This Is Not My Home.

After my dad died, I cried every morning in the shower. It is safe to cry in the shower. No one hears you. You're wet everywhere so no little hands reach up to wipe tears. The tears mix in with the rest of the water. Your eyes are red because you got shampoo in them. So careless. I could cry without anyone trying to care for me, feel sorry for me, pity me, fix me.

My morning routine started by slathering Preparation H around my eyes to conceal the shower crying. Friends, here's an awesome beauty tip: Hemorrhoid cream does wonders for eyes puffy from crying, not sleeping, drinking, allergies...whatever. For real.

I have been through tragedies, but this time, I had three people who were relying on me not to fall apart. When my first brother died, I completely fell apart. I could. I was 16. No one relied on me. The people around me held me and worried about me and picked me up. Unexpectedly losing someone you think is invincible makes you feel really small and vulnerable.

When my good friend died of cancer, it wasn't as bad. I am not minimizing her death, but I had months to get used to the idea that she was going to die. I could say goodbye. I told her I loved her a million times. We talked about how bad it sucked and how unfair life could be sometimes. And we cried and we laughed, but we prepared.

When my second brother died, it was the worst. Suicide is the worst. No preparation. No conspiracy theories. Nothing left but a big pile of regret and guilt and questions. People said that I would be mad at him. How could I be mad at him for being in so much pain? I was mad at lots of people, but he wasn't one of them.

For a long time, I felt a sense of safety in pain. Well, at least it can't get any worse. But don't say that or think that or God forbid allow yourself to believe that because it can. It can get worse. It couldn't get any worse than my brother dying unexpectedly until my other brother chose to die. Well, it couldn't get any worse than...Yes. Yes, it could.

I have dealt with the pain and the questions and the stages of grief more times than I can count. Grief, pain, tragedy have become like my hometown. I don't live there anymore, but I visit from time to time. I remember the streets and can still find my way around. Lots of things look the same. Some places have changed. Some people have moved away, but some still live there.

It's a choice. It's my choice. It's your choice. You can stay in your hometown. You can give in to grief. You can let abuse or neglect or grief that you suffered stunt your growth and keep you mired in shame, regret, and self-pity. Or you can move. It doesn't mean you forget. It doesn't mean it didn't happen. It just means that you are choosing not to let what happened to you dictate who you become.

I have a big family. People are gonna die. My mom is 82--today. I'm gonna have to visit that place many more times. But I'm not moving back home.


  1. Amen…choice is really all we have Mary. Well said!

  2. (i wonder if it will let me comment; I'm on my tablet again...)

    i loved this post. i am reading them all on email these days because i find it easier than logging in; my mind wanders and then i lose my place.

    i was talking to my therapist today and she reminded me that it's only been 10 weeks since my mom died. i feel as though the time is both fleeting and stalling. at some points i can't believe it's been 10 weeks for it feels like 10 months and then other times i feel as though it's only been ten minutes because my heart breaks so easily and without notice.

    grief is not my home; i know that about myself as well. but sometimes... not grieving feels very foreign to me as well.

    i guess the point to all of this is to be at peace with where you are. then you can move about.

    thank you for being such a great eFriend. (you are.)

    1. Aww, Molly. Thank you for choosing to share your journey as it has helped me and so many others on our own.

  3. I love this piece & I love your redesign! Such an inspiration :)

    1. Thank you, Sara! That means so much to me <3

  4. Meh, the people that live there probably would find it odd when they found you at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a tube of Preparation H.

    I am just now reading this for the first time. Board meeting week and all.

    I really think that it's the best piece of writing of yours that I have ever read or at the very least the one I enjoy the most. That is not the mild hangover talking either.

    I am not a fan of the re-design. I hope that tells you that you are headed in the right direction. ;-)

    XOXO, oh favorite little sister o' mine.

    yer every luvvin' bruddah

  5. ever. i am blaming auto-correct. fucking machines.

  6. Thank you, darling :) I'm not a fan either, but you know what else I'm not? A designer. Fear not. Help is on the way.


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