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From MA to AZ

In December 2020, I lost both my parents four days apart. My mother was one month shy of her 97th birthday, and my father just three months shy of his 96th birthday. What a #blessing for me and my family to have had both all this time. What a blessing that they were married for 71 years and moved on to #Heaven together. With that said, it’s still extremely hard to lose both parents four days apart.

My experience has been not only the loss of my parents but also the loss of my past in many ways. I no longer live in #Massachusetts but having my parents in MA caused me to go back to visit from time to time, and to think of MA as my “home”. When I did visit, I got to experience all the special things I loved about living and growing up in MA all over again. I could share these memories with my two sons who left MA when they were very young, and I loved sharing those memories with them. The best way for me to describe it is never truly letting go of Massachusetts. Having my parents still living in my childhood home in my childhood town kept me there mentally in many ways.

There are so many things I have missed and will continue to miss about MA that do not include family. I miss #Boston, which I consider to be the best small city in the country. I miss #CapeCod and if you’ve never been there, I consider that a real shame. There are many reasons people all over the world flock to Cape Cod in the summer and Fall. September was always my favorite month for visiting Cape Cod. The crowds are gone, and the beaches are still warm. I will forever miss #WaldenPond, the #NorthEnd of Boston, especially their feasts, and the scenery whenever driving on Route 16.

I miss the amazing food. Italian, Chinese and the incredible seafood especially. The change in seasons all have their specialties but #Fall and beautiful summer days cannot be matched outside of #NewEngland. I miss the beach all year round. I miss seeing a lady-slipper all by its lonesome come

up from the earth in spring. I miss having a white Christmas. I miss having an occasional snow day. If you’ve never experienced waking up at 6 AM to have the TV, radio, or your phone telling you everything is closed, you won’t understand. I miss the silence of a #snowstorm. I miss walking down the

street and seeing someone I haven’t seen in ages. It’s so fun to see someone you’ve lost touch with for one reason or another and to catch up.

I have lived in #Arizona for the past 23 years. I love it here, I really do. I’ve experienced things in AZ that I never would have experienced had I stayed in MA. Moving away from your “home” and the safety net of family forces one to grow and expand their horizons. It’s what I wanted and needed personally and it’s not for everyone so there’s no criticism meant in that statement. I don’t regret ever leaving MA for AZ because I knew I could always go back. I can still go back if I really wanted, but there are less reasons now to do so. My life is here. My children are here, for now. The sunshine is here, and I need the #sunshine. My #home is here, and I am grateful.

I am so incredibly lucky to have had my parents for more than half my life. My husband lost his father when he was 18 years old. He has reminded me many times how lucky I am. He wishes he could have had his father an additional 10 years at the very least. Losing your parents is a huge challenge in and of itself but losing them both so close together is proving to be more challenging than I imagined. With their loss, I’m losing my past life in MA as well. It’s not that I was clinging to my past life in MA, but it was still a part of me in many ways and it always will be, I guess. But I do feel an emptiness or a void that I hadn’t experienced before.

My “family” home will be sold and hopefully a new young family will purchase the house and create their own memories. I think it would be nice if I could drive by the house one day and see my imaginary young family living happily with young children playing in the front yard the way I used to with my brothers, friends, neighbors, and cousins. My parents took such pride in their home and kept it up so well during the 65 years they lived there. It was a small and charming home in a small and charming town. It was the #AmericanDream. It was my parent’s American Dream. I grew up when the American Dream still existed. It was the best of times.

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