Tyyra remembers Christmas when her parents were still together. A beautiful balsam fir decorated by Tyyra and her siblings graced the living room of their bungalow. Christmas Eve, after a big family meal, her parents tucked them into bed and in the morning gifts engulfed the tree.
But the Christmas magic didn’t last. Tyyra’s mom battled substance abuse. Tyyra fell into the wrong crowd at school, dropped out, and began experimenting with drugs. After her mother passed away, Tyyra’s addiction worsened and her relationship with her family fell apart. Tyyra became homeless and spent the next fifteen years on the streets.
Numb and lonely, she tried to suppress family Christmas memories. Holidays became a little easier when she moved into Homes First’s Scarborough Shelter. “Christmas was nice, but still sad because I wasn’t with my family,” Tyyra recalls.