The past year has been a rollercoaster ride.

One year ago, I lost my grandmother. It wasn't just a phone call about a distant relative passing, either. She wanted hospice care in-home. They couldn't do the 24/7 care that she needed and therefore, my mother and I volunteered. I had the greater half of the load while still attending classes and taking my finals. I watched her slowly die. It was the third relative of mine to be taken by cancer in that way, the first being my my aunt and more recent being my father.

The day of her funeral, I realized that my human ties to this area were severed.

Despite the pain, my graduation in May was the most proud day of my life. The problem presented its ugly head again, however. To prove how entirely untethered I was, I did not have a single person there at the ceremony. My own mother didn't want to come watch me graduate. All I had were fellow graduate friends and an ex fiancé (also graduating) and his family. I felt utterly alone, abandoned, and hopeless. The good aspect was that I pulled off convincing everyone that my tears were of joy and pride rather than depression and isolation.

The decision to stay with my mother long-term was made over the summer. Her seemingly infinite health issues, fixed income and horrid living conditions helped me make that choice. I don’t regret it one bit, despite my endless craving for independence. We tried to find a new home, but the real estate market blows around here.

October 13th, just before my trip to England, our dog Chubbo had to be put to sleep. He wasn’t just a pet… he was like a brother. The guy was born 14 years ago on a mattress in my bedroom in our house in Killawog. He outlived his brothers and sisters by years. He was never left alone. He was a co-pilot, a foot-warmer on cold nights, a cover hog, a protector, a conscience, a diet-aid, a dishwasher, and a friend. He was the most gentle, kind, and loving dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I held him while he died, too. Seems to be a pattern for me.

For the longest time, the only things keeping me here were school, work, family, friends, or pet obligations.
I'm done with school, don't have a job, am disposable to most humans around here, can donate the deer to the Ross Park Zoo, and sell the chinchillas to pet stores. I'd be doing a couple relatives a favor if I weren't here anymore. My mother is fully willing to move where ever I decide to go and settle down.
The world is an oyster blahblahfreakingblah.

So what now?

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