I don’t want to do this anymore.

by Ashley Weeks Cart

That’s how I’ve felt about this space since my last post in early July.

I don’t want to do this anymore.

There has been so much. So much change. So much transition. So many moving parts these past six months that, recently, the thought of attempting to capture them here has felt daunting, not therapeutic. Overwhelming, instead of celebratory.

Since I last posted, we’ve found new homes for Penelope Pig and our flock of chickens, as part of a much larger picture to simplify our lives and conflicting demands of time and energy.

We’ve spent a full week of summer vacation on Cape Cod without my mother. It was filled with beach lounging, ocean swimming, bridge jumping, corn on the cob eating, movie watching, sand castle building, sand island playing, and sunset boat cruising. So much time in the water and sun. With family. And there was so much joy and memory making, and yet everything is diminished by her absence. Forever, diminished.

We packed up and sold Cartwheel Farm. A decision not easily made, but solidified when we found buyers in under 72 hours of listing. In the name of simplicity and convenience, we needed to let go of our dear farmette. We had to say goodbye to the place where I buried my sweet Ursa, where I last saw and held my mother, the last home in which she ever knew me living

We weathered a week of homelessness in sending the dogs and girls off to my in-laws, while James, Sanderling and I relied on the hospitality of friends, and mentally prepped for our move into our new home.

We moved into our little village, walking distance to school and work and daycare, and most significantly, loved ones, our support network. Upon filling our 1875 Colonial with all of our worldly possessions, James and the girls boarded a boat to Bermuda with their Bermudian great-grandmother and Sanderling and I flew over and met them island-side. A tropical, gorgeous, breathtaking break from our chaotic reality back home.

Sander became a teething, squawky five month old. Courtland turned into a Kindergarten-ready five year old. We marked six months of life without my mother’s.

And now, I sit here typing with breast pumps attached to my chest as I attempt to physically and mentally and emotionally prepare for Sander’s introduction to daycare tomorrow morning. The first of my children to be sent to full time daycare before age one, and a symbolic demarcation of all that has changed in such a short period of time. From the beginning, he has been my anchor, and the thought of being apart from him for an extended period makes my gut turn with nausea. I’m not sure how to weather a day without him by my side, providing perspective and comfort and presence. It is a necessary step in my grief as we prepare for my return to work in September, but for now, I feel raw and exposed and unsettled. I know that he will be fine, social butterfly that he is. It is me about whom I’m concerned.

Last night, I had my first visceral, ugly, hysterical outburst of grief in months. I screamed and sobbed and moaned, “I don’t want to do this any more. Please, I just don’t want to do this anymore.”

And by that I mean, I don’t want to exist in a world without my mother another day, another second. I want this grief to be over. I want this hurt to stop. I want this world without her to no longer be my reality.

The foreverness of it undoes me. Trying to make sense of forever, to wrap my head around that, is so physically devastating that my whole body aches and yearns and mourns. I need my mom. I just need my mom.

I don’t want to do this anymore.

I was called to return to this space thanks to a beautiful, loving email sent by a fellow member of the Dead Parent Club (one of the shittiest clubs to join). It was a reminder that these words can be helpful, not just for me, but for others who are navigating a similar devastating forever.

I may not want to do this anymore, but I can. And I will.