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This Place Was Home
The grief that comes with losing a home
As we move through our lives, we all have deeply painful experiences that leave a lasting impact. We carry our pain, our grief, our sorrow with us every day - sometimes a reminder of love we once shared, a dream once lived. Sometimes a reminder of how strong we are, how much we have conquered.
This week you will receive the first of the tender stories of grief I have been collecting - a window into the lived experiences of others walking the wilderness of grief.
As readers, I only ask that you approach these stories with gentleness and compassion for the authors and yourselves. It takes an incredible mix of courage and vulnerability to share these experiences. Proceed with the understanding of your own capacity to hold the sorrow of others - many of us have gone through dark, dark waters to come out the other side bruised and bloody but still standing.
In this sacred space of shared experiences, please work with me to hold a gentle reverence for the resilience of the human spirit.
I will be sharing 1-2 stories each month through the rest of this year - to begin this collection of shared grief, I want to share a poem that my sister River wrote about 13 years ago. My siblings and I grew up on a small acreage a few hours east of the rocky mountains. For most of us, it was an oasis of imagination each spring and summer. As the plants and trees began to bloom and leaf out, we took to the rooftops, the dusty country roads, the ponds, the hedgerows of lilacs and saskatoons. We were part of the earth and the earth was a part of us.
When River was probably 10 or 11 (and the older siblings moved out on their own) my family unexpectedly and painfully had to leave that acreage. It was so much a part of us, it was like a piece of our hearts were left behind in the soil that we had spent so much time tending. River especially carried a lot of grief in leaving that acreage. When going through her writing after she passed away, I found this narrative about our time on that acreage. I’m not exactly sure when she wrote it, but the grief and love she carried simultaneously for that place is evident.
This Is The Place, by River Sillito
This is the place you were born This is the place you learned love, happiness, empathy, compassion, control. This is the place that made you. Not too far in the distance a small house surrounded by trees, holding a family in the kitchen cooking butternut squash. Two cats asleep on the lap of a child while another sat on the dog. This is the place you loved family. The world span around and we were beside a tree with a hammock hanging from it, two children inside while the others tried to shake them out. I watched for a while then the world spun around again and we came to a pond. All the children were up to their waists trying to find frogs. Walking in Sunday dresses while dead worms squelched beneath their feet, and they played in the barn. Two sisters waking up in a camper made fresh tea and toast. This is where you learned sisterhood. Everyone sat gardening and the sunflowers were ten feet tall and we made houses out of them. You ate raspberries and strawberries and dug in the mud chased each other around all covered in mud. This was your home. This field is the one you dream about every night since you left. The one you long to run in every day and leaving this place broke you. This is the place you miss so much. This is where you came alive and never regretted anything and this, this moment right here was when you broke. Your demons are the memories you hold onto, so tight you can't breath you miss it. You keep suppressing the memories so you don't have to burst out in flames. Am I supposed to let go? No. You are supposed to hold on even tighter and know they miss you too.
Shared with the permission of the authors sister - Raine Sillito
The stories and content shared in this series are authored by individuals who have generously chosen to share their lived experiences with grief. All writings and narratives published in this series are the sole expressions and perspectives of the respective authors.
I encourage readers to practice self-compassion and self-care when engaging with the content, recognizing that some narratives may evoke strong emotions. Discretion is advised, and readers are responsible for their emotional well-being while consuming the stories.
Thank you for being part of this compassionate and understanding community, where stories of grief, resilience, and hope come together to foster healing and connection.