Today is only the second day of summer break. It started out like a typical day. Sunny skies, which meant a walk around the neighborhood.
Usually these walks involve endless laughs and silliness. I push the stroller and the kids race passed me on their scooters.
Today was different. Today’s walk started with, “Mom, can I ask you a question?!” Usually the questions involve inquiries about ice cream, trips to the park, or play dates with friends. Not today.
Today I was met with, “Mom, why do we have to die and go to heaven? Why can’t we just all live down here together forever.” I wasn’t prepared for the question and my answer was simple and unplanned. “It’s part of life, buddy. It’s the way God made things.”
My son asks a lot of questions now that my mother is gone. They always come when I least expect them and they usually knock the wind right out of me.
They are small glimmers into his grief. They are reminders that no matter how much fun I think he is having, he misses her. Always. They are reminders that although nearly two years have passed, he is just as confused and heartbroken as the day she left us. We share that confusion and heartbreak.
I will always welcome their questions. Even when I am unprepared. Even when they hurt. Even when they knock the wind out of me.
Kids are resilient, but they also know pain. They grieve differently than adults do, but they grieve. They hurt. They miss. They wonder. I hope I always welcome their questions and their grief journey. I hope I always take the time to acknowledge their place in this loss and the ones to come.
I’m not sure my answer was the correct one, but I’m sure that I met his question with love and listening ears. I’ll probably mess up the answers to a million more questions, but I’ll always acknowledge that the absence of someone he loves has changed him. Just as it’s changed me. We are different now. A piece of our heart is missing.
We won’t conquer grief, but we will learn to live with it. We will exchange the hurt for healing.
We will remember that the reason we ache is because we loved so beautifully.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.