If I could sit down beside the 25-year-old me . . .
The one sobbing and screaming uncontrollably on the floor the day my mom died, I would have a lot of things to tell her.
I would sit right beside the younger me who is screaming, “Why her??” and “Where are YOU?? How did you just disappear??” and “How am I going to survive this without you??”
I would just hug her, so tight. I would hug her just like my mom would have hugged me had she been there.
I would tell her she is going to feel like she can’t breathe some days.
Some days the weight of grief and life without her is going to feel so heavy she will think she can’t carry it any longer.
At times, she will feel like it consumes her days and nights just thinking about her, missing her, aching for her.
I’ll hug her even tighter when I say this next:
I tell her that suddenly one day soon, something beautiful will happen. She will be me and I sit here with you today almost seven years later with a smile on my face and a joy I never thought I would have when I was her all those years ago.
Yes, some days will feel ultimately impossible to survive—you’ll survive them anyway. Some days she will get through without crying and other days she will wonder if she’s cried all the tears her body can handle and she will cry some more.
I’ll remind her it doesn’t matter how she gets through, it just matters that she gets through it because there’s only way to do this whole grief thing and that’s to feel it. She can’t wish days away and skip to years down the road. She will want to, but she can’t.
I’ll tell her that this is going to feel like it will be the death of her a hundred times over on this journey, but in the end she will feel like she’s become a completely different person, a person who is free to live again.
A better version of herself, one who is just like her mom.
That’s where she will find the beauty in this grief. In the place where she lost her mom is right where she will find her again—and she might even realize she never even lost her because her mom was always right wherever she was all along.
This article originally appeared on Grief To Home with Nikki Pennington