Passenger In My Car- A Road Trip with Grief

November 29, 2021

I’m driving down the road listening to my son as he’s giving me his best driving tips, as if somehow his unlicensed eight-year-old self knows better than I do. I gently tell him thanks for the advice but what would suit me best is simply a silent passenger. A passenger along for the ride, trusting me to get where we need to be, my way. 

Grief is like this. 

Grief is like being given a new car and a new destination in which to journey. Everything is new- new pedals, new buttons, new steering wheel and ultimately, a new destination. We are the ones steering and leading the way, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want passengers. It doesn’t mean that we don’t need people along for the ride. 

We need trusting passengers, ones willing to step into the car and buckle in for the ride. Passengers who know the journey will be hard and full of construction and detours but still brave enough to enter.

We need silent passengers, ones who know the importance of the seat they hold. Passengers who understand their presence is needed more than their advice, opinions or perspectives. 

We need patient passengers, ones who won’t ask “How much longer until we get there?” or “Are we there yet?” Passengers that understand this ride will be long and unpredictable, with no schedule or estimated time of arrival. 

We need truthful passengers, ones willing to tell us when we need help. Like cars need gas and oil changes, grieving hearts need assistance too. We’ll need passengers confident enough to remind us when we need a pit stop or a detour. 

Most of all we need kind, compassionate, and understanding passengers along for the ride. Passengers who trust our way, our timeline and our path. We need people to bravely step into our painful journey ready to give patience instead of directions, compassion instead of judgement, and love instead offering to take the wheel. 

So tell me, friend, are you ready for a road trip? I’ll drive.

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

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.

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