Dear Myself in Mourning: I am writing to you from the future to say that it is worth living towards. I know it feels as though the world has relinquished all of its joy and purpose. I know life feels impossible and pointless. I know that you are struggling to find your way now that you have lost your mother. And so I am writing this letter.
The woman who brought you into this world has left it. The woman who carried you in her womb and then her arms is currently contained in a coffin. The woman who filled you with confidence and love has taken in her last breath. The woman who tucked you in at night has been laid to rest. Half of the couple you called home—the woman who gave you life—is dead, and right now you’re wondering why the universe hasn’t imploded due to the vacuum her absence has left.
You will find a way to navigate your mourning each day. The love and support of others will help, but you must climb out of the darkness yourself. Many will offer you their comfort and sympathies. Every kindness proffered, although well-intentioned, will feel like an additional burden—obligations to smile, put on a brave face, or say thank you as though someone is paying you a compliment instead of commenting on the worst thing that’s happened in your life—the death of your mother.
You will muster all of your mental energy in an attempt to go back in time or make now different. Your desperation to see your lost loved one alive again will be all consuming. Reality will become the enemy because it took her from you. Time will be an accomplice because it is increasing the distance of separation. Sanity will feel utterly overrated. Normal will cease to have meaning.
Do not judge the shapes your grief takes. So long as it doesn’t call you to harm others or yourself, let it lead the way. It will be an arduous journey. There are guides, but there is no right way. No matter how public your loss, your grief will be uniquely personal. You’ll get plenty of advice, but some of it won’t feel right. It will take an unknowable amount of time, but you will find the means to get through each day. You will piece together a method of mourning that fits your situation and temperament.
Unfortunately, none of this will make any sense to you today. In this moment of your mourning, all that your reality contains is pain. The loss of your mother is your whole existence now. But I am writing this letter to tell you that while there will always be a deficit, there won’t always be despair. The weight of her absence will not decrease, but you will become stronger and better able to carry it. Your life will not—cannot—ever be the same, but it will be good again. You will laugh and mean it. You will love and enjoy. I promise. It will never be easy, but it won’t always be as hard as this. One day your sadness won’t be the only part of you that exists.