BY MELISSA DUNDAS-PAINE
Our mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1989. It was a highly emotional time for our family, as Papa (our Dad's Dad) had just passed in a tragic car crash. Our Mom had surgery and underwent treatment shortly after the diagnosis, but being so close to our Papa, I can only imagine she immediately felt faced with her own mortality. I remember her saying that Papa visited her in a dream and told her it wasn't her time to go yet. She decided sometime between then and her death five years later that she needed to write down the story of how she met our dad, Papa's son, as well as when and why they decided to have children.
But we didn't know this back then. Our dad gave us this handwritten story after her passing. She had also taken the time to type it out, but as you can imagine, the handwritten account tugs so much more at our heartstrings. There is just something special about seeing our mother's penmanship. It evokes so many sweet memories.
She passed while we were all young, before any of us had started dating. But to have this account written by her of how she met our father and how she felt upon becoming pregnant with each of us and about the days we were born is just priceless. These are her thoughts and feelings written for us by her hand. What she must have been thinking as she penned this is just unfathomable. I'm sure she hoped we would be older and that the journal would have been full of more stories, but tragically, it sits less than a quarter full of her handwriting, as her life was cut short at the age of thirty-nine.
This diary, or mini memoir, is a treasure to my sisters and myself, and is worth so much more than the paper it is written on.
Chris & I got engaged on June 10th, 1975. He was so romantic. We went parking by the lake, he asked me if I would be his wife and then slid the ring on my finger. (What a love). One time, maybe a year before this, we were at a hockey game (Flyers). Chris asked me “why do you want to marry me?” I said, “because I want you in my life forever.” He said, “well if I marry you it will be forever.
I remember the night Chris said to me, “I’d like to start to try having a baby, what about you?” I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. It was in March. It took 3 months it seemed like forever. Chris enjoyed the pregnancy so much. We would lay on the couch at night and wait for the baby to kick. All my babies were very lazy, maybe 10-15 kicks a day.