for the funeral and subsequent reception but I just couldn't sleep.  I summed it up best when I said to Dug "I have to make sure everything for tomorrow is perfect because this is my only chance to show Cole and Breanna that I'm a good mommy".
 

 

 

May 7, 2008
 
I dreaded this day.  I felt like it was going to be so painful to have everyone feel so sorry for me and be so uncomfortable around me.  I have never been so wrong.
 
Early that morning Dug and I went to the funeral home to drop off the last things (notes and photos that I had worked on all night) to go into Cole and Breanna's casket.  Then when we came back home our families were all there.  Dug's parents had spent the night, my dad arrived with my aunt and uncle, and my older brother and his wife were there.  We sat around and talked until it was time to go.  It was so relaxed and comfortable and surprisingly normal.
 
Dug and I got into the back of my dad's car and all the cars followed each other to the cemetery.  As we got to the cemetery and got out of the car the first people we saw were Susan's family; Andre, Lori, Gladys, Chester, Henry and Elaine.  They each hugged us as we thanked them for coming.  I saw some people up ahead to where it looked like the casket had been set up so we started walking in that direction.  As we approached I saw Vicki, my VP, and she gave me a huge hug.  As I took a couple of steps more I was overwhelmed by the amount of people I saw from my work.  There was Karen, Grace, Samantha, Mary, Frieda, Paul, Martha and Vicki’s daughter Kelly.  They were all sort of in a line and I made my way through to hug and thank each one.  Then I saw my friends; Amy, Becky, Susan, Alan and Geoff.  Plus there were my friends from Rick Hansen; Ann Marie, Patti and Josh.  Hugs all around.  Just as I thought “wow I can't believe how many people are here” I saw this large group of people further over.  It was all of Dug's friends and coworkers.  Dug grabbed my hand and we walked over to thank them for coming.  In addition Dug's best friends, Dan and Grant, both came in from out of town to be here to support us. There were at least 50 people there and I was so overwhelmed.
 
After an awkward wait for the rabbi to arrive, the service started.  It was quite noisy with trucks going by on the busy street but it was still very nice.  Everything went as planned.  The funeral director led off with thanking everyone on our behalf, and then the Rabbi spoke.  He read a letter we had written to Cole and Breanna and then spoke briefly about loss.  My Uncle Leon followed with a Hebrew prayer and then Dug's father Roy said the Lord's blessing.  Finally, my brother Richard read a beautiful letter written by my father.  Then the funeral director thanked everyone again and reminded everyone about the reception to follow at our house.
 
After the funeral we went back home and got out all the food that my dad, Susan and Sandra put together.  It was a little awkward at first trying to get everyone in the house and comfortable but once people started eating everything fell into place.  It was so nice to talk to people and have normal conversations, although I would not be able to tell you what any of the conversations were about.  I was in a trance.  Eventually it was too overwhelming to have so much buzzing around and I started getting tried.  After less than an hour (which felt like 4 hours) I snuck upstairs for a nap.  I remember Beth who drove in from Barrie came into my room for a quick chat and then I fell back to sleep.  When I finally came back downstairs it was a much more manageable crowd.  Dug's parents were just leaving and it was just Geoff, Susan, Alan, Richard, Amy, Dug and I left.  It was so nice to have normal conversations about nothing.  And as they started leaving, others stopped in for a visit after work.  Patricia, Cindy and Ed came by for a while and we all had a nice chat, Jeanne and Alyssa stopped in to say hi and Carolyn and Bina hung out for a while and we had a great chat and a light snack.  As they left I couldn't help but feel like I didn't want them to go.  We had so much love and support and it made me feel better.  I felt like I didn't want to be alone.  I was scared of being alone with my thoughts.
 
That night, for the first time since this whole nightmare started, I finally was able to sleep.  I felt that now that my babies had been laid to rest I could finally rest too.
 

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