Yesterday was really rough. Much more so than I expected.

Whenever I kind of feel out of place with my family (which is pretty often, actually…I took what we could generously call a different path than most of them), I normally just go find my mom. I join whatever conversation she’s in. She pulls me close and I can smell her slightly overpowering perfume and I know everything’s okay.

This year, I didn’t really have anywhere to go when I felt out of place. I ended up just going upstairs and sitting in one of the rooms my aunt and uncle don’t use anymore (most of their kids have moved out). I stayed in there for about an hour thinking of my mom and really genuinely feeling her absence. No one came to look for me. She was the only one who ever did.

I’ve spent holidays away from my family before, but even then, I would call my mom or look at my phone and see a text from her. “Happy Thanksgiving!” “Happy Easter!” “Happy Birthday! I love you!” All day long, every time I looked at my phone and saw no messages, my heart broke. If I don’t see my mom on a holiday, I get or send some kind of message. That’s just how it works. That’s how it’s worked every single holiday since I’ve been alive. And now there’s just nothing.

I almost texted her number to say Happy Thanksgiving, and that I missed her so much, but then I remembered that I canceled her service, so her number was probably back in circulation, and I’d just end up getting “who dis” as a reply.

I can’t remember the first proper holiday after my dad died. I remember he died about a month and a half before my 15th birthday, and Mom worked hard to make that birthday really special for me. She was always there to make things easier or to fall back on if I needed to.

It’s just me now.

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