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. 

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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.”

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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. 

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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

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