Going Home.


The last time I went to visit your grave was two years ago. That Michigan summer was cool and rainy, the evening overcast and humid. I drove alone to the cemetery with a potted plant to place beside your headstone. But when I got out of the car I was greeted by a thick cloud of mosquitoes. Even through my jacket and leggings I could feel their stings. Frustrated, I turned around and dashed back into the car. I stared at the plot from my window for a few minutes before I turned the key in the ignition and drove away slowly.

Dad got married that summer. Jacob got married later that fall. We went home at Christmas but I didn’t come back to your graveside then either. It was a long time before I went home again. I said it was because we were trying to save money, and because we had too many other obligations. It’s not untrue, it’s just not the only truth.

The truth is you can never go home again.


It’s a breezy morning in April when I finally come back. The Monday after Easter. It’s my first trip home in a long time. We don’t stay in the house where I grew up. We don’t have the same big family gathering for holidays anymore. There are different places and new people and a whole life that we never imagined living when you left us, most of it good but all of it bittersweet.

I plant a tulip beside you.

The tears I thought weren’t there are on my cheeks suddenly, as if they never left me.

I am not fine.

I am fine.

The thing I thought would eat me alive has not, but I feel every tiny sting.

I come to you a version of myself that I’m not sure either of us recognize, but I’m all me just the same.

Hi, Mom. I missed you.

  • Elise

    Hi Bethany,
    The reason I’m writing a comment here is to thank you for your reply on my comment on Cup of Jo. You wrote “I still found myself doing very adult things when I was very NOT prepared to do them” and “almost no one my age understands why I am the way that I am, because they’ve never been through this end-of-life stuff. You’re not alone.”. I read your reply with tears in my eyes, because it really hit home.
    The hardest part of grieving so far has been the misunderstanding of people who haven’t experienced the loss of a parent. People who don’t understand how difficult it is and has been to be in charge of a funeral and to have to go through their bills, legal stuff and their personal belongings. As you said, they aren’t things someone in their 20s should have to do or go through.
    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. Over the past year I have been looking for understanding from people who’ve been in a similar situation. Thanks to Joanna’s post and comments like yours I no longer feel so alone in all of this.
    Lots of love to you!

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Elise, I’m so glad you found my blog and commented! Especially since I realized after I posted it that I misread your name and wrote “Elisha” instead of “Elise” in my comment, and couldn’t fix it after I submitted it. Sorry about that! Thanks for not holding that against me, haha.

      Anyway, so glad my comment was comforting to you. Feel free to email me if you ever need to vent or commiserate over the particular grief of losing a parent so young. I’m always here. Email address is shewritesandrights @ gmail dot com.


    Sorry for your loss, Bethany. I certainly know how you feel cause I also lost my mum to ovarian cancer.
    That aside, your poem is great.