Manicures & Missing Her

April 11, 2023

I’m getting my nails painted a shade of lavender that my mom would love. Purple was her favorite color. I’m spending the day getting ready for an event and trip that signifies a huge milestone in my life. I’m still in shock at how my dreams are unfolding and coming true. It makes me miss her with an intensity that cannot be ignored. I feel the grief of it all deep in my bones. 

Later today I’ll venture to some local boutiques to try and find the perfect dress, something fancier than the ones that hang in my closet. It will be the first dress I’ve had to pick out without her. She hand-selected my wedding dress and every prom dress I ever wore, which was three. She always had a way of knowing my body and my taste better than I did. I’m already dreading trying to shop for one without her, which is probably why I’ve been waiting until the last minute to do so.

I ache for my mother in new ways, still, even after nearly six years of her passing. Moments like this pop up and leave me in a puddle of tears and an internal tsunami of grief. Everyone around me tries to remind me that my mother is still here, simply in a way I cannot see or comprehend. And I believe them, I truly do. But also, selfishly, I want her here in the traditional way. I want her here like the mothers sitting beside their daughters at the nail salon or zipping up their dresses at the mall. I want her here, beside me in ways I can both see and feel, in ways that are undeniable. 

No matter how intense the grief becomes, I will not wallow in my pain and grief. I will not let the heartbreak of my mother’s absence eliminate the joy and celebration of the big things to come. Instead, I will remember that most of the things happening wouldn’t be a reality without her influence, her legacy, and as harsh as it is, her absence. I only began writing after her passing. I only began dreaming big after her death taught me the fragility of life. I only began truly living boldly and intentionally after I realized how quickly things can change and how unexpectedly those we love can be stolen from us. Everything I am and will become is because of her and her greatness. That reality helps soothe the sting of grief. 

Today with the sun shining, my newly manicured hands, and tears streaming down my face, I’ll head to my next errand in preparation for my celebratory event. I’ll pray I feel my mother’s love and her influence. I’ll pray she can see it all. I’ll pray she knows it’s all possible because of her and her unwavering belief in me.

And I’ll try on dresses without her because I have to.

And I’ll find one that I’d hope she’d like.

And I’ll show up to my milestone celebration, hoping I’m making her proud.

And I’ll miss her like I always do.

xox, Chels

1 comments so far.

One response to “Manicures & Missing Her”

  1. Jane Miles says:

    My Mum passed away September 2021 your words are the first I’ve read that connect with my pain, loss and grief. Thank you xx

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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.

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