As you know, I try not to share details about my personal and private life online, not even my real name. I debated even coming forward to tell you all this because after the March I have had you wouldn't believe all of what I'm about to tell you could happen to one person.
My head injury aside, my life is about to change forever. This is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to write. It's been keeping me awake for days. I can't work, can't function. I'm just holding on.
The woman who I called my big sister passed away on Friday, March 9th. Her name was Mandy and I have known her since the day I was born. I've grown up with her, loved her, and called her my family. Neither of us had many connections to blood relatives and she was very important to me.
Mandy's father and my mother were best friends, they would have been more, but didn't want to ruin their incredible friendship by chancing romance. Mandy's father raised her since she was three months old. When Mandy was eighteen her father died, and she had no one. My mother stepped up and helped support Mandy for the rest of her life. I didn't mind that Mandy called my mom "mom", because I loved her, too.
Mandy suffered from both epilepsy and diabetes, which was ultimately what killed him. Unfortunately, Mandy didn't take care of herself medically. She couldn't work and had a hard time supporting herself financially, especially after she had her daughter. But, she always made sure her daughter had everything and felt the most love possible. She was Mandy's whole world. We all spent every holiday together, Mandy and her daughter stayed with us sometimes, we did groceries together - everything families do.
But, on March 8th, Mandy suffered four seizures and during one seizure hit her head. Paramedics were called, but she said she felt fine and refused to go to the hospital as usual because they bothered her and she didn't want to scare her daughter.
Due to her head injury, Mandy passed away in her bed that night. Her daughter found her in bed the next morning when she tried to wake her up to get ready for school. Her daughter is nine years old. She is traumatized.
Mandy always intended for us to care for her should anything happen, and we want to, and more importantly, her daughter wants to be with us. We are the only kind of family she knows. We intend to do everything in our power to make sure that happens, even if it means our lives are going to be very different and not easy. She's with me right now, painting pictures and talking about how she wants to decorate her room.
I'm asking for patience in the coming weeks while we struggle with our loss and new living situation. I'm going to work as hard as I can to stay on track and to make sure all my customers are satisfied. It's not fair to you all to suffer the consequences of my life issues, but I am only human, so please take that into consideration.
I considered canceling my Japan trip, and almost did, but after several conversations about what Mandy would want, I'm still going. I'm taking some of her ashes to spread on Mount Fuji, because she always wanted to go there. It's bittersweet and it kills me to know this is the only thing I can do for her now. I feel so guilty. This could have easily just been me, and for a while I wondered why it wasn't. I have no children, no significant other, and no obligations. But Mandy had her daughter, and her daughter had her. It's not fair that I got so much time with her and her daughter so little. They deserved so much more. I hope I am able to provide at least half the life she deserves now.
If you can, please consider making memorial donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association or to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Thanks for listening, everyone.
Peace be with you all,