Thank you, Cheryl. Thank you for all the honesty and beauty you share. It is also 30 years anniversary this year since the death of my mom, too. I wrote a poem to her on her 25 year anniversary, and I just so dearly wish to share it with you. I hope its OK to do so here. I won't be offended if this post gets deleted.


It’s only been forever, never. And a day.

Since twenty-five years grated by

But do you know what?

You haven’t aged a day, in death

Not a shadow more.

You have, however,

Grown wiser

So please, Mom

I want to tell you

About the secret

I’ve kept to myself:

I didn’t entirely believe

That after all these nows,

Elegant sorrows

And thirsty memories

That you’d still be gone

I had decided

Time should stretch

So far, as far

To come back to itself

Fuller and swifter

Stunning and strong

I believed this waiting

Would bring something

Grander than hurt

And rupture

Your silence

Back into song

But seems life

Is a flatline

Yearning toward shape

Until death arrives

With an swift flourish

To circle the end

Twenty-five years

Urgently tells me

That secret of mine

Is a winter’s hope,

A hungry egg

A cruel lullaby

Such simple truth

Assails my younger self

Slips down my throat

And rips up my tidy grief

Dropping pink petal

Confetti onto your grave

I hear the dream of you

Just in time

For my age to touch yours

And I recognise my face

Upon your forever

Now, I finally see myself

We almost stand together

Only I am arriving

You are still gone.

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Mar 19, 2021Liked by Cheryl Strayed

I am still in the relatively fresh hell of losing my dear mom just 15 months ago. And weeks after her celebration of life, I came home to NYC to the Covid shut in. Thank-you for the reminder that something is brewing in this grief, that the pain will make sense and that when turned into something (who knows what, yet) more will make sense, and she will be shared. She, too was a lover of stories, told many a great one and raised us on adventure. Sending love on this anniversary. I'm so glad this turned up today, the 2 year anniversary when her, my sister and I gathered in Toronto to hear her end of life wishes and she read us her eulogy, as she new her end was near. This was a needed balm to the earlier pain of today. Thank-you.

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Mar 19, 2021Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Yes. Make it beautiful. ❤️🙏🏼

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Mar 19, 2021Liked by Cheryl Strayed

As always, you floor me with the patchwork quilt of your words. Love the letter response to the Living Dead Dad. Love + words = word church. And I don’t think we ever get past the death of our mothers. Or sons. Or anyone. We carry it with us. It does get lighter eventually- but always with us.

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So much this. In tears.

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Mar 19, 2021Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Oh my goodness, I feel those words. Deeply.

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Hugs to you, Cheryl. xo

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Thank you both, all of you, the dear dead dad, your own mother and you. with affection, Julie

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Mar 19, 2021Liked by Cheryl Strayed

She died the same day as my Nan Lana, who was very much my person. I realised that I learnt so much from her that I still implement today, and that I knew her so well, that I sometimes still hear her voice. I'm grateful for the time I had with her. Sending you so much love today. 💝

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Thank you, Sugar. I forwarded a copy of this to all of my four sisters and told them it would make them cry but they must read it anyway.

We lost our mom in 2019 to Parkinson's disease. She was 92. So, at first we were all so grateful that she had lived so long and unlike you, we got to have our mom at 47, 63, 71 and 92. But we have all been experiencing a delayed grief of sorts. We miss her more instead of less. We all dream about her and of each other. I have been gobsmacked with the realization that we will lose each other too.

The obliterated place IS equal parts darkness and light all swirled together in each day. We go on, we get our vaccinations, we fix dinner. But there are moments of brief panic, oh my God, I can't ask Mom about that recipe. I can't call her to whine about the world not dedicating itself to making me feel loved. She would always make me feel loved. I am lucky, I have four sisters. Mom is shimmering in each one of them and in me. Her living DNA pulsates through our veins and we can all remember the way she used to say, "til who laid the rail," or "dandy gadgets." And though we all have different last names, we are still "The Beautiful Hanson sisters."

Thank you for your sacred work.

Cindy Steensland

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I am awash in grief... yours, mine, Living Dead Dad's, all of ours. We do survive somehow. It is imperative we go on... and carry their love forward so it is always with us.

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I just finished reading "Hamnet and Judith" (published in the US as "Hamnet") by Maggie O'Farrell. It's this man's story: about parents who lose a young son, and how they go on. I won't say more—don't want to spoil it—but the message of the book is just what you said, Cheryl: "Let your dad boy be your most profound revelation. Create something of him." If you haven't read the novel, I highly recommend it. It is beautiful. (And so is your column.)

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My mom died March 3,1998 but sometimes it feels like yesterday. Your words always help me feel what I guess is a grief that will never be complete.

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Thirty years today, Cheryl - what a wonderful thing to write on this anniversary. In January this year, I hit the 21-year mark for my mother. In April, it will be 18 years since my dad died. I've found that grief changes over time, so that we eventually experience it as something like love again.

I haven't lost a child, but I learned so much from this incredible long-read by a mother whose 23-year-old daughter, Kate, died in a 2004 car accident. It's so honest, but hopeful too: https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/dear-kate-living-with-grief#.XaTh7MjQUWY.twitter

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Beautiful words...

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Wow. "The one who would want you to be the [wo]man [s]he didn't get to be. I am still processing the death of my severely disabled twin sister who passed three years ago, still trying to move forward instead of hold myself back, which I did for decades, even when she was alive. This resonates with me, and I thank you for your true and deeply resonating words. --H.S.

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