As temperatures drop, fierce winds strip limbs bare revealing vulnerability, dimension and honesty.

Geese overhead parade the sky with their horn section playing that familiar tune of change. Their echoes – soon distant – resonate melancholy across the barren sky.

This passing gets me.

Please stay longer. I can’t be the only one haunted by loss?

Leaning into the echo, I adjust the lens of my present to see what remains after five years without you.

How did so many memories vanish?

I remember the year-one mark. The bittersweet absence of you was so tangible – my chest heaved in pain and was only comforted as I buried myself in the heaping pile of our memories together. Memories so vivid – gripping me through daily sensory reminders – summoned by subtle changes reflected in the weather, the rituals of autumn and the coming of Christmas.

Now it is different.

Now I chase these leaves. Looking for traces of our time together.
I want to nestle in them and find you there. I find only handfuls lined with your signature, along with a few precious and delicate ones I have pressed into the book that sits at my bedside.

I take pause now because I miss you.

I tell myself: Things change. We’re good.

Better than we were right after you died. Better than we were at the one-year mark; the two, the three, and the four.

But… is this moving on?
Do we ever have a choice?

Why does moving on feel like leaving you? I would never leave you. Heart of my heart, you are in my flock.

Five years ago we shared this death season. You were dying, while I was dissolving.

Now I’m here. At times – feeling transparent – nearly invisible – questioning my existence and observing that the past keeps leaving and that the only real refuge is found taking rest in the swaying hammock of the ever-changing present.

Where have you been?
I suspect somewhere holy in the expanse of space, stillness and peace because whenever I find myself there, I stop looking.

Perhaps the only offering worthy of your love now (the devotion that I promised you) is in my capacity to remain here, nearly translucent, in this moment – open, receptive and alert.

Can I fully entrust the enormous love I house for you to this precarious now-scape?

Will I find you here?
Will I be able to see the hue of your colour bleed through the painting of my experience?

I’m still dissolving.

But unlike five years ago, I find myself trusting more.

I’m sitting now with a memory of you in your final days–
As you laboured to breathe, your long stare, your full eyelashes occasionally nodding with infinite trust – reassuring me of something – something I am just beginning to understand…
– stay here.


Emily Jelliffe is a mother & writer who loves freedom, connection, dancing & nature. Emily’s son Seymour, died in 2013. She writes about loss, presence and living mindfully with a vulnerable open heart. You can follow her blog at giveonepause.com