the greatest loss

by Kaylah Stroup

This is my least favorite post I will ever write. I feel like I need to put it out there to start to heal though…

Last Saturday, completely unexpectedly, my mom passed away from a heart attack.

We have matching heart tattoos on our thumbs. We each drew half.

I don’t think anyone is ever prepared to lose a parent but to say this took me by surprise would be a complete understatement. As far as anyone knew she was healthy. We had even had a conversation about women & heart attacks recently. I never thought she’d have one two weeks later.

Right now I’m still in shock. It doesn’t feel real at all. My brothers and I have been spending lots of time together at my parent’s house with my dad. Sorting through photos, watching home videos & just being together has been such a great source of comfort but every night when we go home I can’t help but want to text my mom to talk about it. I want to tell her how much we love and appreciate her, and how we all know how lucky we are to have such a great mother.

I feel lost without her.

I’ve found grief to be a real weird beast so far. Sometimes I’m fine, just so happy to have had so many years with such a special woman then not ten minutes later I’m sobbing because it isn’t fair. The tiniest things set me off too. The thought of never smelling all the candles at TJ Maxx with her again or never eating her eclair cake again breaks my heart.

My mom was my greatest supporter. She seemed genuinely annoyed whenever anyone would leave a comment they were The Dainty Squid’s ‘biggest fan’ because that was her title. She encouraged me in everything I did and rooted me on in all of my interests. She also spoiled me rotten. 28 years old yet still her baby.

I’m going to miss all the stressed out texts she’d send me whenever a spam call showed up as from Cleveland. “Kaylah! Are you okay!? Answer me! Got a Cleveland call!” I’ll miss our girl’s shopping days and eating at Five Guys with her. I’m going to miss the way she smelled. I’m wearing her pajamas now. They smell so comforting. I’m truly going to miss every bit of her and our relationship.

44 years together this year.

There aren’t words to express how upset I feel that she was taken from me. I’m trying to look on the bright side, at least she didn’t have prolonged suffering or have to stop doing the things she loved the most. I’m so glad she got to see her baby girl get married and go on the most epic family roadtrip last summer. I’m so freaking thankful for those memories. Traveling around the west with my parents was already special but now that trip means even more.

photo by Madeline Barr

I feel frustrated I wasn’t able to write more in this post about what an amazing woman she was. Life feels so foggy right now. Even in my best moments this week, I still feel like I’m moving at half speed. Thankfully Jeff was able to take the week off work to take care of me. (Gosh, I wanted to tell my mom so bad. She loved how good he was at taking care of me!) When we went to the grocery store the other day it took all of my energy. I hope you’ll be understanding that the blog might be a little quiet for a while. I’m looking forward to getting back real life but everything just feels overwhelming at the moment.

Please keep my family and I in your thoughts & if you’re feeling generous tweet me an animal photo because those seem to really help!

Freshly born! You can just see how pleased to finally have a little girl.

Mom, I know you can’t read this anymore but thank you for everything. I’m sorry for ever being a shithead, especially during my teenage years. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have had you as my mom. Love you always.

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