Traces Of The Past

Sometimes, it’s hard to travel the streets I know intimately without seeing ghosts. They don’t appear every time . . . but when they do, the images stay with me for days. There is one street in particular that holds many impressions of happenings from the past. For the first seven years after Becca’s death, I chose a circuitous route in order to avoid that particular road. The memories scattered along it’s length were too hard to recall.

For a brief time those faint traces of Becca’s life were comforting. The life we had all lived together existed when I could see the physical locations. As the months pass by . . . it seems as if our child’s existance is slowly being erased. The years start to accumulate and new buildings go up, old ones come down, we no longer recognize the world that once was. Was that store there when she was alive? I’ve reached for my phone to ask her, forgetting for a split second, then realize I can’t.

Fortunately, or possibly unfortunately (depending on where my level of sadness is), the main markers of our life together still stand. In the distance of about three miles there is a memory on every block of the street. From our life to the funeral home we used after her death. It’s only very recently that I have been able to travel said street without flinching, as I drove along, as I passed each memory.

And it’s recent that I have decided it’s time to leave the house she knew me in. This is an incredibly difficult decision to make. But, I know it’s what is best for me. I have worries about this move. My biggest worry? Will my child know to follow me to where I am going. I know for some this sounds silly, however, it’s a fear that is very real for me. I imagine it’s a fear for other grieving mothers, as well.

In this house, I can lay my hand on a doorknob and know my daughter touched it once. I can stand on the section of floor where she stood, letting me hold her, while she cried. If it’s quiet enough I can hear the laughter. When it’s dark, I can see her form in the shadows. As I right, this I wonder if I am making the right decision, after all. Am I strong enough to leave the space our life inhabited for so long?

When I stand in my living room for the last time I am going to say, very loudly, “Becca, it’s time to go. Come with me, honey.”

In the spring, when the earth has thawed, I am coming back and cutting up the patch of lawn where I held her for the very last time.

I’m not odd . . . I’m a grieving mom.


Author: Diane Neas

I'm a mother, artist, and writer. A decade ago I lost my daughter. I find writing, and painting, heal me. Sharing my story of loss and healing lightens what I carry. And, hopefully, my words help another along the way.

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