Two years ago my life was irrevocably altered. I stepped off a plane in Toronto ready for a week of celebration for my daughter’s second birthday and my mother’s sixty-first. I stepped into my dad’s house and was taken aside and told my mother was found dead that morning from a stroke. Nothing has been the same. My heart keeps beating, I keep going, but for two years I have struggled, feeling stuck in place, not wanting to move too far forward for fear of what I might forget.
In the two years since, I have also said goodbye to both of our family pets who had resided with mom until she passed (and who we have had since I was in high school) and both of my grandmothers – each of whom I was so close to, I wasn’t ready to let them go despite them not being afraid to leave at all. My mom’s mom was the most recent, on May 10th, the day before mother’s day, and she died of the same type of stroke as my mother. Just a week earlier I’d booked our summer trip for me and my daughter to go visit her. I never imagined I’d be the “matriarch” of our family at 34.