Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

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. 

RELATED: A Love Letter From Mamas in Heaven to Their Beautiful Daughters on Earth

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. 

RELATED: For As Long As We Love, We Grieve

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.

RELATED: When Time Doesn’t Fix your Grief

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

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller is well-known for her blog, Happiness, Hope and Harsh Realities. She has written for multiple platforms such as Her View from Home, Love What Matters, and Scary Mommy. She has had essays featured in two Chicken Soup for the Soul collections, as well as the national bestseller So God Made a Mother. Her first book will be released August 2024. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and three children. Website: www.hopeandharshrealities.com Instagram Handle: hopeandharshrealities Facebook: @hopeandharshrealities 

The Last Text I Sent Said “I Love You”

In: Friendship, Grief, Living
Soldier in dress uniform, color photo

I’ve been saying “I love you” a lot recently. Not because I have been swept off my feet. Rather, out of a deep appreciation for the people in my life. My children, their significant others, and friends near and far. I have been blessed to keep many faithful friendships, despite the transitions we all experience throughout our lives.  Those from childhood, reunited high school classmates, children of my parent’s friends (who became like family), and those I met at college, through work and shared activities. While physical distance has challenged many of these relationships, cell phones, and Facebook have made...

Keep Reading

I Obsessed over Her Heartbeat Because She’s My Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and teen daughter with ice cream cones, color photo

I delivered a stillborn sleeping baby boy five years before my rainbow baby. I carried this sweet baby boy for seven whole months with no indication that he wouldn’t live. Listening to his heartbeat at each prenatal visit until one day there was no heartbeat to hear. It crushed me. ”I’m sorry but your baby is dead,” are words I’ll never be able to unhear. And because of these words, I had no words. For what felt like weeks, I spoke only in tears as they streamed down my cheeks. But I know it couldn’t have been that long. Because...

Keep Reading

We’re Walking the Road of Twin Loss Together

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and son walk along beach holding hands

He climbed into our bed last week, holding the teddy bear that came home in his twin brother’s hospital grief box almost 10 years earlier. “Mom, I really miss my brother. And do you see that picture of me over there with you, me and his picture in your belly? It makes me really, really sad when I look at it.” A week later, he was having a bad day and said, “I wish I could trade places with my brother.” No, he’s not disturbed or mentally ill. He’s a happy-go-lucky little boy who is grieving the brother who grew...

Keep Reading

Until I See You in Heaven, I’ll Cherish Precious Memories of You

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler girl with bald head, color photo

Your memory floats through my mind so often that I’m often seeing two moments at once. I see the one that happened in the past, and I see the one I now live each day. These two often compete in my mind for importance. I can see you in the play of all young children. Listening to their fun, I hear your laughter clearly though others around me do not. A smile might cross my face at the funny thing you said once upon a time that is just a memory now prompted by someone else’s young child. The world...

Keep Reading

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

To the Healthcare Workers Who Held My Broken Heart

In: Grief, Loss
Baby hat with hospital certificate announcing stillbirth, color photo

We all have hard days at work. Those days that push our physical, mental, and emotional limits out of bounds and don’t play fair. 18 years ago, I walked into an OB/GYN emergency room feeling like something was off, just weeks away from greeting our first child. As I reflect on that day, which seems like a lifetime ago and also just yesterday, I find myself holding space for the way my journey catalyzed a series of impossibly hard days at work for some of the people who have some of the most important jobs in the world. RELATED: To...

Keep Reading

I Loved You to the End

In: Grief, Living
Dog on outdoor chair, color photo

As your time on this earth came close to the end, I pondered if I had given you the best life. I pondered if more treatment would be beneficial or harmful. I pondered if you knew how much you were loved and cherished As the day to say goodbye grew closer, I thought about all the good times we had. I remembered how much you loved to travel. I remembered how many times you were there for me in my times of darkness. You would just lay right next to me on the days I could not get out of...

Keep Reading

I Hate What the Drugs Have Done but I Love You

In: Grief, Living
Black and white image of woman sitting on floor looking away with arms covering her face

Sister, we haven’t talked in a while. We both know the reason why. Yet again, you had a choice between your family and drugs, and you chose the latter. I want you to know I still don’t hate you. What I do hate is the drugs you always seem to go back to once things get too hard for you. RELATED: Love the Addict So Hard it Hurts Speaking of hard, I won’t sugarcoat the fact that being around you when you’re actively using is so hard. Your anger, your manipulation, and your deceit are too much for me (or anyone around you) to...

Keep Reading

Giving Voice to the Babies We Bury

In: Grief, Loss
Woman looking up to the sky, silhouette at sunset

In the 1940s, between my grandmother’s fourth child and my father, she experienced the premature birth of a baby. Family history doesn’t say how far along she was, just that my grandfather buried the baby in the basement of the house I would later grow up in. This was never something I heard my grandmother talk about, and it was a shock to most of us when we read her history. However, I think it’s indicative of what women for generations have done. We have buried our grief and not talked about the losses we have experienced in losing children through...

Keep Reading