The Ache of a Photo. The Ache of a Memory.

June 24, 2020

She had been released from the hospital. Walking around outside on a beautiful day. Suddenly I felt compelled to squeeze close to her and take a picture. We both smiled as I quickly snapped a series of photos. 

This is one of those pictures

The last picture I would ever take with my mother. 

A picture that aches and leaves me motionless.

A picture that knocks the wind right out of me. Every. Single. Time.

It aches because I was clueless to the future. I had no idea the limit on the days that would remain. I had no idea the limit of picture taking, cuddling, conversing, or spending time together. I had no idea that the sand in her hourglass wouldn’t flip or fill. 

Maybe it was naive love and faith.

Maybe it was hopeful denial.

Either way, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have predicted the coming loss. 

Some memories pop up and bring joy.

Some bring sorrow, or tears, or heartbreak.

Some bring a smile and happiness.

And some simply take your breath away and leave you motionless in emotion.

This memory, this photo, is one of the latter. The kind that takes your breath and leaves you motionless. The kind that leaves an ache and longing deep inside your soul. The kind that makes me miss her, more than usual, and more than before. 

The solace in the pain is also seeing the love that radiates from this photo.

This photo showcases love.

The smiles are love, effortless and beautiful love. 

And while people die, love doesn’t.

It stays. It exists. Always.

xox, Chels

5 comments so far.

5 responses to “The Ache of a Photo. The Ache of a Memory.”

  1. Ally says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I lost my mom 2 days after Christmas and it has been my far the worst year of my life. The ache that you describe hits so close to my heart and as painful as it is, it is a the same time comforting to know you understand that you’re never too old to miss your mother. God bless you.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      God bless you, Ally! Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to read my work. It truly means a lot. I hate that we share this heartbreak. I know the pain and emptiness. But I also know that this page has been my therapy, and I hope you find comfort in knowing you are not alone. Thank you for being here. xox, Chels

  2. Amanda Kunze says:

    I lost my mom 9 months ago, the day before Mother’s Day to be exact, and it’s been absolutely horrible. I love reading your posts because I feel everything right to my soul. Not everyone has a mother/daughter relationship, and I feel like we both got very lucky to know that deep bond. That bond is so very precious and fragile. One that I definitely took for granted.

  3. Kimberly Martin says:

    Your words are exactly what I’m feeling. I don’t know my way anymore. The feeling of loneliness & sadness can be deafening. My world feels like a shell & I just can’t get my life back on track or something will crack. Most likely my heart. The grief comes in waves & I’m soo tired of swimming. I’m at peace with my mom & dad’s passing, just resistant to the impact it has had on me. My life stood still for a year to care for them both & I’ve lost myself in the diversion. There is no new normal yet. I feel for the caregivers who have dedicated years. I’m lucky I suppose, but my parents were young (63 & 67 yrs old). My sadness is what I am losing in the future like my dad walking me down the aisle, a new birth without my mom. I thank you for expressing what I cannot. Your words are healing my soul. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Kimberly, WOW!!! How powerful are your words, “I’m at peace with my mom and dad’s passing, just resistant to the impact it has had on me.” I felt those words so deeply. Thank you so much for reading my work and taking the time to share pieces of your story. You are a beautiful soul and I’m lifting you in so much love, comfort and hope on your grief path. xox, Chels

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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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