I stand there broken and in all black when she says, “You just have to get through today and it’ll all be over.” I’m not sure what’s worse, her words or the way I know she believes them. I can see in her eyes and her expression that she actually thinks after today, after my mother’s funeral, that things will be easier.
Does she forget that after today my life is motherless– void of the person that I looked up to most in this world?
The only thing that will be truly over after this day is my mother’s life, my mother’s future. My mother’s ability to be above-ground, breathing and living, and not in a wooden box we were forced to select for her.
This will not be “over” after today– the pain, the ache, the longing, they will all stay.
Everything else still continues, now missing her– our family’s vital piece. I wonder which part of losing her, which part of this process, makes this woman think that anything could ever be “over” in ways that make sense, or in ways that heal my broken heart.
I will get through this day because it isn’t a choice. I run on autopilot, numb and unable to comprehend this new reality. I wonder how this woman can state such false words. Has she never known grief? Has she never been impacted by loss?
Nothing will be over after this day except life as I knew it. If she thinks the pain will dissipate, it won’t. If she thinks the days will be easier and more light-filled, she is wrong. Grief is fickle and unpredictable and it doesn’t work in linear ways. Unlike life, it knows no end.
Things will not be “over” after today. In most ways this is a catastrophic new beginning. One that changes everything– like being taken from your home and being placed in someone else’s. Everything unfamiliar. You feel like you don’t belong.
You feel homeless.
For now, I smile and let this woman keep her words of false hope and false healing. I don’t tell her that they sting or that they’re complete garbage. I don’t tell her that she’s wrong. What good would that do? She won’t understand until she stands in this spot, the designated place next to a casket filled with someone irreplaceable– someone gone.
Grief doesn’t end at the funeral, that’s where it begins. That’s the place it becomes unavoidable. And once it comes, it stays forever.
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.