Letter to Julia

By Emma Pearson

April 17, 2024

24 September 2019

Megan Devine prompt from Writing Your Grief: “Imagine writing a letter to the one you’ve lost: what would you show them in this new “home” town? Your world is entirely new, now. It’s not the same place it was before death entered your life and your home”.

I beg to differ, Ms Devine. This world, my world, our home is way too familiar. This world of absences and missing loved ones. Been there. Done that.

Julia, it’s not even three months since you died and in that time the house has barely changed. Hardly at all! There has been no permanent change.  Aside from your way too lengthy absence. Of course. (Hollow, bitter cackle, knowing that everything – absolutely everything has changed. Change is not just about the physical).

What has changed is that the sun doesn’t heat the house up quite as much. More dead leaves find their way into the hall. The heating kicks in from time to time. The windows are closed a little more often, for longer periods in any given 24-hour timeframe. Your bathroom is a quite a lot tidier. There are fewer cups lying around the house. There’s one less person sitting at the piano, singing and playing chords off a mobile phone. There’s no-one watching Netflix, or doing online schooling on the sofa. I get zero 2-5 second voicemails on whatsapp.

There is a PILE of dried rose petals that would make for a good-sized garden bonfire. Roses that were sent by friends or brought to your funeral. There is a pile of condolence cards in the kitchen, another one in my office, and another in my bedroom. The big bright pink book we had at your funeral for friends to write in is by my bed. Ceremony cards, postcards, piles of painted stones and other gifts and mementos lie gathering dust in the lounge because I cannot bring myself to deal with them. I am not sure I ever will.  

Your room is untouched and yet so different. Your bed is made. It’s tidier than it usually was. There are bags of belongings brought back from the teenage psychiatric centre that sit on the floor. So unchanged and so very different.

I don’t understand how so “normal” feels so abnormal. And how so “abnormal” feels so normal. I don’t get it. I don’t get any of it. The world is so very off-kilter.

Julia, please come home. I know daddy is not here but perhaps by now you know he didn’t have a choice in leaving us, in leaving you. Perhaps by now you know that you will see him again, be with him again, in another lifetime, decades from now.

Come back. Grace us with some more of your love, kindness, sparkle, creativity, humour, passion, skills, laughter.

Grace us, sweet Julia Grace.


About Emma Pearson

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