Riding a Roller Coaster in the Fog: Thoughts on Losing Your Mother

July 23, 2019
Written for Indianapolis Moms Blog. Originally published on March 7, 2018. Click HERE to see the original piece.

 I lost my mother in July. She was 57. I was forever changed that day. Grief is such a unique feeling. Such a unique space that no one can properly prepare you for. Someone told me today that grief is like riding a roller coaster in the thick fog: there will be extreme highs and extreme lows but you will not see them coming. This is the truest explanation of grief I’ve ever encountered.

You know there will be good days and bad days, just as you know there are dips in every roller coaster. What you don’t know is when they will hit, or what they will feel like. For each dip is unique and circumstantial.

     In grief, there will be reminders of joy, feeling blessed and thankful for the memories and moments you had with your loved one. There will be lows, the kind of roller coaster dip that sucks the air and life right out of you. Sadly, most of the time, you won’t see them coming because of the fog. The fog is the uncertainty, cloudiness, and heartbreak that is grief.

     You see, grief is unpredictable. The hurt and heartbreak isn’t, it remains a constant, but when it will surface is. It could be the smell of your mother’s perfume, the letters xoxo that were written on every card, the recipe that’s missing the secret ingredient that only she would know, the absence of her voice, the emptiness of her house, the way a stranger at the supermarket reminds you of her…it could be anything, anywhere, anytime. It’s unpredictable but it’s a reminder that there was love. For grief only exists where love lived first.

      After my mother’s passing, the best thing anyone told me was this: “You had your mother for 35 years and she passed too soon, but what I know is that she loved you more in those 35 years than most people get in a lifetime!” It stung because I wanted her for 95 years, not 35, but it was true. I knew I was lucky. I was blessed with the most amazing woman that has walked this earth, and she was my mother.

I’m still on the foggy roller coaster and will be forever, for grief doesn’t end but simple changes from season to season. Though the dips may eventually come less often, and the fog might thin a bit so that I can eventually predict some highs and lows, it’s a ride that will now become part of my journey. It’s not a journey I wanted, but I’ll accept it because it began from the purest love I’ve ever been given, the love of my mother. 

xox, Chels

In memory of my beautiful mother, Rita Estelle Stathers. xox
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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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