After my mother passed I found myself stuck on that page of my story and my life’s book. I refused, and quite frankly, could not turn the page knowing that each additional page would be void of her presence and her influence. She wouldn’t be in the subsequent stories and chapters. They would be missing a character– a main one, a powerful one, a significant one, her.
How can you keep writing your life’s story without the very person who created the book in the first place?
My story was paused. My life was paused. Everything was paused.
Death stole my mother from this world. Grief stole my continuation of the life that remained. My story was discontinued. The pages beyond the one where my mother died remained blank and empty. Refusing to write another sentence without her, I stuck a bookmark in it, placed it on a shelf and refused to move from the page that I was on, the one that still included her.
Except it wasn’t that easy. While I was unmoved, broken on the floor, shattered into pieces, the world was still spinning and the people around me were still in motion. My husband. My children. My family. My friends. They were still writing their next sentences and making new memories. They were still living.
And that’s when it hit me, by refusing to write the next word, sentence, and page in my book I was erasing my influence and love from their stories. I was creating a void in the stories of everyone around me. The only way to continue beautiful and meaningful relationships with the loved ones that remained was to get up, keep going, and keep writing– even through the hurt and the ache and the incomprehensible task of walking life without my mother.
I took some deep breaths, took some small steps, and eventually began living again, not just surviving. Eventually I had words and sentences worth jotting down in that book. And when I started to read the pages, I realized that by my continued writing I had kept my mother alive, right there amongst those pages that I was so worried she’d be void from. She was so present it was almost as if she was still here, walking among us.
She wasn’t absent from my future, she was simply a delicate and invisible presence, but a mighty one. She wasn’t unmentioned on the subsequent pages since her death, she was there– her love and inspiration solidified by the legacy she left in me and in all of us.
The only way we keep our lost loved ones alive is by honoring them in the life we have left. In writing our new pages, we keep writing theirs too. Our stories and our lives are so tightly braided together, no matter physical location or final breaths.
It may have taken longer for my next chapter to begin after loss and grief, but it began and my story continues to be written with the unique mixture of happiness and grief, hope and hardships, and ultimately honoring my mother’s legacy while also creating my own. A difficult but beautiful task.
It’s ok to pause and take a moment of silence and stillness before starting to write your story again. One day you’ll start filling those pages again, and when you do, you’ll see your lost loved one sprinkled over each page and chapter. You’ll read portions of your book and you’ll smile and wonder how you ever thought they’d be absent from the pages that followed their death. They’re right there, in each new day, and each new story, not physically but with love and influence from eternity.
And in my opinion, that solidifies the role they played in our lives. One that is unforgettable. One that is still being written about. One that is timeless and limitless.
Keep stepping. Keep writing. Keep living. Your story is waiting and it’s an absolute treasure.
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.