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I'm Waiting For A Closure That Doesn't Seem To Ever Arrive

Healing is not a straight path and this story does not have a neat ending.

Woman, Actually is the little corner of BuzzFeed where Mariela Summerhays writes about everything and anything to do with being a millennial mother — a woman first, mother second. Yes, you'll read about the glorious struggle and joy of child-rearing — but also about relationships, mental health and more. Because as it turns out, growing up doesn't stop at motherhood.

IT HAS BEEN THREE MONTHS, some weeks and more sorrow than I know what to do with. Such a particular pain, being moved along faster than you feel ready. I’ve asked more of people and of a life — whether explicitly or to the silence when my household sleeps — than they and it were willing to give. More than, if I’m honest, I supposed I was deserving to receive. Still, I asked: "Would you do me this vital favour of staying?"

And like so many of us this year, more often than not, the answer has been no. I’ve been left with a feeling of desire for a safe place which, by the speed at which it fell apart, probably was no safe place to begin with.

But just like a teenager who grieves a first love not built to last, which leaves a phantom ache; or the ageing businessman who once held the floor, but now sits in the wings; or the mother who feels the bittersweet success of raising her children that no longer need her in adulthood; I can’t help but stay in the holding room a minute, this lifetime, longer than is graceful.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place; show me how to move on.

I DO NOT MEAN to still be sitting here on the side of the road, waiting for all that turned the corner and never looked back. The sun rises and sets. I turn in my eight hours at work; feed the children, the plants, all but the engine to my future; then sit here and watch for signs of life from my phone screen. Put my fingers to this keyboard and wait for a voice once familiar to me to only grow stale.

And the new year is rushing towards me; already the Christmas tree has lost something of its wonder, still the closure has not arrived as hoped. How many more days without text messages, pages without words, until it finally, mercifully arrives?

I still miss her musings; the stubborn cap that I’d have to charm off his head. I daily visit the graveside of these relationships, though I know they had to go. And these words alone have taken more than mere minutes to write them — it has taken hour-long lunch breaks and therapy sessions and the crying and the willing.

For so long, my identity has been wrapped in and around an ability to express myself through words — but now that I’ve dragged them back, will they mean anything to anyone?

All the while, saying to the silence, to people long gone, to an image of myself: “I swear I knew you better, but your heart, how it forgets.”

I DIDN'T WANT TO — you must believe, I would’ve stayed here waiting forever — but the missing has begun to abate. How curious to be leaving here, with nothing but the faint outlines of the people I loved and the dying embers of a passion that has sustained me through adolescence, the early days of my career and beyond.

It helps me to think of the girl who grows to be a woman, who finds a love that reciprocates her energy; of the man who never again walks into the boardroom and comes to nurture herbs on the side of his weatherboard house. It comforts me to think of a mother, growing up with her children, raising them to be more self-assured than she.

If this journey is to be worth it, please let me raise children to be more self-assured than me.

I would’ve loved to end this essay, this year, with a neat ending. If it would comfort anyone in their uncertainty, after a year where so many have lost loved ones and their jobs — which, in some cases, have amounted to as much as an identity — to tell you that I’ve reached the end of a metamorphosis, would make everything worth it. To tell you, without a doubt, that this year has been worth it. There is, after pain, closure.

But healing is still on its way, it has not come overnight and I still can’t help but leave breadcrumbs for all that I’ve loved to follow me into my future.