After my mother passed away, I was forever changed. I looked the same, but inside I was transformed by pain, grief, and heartbreak. I became a woman that my friends couldn’t relate to. I hurt in ways they couldn’t comprehend. I was transforming in ways no one could have predicted. Grief does that. It shatters hearts and lives and causes them to be rebuilt.
As I grieved the loss of my mother and entered a journey of transformation, I wondered, “What if they don’t come with me?” What if these friendships I’ve held for decades suddenly fizzle and fade, like the life that had been taken from my mother.
What if they don’t come with me? What if they don’t come along?
I contemplated the thoughts as the reality played out around me. Would they follow? Would they continue? Would they understand the new me, the me without my mother? Would they understand a girl with deep grief and immense sorrow? Would they follow along for the journey of grief’s transformation?
Most followed along.
Most understood and journeyed with me.
And that is both harsh and serendipitous.
The ones that didn’t continue with me, they weren’t meant for the journey.
They weren’t meant for this version of my truth and authenticity.
They weren’t meant for this raw and exposed version.
The ones that didn’t follow, they knew an old me, one that no longer existed. The pieces of me and our relationship that they cherished had been replaced. Growth and transformation are painful and also beautiful. They are things not everyone appreciates or understands.
Those who stayed, they appreciate and honor the change caused by grief and love lost. Exquisitely, they keep showing up. They keep coming with me. They watch and allow me to transform and change.
They encourage me. They support me. They inspire me. They keep coming along. They keep loving me. And it’s just as it should be. The ones who were meant to know and understand this new version of me never left. They’ll be blessed with the resilience I’ve gained and the empathy I’ve come to know. They’ll be blessed with a friend who’s learned deeper love and gratitude. They’ll be blessed with a friend that has learned the lessons of grief, and the lessons of carrying on.
If you find yourself in a chapter of life asking, “What if they don’t come with me?”, know this, most will, others won’t. It will be serendipitous, both harsh and perfect. The ones meant to follow you on your path, will. The ones who detour, well, they were never meant to make it another step anyways.
Keep stepping, friend. Your journey is waiting.
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.