Fragile Memories

February 17, 2022

I close my eyes and I can easily remember what it feels like to be hugged by her and warmed by her love. If I keep my eyes closed and take a deep breath I can still remember the way she smelled of cake batter and crispy bacon. I can remember the wrinkles on her hands and the way she would laugh when something was really funny. 

If I close my eyes really tightly, take a deep breath and think of all the beautiful memories I can almost transport myself back to those times, when she was still here.

I hope I always remember her this vividly and this fiercely. I hope I never forget these priceless things that made her so one-of-a-kind, the things that made her feel like only mine. The things that make mothers so beautiful and delicate and perfect. 

As I open my eyes, I stand here in my empty living room taking it in that those are just memories and not actual realities anymore. I’m fearful that as the years go on my memory will dim. I could never forget her but what if I start forgetting the small things. What if I start forgetting the little details and then the bigger details. What if I start forgetting the finite things and then eventually that leads to forgetting important things. 

That is my biggest fear in grief, that somehow the pain will erase some of the details.

I’m mad at myself for even thinking this way because I know I could never forget all of the things that made her special and mine. I know I could never forget the type of mother she was and the things that she did. I know that I could never forget her but grief has me worried that maybe I’m not in control. 

Maybe memories are just as fragile as life is. 

I don’t have to try very hard to envision her and all of her glory and radiance. But what if one day I do. What if one day I have to work really hard to remember her laugh, her smile, the way she hugged me, and the way she made me feel like I was the most important person on earth. What if one day I have to work so hard not to forget, even though I told myself every day that I absolutely could never forget. 

As I start to be filled with stress and anxiety about things in the future and worry about memories that could evaporate into thin air, I quickly remind myself that I am stronger than this grief and this pain and this experience. I was made in her love and her influence and her light, which means that those memories are solidified by all of those things too. You cannot lose things that are ingrained into the very being of who you are. You cannot lose things that are attached to you permanently and my mother and her influence and her legacy are those things.

Life is fragile and memories are too, but fragile means delicate and vulnerable. It doesn’t mean non-existent. When grief tries to show up and create fear, anxiety and worry I will quickly push it down and remind it who is in charge. I am. Her daughter. The woman she created. 

She is unforgettable. While details may fade and memories might shrink, her love and life’s influence will not. I could never forget her and all that she was. You simply cannot forget the person who created you.

xox, Chels

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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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