Cast of characters

Some of the people you'll meet here: 

Me (Loribeth):  Born and raised on the Canadian Prairies;  now in my early 60s. Met a Toronto boy while at university;  married him and moved to Toronto in 1985.  Worked for 28 years as a corporate communicator for a large Canadian company before being downsized out of my job and taking early retirement at the young age of 53. Bereaved childless mother. Proud and doting auntie and now great-auntie. (See also  "About me" and "Timeline.") 

Dh:  Born in Toronto, son of Italian immigrant parents, now in his mid-60s. 

Katie (Kathleen Maria):  Our daughter and only child, stillborn on August 7, 1998, when I was 26 weeks pregnant. (See also "1998 memories.") 

My parents: Now in their 80s, married 60+ years, living in a small town on the Canadian Prairies for the past 40 years. Mom: Proud American, born and raised in a small town in northern Minnesota; finally received her (dual) Canadian citizenship in her 50s. Also went back to school part-time in her 50s and received her certificate as an educational assistant. Worked in elementary schools for 25+ years. Dad: Ukrainian immigrant farmer's son from a Canada/U.S. border community (Canadian side). Branch banker for 30 years for two different Canadian banks;  realtor for another 25+ after that. 

My sister: My only sibling. 21 months younger, childfree by choice. Never married, but with her partner longer than I have known dh (I introduced them!)!!  Lives & works in a large-ish city on the Canadian Prairies, about an hour away from our parents .  

Mother-in-law (MIL):  Died in 1982 before I ever met her, when dh was in his mid-20s. 

Father-in-law (FIL): Construction worker who emigrated to Canada from southern Italy in the mid-1950s. Died in 2018 at age 89 (which I wrote about here and here). 

Stepmother-in-law (StepMIL):  Divorced mother of four grown children (dh's step-siblings, now in their 50s & 60s -- three stepBILs and one stepSIL). Married my widowed FIL in 1988, when dh was in his early 30s. They were married for almost 30 years before FIL died in 2018. Has one grandson (now a teenager) who lives with his parents in her basement.  

Brother-in-law (BIL):  Dh's younger (by five years) brother and only sibling. 

Sister-in-law (SIL):  BIL's wife. They were married seven months after dh & me. 

Older Nephew: Older son of BIL & SIL. Now in his mid-30s. Married in 2016. Father of Little Great-Nephew (see below). 

Younger Nephew:  Younger son of BIL & SIL. Now in his early 30s. Married in 2018

Little Great-Nephew:  Son of Older Nephew.  Born in November 2019. :)  Started school (junior kindergarten/nursery school/pre-school) in September 2023.   

Little Great-Niece:  Daughter of Younger Nephew. Born in February 2023

Parents' Neighbours' Daughter (PND): Born just before my parents moved into the house across the street in the mid-1980s; recently turned 40 (!).  The youngest of three (with two older brothers).  A constant presence and source of entertainment for my empty-nest parents as she grew up;  substitute grandchild (although nobody has ever really called her that). Sister & I sometimes refer to her as our "Little Sister," even though both of us are old enough to be her mother. ;)  Has spent at least part of every Christmas with our family since she was a toddler and even ad her own stocking at our house. Married in 2010 to a local boy, and still lives in town.  (Her own parents moved, first to a different house and then to a different town altogether, and actually haven't been my parents' neighbours in years, lol.)  Now mother to three PNDs/The Little Princesses (see below).  

Parents' Neighbours' Granddaughter(s)/The Little Princesses: (who are not that little any more...!)  Daughters of PND (above), born in 2011, 2014 and 2023. Honorary/substitute granddaughters to my parents (whom they call Grandma & Grandpa). Like their mother, they have spent time with us every Christmas of their lives to date.   

Cousin/Neighbour: Dh's cousin (one of many!), an usher at our wedding, who married a few years after us, bought a house in a Toronto bedroom community, and told us about a house for sale on his street a few years later. We didn't buy that one, but we did wind up living just a few streets away for 26 years. Father of two adult daughters (whom we once considered honorary nieces), one-time playmates to our two nephews. Our families were quite close at one time and spent a lot of time together;  less and less so in the years after dh & I lost our baby. 

Little Girl Next Door (LGND):  Only child of our neighbours, who moved in next door in early 1998. Born in April 1999, approximately six months after we lost Katie. Still living there when we moved in April 2016.  

Dr. Ob-gyn:  Prominent Toronto obstetrician/gynecologist at major downtown hospital;  my obstetrician through my pregnancy and gynecologist for 20+ years afterward. Carried out some fertility testing for us in 1999-2000, and referred us to Dr. RE.  Retired in 2019

Dr. RE:  Independent (not clinic-affiliated) reproductive endocrinologist we saw from early 2000 through June 2001. See "The Treatment Diaries" for more on our experiences with Dr. RE. Disciplined for professional misconduct (!!) by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 2006 (after we had ended treatment.)(More on that in this post.)  

(Last updated February 2024)

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