No. 194

Loss of Self

Death and grief are funny things. In the months since my mother’s passing, I’ve been grieving her over and over again — not in the big way one might immediately after a death, but in all the little ways, at all the times that person would have been there for you or with you.

A disagreement with my boyfriend that I wish I could have called her during for her comfort. Holidays. My birthday. Her wedding anniversary, my dad’s first without her. When I see a movie she’d love.

But there was an unexpected partner to grieving that I didn’t expect: a profound sense of that somehow I was no longer the same person. Grief changes you, both in ways that are good and not. Without my mom here, I don’t have her to turn to when I need advice or comfort or acceptance — those are things I need to find within myself and from other people. And there’s a fear too that I didn’t expect: a fear of using my time wrong, of getting sick the way she did, of not fully living, of not being the whole person I truly am, of not making her proud.

I’ve been asking myself lately to look at my relationships and spend time building the ones with friends and family members who I want to keep close. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is in my life that makes me feel most like myself, what activities or habits or moments. There was a lot I put on hold during the months caretaking: archery, writing, motorcycle riding, seeing friends, taking care of myself in some ways.

The time now is like a void, a container, asking me who I want to step up and be, how I want to affect people, how I want to live. There are thrummings of what I desire inside of me, which I need to give voice to.

This moment isn’t about settling on answers quickly. It’s about exploration to find the answers that truly align.

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.