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. I held both together, even though they are opposites that don’t make sense together– one contradicting the other. Grief is messy like that.
I was lost, while believing she had been found. I was broken, while believing she was being freed from disease and pain and all the earthly things that defeated her body. I was locked in a paralyzing grief, while believing she was soaring into eternity– joyful.
I was a woman without my mother. A woman I hadn’t known before– unrecognizable in both my outward appearance and all of the delicate makings of my heart and soul. I held things with a power that I’d never held before. Things like doubt and fear and anger. I no longer held things that I once held. Things like faith and trust and hope. I had gained things and left things behind, without choice or knowing. Grief is transformative like that.
I was different. Changed in such harsh ways, holding not only grief but also shame. I was betraying my beliefs because my mother’s death had challenged the foundation that I was built upon and created mistrust and pain like I’d never known existed.
I was motherless and faithless. Two things I never wanted to be. Two things that made me bitter and cynical and weak. Two things that made me afraid and embarrassed. Two things that made me question who I had suddenly become and what I’d suddenly changed belief in.
No one tells you about the raw elements of grief that shift your thinking and your faith. No one tells you the egregious ways your brain comprehends and explains things while holding immense loss and mourning.
I wish they would have so I’d have only felt the death of my mother and not my faith and self-acceptance too. I wish I would have known how common it is to know a bold faith before a significant loss and a shattered and hesitant one after it. I wish I would have known that it’s ok to challenge your faith, to question it, to sit with it and let it bend and break and rebuild.
Because it will rebuild.
I didn’t know grief could make you feel so alone and faithless. But it can. And it’s ok.
I didn’t know how grief can both destroy and reconstruct faith. But it can.
And while grief made me feel motherless and faithless at the beginning– neither of those things held constant. Neither held true.
I’m not motherless or faithless.
I hold a faith that has been redesigned by loss and love, which ended up being stronger than before. A faith my mother would be proud of, even with its challenges and imperfections.
And most beautifully, I honor my mother in heaven, whose love finds me even from eternity. A love that reminds me I can and never will be motherless.
And in the end, grief stays. It survives. But so does the love, and the hope, and the light. And so does the faith.
A 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.