Oh sweet child, I watch as you tell people I am gone. I know it’s your delicate way of saying I have died but what you don’t realize is that your statement couldn’t be further from the truth. While it seems this way, I promise you I am not gone. I never was. In all honesty, I never truly left completely. While pieces of me drifted to eternity, portions of me stayed right here with you, never leaving. The most meaningful pieces of who I was and who I am are right there inside of you, without the possibility of ever going anywhere.
I listen as you say I am gone with tears in your eyes and a completely broken heart and I wish you could feel me right here beside you. I love you with an intensity that would never allow me to leave you alone. I can’t show up for you anymore in the way you wished, and the way I did before, but beautiful girl, I am by your side forever. I promise.
While I left my body behind and all of my pain, I got to keep the pride, the love and all of the beauty from the life I lived. It’s the most glorious thing, more brilliant than anything anyone ever taught me about eternity and heaven. While I can’t see and hear everything you do, it’s like a spark lights and fireworks prance across eternity every time you think of me or say my name. I can always tell if you’re reminiscing with hope or sorrow for the colors of the illuminations change with your emotion. On the days you think of me and smile my space is filled with undeniable radiance, on the days you think of me in pain, the sparkle is dimmer but still breathtaking. My hope for you is that one day the only way you will think of me is through love and light and hope.
I wish I could take your pain and your longing, just like mine was taken from me but that’s not how life works. That’s how eternity works, and while it’s captivating and perfect, I don’t want you here for a very long time. I want you to enjoy the pricelessness of what remains. I want you to live out your dreams and pursue some of your wildest adventures. I want you to make a legacy for yourself, not just work to extend mine. I want you to live a life you love, not just one I’m proud of, because I’m already proud. I always have been. I want you to live, beautiful girl. Truly live, not just get by with each passing day.
Sure, you will grieve and you will hurt, but don’t let those things pause your living or your purpose. You have so much to keep stepping forward into. I know it’s different since I’m not stepping with you, but what you can’t see is that I’m the one paving this new road you find yourself on. I’m trying to pave it as delicately as I can, filling it with everything you deserve and as few bumps as possible, but I’m not the only one building it. All you have to do is keep stepping, even on your hard days. Keep looking around, even when you’ve crumbled to your knees. I’m sending you so much love from afar and I’m constantly releasing signs of my presence. If you pay attention, you’ll know the ones sent just for you. Keep looking.
So, my sweet girl, next time you find yourself telling people I’m gone, change your words and your perspective. Tell them I’m anything but gone. You don’t have to use words that feel too harsh or too difficult. All I ask is that you don’t say gone. My fear is that you’ll say it so much that eventually you’ll start to believe it’s true, and it cannot nor will it ever be true. I love you too much for that.
I’m not gone. I love you beyond the moon and the stars because I love you from eternity, and there is no greater love than that. Trust me.
Written by Chelsea Ohlemiller.
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.