I see you, Mom


Today marks nine years without you. It’s true that as time passes some details fade, but what I have found to be more true is that passing years bring clarity to who you were.

When we were together, I saw your confidence. When I had to start making decisions without you, I began to understand that your confidence was earned. You had to carve a path and brave making choices without perfect outcomes. I stopped mistaking your confidence for an absence of fear – you chose to move forward through fear because that is how you grow and make a good life.

When we were together, I felt the safety of your hugs. When I held my first baby, I knew how your heart felt. The love and the overwhelm, and everything ahead of us. The instinct to protect. It all made sense that day, Mom. When I saw that tiny face looking up at me I saw you, truly, for the first time.

When we were together, I saw the ease with which you cared for your flock. When I had to find the energy to carry on without you, I saw that extending yourself had been a choice. Your life demanded things of you, mentally, emotionally, and physically, just like anyone else’s. But you never used it as an excuse not to see those around you. When I find myself curled up and wishing that this was not mine to carry, I see you seeing others, because we all have something to carry.

I wish I could touch your face; feel those warm hugs; hear you say “Nellers” in that way you did. But I see you. You gave me gifts that I will slowly unwrap throughout the rest of my life, and I anticipate knowing you more fully with each one. I love you Mom, I will miss you every day, always.

Your Nala.

Afterwards Grief Blog



Pressing Play

Tomorrow I am pressing hard on the play button of my life – I’ve been on pause for too long. It is an exciting, terrifying thing to face a Last Day of Work, especially when it means leaving the family business and especially when it means starting your own.

I just had to reach into the blogging world tonight and gather up all of your good karma.

I feel like I am doing her proud.

Song of the Day: Pompeii

My husband sat me down and filled our home with this today.



Virtual Hugs

A dear, dear friend of mine said goodbye to her mom a few nights ago – holding her hand as she breathed her last. It crushes me. Even though I’ve been there, I don’t have the words.

To my dearest; to anyone who has just walked away from that bedside; to anyone who is counting down the minutes until “goodbye”; to anyone who is missing someone; to anyone who is looking into the dark: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

Sometimes their are no words.

But I love you.


A most incredibly sincere amazed and blown away thank you.

WordPress has informed me that it is Afterwards’ second birthday!

It took me a long time to start this blog. Before I lost my mom I had spent much time writing opinions and sending them out into the internet abyss. And though it took courage, it did not require the amount of mental and emotional energy that this blog would ask of me. Especially that first post.

With her, I lost a very precious source of confidence. Somebody to read my words and tell me they were good. Somebody to tell me that I was good, no matter what. The process of opening myself up here has tested this drying well; but then, it has filled it up.

Sometimes I write regularly, sometimes I don’t have the words to say, sometimes my energy lets me down. I have been blown away by the support I have received anyway; by the trust you show me when you take my words to heart and when you share your own stories with me. Thank you for caring about my words; thank you for considering them to have weight; thank you for being kind and vulnerable enough to let me into your world. Thank you people from 95 countries who have crossed spacial barriers to connect with me from across the planet. It is more than I can understand.

I hope you know how much you help me to heal – your eyes and hearts are profoundly changing my life. Thanks for the adventure.