Handle With Care

December 1, 2023

He holds my hand as I listen to the priest conduct my mother’s funeral services. His love and empathy are evident. I’m scared that soon I’ll be too difficult to love– too broken, too hurt, too grief-stricken and shattered. I’m worried that this new version of me, the one without a mother, will be so different than before he won’t recognize me, or worse, that he won’t know how to love this new version of myself that grief has shifted me to. 

I hope he handles me with care. 

It’s only been weeks since my mother’s final goodbye when I find myself at the same desk I’ve sat at for years. It both looks and feels different than before. Oddly though, it hasn’t changed at all. I’m the one that’s changed, the thing that’s different. As coworkers begin to fill the hallways, I know soon they’ll find me to offer condolences and compassion. Fear stirs in my soul. Will they be patient with me as I step into this new life, this unwanted motherless role? Will they give me grace and also space?

I pray they handle me with care. 

I can hear the laughter as I walk to my friends at the restaurant table. It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to join them again. Grief has changed my priorities and also my energy. It’s changed everything. On the outside I probably look the same, but on the inside I’m messy and complicated and heartbroken. But here I am, trying to show up anyway, trying to surround myself with my biggest supporters and my life-long friends. I pray they don’t treat me like an outsider or as someone whose pain makes them uncomfortable. I pray they can love me through this.

I hope they handle me with care. 

My family, my friends, my coworkers, each and every person that I know– I pray they handle me with care.

The strangers on the street, the employees at the store, the neighbors and church-goers that pass me– I pray they handle me with care. 

Grief is harsh. It stings and it aches and it changes— everything.

It needs gentleness.

And warmth.

And understanding.

And hope, and love, and more than anything…

It needs care.

Please, everyone, handle me with care.

xox, Chels

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A 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.

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