Becoming an orphan, of sorts

It is true that I am a fully grown (or seemingly) adult, and the term does not really apply to me as I’m not a child, but I have effectively become an orphan of late. My father passed away when  I was 19 years old due to massive heart attack, and last week my mother succumbed to her  year and a half battle with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). She was diagnosed while I was living in China, in January 2016 and a week after her birthday she passed away in hospice care. I am the soul heir to the family name.

I am an only child and now I feel as thought a safety net has been taken away from me. I don’t have someone to call or ask for sage advice for things that the newer generation just know. I don’t have somewhere to go if everything goes to shit. I literally am driving solo from this point forward, and frankly it’s terrifying. It is sad what has happened, but I accepted it and processed it long before it happened as I know it was inevitable. When battling a disease with no cure and not much known about it, there is little that one can do other than advocate and try to make it better for the future.

I am not sure if many people know, because I’m living abroad right now but when I return to Canada in the summer and will host a memorial at the family house, which I have to sell since I am no longer living in Canada. It is going to be a huge job to purge 30 years of personal things, but I will have the support of my sister/cousin and others that I’m sure will come to my aid.

So back to what I was talking about; being an orphan. Sure it doesn’t apply to me but I can’t help feeling like I am. There was so much of my childhood that I did not experience as a result of growing up so fast, so I can’t help feeling like something is missing. Before I was afraid to mess up, and I never really did mess up, but now the pressure is all on me. If something doesn’t work out for me, I’m solely responsible and have to deal with the consequences. I am responsible, but I feel like maybe I’m not so prepared to take risks.

Bar that, finishing out the academic year and then planning on enjoying the summer despite the sad passing. Volleyball, maybe some tennis, and maybe getting fit, all on the horizon. Oh yeah, and getting a genetic test to see if my DNA has the ALS gene that was identified in my mother’s DNA. Hurrah. </sarcasm>

3020 Church Street, Windsor ON

3040 Church St., Windsor ON

Prompted by an unfortunate event in the Rees family, the passing of my uncle Neil Rees to ALS-disease, I departed for Windsor Ontario at 1am from the Toronto Bus Terminal. Arrival in Windsor at 05.30 day following Canada Day, and off we were to the funeral, but before that we stopped in to Grandma-Rees’ old house which is at 3040 Church St.! It’s the beloved place where Alison, Cameron and I would pass our summer days pretending to be figure skaters like Josée Chouinard on the grass and completing out triple-axels.

Who could forget moments like this, but unfortunately since her death a few years ago the house was obviously sold and a new family moved in. Memories of aunt Valerie’s myriad of strange boyfriends will remain in the nostalgic moments that breed in our minds. One of the favourite moments were Christmas mornings with Grandma Rees smoking like she had nothing else to do, or the forbidden kitchen whilst the door was closed, or the furry basement carpet, or old television that was against the window, or even the spare bedroom that I slept in and played lego with Ali, which I think is the Persian one. Regardless, these moments are embedded in our minds!