It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining with such intensity I find myself squinting. Every time I venture to my mother’s grave, the sun shines so brightly it’s nearly blinding. Call it coincidence or call it a sign from the heavens, either way, the sunshine and warmth are comforting. 

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I sit there on the hard concrete, the blacktop road that borders my mother’s grave. I sit there, staring at her smiling face. The one that is engraved on her headstone. The one that is engraved on my heart. I talk. I pray. I look around at all of the other memorials.

Statues of loss scattered around this land as visual reminders of the people we loved so well. 

I find myself glancing at the huge tree that can be seen from my familiar spot. I stare in wonder. 

Inquisitive of how many people this tree must have seen come and go. Full of tears, full of love, full of heartbreak. How many families have come under this tree to spill their heart and soul? This tree has probably seen and heard immense heartbreak over the years, yet it still stands. Stronger than ever, and soaking up the sun with each passing moment. 

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I watch the cars go by. Always wondering if they notice me. Do they notice the tearful visitors they pass? Do they wonder who we’re visiting and why they’ve landed here? Do they count their blessings as they pass this morbid reminder of life and death? Do they notice me, like I notice them, and wonder?

I look at all the flowers and love tokens scattered among the headstones and resting places of the ones we’ve lost.

So much love is scattered here. When I look around this place, I see immense loss, but I also see the abundance of love that still remains. So many pieces of love that decorate this place of sadness. Have you ever noticed how much love can be found at a cemetery? Once you notice it, it cannot be unseen. It’s beautiful. It’s priceless.

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I sit here, in this spot, on the hard ground, feeling so many emotions. The stillness of this place is both captivating and intriguing. It has a way of making your mind wander to new perspectives and new emotions. 

This place, this cemetery, this land that houses the forever lost, is a place that uniquely provides both comfort and sorrow.

It’s a place I’m slowly learning to appreciate. So, I sit here with tearful eyes, soaking up the sun and the emotion that fills me. I’ll stay a bit longer until I’m ready to stand again and say another goodbye

I’ll leave tearful, as I always do, but as I get up, I know the sun will follow me. I’ll feel the wind grace my arms, and I’ll feel wrapped in love and comfort, and I’ll know it’s from all of the people we visit here. It’s their whisper of “thank you” for visiting and for loving them so well, even in their death. 

Previously published on the author’s blog

Chelsea Ohlemiller

Wife, mother, and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is married to the love of her life, Justin. She’s the mother to three beautiful and spunky children. She has a deep love of teaching and has always enjoyed helping inspire students. She is a Ball State graduate but an Indiana University Hoosier at heart. Chelsea’s mother always encouraged her to write. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. She decided to honor her mother's wishes and write. It was one of the best decisions she's ever made. Website: www.hopeandharshrealities.com Instagram Handle: hopeandharshrealities Facebook: @hopeandharshrealities