In Losing Someone We Love We Often Lose So Much More

This past summer, while on vacation for a couple of weeks, I spent some time at my aunt’s home on Cape Cod, the only place in the world that’s held any continuity for me. While I was there I thought a lot about how when we lose a person we don’t just lose them, but often so much more.

We lose routines and rituals and a sense of belonging, but sometimes we also lose places.

After my mother died, my father and I packed up the home we’d lived in as a family and we moved into temporary housing, before eventually scattering to opposite sides of the country. I would never again walk through the rooms I’d shared with my mother, never again get to lay down on her bed with the oak tree outside the windows and the sun that slanted across the hardwood floors, and I would never again stand at the stove where she taught me how to make her tangy tomato sauce. I’ve carted so many of her belongings around with me over the last twenty years, and even though those trinkets and paintings and even a few plants occupy every room of my house today, it’s not the same as getting to stand somewhere I once stood with her.

The other week I walked the beach on Cape Cod where I walked with her every summer. This summer I walked it with my daughters, and I picked up shells and I turned over dead horseshoe crabs, just as she had done with me. The girls squealed at the waves, and they held my hands, and we picked over the rocks and seaweed together, and I basked in the sense of my mother that this place brought with it. 

Where are the places where you feel connected to your loved ones? When was the last time you went there? Doing so can bring back a beautiful sense of connection. Even if you can’t physically get there sometimes just going there in your mind can bring you back.

Close your eyes tonight in bed and instead of falling asleep thinking about all you have to do tomorrow, walk through the rooms of an old house, or through a childhood field you played in. Feel your loved ones there with you and know that we are never truly apart.