Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Paying Respects to Brian and Stephen Hadden

I'm really not sure why I do it but for over thirty years, I have made a point of regularly visiting the grave of my brothers, Brian Joseph Hadden and Stephen Gerard Hadden. Maybe it's because I want to ensure they are not forgotten, or because I wonder what life might have been like had they lived, or because it's what a big brother is supposed to do. Maybe I visit their grave because I fantasize about the real torment we could have caused had they been around to join my brother Bob and I in terrorizing our sister! I like to think that I visit their grave simply because it's the right thing to do, at least for me.

Gravestone for Brian Joseph Hadden and Stephen Gerard Hadden, 
Mount Hope Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
(photo by Ian Hadden)

Brian was born 25 Nov 1956 and passed away at the age of two months and twelve days on 6 Feb 1957. Stephen was born 2 Dec 1957 and died at the age of one year, two months and twelve days on 14 Feb 1959. Both died as the result of congenital hydrocephalus.

I have no recollection of Brian likely because he did not come home from the hospital but I do remember Stephen. I specifically remember sharing a small bedroom with him in our parent's home. My mother always explained to me that Stephen stayed with my parents in their bedroom, sleeping in a bassinet until our sister was born a few months before Stephen died. My mother moved Stephen to the larger crib but he was not happy out of the bassinet so, he kept the bassinet and our sister got the crib. I also remember the day Stephen died and my mother's explanation to me that he had gone to "play with the angels."

Ian Hadden with his mother Anne (nee O'Neill) Hadden and brother, Stephen Hadden, 1958

When my mother passed away in 1994, my father gave me the only photo of Stephen that exists. He told me that my mother wanted me to have it.  The photo (since scanned) remains one of my most prized family records.  

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