There were no siblings to cry with, or aunts or uncles to go down memory lane after Mama passed. I suppose that’s the luck of the only child. Spoiled and indulged growing up, but alone, in significant ways, as we age and learn to embrace grief. I am the third successive generation of only children in my family on my maternal side and knew little to nothing about my father’s side of the family.  My father died when I was in sixth grade and my maternal grandmother, Mama Pearl, who co-parented me with my Mama, had passed away nine years before Mama. While there was this sadness that seeped through so many aspects of my life, as I navigated this new loss, I also stayed afloat, thanks to the beauty of chosen family, especially my life partner and our two sons. I think for many only children in tiny little families like mine, our friends are our extended family. It was clear, after losing Mama, that I had a beautiful circle of extended chosen family and friends, who I could really lean on.  So this little essay on loss is also about finding joy in small, meaningful gestures.

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