I’m sitting here, in a vacant aisle at the grocery store, crying.
Somehow the contents of my cart made shopping unbearable. The representation of upcoming holidays and upcoming traditions was overwhelmingly evident. Somehow the items of this shopping cart have me aching for my mother. Yearning for her in yet another new and unexpected way.
Suddenly my to-do list resembles the one she used to have. My recipes and ingredients list are hers. Somehow I’ve become the filler of her shoes, the person that has to continue the traditions without her. It’s an impossible job and an impossible ask.
I’m usually prepared for these types of episodes. If nothing else, I can typically muster through my to-do list and control the crying until I’ve locked myself inside my car, alone.
No matter what they say, it does not get easier the longer she’s gone. It just gets painful in different ways. Each year it seems the pain transforms into something new.
I can still see her standing in the kitchen in her favorite green t-shirt and mismatched pajama pants. Cooking away, making the kitchen smell of deliciousness. She made it look so simple.
That’s why this silly shopping cart left me in a puddle of tears. I can buy the ingredients. I can attempt to recreate her recipes and her plans. But the magic of her is missing, because she is. That’s not something you can recreate with chicken broth and noodles.
Soon, I’ll pick myself up off of aisle 14 and pull myself together. I’ll make my way to the checkout. I’ll pay and go on my way. Things will keep going, the grocery list will be completed, but sadly this ache will remain.
This emptiness will stay with me.
Today a simple trip to the store wrecked havoc on my heart. That is grief. It’s proof of love that is missed.
If you ever find yourself crying in an aisle of the supermarket, or another unexpected place, please know you’re not alone. We’ve been there, tearful and aching and wishing things were different.
Instead of being ashamed of the emotion that flows from you, feel blessed you were loved beautifully enough to house emotion this big.
Once I wipe these tears away and pick myself up off this supermarket aisle, that’s what I’m going to do.
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.