There are days when I just need to sit back and cry and miss the people who are gone.

I have recently been struggling with a lot of things that weigh heavily and I have been pushed to make decisions about my life path. There are people I usually would have consulted about things like this. My Dad would have career advice, my Gramps would listen.

And I spend time just feeling devastated.

I want to talk to them, and without being able to I find myself talking about them, thinking about them, sharing photos and stories.

Recently my Uncle passed away. My mother’s baby brother. I didn’t know him well, but I knew about him and the work that he did in the NDP long before my tenure there. I knew that he had an excellent reputation, that he too worked for a man my Gramps admired. I was the one who had to tell my mother that the last piece of her family was gone. My Tutu in May of 2003, Gramps in March 2018 and now her baby brother.

We went out to lunch to see a cousin of hers. They spent the hour or more talking about memories and telling stories. We laughed. Shortly thereafter we were invited over to my sister’s house for tea and my daughter told me she didn’t want to go because she was worried we would talk about sad things.

Sad thing abound these days – she’s lost five family members, including our dog, in just over a year. She didn’t want to talk about memories, because they make her sad.

But, I told her, that’s how we keep people alive.

When my Tutu died in 2003 it was after about four years of decline due to Alzheimer’s. The same disease that meant I never really knew who my paternal grandmother actually was. As her memory declined she became mean to my grandfather, demanding of my mother, she didn’t trust anyone. Visiting her was always hard on all of us, especially my Mom. And I started hating her for that. I got so angry that now I can’t remember a lot of the good things.

This is a woman who helped raise me. She was always there. She cooked piles of pancakes, she took us shopping for clothes, she had an amazing life before us. And I struggle to remember the good times because I wasn’t interested in doing that.

I want better for my daughter. When she was born she was lucky enough to have three great-grandparents and four grandparents who all thought she was special. I want her to remember that love. I want her to know her whole family. I don’t want her to have missing memories.

Even though sometimes I stay awake at night crying because I feel so desperate to see them again and I feel my heart breaking for all the things I never said properly.

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