Time To Move: My Survival Journey After The Loss Of Our Daughter

Hanna Morris

I’d been packing today like a woman on fire, getting our house ready to sell, and I just realized something. I had just finished cleaning, decluttering and packing my home office and it suddenly occurred to me how much I had stopped caring about things after our daughter died at age 19. Sometimes it’s a good thing to stop caring if you’re working on removing toxic people, habits or things from your life, but this was NOT a good thing in that respect.

I had stopped caring about properly maintaining my office space amongst other things, and that one mess in that one room that took most of two days to rectify. I still had the rest of the house to work on. I had stopped caring about things that normally would have driven me nuts, that piece of clothing on the floor, those dirty dishes in the sink, those loads of laundry waiting to be done, all of the papers that needed to be gone through. I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t open the shades to let the light come in through the windows. The only thing that made me get out of bed was that my son needed breakfast before school.

Who cares?

I didn’t.

A few brave people have asked me “How does it feel to have lost your daughter?” Most people never mention her, as though it might remind me that she died. I haven’t forgotten. I don’t mind people asking, I like to talk about her. She’s still my daughter, and I still love her. That hasn’t changed and never will. People seem to have notion that when a funeral is over, that’s it, everything gets “back to normal” like somehow, by some miracle, we suddenly revert to our old selves as if nothing happened.

That doesn’t happen. Like, EVER.

I spent a good part of two years alone. After my daughter died I experienced so much depression and a terrible zombie-like fog that I couldn’t shake. I would cry uncontrollably when I washed my face at night or when I took my shower, thinking no one could hear.

Everyone heard.

I couldn’t remember anything, I went to a counselor.

Then I went to Arizona.

Then I spent last winter there, alone. I reflected, cried, laughed, alone with my thoughts, and tried to figure things out. I visited my living daughter, my son came home from school, my husband came from Washington, I made some new friends. I shared my story with them. I began to feel again, to care again.

I’m moving. I don’t want to go back.

So I’m not going to.

I went back, I’m moving and I need to pack.

Transitions can be difficult. Chelan is a beautiful place. It’s going to be hard to leave here and difficult on my husband, he doesn’t want to move. I HAVE to.

I’m better away from this place. I almost feel happy again and I’m afraid to say it out loud. I need to stay away from those dark places in my mind because I’ve actually started caring about things again, and I want to keep caring.

I have to maintain my fragile recovery. I have to be cautious of the movies I watch, the books that I read, the music I listen to. One wrong thing can take me back to that terrible dark place.

Pieces of the same old me are back, some pieces will never return. Now I want to live, not just survive the day, a feeling I thought would never return.

The shades are open, and the light is streaming in through the windows. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Joanna seeks to help other people by sharing her experience with others.

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