Riding a Roller Coaster in the Fog: Thoughts on Losing Your Mother



 I lost my mother in July. She was 57. I was forever changed that day. Grief is such a unique feeling, such a unique space that no one can properly prepare you for. Someone told me today that grief is like riding a roller coaster in the thick fog: there will be extreme highs and extreme lows but you will not see them coming. This is the truest explanation of grief I’ve ever encountered. You know there will be good days and bad days, just as you know there are dips in every roller coaster. What you don’t know is when they will hit, or what they will feel like, for each dip is unique and circumstantial.

     In grief, there will be extreme highs, feeling blessed and thankful for the memories and moments you had with your loved one. There will be extreme lows, the kind of roller coaster dip that sucks the air and life right out of you. Sadly, you won’t see them coming because of the fog, or the uncertainty and heartbreak that is grief. You can’t predict them. You can try, but they will surprise you. You might hit that insane dip when you least expect it, like in line at Kroger, while on the phone with a stranger, or when your child says they “Miss their Grandma”.

     You see, grief is unpredictable. The hurt and heartbreak isn’t, it remains a constant, but when it will surface is. It could be the smell of your mother’s perfume, the letters xoxo that were written on every card, the recipe that you can’t get to taste right because it’s missing that one ingredient that she would know, the absence of her voice, the emptiness of her house, the way a stranger at the supermarket reminds you of her…it could be anything, anywhere, anytime. It’s unpredictable but it’s a reminder that there was love, for grief only exists where love lived first.

      After my mother’s passing, the best thing anyone told me was this: “You had your mother for 35 years and she passed to soon, but what I know is that she loved you more in those 35 years than most people get in a lifetime!” It stung because I wanted her for 95 years, not 35, but it was true. I knew I was lucky. I was blessed with the most amazing woman that has walked this earth, and she was my mother. Now, 6 months later I’m still on the foggy roller coaster, never knowing when I’ll hit another dip, but I’ve at least come to understand that I’m on this roller coaster, and probably will be forever. Though the dips may eventually come less often, and the fog might thin a bit so that I can eventually predict some highs and lows, it’s a ride that will now become part of my journey and I’ll accept it because it began from the purest love I’ve ever been given, the love of my mother. 

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Chelsea Ohlemiller
Wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea’s always had a way with words and a dramatic and energetic spirit. She is married to the love of her life, Justin. She’s the mother to a spunky and beautiful 7-year-old daughter named Hattie, an independent and rambunctious son who is 4, named Hutson and an adorable baby named Hyland. She is currently a University Supervisor for Anderson University and has a deep love of teaching and helping to inspire students. She is a Ball State graduate but an Indiana University Hoosier at heart. Chelsea loves writing and being apart of the IMB team. She also writes for her personal blog: Happiness, Hope & Harsh Realities.


    • Thank you so much, Susie! I appreciate your sweet words! This post means a lot to me and I pray it resonates with others. Thanks for taking the time to read it and comment.

  1. Beautifully written, Chelsea. It’s a gift to us all and you are a gift! Congratulations on this blog and blessings to you on future written words within.

    • Hallie, Thank you so much for your support and your kind words! They are so very much appreciated!

    • Shelly, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! I appreciate your kind words with all of my heart.

  2. Rita was one of a kind for sure. Her heart remains in her daughters and grandchildren. I love reading your article, keep up the good work.
    God Bless you as you proceed forward in your life to be the mother to your children that she was. Congrats on the upcoming birth, you are so blessed.. AND… does Justin have another one like him in the family that needs a crazy lady? He’s so good to you and for you. Thanks

    • Sher, your comment made me both laugh and get tears in my eyes! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my first piece! I appreciate the kind words and am so excited for this new adventure! Have a great day, Sher!

  3. Oh my, Chelsea all I can say is that your first blog….you got a touch down, and we all know how much your mother loved the colts. Love Aunt Sue

    • Sue, thank you so much for this comment! It made me cry. It’s such a perfect compliment and seriously made my day! Love you!

  4. I went to school with your Mom. I didn’t know her well because we ran with different crowds but reading this makes me wish I’d known her better.

    Writing is a gift and you certainly have it. I know you find comfort in sharing your thoughts through the written word. Please know that many of us do.

    You are special and your Mom made it so. Think of the gifts she left you with…. I know I will.

    • Beth, thank you for taking the time to read my post! My mother was definitely one-of-a-kind. She was the kind of woman that radiated inspiration, kindness and love. I miss her more than I could ever explain. Thank you for writing such a sweet compliment, it is so very much appreciated. Have a blessed day.

  5. All of this. So much. I lost my mom unexpectedly in October. Some days I’m ok, some days I just want to scream and hide under a blanket. Beautiful article, thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I had that we share this unique and overwhelming grief but I am so glad you enjoyed the article and found it beautiful! Thank you so much for the support, it means a lot. 🙂

  6. I only had my mother for 28 years. I was 8 months pregnant with my first child when she died. It influenced my world view tremendously and I spent years grieving the loss of the grandmother my children would never know. It’s been 26 years now that she’s been gone. It helped me a lot to realize I wasn’t alone when Hope Edelman published her book “Motherless Daighters.” I recommend it. She also has a Facebook page now. Another writer on this topic on FB is Carmel (can’t recall her last name). Both focus on mother loss as a girl or young woman but I think st 35 you’ll still find relevance in it.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read the article, Sherry! Thank you for the book recommendation. I actually purchased this book a few months after my mother passed but only made it to the first page. I plan to retry again after it’s not so “fresh”. Thanks again for the recommendation and for the comment. It was a vulnerable topic to write about but the positive feedback I have received have made it completely worth it!

  7. I am so sorry for your loss! Beautifully written. I read this and thought this is me! I too lost my mom too early. Cancer. I was 35 also. I felt cheated and so lost. Some days I still do. I miss her so much. You are right, we are so lucky to have had that once in a lifetime love for as long as we did. Blessed really. Prayers for you!

    • I hate that we share this unique and overwhelming grief but I’m so glad you were able to read my article and take the time to comment. This was a hard topic to write about. It’s an extremely vulnerable emotion and hearing feedback from others who have experienced this loss has helped me find peace and some understanding. I will lift you up in positive thoughts and prayers as we both endure this crazy roller coaster. Every day is a new experience, and I’m learning to take it one day, and one moment at a time.

  8. Your words are point on. I too lost my Mom last July and was 35 years old. My Mom was 67 and passed suddenly from a blood clot that went to her lungs. She had been also fighting breast cancer with bone mets. It’s HARD. I wasn’t ready to live the rest of my life without my Mom and I still feel like I’m not, but I don’t have a choice. My daughter’s still miss their Grandma terribly, what hurts worse is at ages 3 and 5 I know slowly their memories of her will fade to very little if any especially for my 3 year old. It’s both a blessing to have my girls to help get me through the bad days and hard because sometimes I just want to grieve without my kids seeing me in a “fog” or being less patient with them when I’m having a “bad day”. Thank you for your post although I am so sorry you are too sharing all these bad feelings mixed in with being blessed with having a great Mom to miss. Hugs to you.

  9. Allison, I absolutely hate that we share this unique grief! Your situation is so very similar to mine, even down to having a 4 and 6 year old! Their grief sometimes seems to make mine worse, because at those moments I hurt for them and for myself. We were lucky to be gifted with the book, “Where You Are, My Love Will Find You” by Nancy Tillman. This simple books helps remind the kids weekly that my love, as well as my moms, will find them no matter where they are….and even if that person is no longer with us! I cry every time we read it but it’s helped, in a small way.

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article. It was a very vulnerable thing to write about but after hearing the feedback from others, I am so proud that it has resonated with so many people, my mom would be proud!

    Sending positive thoughts for healing and comfort your way because we all know it doesn’t matter if it has been 8 days or 8 months, you’re still on the roller coaster, with no sight of the ride stopping.

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