From Tracie: I Do Not Have The Answers

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I Do Not Have The Answers

My mother-in-law died. I am in the in-between place. Judy was mine, but she wasn't. Her stories, her life, her memory belongs to Thomas and their family, far more than it does to me. So I poured myself into finding black pants that were long enough (while thinking how ridiculous it is that clothes are so important when someone has just died), and making travel plans for Thomas to go to the funeral, and I did not touch my keyboard or pen.

Almost a week later, and I feel like I'm peeking into the little window by the door of the internet to check if it is all clear before I knock and gain entry.

Is it safe in there? Will I be hit again by the name of loved ones who have passed when I look at facebook? Will I find stories of cancer in my feeds when I try to read blog posts? Will I feel overwhelmed by the amount of messages, notifications, emails, blog posts, and social media stuff that went down while I was away? Probably.

Hand On Keyboard

I feel like I have forgotten how to write in this space that is sent out to the world. I feel suddenly unsure about my words and my place.

I am left sitting with my journal this afternoon, pouring out thoughts about what is really important in life and relationships, and why don't I just call that person I love, and why don't I know more about Japan, and what happened to a boy with a black hat and a little red-haired girl who followed him around, and what is the rate of inflation from 1889 to 2014, and did I say the right thing to Katarina when I told her her grandma died, and to Thomas when I told him his mother was gone, and what was that recipe for cookies that did not have peanut butter in them, and how mysterious can a person actually be, and how many people make transatlantic crossings by boat, and should you give early journals and diaries to your children to read while you are still alive and can answer questions (and if so, at what age) or should you burn them all now before they can be found, and why did I have a dream last night where I heard every theme song from the shows I watched during my childhood, and should Pandas be classified as bears, and why are some people incapable of remembering things?

And at the end of this exercise, I realize that I have very few answers in this life. Especially about the important things. Sure, I could look up answers to questions about inflation and pandas and transatlantic crossings, but I don't have the mental energy to do that today, and I probably won't think to do it tomorrow. Those questions are not the ones that sit heavy in my mind; it is the other questions, the ones whose answers I can not google that call out to me.

Maybe I will find find those answers by writing, and maybe some of those things will find their way into blog posts one day. Because writing is what I know, and it is how I process life. Even when I feel unsure and unarmed.


  1. I'm sorry you've gone through this recently. Things like this really can shake us up and remind us about what's most important in life!

  2. I found you through the SITS Saturday linkup, and I am glad I did--this post hit home for me because I lost my grandfather just before the holidays. Going through the loss of someone that you're so close to can make it hard to return to your regular life after the funeral is over. Prayers for your family during this time.

  3. My deepest condolences, Tracie. I feel the place you are in, right now. Last night, my Uncle passed away and in the noise that is there now, with all the relatives from everywhere descending on them, there's very little space to think. It is when they all go away, and all those rites have been dealt with that the real feeling of loss will settle in and take a long time to get used to.

    Holding you close in a hug. Just breathe, my friend. Don't rush to the answers.

    With love, Vidya

  4. I know this feeling! Take your time, Tracie. ((HUGS)) Losing someone we love has a way of turning our hearts inside out. Some days my mins still spins with all the questions I never asked my grandma.

  5. Hey SITStah. It all takes time. I'm so sorry for your family's loss. You've raised so many things that I've pondered myself. You all are in my prayers but in the meantime, be as gentle as you can be with yourself... and each other.

  6. I will not say I understand because I don't, I am sorry to hear you have been through this it doesn't sound like a nice experience, putting pen to paper may help, it can't hurt.

  7. Oh sweet friend, I am SO sorry you are suffering from this loss!! be good to yourself and take your time with all the outside/external 'stuff'. Comfort yourself and your family with grace and love and compassion....

    Being vulnerable and raw is where you are at right now- and where you will find your healing Father who loves you and will embrace her aching and questioning heart and give you the answers you need. Your gift of writing will help you through- as I only know. Praying for you!!

  8. So many hugs to you and your family.

    Loss is so hard for those of us left behind. There are always more questions than there are answers. There is no right or wrong way, either. If writing is helping you, it may help Katarina and Thomas as well. It might not. Right now is the time of floundering, trying to find how you will all hold this hurt.
    Give it time and space, it will get a bit easier. This I can promise you. And always, ALWAYS, remember you have friends to lean on when you need them.

  9. There is so much sweetness in these words, though it's wistful. I can feel your pain. I'm reaching out to give you a hug.

  10. Loss is hard...for everyone...and everyone deals with it differently. We'll be here for you, and I'm sure your words will come.