How did I get here?
I was born and raised by my two incredible parents in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. I had a wonderful childhood with my partner in crime, my year older brother, Matthew. My parents worked exceptionally hard to give my brother and I incredible opportunities to follow our passions. We both attended McMaster University and upon graduation, my brother moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he met his now wife, Alayna. I decided to pursue a career in real estate and joined a team with my parents in 2011.
I decided I wanted to move downtown to the hectic and incredible city of Toronto in January 2014 with my best friend. I switched real estate companies and began my solo career. In August 2014 I took a 17 day trip to Europe and met Graham, my Australian souvenir.
In September 2014 we got the devastating news that my mom had stage 4 pancreatic cancer with no option for surgery. It shook my family hard and changed us all forever. My mom was and always will be my hero. She was the strongest and most courageous person and also the funniest. She was my best friend.
In November my brother got married to Alayna, at our family home in Florida in front of a small number of family and friends. The wedding was organized in three weeks and it was perfect. My mom was undergoing chemotherapy rounds during these months and yet she was up dancing and laughing and loving her time at her sons wedding.
By Christmas my mom was too ill to travel so we stayed home and had a nice evening at my Aunt and Uncles home.
In early March she was moved to the Palliative Care unit at the hospital where she would remain for just under 2 weeks before she passed away with my dad and I by her side.
I find trouble to this day (almost a year has past) speaking about this tremendous loss. I have found it difficult to truly comprehend the magnitude of the reality that she is no longer with us physically.
For me, I found it helpful to speak with grief concellors and joining a support group which connect people sharing similar losses. I attended a support group at Wellsprings, a cancer support network with a branch located in Toronto.
My biggest challenge has been coming to terms with all of it. Everything she went through, everything I went through, my dad went through, all the family and all the friends that are now deprived of her presence.
I made a decision after she passed, and still make this decision every morning. To get up, to follow through with my life's plans. It is something I know she would have been proud at me for doing. She would want me to continue to make her proud now and that it what I will do, for her.
No, for me things did not get easier with time, but with time comes a bit more understanding, patience, and plenty of support.
So now I choose to get up every day, walk out the door and keep her in my thoughts without letting it overwhelm me. I feel fortunate to have had 25 amazing years to get to know her, and love her, and cherish her. And for the next 25 I will make her proud.
My mom has lost her Father, Brother, and Mother all within 6 months when she was only 14 years old. She managed to get through university, get a career, fall in love and marry my father and remain happily married for over 30 years. She was a remarkable woman with many great stories an skills and laughter to share with everything.
She is my inspiration going forward.
I will be taking my next trip for two months, traveling Throughout Australia, New Zealand and Thailand! I feel this time is needed for me to truly come to terms with all the changes this pass year and get to explore the world at the same time!
I am excited and nervous and a whole whack load of other emotions but it is time!