• Kelly Neff

Coming Home


Photo:Kelly Neff

One thing I have learned as I have walked through the loss of my son and my husband is that everyone grieves differently. I don’t believe there is a correct way to grieve. Grieving is a process, which implies movement. It is easy to get stuck and become trapped along the way. Moving forward has challenges. Sometimes those challenges feel like a prison.


An annual vacation has been part of my life since I met my husband. It was something he grew up doing and he felt it was an important part of building family cohesiveness. I love traveling and having time to rest while taking in the beauty and splendor of nature. It is always refreshing to leave the stress of everyday life behind for a while. The worst part of vacation is packing up to come home. I love our home but coming home means getting back to reality and everything that goes with that.


After losing loved ones, I dread coming home from vacation even more. Every time I come home, there are two emotional prisons that I struggle with. Part of me is ready to move from this home and start fresh because the memories here can be painful and at times, I feel trapped. Part of me never wants to leave and can’t imagine doing so because the memories bring me such comfort. I feel imprisoned by the memories, wanting to escape from them on the one hand, and feeling the need to cling to them on the other. I believe this quandary of emotions is what makes each person’s grieving process so different.


Is moving away wrong? Is it running away from things I don’t want to face? Is staying wrong? Is it paralyzing me and keeping me from moving forward? The answers to these questions are likely different for each person.


This dilemma makes me feel sick inside. Either way, I have strong emotions to face and process. I don’t believe that either choice is wrong but figuring out which one is best for me and my family is difficult. The key is, to be honest with myself and my motivations.


At this point, I don’t know what the best answer is. I’m sharing this because I know I’m not the only person to experience these emotions. I am sharing publicly as a way to hold myself accountable. Whatever decision I make, I don’t want it to be motivated by fear. I don’t want to be trapped by my emotions. I want to move forward with freedom and peace.


I pray for those who are grieving. I pray for those who are experiencing similar emotions. May we have the courage and wisdom to look deep inside with honesty. May we discern our true motivations and fears. May we have the strength to face our fears and move forward freely, unhindered by the power of our emotions. May coming home be filled with freedom and peace, wherever that may be.


Blessings!


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