Judy RossDesjardins - Peterborough
Judy's Story :
Recently I told a friend of mine that I had to write an essay about myself. She said: “How can you do this as you are presently in a state of extreme grief. ” My response was that I have felt and believed since I was a teenager who lost my father when I was just 18, that we all possess so much more inner strength than we believe possible. The reason she said this to me is that I lost my beloved son Mark; 7 months ago to suicide. When my father died I had to be strong for my mother. Now I have to be strong for my remaining family; my daughter and husband. I feel that we must all try to move forward and look on the positive side of things and be kind to ourselves. As women we are much too hard on ourselves. We try to be the perfect wife, mother, employee and the list is endless.
One thing that has always been important to me is community service. I’ve always felt that it’s the responsibility of every member of the community to give back in some way. My life has been enriched by activities such as Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Canadian Cancer Society, Theatre Guild just to mention a few. With every activity that my children were a part of in and outside of school I was a volunteer. I was fortunate enough to have a job next door to the public school which my kids attended. It enabled me to help out in the classroom and attend every main function. I didn’t go back to work until my kids were in school full-time. My husband and I made the decision to move to Peterborough from Toronto so that I was able to stay home with them for many years. I ran a home daycare for four and a half years and still see some of the kids I used to look after. They called my backyard “Judy’s park”.
I had a life-threatening health struggle in 2004 for several months. I was lucky to survive and one memory will always stay with me. When I was finally able to leave my house my son took me for a walk. He put the machine I was attached to over his shoulder and took my hand. When we got to the end of the street he yelled, : Mum you made it ! Hit the stop sign with your cane !” From then on it was onward and upward towards regaining my health. A few months later I ran up George Street with some the doctors who operated on me in the CIBC run for the cure.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had a wonderful family and so many great supportive friends. I’ve enjoyed living and working in Peterborough and I feel that a lot of this is a result of getting out there in the community and being active. Life is full of struggles but it’s how we deal with them which enables us to move forward in a positive manner. As my old boss (and still friend) Erin Cull used to say; “You only walk across the carpe once.” That phrase has always stayed with me.