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Losing My Mother

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My mother in her 20'sMy mother died just over 5 years ago from cancer and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I thought it was about time I wrote about how losing her has changed the way I see the world, has changed me and what it’s been like trying to get my head around it all.

It’s true what they say, you can never really understand what it’s like until it happens to you. I once described losing my mother as like the sky suddenly falling down. My mother carried me for 9 months, gave birth to me, was the first sight I ever set my eyes upon, fed me when I was hungry, got no sleep for months when I woke her up crying at night, changed my nappies, watched me smile when I recognised her face, start to crawl, take my first steps, say my first word. She was always there for me, every memory I’ve ever had growing up has her in it. When I was upset she was there to cheer me up. When I needed advice it was her I sought out. And when I stepped out of line it was her who put me back in step. She was a strong, loving mother who I always knew was on my side, would do anything for me and my brother and gave us the perfect upbringing that made us the men we are today. I’d known her as my mother and as I became an adult I knew her as the woman Jean Conners with a devilish sense of humour and a certain innocence about her. She was the most wonderful person I’ve ever known. She had always been a huge part of my life and now that she’s gone I realise that I’d always assumed she would be.

You never expect the sky to fall down, the sky is always there and always will be. And that’s exactly how I felt about my mother.

When my father phoned me early one morning to tell me my mother was dying the first words I said to him were “you’re joking”. Obviously he wouldn’t, but my instinct was that it couldn’t be happening. Him phoning me again later (I can’t remember if I’d left to drive home or was just about to leave) to tell me she had died just didn’t seem real – I was numb. I arrived home before my brother (who’d been staying with me that weekend and was driving himself to my dad’s) and stepped into the hall. My dad came over to me and something I didn’t expect then happened. All my life my dad had been the one to comfort me in times of sadness but this time he was the one holding onto me and I was the one comforting him. It’s times like that you realise when you’ve grown up and become an adult. We were both inconsolable and if you ever find yourself imagining what a situation like that is like, imagine it a million times worse. And then when my brother turned up, well think a British billion times worse (that’s a million million). Even then, I still just couldn’t believe it.

In the months after her death I just couldn’t grasp that she was gone. I’d walk past an arts and craft shop and my first thought would be to take her there the next time she was down. I’d see something on TV that I knew she’d be interested in and I’d go to pick up the phone and call her before reality hit me. It was as though my brain just wouldn’t accept that she was gone forever.

Whenever I’d visit my father’s house I’d come down in the morning before anyone else was up and watch TV in the lounge like I always did. I’d be sitting there waiting for her to come in and sit next to me like she always did (we were early risers). I cried far more while she was suffering with cancer than after she died but on mornings like that I could never hold back the tears, sat there sobbing on my own waiting for someone that was supposed to always be there who I started to realise never would be again.

After some time – I couldn’t tell you how much – my brain dealt with things in a different way. I seemed to accept that she was gone and didn’t find myself about to call her any more. Instead she kept turning up in my dreams. Sometimes the dreams would be set in my childhood and it was only when I woke up that I’d feel sad, knowing I’d seen her again, or feel happy because it felt like I’d spent some more fleeting moments with her. More upsetting were the dreams where I knew she was dead in the real world, and in the dream she did too and I was just talking to her telling her how I missed her. Waking up would just take me away from her. If I were a spiritual person I’d feel comforted that maybe she was reaching out to me from beyond the grave, but unfortunately I know better and it’s my mind coming to terms with her death showing me what it thinks I want to see – or something like that. Odder were the ones where in the dream I saw her and was really upset knowing that when I woke up she’d be gone. I’d wake up with tears on my pillow but had left the sadness in the dream and didn’t feel upset at all.

The dreams started to fade away (although they do come back from time to time) and I found that my mind seemed to understand that she was gone. It was as though in the preceding years (and it took that long) my brain had been drip-feeding me little bits at a time rather than trying to get my head around the concept that my mother was gone all at once. It’s a good job I didn’t take it all in at once – because it’s such an utterly terrible thing to have to get used to and live with. I feel so bad for friends who lose parents because I know that it actually never gets any easier with time – you have to carry the pain and burden for the rest of your life. The only thing that changes is that you learn to live with it in your own way.

As I said at the start, not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I still get upset from time to time but my mother was exactly the same decades after the death of her mother. She never hid the tears from us and as a result we were brought up knowing that it was perfectly normal to miss someone you loved and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

She wrote me a letter when she knew she wouldn’t make it and in it she told me she’s always admired my positive outlook on life and to make the most of life as it’s so precious. Every day that goes by that’s exactly what I try to do.

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

313 Comments Join the Conversation

    • My mom passed away on July 13th 2015. She was my best friend and i really miss her so so much. Thank-you for sharing your story. I really helps to hear that someone knows exactly how you feel after your mom is gone.

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    • I am 55 and my mom was 95 when she died 2 nights ago after surgery for a fractured hip. My husband and kids shared the same house with her for 28 years and these past years she was getting mean but at times I had good memories with her. Now that she isn’t with us I am missing her alot, expecting to see her in her room reading or watching tv, or complaining about what I didn’t clean right..I feel guilty about not trying to be nicer when she was ridiculing all of us. I am so sorry she had to fall.

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  1. Thanks, it took a while to write that one… Well my mother would have been about 27 so that makes it around 1967. Wow, 40 years ago! It’s scary, I can see myself and my brother when I look at that photo of her.

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    • My mom passed away just a month ago also because of cancer. I can’t even begin to describe the pain. I’ve just turned 20 and am a second year student. Right now it’s just my sister and I against the world. My parents were divorced and my dad not so much a part of our lives. It hurts so bad. Everything you wrote seems similar to what I’m experiencing. Although I fear that there is still more grieving that I’m going to go through. That scares me more than anything. I wish I didn’t feel

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      • My MOM died a year and 2 months ago I’M NOT OKAY I want to DIE just to SEE if I will see her again … My best friend is gone we spent every day with each other . I have NOTHING to LOOK forward to anymore except hoping I see her again

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    • Thanx loved reading this. i really miss my mum too. its been 3 years now. And i miss her race day.

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  2. Nice John. Very poignant. It touched a raw nerve with me, albeit relating to my grandfather. A lovely piece of writing.

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  3. My Mother. My Dad died when I was sixteen. That was a great loss. But my mom filled the slack and became my Hero . Family was every thing to her. I just looked at several photos of her at New Years 2007 and Easter 2007. She looks happy, healthy, and glad to be alive. Two weeks ago, we found out my mom had lung cancer. She died last night. I miss her, I love her, I grieve for her. It is difficult to know how I will ever go on with out her loving presence. I am angry at God for not at least giving her 2 months to meed her great grandchild. I am in soooo much pain right now. Thank you for letting me express what is going on in my heart.

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  4. I’m really sorry to hear that Deb. 😦 Life can be so cruel and unfair and I understand exactly how you feel. My heart goes out to you.

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  5. Lost Dad, suddently, 10 years ago. Lost Mom, cancer, 1 year ago. Talked to her 2 hours before she died. “I’m fine, she said”. Took the first plane home, too late. I’m 31, don’t feel like living, having babies. Feel alone. Thanks for letting me know that somebody out there knows how it feels.

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    • hi….my mom does not have a lot of time from her cancer…

      how are you doing? (2 years later)

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      • I don’t think my Mom has much time either… lung cancer. How are you doing Sam?

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    • I feel the same way and my mom just started losing her short term memory. She’s 84. I already suffer from depression, and this is ten times worse. I am more sad than i have ever been in my life. My mom was UC educated and a career elementary teacher. He prose was beautiful and exact. A couple of weeks ago I told her I wanted her to write to us kids and tell us what we would feel and how to cope with it. The response I got was nice, and does help, but not even close to her always dense and in depth replies on subjects of that matter. I never expected something this horrible would come out of something I loved so much. I’m also educated and have a degree in philosophy and I’ve had death and dying courses. No matter what my understanding of what was a future necessity of life could ever prepare me for this, since it is purely emotional and perfectly irrational. I hate being human because of it. Everything eventually leads to suffering.

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      • I am 54 years old and lost my mom last november – she was 90. My dad died when I was 7 and mom never remarried. It was always the two of us and now she’s gone. People say she had a long life and she did, but I miss her so much. Her death has changed me. I live in fear every day. My rock is gone and I cannot convince myself that she left me some of that strength. I don’t know how to describe how I feel – its affecting my husband and son. I wonder if I will ever learn to live with the loss.

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        • It is tough Jules and I wish I had an answer to it but I don’t myself. I just think that the first year or two can be brutal and yet vital. Brutal because it is tough to move on at all and vital because we need to take small steps during this time to enable us to at least try and live on. No guarantees but we must try. Best to you. It is even harder if you have a husband and son to attend to but that I hope people can chime in and comment on how they did it.

        • Your story sounds so much like mine. My parents divorced when I was 5. It was always me and my mom. I did everything for her. We were so very, very close. She died 9 days ago. I knew it would hurt, but never dreamed it would be this painful. She was eighty, but sure did not look her age. She lived with me seven years, then went into a nursing facility where she was suppose to stay for 6 months to start walking again following 2 car wrecks (which neither were her fault) She became the social butterfly there and began to love the place and the people. She stayed there for 6 years. Due to some doctors errors she became very sick. when I told the doctor she was getting very sick and something needed to be done, her remark was, “I’ll tell you like I told your mother, there is nothing I can do for her.” I hung up the phone and cried my eyes out. I knew I could not leaver her there and she was getting so sick I could not care for her at home. She entered a different facility December 16, 2013 and there she lived until nine days ago, July 26. I can’t even tell you how I feel, but I guess you alread know. Please, if you don’t care, tell me how you are doing now. People also tell me she lived a long life, she is in a better place, she is not suffering now. I know they mean well,but now matter what they say…it does not help. Like you, it is also affecting my husband and son. If you could, would you please let me know how you are doing. You will be in my prayers…thank you

  6. I was surfing the internet, trying to find some way to deal with my pain, and came across your website. My mother died six days ago, on December 17, 2007. I too find myself making a mental note to call her and tell her something, ask her something. I went to the store with my kids yesterday to try to salvage something of Christmas, but everywhere I turned, I found something that she’d like to have, and it is so painful. The only escape I have from the pain is sleep, but when I wake up, it’s like a sledge hammer hitting me in the stomach, over and over again. I feel like there’s ice cubes inside of me…I can’t bear the thought of Christmas Eve…Christmas Day, without her. I hear her voice everywhere I turn and I’m filled with regret, with guilt, because there was so much I still needed to say to her, so much I still needed to do with her. I wish I’d gone first so I wouldn’t have to feel like this.

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    • Did you ever get better as time went along. I just lost my mother this past August and it has been so painful as you have described.
      I need help!

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  7. Was surfing the net to find similar experiences to cope with the pain and there I chanced upon this wonderful blog, peppered with beautiful writings. I just lost my mom to ovarian cancer yesterday and even though I find it hard to cope with the grief, I understand she’d want me to be happy and carry on well with my life.

    Anyway, I realise I’m not alone after reading your blog. I’ll take you as my role model from now on haha! Even though I’m just 16 (turning 17 in a few days time), I realise I’ve grown and matured much more than I thought I’d. The experience alone ranks me above peers of my age and as much as I envy others who still have a healthy mother, I’m too grateful for the experience.

    It has certainly made me realise the fragility of life and cliche it may sound, life is really too short. So we gotta cherish and embrace each day as if it was your last.

    Cheers!

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  8. I’m really sorry to hear about that – it’s a horrible situation for sure. 😦

    As for using me as a role model – I’m flattered, although I guess that means I’m getting old! Eek! 😉

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    • thank you i lost my mother 4 years ago today , good to know how i feel is normal x

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  9. My Mother is 87 years old and it suddenly dawned on me that she will not be with us for ever. It made me sad & wondered what it was like to be without a Mother.
    Reading John’s account was quite emotional for me as I see many parallel’s of what his Mother did for him compared to what my Mother does for my brother, sister & I.
    I live in the UAE & my Mother in England but even though we are separated by a big distance, the bond I have with my Mum is very strong.
    Thank you John for sharing your feelings about your Mother. She was obviously a fine woman.

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  10. Good job I didn’t read this a couple of months ago. Still brought tears to my eyes today.
    I completely agree about the “not understanding ’till it happens to you”. When I talk to someone I don’t need to be told if they’ve already been through the same thing – it just seems so apparent in their eyes or in the way they hold themselves.

    My dreams have been some of the most difficult things to deal with, particularly for the first couple of months. It’s like my subconscious deliberately interrupted dreams so that I could remember them and have a brief moment of ignorance before having to deal with the pain of loss again… and again.

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  11. It sounds like your brain is dealing with it in a similar way to mine. It’s such a strange and horrible thing and as you know a million times worse than you could ever have imagined. But it does get better, or rather you get better at dealing with it.

    Takes a long time though (well it did with me) and it never really goes away. It took me many years to write this article when was able to take a step back and understand the process I went through.

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    • When you said then “Sky had fallen” that was exactly how I felt too. Even though I can still talk with my mom and she’s still sharp, she is having short term memory issues and it is getting worse. I wish she could die instead of having to go through this horrific thing called “dementia.” I could deal with her death better than this. Her death would be bad yes, but it would be final. This is like a slow death.

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      • I’m not sure doug are you ? Slow decline can be tough but sudden can traumatize do you know that ? The shock can actually take over the children’s life for ever.

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  12. My mum died 7 days ago, a week after being diagnosed with cancer. It happened so suddenly the whole family are devestated and in total shock. I cant believe my mum is gone.

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  13. I really cried when I read this,my grandfather died when I was only 15 he died of cancer and you know I always thought that he would be here forever,the worst part is that I still remember how he took care of me when I was still a baby and I still miss him till this very day,I feel really sad that I couldn’t see him for one last time.

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  14. I was surfing the net looking for some consolation and found your site. I buried my mother 6 days ago and am still grieving so deeply that I wonder if I’ll ever get a hold of myself. She suffered so much with colon cancer that her death was a relief but I didn’t expect to miss her this much. I’m 53 yrs. old but I guess it pulls the rug out from under you, no matter what age you are. Realizing that the one person who was always in my corner, never forgot my birthday, always my cheerleader is gone makes breathing hard to do. I know I’m still very raw and that time will help but for tonight, as the rest of my household sleeps, I am missing my “momma”.

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  15. I just finished reading what you wrote about your mother. Beutifully articulated. What captured me the most is relating to the sky. My sky has fallen about two weeks ago. My mother was my earth, from where I stood to look up into the sky. My tears have ceased. The tears provided me with a form of reality towards the loss. Now the tears do not flow so easily, however I feel numb, different and soooo alone.
    Danielle

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  16. As time is goes on I see I am not alone.. discovering we know nothing about life till we experience a death of a loved one.
    I browsed through your photos…I much admiered… the volatile molecules of the eucalyptus tree… Absolutely stunning…

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  17. I’m 23 yr’s old and currently living with both my mom and dad! im around my mother on a daily basis, were really close and i honnestly dunno what i’d do without her but i know its something i cant deal with! she had a ruff life growing up losing both parents before age 13, a sister at age 8 and a few other sisters and brothers of cancers, my mom was diagnosed with lupus years ago id say 15, and she seemed to do ok fighting it and i figure my mom will be ok, she will be here forever and if not she’s only 55 i have years and years before i should even think about anything like this, one da she woke up and was gettin ready for work and was havin trouble breathign so she skipped work and headed to the doctors where after test after test was done she had lung cancer now… ive been locked in my room for the last week now since i seen her normal last, she hasnt eatin, drinkin or been out of bed, the few mins she’s awake she doesnt no whats she’s sayin or who i am from all the meds, reality is hittin me and i cant take it anymore, i keep thinkin of few weeks ago we were just doin this and this and she was fine, looked normal and now she looks so sick… i keep thinkin about stuff i dont wanna, things ive said and have done wrong before, about the life she had growing up, havin trouble raising 5 kids, struggling doin everything for us, worked so hard, to be cut 10 years short of retirement? ill never get that out of my head, ill never beable to, help isnt a option for me, words dont help, only thing that would make anything better is if u bring back my mom this isnt fair!

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  18. Nightmare Danny. I remember my mother when she was dying and wishing there was something I could do about it – feeling totally helpless and her suffering was so damned unfair when she was such a good person. Unlike you I was living away and only saw her when I visited but my brother, like you, was there all the time and I’ve no idea how he coped. If there’s one thing about life I know it’s that it can be cruel, unfair and just damned hard. But I suppose it’s all we’ve got and I just try and think of the many many happy years I had with my mother and how blessed I was to have known her. Not much consolation though.

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  19. I too lost my mother, not quite 2 years ago. John, I also had dreams about her, now not as much as when she first passed away. Unlike you though, I do believe in spirituality & the possibility that I may see her again. Of course I could never prove it, although since her death, there have been many coincidences in my life relating to her…Whether it be true or not, this hope keeps me alive. I am barely 30 years old & I still cannot imagine a long life without her. Indeed, your story touched me. Thank you for it.

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  20. Hi Karen, I’d love nothing more than to be wrong and wish I didn’t have this scientific brain that only believes what it can perceive.

    But I know there’s more to life than this and some of the strange coincidences that have happened since my mother’s death have made me think – such as when I set up the music for her funeral (she wanted her coffin to be carried out to the tune of Jimi Hendrix) and put the radio to test the volume. The song ‘Daydream Believer’ by the Monkeys came on at the line ‘Cheer up sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean…’. My mother’s name was Jean so that made me smile.

    And you’re welcome. 🙂

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    • I’m the same John. I can’t assume anything. Gone is gone and that is what we must deal with.

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  21. John,
    I was looking for someone who could understand what I am feeling after losing my mother nine months ago, when I came upon your website. It felt so good to read your words and realize that others can understand what I have been feeling. I have dealt with many adversities in my life, but nothing compares to losing her.

    She was the foundation I had always known and counted on. There is no one in life who loves you and cares about you like your mother. God I miss her…her strength, her friendship, her wisdom. She knew what was going to happen before it happened and was never wrong!

    She was the one human being who I always knew was on my side, with no hidden agenda…she cared about me and loved me for who I was. There is no greater love than that. I also realize that I will never have another relationship like that in my life.

    I will never have the affirmation that she gave me ever again in my life. She was the one person who knew me from the start, never stopped knowing me and knew me deep down into my heart. She was there through everything in my life. Always there to listen and to help, whether it was questions raising our children or just to lend an ear. All of my success and all of my disappointments. A true friend and confidant.

    The day I lost her, I lost a part of me that can never be re-claimed. But I also am thankful for the opportunity I was given to know her and have her in our lives. She was a gift from God and I know that one day I will be with her again.

    Your memories of your mother were so helpful to me. Your reading makes it easier for me to bear my pain and to continue to move on and live this new life I have after my profound loss.

    Thank you for sharing. It was a blessing to me.
    Michelle

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    • i totally agree with you theres no greater love than a mothers love
      and she left me with beautiful memories a woman who was lovely inside and outside always by my side a devoted mother but god saw she were tired and called her he give me a great mother and one day i will meet up with her and she would want me to be happy it makes me realise how precious life is but having faith i know we will meet up again nothing can replace my mother but money could not buy the memories of her thankyou god for giving me a wonderful mother

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  22. I lost my mom 7 years ago this month. She had breast cancer for 5 years on and off. She was 44 when she died and I was 25. My mom was my best friend. I always heard that time heals, but it has actually gotten worse. I was just looking up different things on the computer and found this sight. It is nice to read other stories similar to what I’ve got thorugh.

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  23. Michelle, Stephanie: It’s really good from my point of view hearing that you’ve been through the same experiences as me and I’m not alone either. 🙂

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  24. I wanted to mention to michelle that what you wrote about your feelings about your mother are beautiful and exactly how i feel about my mom. it makes me cry everytime i read what you wrote. it may be silly, but i love to keep reading it. thank you so much for sharing.also, thanks john for having this forum.

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  25. My mother died on feb 4 of this year. I guess i’m still in the state of disbelief you described, because even typing that sentence feels like another part of this constant nightmare. I’m having a really hard time with this. It’s times like these that i wish i believed in God. Others seem to find comfort where i can’t find anything at all. There have been few moments of comfort since her passing and unfortunately many restless or sleepless nights. I know that the death of my mother will never truly heal, but after reading your story, i feel like maybe i’m back to a point where i can deal with it for another day. Thank you for helping me through another sleepless night.

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  26. My mother died on feb 5 of this year. That is the day I died as well. There is nothing that can describe the pain. I keep putting my hands out in the air so that I can hug her. I cry constantly if I look at a picture. I cant figure out the purpose of going on without this most beautiful woman in the world to me

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    • My mother was my best friend, she was everything that I had. She was my sunshine, my pillar. my strenght. I lost her 4 months ago to cancer, she was 67. She fought until the last minute, she wanted to live because of me and my young children but she lost her battle. She is with me every second of my life, my life has become dark and without purpose. I am still looking for her as if I don’t want to accept this bitter reality. Every night I sleep begging for her to come in my dream so at least I could be with her in my dream. There are no words for this pain, today is harder than yesterday and the day before. I miss her dearly and I miss my children not really remembering what a beautiful and loving grandma they have lost.
      I believe it is a temporary separation, one day we will all reunite, our souls will reunite. If it all ends here what is the purpose of life and our purpose in this world?
      My mom thought me love and patience, two most important qualities in life. I love her and cherish every memories I have from her, my life has become empty and lonely without her, I talk to her and ask her to give me strenght in this most painful time of my life.
      Her smile and her love made her so beautiful, radiant and gracious. My life has become empty without her, she will forever be in my heart.

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    • Maryl,
      How are you doing now? 5 years later. I lost my Mother a little over a year ago and I am doing the same thing you did. I feel I died with her. I am trying to overcome this but it seems as though I am getting worse. By the way God bless you.

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      • Hello Mellissa and Maryl. I too lost my darling and precious Mum 15 months ago and its still so painful and raw. To say you have died inside is so right. I long for her every morning and every night. Not a day goes by when I don’t feel that life is pointless and I have no reason to live. My Mum meant the world to me, and I to her, and she was taken so suddenly and without warning, and still very young, and I couldn’t say goodbye. Its so hard to cope with such a huge loss – a best friend, my Mum, my soul mate, my life.. all gone in less than a day and here I am having to cope, as you indeed are as well. I pray that God will be unite us again and this is my only real hope.. the reason I carry on and try to live a Christian life. My mum was a devout Christian and I know her place is secure with Jesus. I think its good to share with others who also are learning to survive. The best advice I was given was by my Mum in law who said how heartbroken my Mum would be if I didnt honour her and live a full and happy life regardless of my loss.. this does help as she is right. All of our Mums would only want us to be well and to cope.. so I do try and be strong sometimes and ‘honour’ Mum..
        I wish you both well in your journey. A very good book is the Long Goodbye by Meghan Rouke if you can lay your hands on it..

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  27. courtney: I know what you mean about wishing you believed in God – I do envy those who do as they can draw a great deal of comfort and strength from it. And I’m glad what I wrote has helped you in some way, it was very helpful for me putting it into words and publishing it.

    maryl: I definitely understand how you feel and the worst thing is that there’s nothing I or anybody can say that’ll make the pain go away. One of the things my mother wrote in her letter to me when she knew she wouldn’t make it was to make the most of life as it’s so precious and you only get one shot at it. I always keep that at the back of my mind when I get down – not that it’s much consolation.

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  28. Pingback: Some Thoughts For Mother’s Day « John’s Adventures

  29. Hi John
    What a great piece of writing – straight from the heart. Its coming up to the 10th aniversary of my mum’s death on March the 8th and I still have times when I get really upset that she is not around. I am lucky with my daughter Alicia because I see a lot of my mum in her, its just a shame she is not around to see her.

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  30. Thanks Steve! That’s one thing that always saddens me too – that my mother will never get to see my kids (assuming I ever have any). But that must be nice to see your mother in your daughter – full circle. 🙂

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    • Hi John, don’t know if you r still on this website, but reading your story really helped me, I am really finding it hard with losing my
      mother, best friend, finding it really hard to cope, only lost her three months ago. Any suggestions on how to cope. Paula

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  31. John,

    Sorry that you lost your mother. I lost my father to cancer in 2006. I miss him every day. I will never get over my loss. He was my best friend and such an amazing soul – I still can’t believe he’s gone.

    I can’t imagine losing a mother.
    Thanks for sharing your story – my friend lost his Mom last week and I was looking for some information for him on the internet and I came across your posting.

    Your photography is beautiful. All the best to you, Antonia

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  32. John,

    My Mom died from lung cancer on March 1st. I described the feeling to a friend of feeling like when you’re a kid and you get that panic feeling when you get lost in a mall or somewhere. You know she should be around and you can’t find her. They will put her in the ground today and I know what you mean about a piece of you going with her. I know a part of my heart will die and be buried with her today. We had our normal Mother Daughter differences but I loved her more than anything. As she lay there dying Saturday morning, I had the same thoughts that this is the lady that carried me for 9 months and went through the pain of child birth to give me life. She dried my tears and kissed my boo boos…even into adulthood. I have never felt so empty. Thanks to everyone who shared and let me know these are feelings that other people experience too.

    Reply

    • Ur words r shocking to me, I’m only 32 yrs old & my mom passed away 3yrs ago at 52 yrs old, she was sick for a few years b4 she died & I watched her suffer & watched her take her last breath & It devastated me.. I’ve kept it bottled up all this time, trying to b strong for my dad & having my pain to deal with as well as his & lying to myself & everyone else as I said over & over ”I’m ok” & truth is that I wasn’t then or now. It’s so hard & scary knowing she’s gone, knowing I can’t c her or talk to her & having to live rest my life w/out her, it’s a helpless feeling.. What u said about being a kid & that fear of being lost is so right & the messed up thing is that when I was a kid w/that lost feeling the first thought i had was wanting my mommy & all these years later I just feel like that little boy again lost & wanting my mommy but she’s gone & it’s the worst feeling like no other n the world wanting her so badly & at the same time knowing I can’t have/see her again.. I’ve asked myself how can I live w/out her? & I still can’t answer that question.. It’s a terrible terrible thing to go through for me, I’m the youngest child & only son she had & I feel so lost & its taken a tole on me physically but more mentally.. It’s a cruel world full of awful tragedies that can happen at anytime & I promise anyone my age who’s lost their mother as I have, it’s been 3 yrs since mine passed & I have the same sick, scared, empty, broken hearted, lost, awful, sadness that I will have to live with/bare the rest of my life.. It’s a struggle everyday that I hope & pray doesn’t someday get the best of me..

      Reply

  33. Stephanie,
    I was happy to hear that you could relate to my letter. I don’t think it is silly that you have read it over and over again. I feel that any action or thought that helps us to heal is a good thing.

    One thing that helps me is remembering the words of our priest at my Mother’s funeral. He told us that anyone we love that much really never leaves us. They are in our hearts and minds for ever. His words were beautiful and remind me that my Mother is always with me. All of our memories and the love we shared. She resides in my heart and mind, and I talk to her everyday and know that she is still listening, caring and involved. Not in a physical way, but spiritually.

    I try to use all of that love and the lessons I learned from my Mother through the years, everyday, in an attempt to make the world a better place and to honor her memory. For that is how she lived her life.

    Another thing the priest told us was that when our loved ones go to heaven with God, they are much stronger than they were on earth, because they are one with God. Knowing this makes me realize that when I see a flock of geese fly overhead, a sun dog in the dead of winter, the sound of a childs laughter, or a beautiful rainbow, it is my Mother speaking to me through God. She is telling me to appreciate everyday, remember all of the good times and love we shared and to pass it on to others. That is the true reason we are here.

    I have found that focusing on the positive is the thing that has helped me pass through my grief…that is what my Mother would have wanted me to do. Continue on, live a positive and joyful life, knowing that one day we will be together again. This is what keeps me moving on.

    Take care,
    Michelle

    Reply

    • Dear Michelle,
      I understand your mother passed away in 2008. My mother passed away on October 20th of this year. I am an only child and I was her caregiver. She suffered with stage 4 breast and bone cancer. In July her oncologist told her that her cancer had spread to her liver and lungs. I thank God I was always there for her, but the last two months of her life were very painful and I will never forget the day before she died. I will never ever forget how she faded away before my eyes. I have a lot of faith in Jesus, and in the Bible it says, “Life has not ended, only changed.” She wasn’t perfect but none of us are. She did believe in Jesus and had great faith. I also look forward to the day I will see her again. However, the pain I currently feel is awful. I have such a void in my heart and being an only child I have no one to turn to. Daily I pray to God to give me strength and peace of mind and acceptance to live through this. Michelle, I don’t know you but your mother sounds like she was a very special and beautiful person. Perhaps my mother and your mother could meet one another in Heaven. My mother’s name was Carmella Christopher. I will pray on this tonight when I go to bed tonight. God bless you and have a “Merry Christmas.” I hope I will be able to get through the holidays. This is the first time I will spend Christmas without a living rose, “My Mother.” I would love to hear from you if you receive my letter.
      Love and Peace,
      Jeff Christopher

      Reply

  34. Maryl,

    I understand that there is nothing that can describe the pain you are feeling, it is the most profound, lonely feeling in the world. I to reached out for my mother into the air. I could not stand the thought of her being gone. Our Mothers are the one person in our lives that have always been there for us. The relationship is so significant…part of us dies with them. They are the one thing we have always known, relied on and been comforted by.

    I could not find a reason to go on after my Mother died. I thought…what is the point. This loss is too much to bear. The world to me felt empty, cold, and meaningless. That was ten months ago. Since that time I have slowly found my way back from the loss, depression and helplessness that I felt. Somedays are better than others, but, it has gotten more bearable for me. I have found ways to learn to be here without her, even though I don’t want to. There are days I regress, but I feel that that is part of the process. I just hope and beleive that the next day will be better.

    The one thing that keeps me going is knowing that she would want it that way. She told me before she died that we all lose our parents. We don’t want it, or like it, but we don’t have a choice. It is a reality in this life. My Mother always told me to make the most of what God gives you. I have always tried to live that sentiment. Losing her has made me realize even more that we have to appreciate everyday and relish our moments with those we love. We never know when they, or we may be gone.

    These sentiments I am sure are not what your want to hear. I know that I did not want anyone to tell me that it will get better and that I had to move on. I was angry, heartbroken and devastated…all I wanted was to be left alone and to bury myself in my grief.

    My daughter who was very close to my Mother helped me through the process of this grief. She told me that I had a right to my feelings and that I would get through it because I was a strong, spiritual person. I didn’t believe her at first. She told me that I had a right to feel these emotions and that she was there for me. I felt like I didn’t have the strength to get through this heartbreak.

    During our many talks and visits we have tried to muddle our way through it. Often relying on Gram’s sentiments and words to the wise. We could feel Gram and relied on her spiritual presence. She is with us everyday. There is not a day that goes by without me thinking of her. I hear her in my mind saying, “Michelle, pull your self up by the boot straps and stay strong.” “Your husband, children and granddaugher need you, just like you needed me.” I try to pass on her strength and legacy to them.

    It also helps that our granddaughter “Dylan Rose” is named after my Mother “Rose”. Everytime I see her beautiful smile and sunny disposition I am remined of my Mothers love and hope for this world.

    I hope this helps Maryl…I truly know what you are going through.

    Take Care,
    Michelle

    Reply

  35. On February 18, 2008 my mother was killed in a car accident. she was 54 and she was my cheerleader through life. she always gave me support and confidence.
    I am 30 and going to nursing school. my mother wanted me to be a nurse so bad. And I am having such a hard time concentrating on my work. I would like to quit but my mother was no quiter and neither am I. There have been several “angel” stories with my mother in them from other people. and i would like to believe them however, i am confused. I am a religious person and i know my mother is in heaven and i will see her again however, I can’t understand why god would do this? I have never questioned my faith and I feel horrible now for doing that.
    I have no regrets with my mother. we had a very open relationship and she was my best friend. She left us in good graces. But I just want to talk to her. Some one earlier said it feels like you are lost in a mall and you can’t find her. I know exactly how that feels. I feel so homesick and i have such anxiety. all i can think about is that i am only 30 and my life is just beginning. and i need her around when i have babies. I wanted her to be here for my babies someday. When I have children i feel they will miss the best thing ever by not knowing their nana.
    I loved what John wrote about his mother. That is exactly what it feels like.

    Please pray for me and my family

    Reply

    • Hi Bethany
      i also lost my mom 2 weeks ago,its so horrible without her,as for my children
      its more than a nitemare,they loved their granny so dearly,it was so painful to watch my kids crying for their granny at the grave,but i couldnt do anything to help them,at least they are lucky because they knew their granny…..i dont know how to deal with this pain,i still cant believe that my mama is gone,i hope she is in a better place and i know that God is taking good care of her,and i know she is watching over me..i hope you get better.

      John is heaven Sent…

      Reply

  36. Well, my Mom died Oct. 2 2004. My story is i lived with my Mom till the day she died. We were best friends,soul mates. I could never bring myself to part from my Mother, plus getting only $400.00 a month for Social Security i had to help her keep the house. My parents divorced when i was 13, and she fought to keep the roof over my head so i knew i had to help her.Plus i really didn’t want to leave her anyway, she was from France and she had no family here. So we were all each other had. I got married thank God in June of 2004 and she left this earth in Oct. 2004. If it wasn’t for my Husband with his love and understanding, i would not have been to far behind her. She was my life and air that i breathed. She died of Ovarian Cancer, and i promise her i would not let her die in a hospital. So with Hospice help i toke care of her, and watched her cross over to the other side. The hardest thing i had to do was close her eyes, but i did it, and gave her last kiss from me. It’s been four years since and its still hard to believe she is not here anymore. It’s still a struggle everyday, but i was fortunate to have married an Angel, who keeps me breathing everyday. But it’s nice to know that i am not alone.

    Reply

  37. March 7,08
    My mom died on March 7,2008. I am hurting so bad that I feel like I am going crazy. We three weeks ago were doing fine, she thought she caught a cold so to the doctor’s we went within 2 days she was placed on 100% oxygen, within a week a CT scan revealed a 2cm mass in the left lung and COPD, within a week I became a pill pushing daughter and by the end I was giving ativan and moriphine. I am feeling like if only I could have been a better care taker, my mother did not want to die in the hospital and nights were bad, she would wake up not being able to breath even with the oxygen we would struggle for hours through the night trying to get air in her and then she would finally get up have her coffee and cigareette but then Wed. came and she gave her fight up to have the coffee and cigarette, she just did not get up. It took my mother until Friday evening at 9:50 to give up the fight to stay here on earth but I know she is in Heaven with our Father. She is no longer in pain but my heart feels like it is breaking. I only hope that she knows I tried my best to be a good care taker and daughter.
    Amber

    Reply

  38. It will soon be a year that I lost my dear mother (April 17th). She went into the hospital with double pneumonia and I thought she would only be there about 1 or 2 weeks and then get to come home. She was there for 8 weeks. She had contacted MRSA staph and the staph was absorbing all of the antibiotics. She didn’t have a chance of making it and chose to go into the in-hospital hospice program where she lasted a week. It was horrible watching her go down each and every day. She was never a big woman, but she went in at 98 lbs. and was 64 lbs. when she passed away. However, she kept a good mind up until the day before she passed. God allowed us the time we needed (and that she needed) for us to say good-bye and for us to assure her it was alright for her to let go. I took the Spring and Summer flowers to her gravesite today (3/13/08) and the hurt is still so deep. She was my best friend and I would go by every morning, have breakfast with her and we would just have wonderful visits together. There is only one person in life that loves you, will stand by you and accept you for the way you are other than God and that is your mother. I cry so much for her, but I know she is so much better off. I just never thought it would be her time, but she knew it. She was a lovely woman and a great blessing to us all. I thank God for allowing her to be my mother.

    Reply

  39. Michelle,
    Thank you for responding to my previous post. I keep re-reading it. I sob. I wrote my initial post on Feb 28 and you responded on march 6. I continue to feel worse. Unbelievable that the pain could actually get this bad. It is absolutely suffocating, searing. Really unbelievable. I cant seem to pull myself together. Everything reminds me of her. OH, HOW I MISS HER. It seems that everyone else has their mother. And has such a good life. People are laughing and smiling. I hear kids say “Ma, come here, look at this” and I cringe. I cant hear it. I dont have my wondering, beautiful, loving mommy anymore. I cant live without her

    Reply

  40. Maryl
    I also wanted to say that i had my Mom cremated so i could keep her near me. Some people probable think i’m nut’s for keeping her in the house with me, but it gives me comfort to see her everyday. We both agreed with this arrangement before she past. She understood my reason for doing it. I also lost her sister(Aunt Simone) three months after her death which made everything even worse, because i wasn’t able to make it to France before she pasted because i couldn’t find the finances in time. I understand all the pain that all of you are dealing with. Yes i wish i could be with my Mom right now too! But before she past she told me, Little one, i made you strong, so you must be strong. So what i do is lean on my husband when i fall down along with talking to myself and saying Simone get it together, i apologize to her and say that i will remember what she had taught me, and to honor her by carrying on with my life, even in the hardest of times. Lean on the people that love you, they will help you through the storm, that seems to have no end. With their help it makes it easier to ride the storm.

    Reply

    • Simone,
      My mother passed away from breast cancer almost 2 years ago. I was her caregiver in the final year of her life. I have felt intense guilt for not having done enough to save her, even though I know I couldn’t have done anything else. The first year after her passing was the most pain I have ever experienced, it felt like my soul was being shredded. To be honest, I don’t remember much about that first year other than the pain, I was a total zombie. This second year has been better even though I am still experiencing intense grief, but I am glad it isn’t every moment of every day anymore. However I am worried that I will never stop grieving. I often wonder how people can live with this kind of sadness in their hearts.
      We had her cremated. I kept my mother’s urn on a table in my living room for a year. It helped me a lot to light a candle and just sit beside her and look at her photograph. My brother now has the urn and has had it for almost a year. I don’t think you are nuts for having kept her ashes with you!
      Now, my husband and I want children, but I am so incredibly afraid of raising my children without her. My husband’s mother also passed away, so we will have no one to call when we need help (our fathers are useless for that kind of thing). All I can do is carry on, and I will see my mother again when it is my turn to go (something to look forward to).

      Reply

  41. my mother has just passed away, am only 20.
    a week later and am back at uni, i aint cried fo a few days and i feel guilty for this. Like you i dont know if i accept mum has gone yet and this scares me. i just want to try to get on with things, mum wanted that.

    Reply

    • Hi Tracey. I haven’t lost my mom yet, but she’s entering the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. She’s 84, vibrant, UC grad, bright, etc. I’m 51. You might think that at 51 it’s no big deal, or that the pain is different. It is not. You, like the rest of us, are not alone. The feelings you have are the same ones we all have. When we finally got the reports back from the neurologist, and the tests confirmed that her hypothalamus was indeed shrinking, my mom’s assumptions were confirmed. She knows she’s slipping because she’s forgetting things and understands that she is forgetting things. for the first two weeks, while my sister was getting mom’s finances transferred to us kids, I was hit really hard. I cried every day two or three times a day. At first I thought it would have been better if she had died out-rightly. But, like cancer, we have time to say goodbye to my mom. We don’t know how long. Maybe months, maybe years, but probably not much more than a couple of years. We are losing our mother one day at a time. Like cancer, it is the long goodbye.

      So what type of feelings are we having? Well, loneliness, abandonment, fear, guilt, all of the emotions that grab us and make us feel sad, really sad. I know what is in the future for my mom as all of us do, and so too for mom herself. she knows. she watched her mother’s mind wither away until she didn’t even know who we were.

      I think every day that it’s not fair, that my mom was the most humanitarian person around, never hateful to anyone, always reasoned and level. She doesn’t deserve this. but most people don’t and that accounts for all of us and virtually every person alive, actually, no matter how horrid a person has been, no one deserves Alzheimer’s.

      I’ve written to my mom and discussed these feelings. She understands and has written me back, by my request, because I told her i wanted to have in writing what she really thinks about what is going on in her life and how I feel, guilt for not loving her more (To that she says ridiculous. That we all loved her as much as she could have imagined and that she always felt really close to all of us three kids); Guilt, becasue I can;t do anything about he situation (To which she replied that guilt serves no purpose unless we have done something wrong, and we have definitively not done anything wrong to her.); That I should have visited more often (To which she explains that we did what we could given the distances. and that we really did visit more often than not); and most importantly, that i feel horrible, lonely, and that since she has been in my life forever, incomprehensible that she could–will–be leaving my life. And also that I feel guilty about not understanding that until right now, even though my brother and sister have talked about “Mom getting older and older.” It just doesn’t register that someone that has been in your life forever will not exist, since that person is in essence a part of yourself, and thinking about yourself not existing is impossible (to which she replied that losing your parents is life, and there is nothing we can do about it, and again that guilt about not understanding your parents will sometime die is guilt that is improperly applied, since nobody dwells on the future loss of their parents, and rightly so. And, finally, that she, in writing, wanted me to “Let myself off the hook. You have to do that Doug.”).

      Every person in the world who has a relationship with his or her parents, a loving relationship, will go through the exact same thing as we all are here. And in that, perhaps, we can all feel closer to each other, regardless of religious or political beliefs, or anything else. This is true humanity–humanness–connecting us, and nothing less. The reason we all share this universal sadness when we lose our mother, or father, is what makes us all similarly human.

      I will grant you this Tracey: At 20, it is perhaps harder than at 51, since at 20 we have many less tools to deal with loss than when we are 50. So in that i feel for you very much. Also, even though it feels like it is you and your sister against the world, it is not. Reach out and there are people, like my mom and your mom, who will reach back.

      Reply

      • That is what it is. Even at 40 or 50, it can hurt especially when one is an adult orphan. It is tough. I am just trying to let go tiny bits and holding on for the most part at this time.

        Reply

      • i lost my mother june 30 on her birthday and it dosent seem to get any easier ,she was my everything, my best friend my rock and my entire life has changed i have my good days and bad but when i get those bad days i just don’t want to be here anymore,what i wouldn’t give to be with her one more time.i miss her so much its just unreal, this pain is unreal and i don’t know how much i can take anymore

        Reply

        • HI,,, i lost my mom last year to meningitis…. i took her to hospital in the morning as she became sick very quickly and suddenly no other symtoms.. in fact we were shopping the day before………. she died within 4 hours of her getting to the hospital……. i even had spare clothes i took with me so she would change into them when we bring her home……..but that wasnt to be………. everyday its hard, i too have good and bad days, bad days i dont want to be here at all… just one more moment with mum is all i want… but she will be in heart forever…………… it does get easier as time goes on, its now 16 months now…. hang on in there albert……… remember the good times with your mum and celebrate life… she wouldnt want you to be unhappy……………… ps my mum was only 63,,,,,,,, xxx

        • Hi Albert,i know exactly what you going thru,i also lost my mom to Menigitis in 2013,15 September,everyday i still cry and the pain is so unbearable,but what i keeps me strong is that she is watching over me and my kids and my husband….Just keep praying and God will help u xxx

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