You Can't Stay Here

Writing has been a challenge for me. The holidays knocked me for a loop. It’s funny how that is in grieving. There are different times and different feelings in one day, one month or even one afternoon.


Organizing the thoughts in my head out to actual words that make sense on paper has been a struggle of late. I feel like I’m thinking through mud. And that my voice has changed, even my speaking voice, and I feel like it has because like everything about me, different.


When I think about something, I have to write it down or I forget it, it’s gone. Being the child of someone who lived with dementia that strikes fear into my heart, but I also realize it’s part of grieving. And I’ve allowed myself the compassion that I would give to someone else if they were telling me this. So I try to go along and give myself space and grace.


And then the other day, two emails came into my inbox almost simultaneously. Those four words staring back at me from two emails in my inbox. One was from the daily “Griefshare” email that includes a writing about grief and something to ponder along the journey. The other was from an inspirational website that encourages you to find your passion and allow yourself to move towards it.


They both said the same phrase: you can’t stay here. I had goosebumps when I read them because those were the words I said to my mother on the day she passed. “I love you, I will love you forever and miss you ever single day buy you can’t stay here like this.” One of the beautiful things I have found along this grief journey is my mother has been communicating with me since the night she left. When I’m feeling lost or unsure of what I’m doing, she sends me a sign. A flickering light. The smell of flowers when there are none around. A bird trying to get my attention. The feeling when a song comes on.


But there are still times I sit in her chair and hug her blanket and wonder what happened. Wonder how I put all these fragmented pieces of myself back together. Even though I have read about grief, joined others in their grief, allowed myself to feel grief, I don’t know how this shakes out. Knowing that it isn’t something that one day I will wake up and feel “better” allows me the grace to just go with it. Accept each day, each moment, for what it is and for the gift of it.


That grief email spoke about moving forward without your loved one being present but bringing their essence with you. Sometimes I feel like I can’t move. Don’t know how to move forward. Everything just seems a bit off, like wearing shoes on the wrong feet. They are shoes. They will do their job by protecting my feet when I walk, but it just doesn’t feel right.

But I keep trying to move forward and bring mom’s essence with me. She’s part of everything I do because she’s part of me. And even though I know things may not feel right now and her loss has rearranged my world forever, I know I can’t stay here.