by Janelle Hanchett

Normally I don’t write my weekly Sunday post because I’m disorganized and insane and can’t pull it together. This week, however, I haven’t written because I don’t want to tell you about my week. Not because I don’t want to share – because we ALL know I’m a hopeless over-sharer – but rather, because for once, I’m without words. Well, almost without words.

I write when I have something to say. I write because something rolls in my head, around and around, until it ends somewhere. And when it ends, I know what I need to say. Even with those silly weekly posts, I know what I want to say.

But I don’t know what to say now. I’ve got no “message,” no “take away.” Not much of anything at all.

On Wednesday, a dear friend – one of those family members who aren’t family members – died in a car accident. To my children, he was a beloved uncle. To my husband, he was a best friend. To me, well, he was a man I knew well and cared about deeply for the last 11 years – revered highly – and absolutely adored for what he was in the lives of my in-laws and husband and children. The way he loved them. The way they loved him.

He was the one who never missed a birthday party, a family celebration, a barbeque. He was the one who never said “no I can’t help.” He was just.always.there.

Until now. Now he is gone.

His heart, it was huge. I see that heart right now. I miss who he was. Just him.

And so I’ve spent the week grieving with my children, watching them walk through this with the miraculous grace only a child possesses – so in the moment, so bravely, so unaffected and free. They play, eat, sleep, walk. And then they remember, cry, fold into each other’s arms, talk, remember. And then, they play again.

But I, I’m a little more stuck in my brain — I’ve got a story about it. I replay it and wonder why. I replay it and I want it to be different. I replay it and I my heart breaks for him, for being gone like this, and his daughter, and my in-laws and my husband and my kids, who have faced the intransience of life. Right now. So early.

I tell myself I need this to mean something. I tell myself I need to live. Now.


Finish the book I started writing, lose the last 20 pounds, apply to PhD programs I’ll “never get into.” Read the books gathering dust on my night stand. Spend time in an ashram. Live in Europe. Do some fucking yoga.

But it’s all so clichéd – that embrace life carpe diem bullshit after somebody dies – because what are the facts? The fact is this death will fade, this loss will drift into my past, my life will go on, and slowly, without my knowing, in will creep the illusion of security, the vast fallacy of permanence, the great human trick  – and I will buy it again, once more – the rabbit in the hat – becoming deluded, believing I know where I’m going to be tomorrow.

Assuming that I will “be”, at all, tomorrow.

Resting secure in the insane notion that I’ve got this life thing covered.

And then, I’ll start complaining again. Stressing about the lone $2.43 in my bank account. Agonizing about my prospects for finding a job when I’m done with school. Feeling the weight of the unfinished. Wondering how I’m failing my kids. Bitching at my mother. Cursing the halted traffic.

But for now, yeah, I’m free of that stuff, breathing a little deeper the air of this strange universe, welcoming the delta winds on my face, and my kids haven’t annoyed me in four days. Today, yes, I’m trembling in the joy and energy of existence, of my life.

Because it IS.

And so you see. I have no closure here, nothing to say. I’ve got no wit. Nothin’ clever up in here, today.

Just life, I guess.


May that always be enough.

And until we meet again, Uncle Jeffy, rest in sweet peace.


  • Not Blessed Mama

    Oh I’m so sorry love. <3

  • Jennifer

    I’m so sorry.

    And this was beautiful: “Today, yes, I’m trembling in the joy and energy of existence, of my life.”

  • Becky Oppedal

    I do know how your feeling, and I hope this comes out right, he will come to visit in your dreams, all of you will visit him often, and when he leaves your dream it will be through a door you can’t get to, or the car speeds off with him before you reach it. But here’s the thing, as long as your grieving so deeply, he won’t show up. He doesn’t want to cause pain to anyone. I’m just a messenger, and he wants to visit, so don’t freak out. Who has long blonde hair? God Bless, in love and light, Becky

  • Meagan Philpott

    I’m so sorry for your loss sweetie. Words usually cannot convey emotion at a time such as this, but you’ve managed to be eloquent, as always. Love and hugs to you and your family during this time.

  • Carrera

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Hope you and your family are doing okay.

  • Shelly G

    I’m sorry for your loss. <3 (hugs)

  • kim

    Wow. I am so sorry, friend. Thinking of you 🙂

  • Dawn

    Odd that something so sad can bring such peace isn’t it? (calm kids, reflection, etc.)