Home design, new towels, kitchen trinkets and tears of grief was not quite what I had in mind when I went shopping this week.

Grief is a funny thing. Not in the ‘ha-ha’ funny kind of way. But rather, in the way it can creep into your daily space when you least expect it to.

Turns out, a moment of deeply missing my mother; her essence, her habits, the small things which seemed to bring her joy – came cascading over me in the most unlikely of moments – standing in a check-out line.

Not just any line, but the one inside a HomeGoods store. You know the type – where the company deliberately snakes you through rows of little trinkets and items you probably don’t need, but they all look so cute and adorable you simply must add them to your cart? After all, you have BIG plans for redecorating your home!

The cute napkins, ring holders, vases, dishtowels, candles, note cards, bags of caramel corn and the like. Who hasn’t grabbed a few of those over the years?

In that moment of looking at all the brightly colored ‘stuff,’ I just wanted to cry. I was transported back to when my mother was still independent and self-sufficient. When she could make a trip to HomeGoods on her own. Of watching her look at and fiddle with all the little kitschy stuff for sale.

I would typically roll my eyes and think to myself, ‘Why does she need any of this stuff? She has enough already…?’

Roll the clock forward to no longer having my mother, and standing in that line looking at all the ‘stuff’ for sale that almost no one really needs… brought me to the brink of tears. It took me back to the final months of my mother’s life.

Awaiting the end…

When you are a family caregiver to an elderly parent, the thought of death is never far from your consciousness. At least that was the case for me.

In the final year of my mother’s life as I watched her health and physical body decline, I tried to prepare myself as much as possible for that eventuality.

When the inevitable did happen, losing my mother shook me. How could it not? Miss Nellie passed in September, 2020.

As shared in an earlier blog post, I tend to be a ‘get it done’ kind of person, therefore in the weeks after Miss Nellie passed, I focused on handling items that needed doing:

  • Closing personal accounts
  • Notifying extended friends & family
  • Alerting doctors’ offices to cancel upcoming appointments
  • Sending ‘thank you’ cards to people who had helped us along the way
  • Canceling magazine subscriptions
  • Disposing of personalized name & address labels

What does OKAY look like?

Over the years friends and acquaintances have told me they view my nature as “having it all together.” So even when rough waters swirl through, they assume I’m okay.

To answer the question.. yes, I’m okay. Since Miss Nellie’s death, the drive to share more information, raise awareness and help others remains strong.

The launch of this blog and the evolution of the Keeping it REAL Caregiving newsletter, home at Meta Bulletin is my way of channeling any sad energy into something positive. That doesn’t always mean I’m operating at 100%. It means I believe something positive should come from my caregiving experiences.


Yes, there are days when it just won’t all come together. I ask myself, is this what delayed grief looks and feels like?


Are there moments when that type of emotional wave has swept over you and how did you process the feelings? Would love to hear from you about your techniques for facing your feelings and ways you have coped. Let’s share our experiences as a way to heal AND help others!

Until next time,