Today I posted this picture, sharing exciting news. A cheesy and fun picture telling my Facebook friends that I just finished my first semester of graduate school with a 4.0! A hard-earned and strenuous accomplishment that I set for myself.
I posted that picture for reasons most didn’t know, and reasons most wouldn’t understand.
Not to brag.
Not to gloat.
Not to boast.
Not to be conceited or vain.
I typed those celebratory words through tears because they were the second choice of sharing. My first choice was my mother, an impossible share, an impossible reach. Success is different when it can’t be shared with someone you love. Success is different without your mother.
I desperately wanted to call my mother and share the news with her. I wanted to joyfully tell her my hard work paid off and I achieved the difficult goal I set for myself. I wanted to hear her say “I’m so proud of you, but not at all surprised.” The thing she always said when I did something great. She was predictable in the most heartfelt way. Her words always made me feel loved and noticed.
Tears flowed and emotions were in overdrive the minute reality crept in and reminded me that my mother is gone. Lost to a place I can’t contact to share my news. As the joy and pride faded, the grief started to fill my heart and mind. In an effort to persuade the pride to stay, and the ache to remain contained, I turned to Facebook.
I shared to keep my mind proud of the accomplishment. To keep the feeling of success a little bit longer. To deny the harsh emotion, and intently keep the happiness. When you no longer have your biggest cheerleader and your #1 fan, your accomplishments feel different. They become clouded with longing, in the midst of the joy and success.
Success is different when you can’t share it with your biggest fan.
Success is different when you no longer have your biggest supporter.
Success is different when the one you strive to make proud is no longer here.
When you see someone succeed, when you see someone win, score, or prevail, cheer for them. Acknowledge them and celebrate with them. They might be aching for the positive reinforcement of someone that no longer remains.
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.