There’s No Shame in Staying in One Place

Whatever small desire I had to travel died with my daughter.

Jacqueline Dooley
Grief Book Club
Published in
8 min readMay 28, 2024

--

Ana in London — All Photos by Author

At some point after my daughter died, I stopped caring about traveling. In the last year of Ana’s life, she’d been planning a trip to Portland, Oregon with her cousin. She wanted to go on that trip so badly, but that was the year her cancer finally outran its treatment. Ultimately, it was too much of a risk for her to travel across the country. It just about broke her heart.

The stark pain of Ana’s disappointment has stayed with me all these years. I feel bitter when I think about what that trip meant to Ana and how I couldn’t make it happen for her.

Her disappointment settled into my soul and I stopped wanting to travel. It just hurt too much to plan a trip anywhere, because all Ana ever wanted to do was live and see the world. Whatever small desire I had to experience adventure and far away places died with Ana. I let it simply drift away.

Photo from my walk on April 13, 2021

Sometimes the urge to travel still strikes me, though it’s rare and faint and easy to ignore. I wonder about leaving home for a while, abandoning familiarity so that I can explore someplace…

--

--

Jacqueline Dooley
Grief Book Club

Essayist, content writer, bereaved parent. Bylines: Human Parts, GEN, Marker, OneZero, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Pulse, HuffPost, Longreads, Modern Loss