Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a cemetery visit with my mother. It was empty and calm. The ideal scene for a heartfelt chat with the headstone that decorates my mother’s final resting place. The cement is hot to the touch, so I grab a chair from the car and get comfortable for the one-sided conversation. 

I stare at the picture that has been engraved on her stone. It’s beautiful. I’m glad we chose to add this sentiment. It makes these conversations easier because with each word, I’m staring straight at the face of the most beautiful woman I’ve known. 

RELATED: Life without My Mother

As the first words slip out of my mouth, so do the tears. They flow freely. Here, at this spot, they always do. I let my heart pour out. I cry. I give life updates. I ask questions, begging to hear an answer. I sit in front of her grave, with the fierce sun shining down on me, and emotionally say, “Mom, are you proud of me? Do you like what you see? I am different than when you left. Can you see us? Are you OK?”

As the questions and statements rush from my mouth and the tears rush from my eyes, my emotions are interrupted by a change in sound and atmosphere. I can hear the soft sound of a car engine. Through wet eyes, I see a red car parked close to me. I hold my head down as the tears continue to drip, trying to hide the emotion that is seeping out of me. As I hear the sound of a door open and close, I look up, curious about the other visitors that have come.

I look up to see an angel walking towards me. The kind of angel that is real, and the kind you know.

This angel was my mother’s neighbor and the closest kind of friend you could be without being blood relatives. She walks towards me, arms open, and embraces me like she understands exactly what I need. I let her. This hug has a healing effect on my heart and my mind, instantly and without effort. Before I can say anything, she says . . .

“I drove by and thought that was you. I felt compelled to turn around. My heart told me to come here. I have to tell you, your mother is so proud of you. She is so incredibly proud of you, and she’s happy. I hope you know and believe that. She is happy where she is and free of pain. It’s complicated, but she is watching and smiling and happy.”

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

Those words. Every single one of them was an answer to questions I had just been asking. At a moment like this, it is hard to deny a higher power. My mother is no longer here, but she’s working beautifully through other people.

She keeps showing up in unexpected and priceless ways. Ways that provide my heart joy in the midst of sorrow. 

I hugged my visitor tightly and told her the undeniable power of her visit. I told her the power of her unique love and support. I told her the power of light and hope in her message. This simple visit and conversation provided hope and healing that would carry me through the next wave of grief that knocks me down. 

RELATED: For As Long As We Love, We Grieve

She smiles with tears in her eyes and leaves. As I watch her car slip further away, exiting the cemetery, I plop my emotional self back in my chair. I glance at the headstone, and as my tears slow, I giggle. I smile and look up at the sky and say, “Thanks, Mom! I get it. You’re here. Still answering my questions, still helping me through it all . . . one person at a time.”

Originally published on the author’s blog

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Chelsea Ohlemiller

Wife, mother, and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is married to the love of her life and is the mother to three beautiful and spunky children. Chelsea’s mother always encouraged her to write. In 2017 when she tragically lost her mother to cancer she decided to honor her mother's wishes and write. It was one of the best decisions she's ever made. She know owns the website Happiness, Hope & Harsh Realities, a space dedicated to encouraging others experiencing grief and loss. Website: www.hopeandharshrealities.com Instagram Handle: hopeandharshrealities Facebook: @hopeandharshrealities 

My Mother Raised Me To Go On Without Her

In: Grief, Grown Children
Mother and grown daughter smiling in selfie

“The kids are spending the night at Grandma’s, and I’m eyeballs deep in Fritos while catching up on all my trash TV shows.” “I had to rush my son to urgent care, but thankfully my mom was able to stay with the three other kiddos while I took care of him.”  “I feel so lost when it comes to homeschooling; thankfully, my mom did it too, so she’s been an amazing guide to have.” To most people, these sentences might seem like wonderful, blessed bits of praise from a daughter about her mother, but to me, they’re like daggers straight...

Keep Reading

Dear Loss Mom, Grieve Your Baby In Heaven Without Guilt

In: Baby, Grief, Loss

My third baby was due on October 19, 2019. Instead, she was born into heaven on March 24, 2019. Not only do I grieve her more in October than in other months because of her due date, but I also grieve for so many other parents who have also lost their children.  RELATED: A Letter To My Mama From Your Baby In Heaven Pregnancy loss is such a strange journey to walk through. I’m years into it, and there are still days when the grief hits and the tears come and I can’t breathe. On other days, I am so...

Keep Reading

My Sister and I Return To Childhood To Grieve Our Mother

In: Grief
Two women, sitting on swings, color photo

“Grief is itself a medicine,” William Cowper. Everyone processes grief differently. The day after our mother’s death, my sister and I began our grief journey and took up swinging. Not that kind of swinging, Heaven forbid! No. What we chose instead was the weightless, transformational lightness of being that only a tried and true piece of playground equipment can supply.  That morning my sister and I waited rather anxiously for hospice (blessed hospice!) to pick up that wretched hospital bed. We wanted it gone, banished from our sight forever. When the truck carrying the bed and other supplies disappeared down...

Keep Reading

She Was Just a Dog…and So Much More

In: Grief, Living
Young woman in car with dog, same woman years later with dog, color photo

She was just a dog. One of my least favorite sayings is “it’s just a dog” when people comment on how much we love our pets—be it a dog, cat, lizard, chicken, hamster, etc. They’re not wrong . . . Harley was “just” a dog. One random spring morning I asked my mom if I could get a dog of my own. She was working and sick of the phone calls. She said I just had to ask dad. Well, we already had two dogs, so I didn’t have high hopes. Cue dad. He was just about to lie down to take...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Had the Chance to Be Friends with My Mom

In: Grief, Motherhood
Portrait shot of woman, color photo

Dear Mom, I never got the chance to appreciate you as a mother. There was so much life still to do. And not just the big milestones. I’m talking about the parts when daughters grow into mothers themselves and have the chance to appreciate their moms for everything they did for them. The chance to get to know their own mother as a person instead of just a parent. You left this earth soon after I became I mother myself. And now I sit here and think back on memories of you from when I was growing up. And, oh,...

Keep Reading

The Faith and Fear of Trying for a Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Pregnant woman sitting on living room floor

When we decided to start a family we dove in head first. After having been together for five years and married for a year, we were ready. It was September when we decided to give it a go. By mid-December, I took a test. My first positive pregnancy test. I had a life growing inside me! I’ll never forget my husband’s smile when I told him. We embraced and cried together. We couldn’t believe it could be this easy. The next few weeks consisted of a wave of pregnancy symptoms and before I knew it, we were going to the...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

I Should Be Picking You up from School Today

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sad with eyes closed

I would have cried.  I see the line of cars in the school pick-up line, and my heart is hit with grief, love, and wistfulness all at the same time.  You, sweet boy, should be there, waiting for me to pick you up.   I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone over it in my mind. Your first day of preschool. I’ve thought about your outfit—little jeans and a hoodie with a ball cap. Would you be into superheroes? What backpack would you want? I would’ve taken you school shopping, picking out all the supplies you’d need. And...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading

Grieving the Baby You Never Got To Know Doesn’t Make You Weak

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Man and woman embrace outside

It seems like almost a lifetime ago that I looked down at my first positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe that it happened so fast. My husband and I had just passed one month of marriage, and there we were expecting a baby. I remember how elated we both were and full of gratefulness.  After we told a small group of close friends and family, the bleeding started. “No . . . this can’t be,” I thought. Not our baby. Not me. I Googled so many things and found reassurance in the fact that some women bleed through their pregnancies....

Keep Reading