I don't know where to start, really. When I last wrote a blog post in October 2020, I was excited to share the small moments of joy, the weird stories that turn into inside jokes, the brief glimpses of normalcy that give us just enough hope to survive—even in the face of a brutal pandemic, climate change, political chaos, bigotry, hate, and the damn murder hornets.
But a month later, my mom got sick. Cancer.
She survived chemotherapy and underwent a completely successful bone marrow transplant, but she never made it out of the cancer center ICU. I spent the entirety of May 2021 driving to and from Cincinnati to spend as much time with her as I could while she fought an unknown issue that caused fluid to gather around her lungs. Her health seemed to be improving, and the nurses and doctors were optimistic. But then she had a few minor strokes, followed by a much more serious stroke, and my dad and brother and I were told to say goodbye.
My mom had been put on a ventilator and couldn't speak, but we didn't need words. I know that she has always loved me, and I will always love her. In the end, nothing else matters.
I haven't wanted to share this publicly because I still can't quite wrap my mind around my grief or put it into words. I was so blessed to have a mom who became my best friend, and it is because that relationship was so dear to me and so full of love that I will never recover from this loss.
What I can say is that I am so grateful for the friends who were with me every step of this journey. I cherish every message, every reaction to a "close friends" Instagram Story, every Panera gift card, and every long-distance hug. And to the friends who are just now catching up, you already know that I'm a blubbering ball of emotions at the best of times, so thank you for always showing up anyway.