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When your mother dies

RM
AUG
14

Around the time my mother died, the tender words of other women enveloped me like a quilt stitched by many pairs of hands. Longtime friends, mothers of friends and friends of colleagues, these women had one thing in common: their mothers had died. ("It was 40 years ago," one said, "and I still think of her every day.")

My mentors prepared me for the passage rite ahead. In my mother's deserted house, as I stuffed endless garbage bags with bric-a-brac that she had treasured and no one else would want, I knew other daughters had faced the same heart-piercing duty. I belonged to a sisterhood now--one every woman must eventually join unless her mother outlives her.

Baby showers herald the transition to motherhood. Roses, greeting cards and invitations to lunch celebrate mothers every May. Yet, despite out culture's motherhood mystique, no rituals mark the psychological journey we daughters begin when our mothers die.

The loss of either parent cuts deep, but mothers shape most women's lives like no one else. What your mother served for dinner (or didn't), whom she married (or divorced), the work she chose (or had forced upon her)--things like these tell a daughter what it means to be a woman. Whether you model your choices on hers or cringe at the very thought, whether she nurtured or neglected the girl you really were (as opposed to the one she thought you would be), your mother is your North Star.

And while she lights your way, she also links you to the past. In most families, it's Mom who keeps the baby book and hands down Grandma's stories along with the heirloom china. As Hope Edelman points out in her book, Motherless Daughters, such family legends "transform the experiences of [a woman's] female ancestors into maps she can follow for warning or encouragement."

Bereaved daughters talk about the void a friend of mine calls "mother hunger"--the wish that a wise older friend would adopt you, the pang of envy at the sight of a mother and daughter laughing together over lunch. I have a cousin who, the first year after her mother's death, couldn't fall asleep without hugging a pillow, and a friend who still keeps the silk robe her dying mother wore in the hospital a decade ago. And in my own bottom drawer sits my mother's flannel nightgown, which I wear on the coldest nights. More than six years after her death, it takes me back to her cinnamon-scented kitchen, where my triumphs and tragedies achieved a sense of completion as she gave me her perspective.

If your mother still plants trees and runs fund-raising drives, you may wonder how much longer you'll have her and what you'll do when she is gone. You'll do what we all do: mourn hard and slowly. You'll come to accept the yearning that blindsides you when something wonderful happens--a baby's birth, a promotion--and your mother cannot share it. But don't be surprised if you find yourself breaking new ground.

I know a woman who married for the first time, in her 50s, after the death of a sickly and demanding mother. Then there's the long-time homemaker who didn't seek a job until her mother died--and is now at the top of a cutthroat profession. Such things happen because a motherless woman need not fear her mother's disapproval or domination. Psychologically speaking, she sits at the head of the table.

When I see women my age chatting with their mothers over lunch, I wish them many more outings together. And when I hear that a woman I know has lost her mother, I do what other women did for me. I write a note, share a memory, offer whatever help I can on her path to her mother's empty house. A gift for supporting each other is part of our inheritance as women. There's no better way to honour our mothers.

P.S. If you found "When your mother dies" helpful, you might also appreciate what other women have to say about losing their mothers. Click the Mother/Daughter gallery tab, and you'll find a wealth of stories to touch and inspire you. Do you ever feel troubled by what your mother didn't say before she died (like "I'm sorry" or "I'm proud of you?" I know the feeling and I've overcome it. Click here to learn more.

By Rona Maynard. First published June, 1996, as "Honour our mothers." Copyright Rogers Media Publishing. Reprinted by permission.

Posted by Rona August 14, 2007 @ 11:22 AM. File in Published in Chatelaine

 
 

Your comments

Number of Comments  123 responses to "When your mother dies"

 
Comment
donna
August 20, 2007 at 6:06PM
 
The piece is eloquent and insightful. It continues to strike a chord and resonate with daughters all of these years after it was first published. Bravo and thank you.
 
Comment
Marianne Smith
August 21, 2007 at 6:06AM
 
It was wonderful to hear how other women feel after the loss of their mother. I too have kept my mom's robe that she wore in the hospital and would pull it out so that I could smell her unique scent.
 
Comment
teri
August 27, 2007 at 6:06AM
 
Thank you for reminding me; I loved the piece. I learned the most about my mother in the months just prior to her death...that time I spent with her was the most profound experience of my life and when I remember it now, ten years later, I am filled with comfort more than pain.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
August 27, 2007 at 7:07 AM
 
Teri, I feel the same way. I expected the loss of my mother to bring nothing but pain, and of course there was plenty of that. But in her last months my mother had an openness that I never saw when she was well. We spent long hours reminiscing together, rereading old letters with other family members. Consciously or not, she was preparing me to move forward without her. I cherish the memory of those afternoons in her garden.
 
Comment
Lynne Stevenson
August 30, 2007 at 8:08AM
 
My mother wasn't the doting maternal type. She could have given Joan Crawford lessons on how to be the mother from hell. If current guidelines had been in place in the 1960's, I would have been taken away by Child Protective Services and placed in Foster Care.

I believe any child psychologist worth their diploma would have labeled her a Munchausen by Proxy parent. As a child I was always sick and subjected to many painful medical tests. The one that most sticks out in my mind is the leukemia test I endured at 5 where my pediatrician and two technicians held me down on a metal table and broke one of my hips to extract a bone marrow sample. I remember screaming for my father while these people were hurting me and I could not get to him. I didn't ask for my mother once.

At three, she threw me off of a local high school bleachers and I ended up attempting to explain with my 4 year old's vocabulary to my grandmother exactly what happened when I dislocated my collar bone and almost broke my arm. She never questioned why we were there to begin with and my mother told her I fell.

At four she parked the family car in the path of an oncoming train and tried to leave me in it alone. At the very last second she managed to move the car off of the track and back it in reverse. I still feel the heat from the lights and hear the blaring siren 41 years later. When I tried to tell my grandmother what happened, my mother told her that I was lying and had seen the train on tv from the series "Petticoat Junction" and had been scared by it.

The first time she tried to shoot me, I was seven years old. My father had to wrestle the gun out of her hands. She told him that I had been sleepwalking and she thought I was a burglar attempting to break in the house. The second and final time she attempted to shoot me I was 34 years old and taking care of her when she was dying from lung cancer.

At her funeral in 1997 I had between 35 and 50 people come up to me and introduce themselves. They had not known that I even existed until they had read her obit in the local paper. They assumed that my sister was an only child because she was the only child my mother ever talked about on her job. She was a head teller at a local bank for over 27 years and even her long term mechanic didn't know me until a week before she died.

Currently I am a 45-year-old senior English major. I am hoping to finally become a college graduate in December. I have survived walking through the fires of hell and have come out laughing on the other side.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
August 30, 2007 at 8:08 AM
 
Lynne, your harrowing story will be on my mind today, and very likely for quite a few days to come. I wish I could tell myself it cannot be true, but it has the ring of truth. I have only to read my morning paper to know that some parents treat their children with harrowing brutality that defies imagining. Still, what stands out for me in your story is not what your profoundly disturbed mother did, but how you managed to survive with your sense of decency and hope intact. You found it in your heart to take care of your mother at the end. Then you pursued your dream of an education. Now, that's inspiring! Here's to laughter, and to learning.
 
Comment
faith goldman
October 18, 2007 at 1:01PM
 
Hello Rona,
Your article is deep, touching & triggering! I'm at that tender(maybe it lasts forever!) place just short of one year after my mother's passing. So tears were streaming down my face reading 7 re-reading this article.
My mother was bi-polar & stayed steady with meds most of her adult life. She was gracious& charming She was also an amazing artist & left us all with much great art-her lifeline. The year & a half before she died she had Alzheimer's & became progressively nasty toward me. She turned on me & my brothers, sister-in-law & dad were saddened as they knew how close we were. I was heart broken because we were so loving.
The minute my mother died & I was there to help her "let go" of her tortured body I forgave that nastiness. All I yearn for are those lunches we had where we sat & smiled at each other. Her apartment was filled with art & my siblings & I called our family & her closest friends to choose the piece or pieces of hers they wanted to have. There is big joy in passing on art & knowing it would grace others lives.
So thank you for your eloquent & articulate voice in sharing these very real thoughts & feelings. I smile every day looking at the art of my mom's surrounding me in my home.
Gratefully,
Faith
 
Comment
Rona Maynard
October 18, 2007 at 1:01PM
 
No, Faith, the "tender stage" doesn't last forever. But the missing does. Reading your evocative comment, I thought of my father. Like your mother, he was an artist and a truly tortured soul who could be confoundingly, infuriatingly difficult. He died long ago. Now many of his paintings and drawings hang on my walls. In his work I see my father's joy in the natural world and his devotion to beauty wherever he found it. He didn't often make me smile when we lived under the same roof. Now the presence of his art work makes me smile every day.
 
Comment
Andi
December 06, 2007 at 3:03AM
 
After reading the interview in MORE magazine I searched you out. The article mentioned an obsession with Mother Daughter articles - I was so relieved to know I wasn't alone! It's almost a fetish with me. Some books and articles sit on a shelf, unread. Perhaps I'm afraid to read them - I keep longing for the affection of my mother (or even my siblings - 1 brother and 4 sisters) that I feel I never got. They were all so much older than me. Mom was 42 when she had me, Dad 43, oldest (brother) is 18 years older than me and the sister closest to me in age is 6 years older than me.

Mom was bipolar and pretty tranquil due to meds. She had zero emotions most of her life. She didn't cry when Daddy died. The first time I ever saw her cry was on my wedding day. The week after she would be diagnosed with lung cancer that eventually went to her brain.

I so miss her. Even though she really didn't cuddle me or do my hair (something I really really long for still to this day) I know she loved me. She just couldn't show emotions. Yet it hurts. That yearning.

Anyway - I loved the interview in MORE, and I loved loved loved this article. Thank you for putting it here for millions of now motherless children to read.

And I now have a better understanding of my jealousy when I witness mothers and daughters (and even gal pals) together having fun. I can only dream that someday my step-children will allow me to share a smidgen of that closeness with them.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
October 12, 2007 at 6:06 PM
 
Andi, I'm touched that you sought me out after reading my article in MORE (co-authored with my sister Joyce). Finding the will and the serenity to tell these intertwined stories after so many years of distance and conflict was a milestone for both of us, personally and professionally. We're both deeply gratified by the heartfelt response from sisters, plus a brother or two. Note to those of you who missed the sisters article: just go to the "popular articles" section and look for "A tale of two sisters."
 
Comment
Jennifer Jilks
December 26, 2007 at 8:08AM
 
I lost my mother in 2006. It is a difficult thing to move through. Writing about it certainly helped me. I recommend all keep a journal. I am working on publishing my book. www.jilks.com/BookProposal.html I want to help other families, primarily daughters, who help ailing and/or failing parents. It is a difficult passage of life, only assuaged by the birth of my granddaughter!
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
December 26, 2007 at 11:11 AM
 
Jennifer, I know so many friends who are going through this painful transition. Just the other night at a Christmas party, two of the people around the table were struggling to join the revelry because of recently deceased or gravely ill parents. I wish you well with your book.
 
Comment
Hilary Ostrov
December 26, 2007 at 12:12PM
 
Hello Rona,

This morning, I heard a re-broadcast of Shelagh Rogers' interview with you and your sister, Joyce, on Sounds Like Canada. And I was prompted to visit both of your websites! This is a letter I had meant to write to you when I learned of Fredelle's untimely death in '89, but at that time I was somewhat pre-occupied with my dying marriage.

I had the joy and privilege of spending 24 hours with your mother one day in the mid-eighties in Ottawa. At that time, I was the director of JSU-Hillel at the two universities there; through a Canada Council grant, I had invited Fredelle to give a reading. "Raisins and Almonds" had always been one of my all time favourite books - one of the few that I've actually read more than once - and I also subsequently enjoyed "The Tree of Life" ... and I wanted to share that joy with whoever in Ottawa would have the good sense to attend the reading.

For some reason that now escapes me, I was unable to meet Fredelle at the airport as planned; but that didn't phase her! When we met up later in the day, to go for dinner prior to the reading, your mom informed me that she had spent the time looking for a pair of outrageously red shoes for herself! Attendance at the reading was disappointing, but your mom took it in stride.

We went to my home after the reading, because the plan was that she would stay the night and I would drive her to the airport the next day. My (now former) husband introduced himself, and then retired for the night. Fredelle and I spent the next several hours drinking and talking about everything under the sun. I shall always treasure the memory of that evening and early morning!

I was particularly struck by her recounting of how she got into the business of being a child care expert. She told me that she had been invited to be a speaker at some conference, and because she felt that this wasn't really her bailiwick, hoping to discourage the organizers, she advised them that she would do the presentation for what she deemed to be an exorbitant fee.
Much to her surprise, they agreed to pay ? and the rest, as they say, is history!

The lesson in that, she told me, was to never underestimate - or undersell - yourself! She also told me that I was meant for much better things than being director of JSU-Hillel (and subsequent years proved her to be quite correct!)

Your mother was the same age as my mother, but to me (perhaps like many other daughters' mothers) she always seemed much younger.

My own mother passed away in '91 after a long illness. By that time I had been in Vancouver for some years, but I spent several weeks in Toronto at her bedside. We had not been close during my childhood or adulthood; but in those last few months of her life, we were finally able to talk and be at peace with each other.

At some point in the intervening years, I made the mistake of lending my copies of both "Raisins and Almonds" (autographed by Fredelle, when she was in Ottawa) and "The Tree of Life". I'm sure they now have a good home on someone else's bookcase, but their absence makes me miss your mother and mine.

 
Reply
Rona Maynard
December 26, 2007 at 3:03 PM
 
Hilary, you are one of many people who've shared your memories of my mother since her death 18 years ago. I'm grateful to you all. No matter how much I know, there's always more I want to know, like every bereaved daughter. Those beautiful red shoes, for example. I never saw them. My mother had complaining feet, and probably bought the shoes hoping they'd be more comfortable than they proved to be. Then she must have pitched them or given them away. I've made the same mistake in a number of shoe stores. Like mother, like daughter. My mother's two memoirs, while long out of print, are widely available online. Just check amazon.ca, alibris.com or the site of your choice. You'll always miss your mother. But you don't have to miss the books. Thank you for sharing a little of your life with me.
 
Comment
Hilary Ostrov
December 27, 2007 at 9:09AM
 
Thanks, Rona. I was actually thinking of checking Amazon for your mother's books when I treat myself to a copy of your memoir :)
 
Comment
Carol Harrison
September 02, 2008 at 7:07PM
 
When my mother took her last breath, my sister was asleep in a chair in my mother's hospital room. I watched my mother struggle for each tortuous breath and her mouth, in struggling to breathe, reminded me of a fish, and when I see a fish do the same thing, it becomes an instant trigger. My sister, though asleep, myself and my father....all were in my mother's hospital room as she had her lungs pumping out a dirty brown liquid. She died from colorectal cancer which has metastized, spreading to her stomach and lungs, I believe. When she was pronounced dead, I felt numb, shock and was speechless and with noone to grieve with, except my sister. After that, I really have no recollection of what happened. The glue that held our family of five together.....was now gone....permanently.
I'm 60 now and have suffered from the death of my mother for almost 30 years (next April).
I have no outlet for grieving and so my grief has taken the form of emotional, mental and psychological illness.
I have guilt feelings too about the way I treated my mother for looking different, for talking with a Scottish dialect despite her having been born in England...(Scottish-born parenets). I once went out of my way to ignore her, feeling ashamed. I have wondered, if she were alive, how we would or wouldn't get along. Would she like the man I married?? What would she think of my personal social and moral values very different from hers? What we spar or would she accept me now that I'm much older for who I am. Questions I wish she was alive to answer.
 
Comment
Linda Jenkins
November 01, 2008 at 4:04PM
 
My Momma died Oct.12,2008. I am the oldest. I have one brother, and one sister, she is the baby.Im 63,jimmys 62, and Sandy is 48.I am raising 3 of my grand children. one is 9,7,and one is 15 mos.I feel so bad, because my baby sister, did all the care for my momma.My Daddy and mother, would have been married 66 years on Dec 18th,Daddy was buy her side to the end. I feel so bad, because I was not there to help them.I love my mother more than words could ever say.I only hope momma didnt feel hard about me not being there every day.I Am so sorry for all the people in this world,that had parents that hurt them.I wish I could take away that pain.MAY GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU. Linda
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
November 02, 2008 at 12:12 PM
 
Linda, I am so terribly sorry---not just that you've lost your one and only mother, which is a life-transforming journey for every woman, but that you worry about not doing enough for her at the end. As a mother, let me tell you what I think your mother would say if she could be here. You've done the very best that you could. You're raising three young children who need you. All the love and good will in the world only go so far; you have one pair of hands and so much to do for the people who depend on you. Give yourself credit for the good that you've done and continue to do, instead of feeling guilty about what you wish you could have done. Meanwhile, I'll be thinking of you and your loss.
 
Comment
Katherine
November 15, 2008 at 3:03PM
 
I lost my mother last Sunday. I was the one who told the doctors to end her suffering on Sunday morning when it was clear she would not make it out of the hospital alive. Rather than have her die on the ventilator, I chose to take her off before she suffered brain damage. My mother was a teacher and I did not want her to die with brain damage. Everyday that she was on the ventilator, I kept hoping a doctor would give me a reason to keep her on and a reason to take her off so I could end her suffering. (When she went into the hospital four days prior, she put me in charge of making medical decisions for her). She did not want to go on the ventilator (she had pulmonary fibrosis) and was so scared. I never realized how much I loved my mother until I watched her die. I am numb, angry, hurt, shocked and feeling emotions I have never felt in my life.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 15, 2008 at 5:05 PM
 
Katherine, you did what your mother would have wanted you to do. But that doesn't make the anguish of your loss, and the decision you faced at the end, any easier to bear. I'm so sorry.
 
Comment
Karima
March 01, 2009 at 6:06PM
 
Thank you I'm feeling the "Miss my mother blues right now". Sometimes I felt like I grew up to fast and other times I feel like a well a motherless child. It's hard and seem like ppl dont understand.I feel like a grown woman but I'm just a scared lil girl waiting for my mommy to come back. It's such a scary feeling. I just dont know what to do. Especially when you said you would like to share the good news, also the bad news Im going through it's like to much on my plate right now.I'm so grateful I found your words so soothing right now, Just when I needed them. Thank you so very much in knowing I'm not alone.
 
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Rona Maynard
March 02, 2009 at 5:05 AM
 
Karima, welcome to my online kitchen table. If you take a look around, you'll see that many, many women have stood where you're standing right now. I too miss my mother, who died more than 19 years ago. Every day I think, "She'd love that" or "I wish I could ask her about this." And yet, if I focus on my memory of her, I feel she's still with me--guiding, inspiring and (sometimes) nagging as mothers do. I used to think relationships ended with death. I'm glad to tell you I was mistaken.
 
Comment
Mereoni Radio
March 08, 2009 at 9:09PM
 
I have just lost my mother a week ago and the emptyness inside of me just can not be described in words.I feel like something has been carved out inside of me and removed.I am desperate to feel that mothers love again,I only wish this was just another dream.My whole world changed ,and life seemed meaningless without my best friend...my mother.I shouted and screamed when I went to say my last farewell..and being the eldest and the only girl...at 47 I felt like a little girl..crying out for her lost mother.I stood there with so much pain ...just watching those hands that cradled me ...those hands that moulded me ....the voice that used to bring so much comfort was no more to be heard.I still can not sleep well and every where I look I feel that my mum is still smiling at me.Oh how I miss you mom....I only wish I could be given another chance to be with you...I love you..I love you mom...I will miss you .....
 
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Rona Maynard
March 10, 2009 at 6:06 AM
 
I'm sorry for your loss. Your comment reminds me of the famous spiritual "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child." I remember my mother listening to Marian Anderson's wonderful, shiver-inducing recording of that song. Nothing and no one ever replaces the love that only a mother can give. But I've been amazed to discover how compassionately and wisely women can mother each other.
 
Comment
Amy
March 20, 2009 at 5:05PM
 
I am 38 years old and my mother died 19 days ago at the age of 63. She had a heart attack in her sleep. The most difficult aspect at the current time is flipping between old memories (the good ones) and new memories (the bad ones). I mourn physically for the mother that introduced me to music, art, old movies and laugher. I am angry at the mother that became an alcoholic the past 6 years of her life. I miss the mother that used to tell me that if they lined up all the little girls in the whole wide world she would still pick me. I wish I could say sorry to the mother I yelled at for never answering the phone when I called the past few months. My regret list is so long and I fear the mourning process. Your article gave me hope that I am going down the path that so many have walked. And for that I thank you.
 
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Rona Maynard
March 20, 2009 at 7:07 PM
 
Amy, thank you for taking a minute to express an almost universal challenge of mourning---all the would-haves, could-haves and should-haves--at such a vulnerable stage stage in your life. I think you'll find, as you talk to other women and read their stories here, that regret is part of the process. Perhaps it's a way of sustaining our connection with someone we have lost and will always miss to some degree. I'm sorry you've lost your flawed, beloved, irreplaceable mother.
 
Comment
Susan
March 23, 2009 at 3:03PM
 
I lost my mother almost 23 years ago, when I wasn't yet 30. She was my rock, my confidant, my lifeline when I was in wretched middle school! Sometimes it seems like it just happened yesterday, and then other times, I can hardly remember what she looked like, or how she sounded. That's the really sad part....I would love to be able to remember her voice. She was only 52 (the same age I am now....that's kind of a weird feeling too!) And many tmes I look in the mirror and see her looking back at me, I look so much the way I remember her. I think one thing I've found, is that, as time goes by, you forget the really awful times (i.e. her suffering in her final months) and other things, and you tend to remember the wonderful things! Those that have recently lost their moms, know that the grief, while overwhelming now, will ease with time. But you never forget her....and, if you're like me, you never stop missing her! Sometimes even now, I LONG to pick up the phone and talk to her, to share with her about her grandchildren. Thanks for this forum and your thoughts......no one understands this loss except those who've been there!!
 
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Rona Maynard
March 23, 2009 at 5:05 PM
 
Susan, you speak for so many of us who have lost our mothers. I'm particularly moved by your struggle to remember your mother's voice. We tend to think certain memories are indelible, that we can't possibly forget anything so important, so life-altering, and yet a child's adorable observation or a mother's voice can slip away over time. Like you, I often look in the mirror and see my mother. She had deep groves on either side of her mouth; I've inherited them. When she was my age, she had eight years remaining. I try not to think too much about that.
 
Comment
Sally Zito
March 28, 2009 at 4:04PM
 
I'm not sure if this is the place to write this but I am really having a difficult time dealing with the loss of my mother. I lost my dad in 1991. My mom died on May 26, 2008. My dad died on the same date in 1991. I am hoping they are together in heaven. My mother was my best friend. She died from non hodgkins lymphoma three weeks after being diagnosed. I stayed with her in the hospital daily and when she was moved to a nursing home I was with her every day. The last three days of her life hospice came in and they were wonderful. But what bothers me so much is that I left my mom at 6 p.m. on May 26 and at 10 p.m. I received a call that she had died. I so wanted to be with her when she died so she would not be alone but I wasn't and I feel so much guilt over that. People tell me many times parents will die after you leave but this really doesn't help me get over the feeling that I should have been with her in her last moments. I was her only child and was so very close to her. I don't know what to do to stop feeling so guilty. I miss her so much and even though she was 90 she was on her own right up until she got sick. If only I could believe that she forgave me for not being with her like she was with my dad when he died. I don't think anyone should die alone, especially not my wonderful mom. Can you please give me some words of advice. They would be so appreciated. I have gone for therapy but I still have many times where I just cry because I miss her so much and feel I have failed her. Thank you for your time.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
March 28, 2009 at 6:06 PM
 
Sally, there's no mistaking your anguish at not being with your mother when she died. You wanted to be there, you'd have dropped everything to do it, and you were denied the opportunity. That's not your fault. You lost the final moments that should have been yours, but you lost nothing in your role as a loving daughter. You did the very best you could---as I have no doubt your mother would tell you if she could witness your regret. How do I know? I'm a mother. Of course, like you, I'm also a bereaved daughter, and I can tell you the missing never ends, although it does fade over time. But missing your mother is not the same thing as failing her. Although no one can replace her, you may find yourself gratefully amazed at the wisdom and encouragement other women will share with you. We women have a gift for mothering our friends, old and new.
 
Comment
Susan
March 28, 2009 at 6:06PM
 
To Sally--It sounds like you were extremely devoted to your mother. I totally understand your feelings, even though my mom passed away 23 years ago. She did as you mom did--seemed to wait until all of us had gone to bed for the night and then died peacefully. We did have a hospice nurse that awakened us to tell us that she'd passed. I don't think that anything could make you feel better, not even if you'd been there. Losing your mother is awful no matter what!! Don't blame yourself--you are a human being that simply had to go home for rest. I too, think that sometimes loved ones wait until alone before they go. My mother was a very strong, proud (in a good way) woman and I don't think she wanted a lot of us around when she breathed her last. Just know that you did the best you could for her, and your devotion was a comfort to her. And believe me, in heaven, I'm sure that she isn't holding that against you!! Give yourself permission to be human! Cry when you need to, think about your mother often, but don't continue to beat yourself up over not being there!! You gave of yourself when she needed you most, and when she breathed her last, I'm sure that the Lord walked with her across that great divide into glory!! When you lose your mother, your life is completely altered, so just understand that and give yourself permission to grieve!!
 
Comment
allie
June 21, 2009 at 7:07PM
 
My mother died two months ago . And my father regused to see me any more . everyone in ,my life basically abandoned me after she died of carichoma cancer . I was living in malta , with my dad . When she died he shut down completly and didnt want to know me any more . But i had become closer to him than any one in the world beside my mother. Im only twenty tow and not succesful at any bussiness or lucky with keeping jobs. I had to reutrn to the states to my mothers family who i never kenw and dont reallly understand . No one has knwon how much pain i am in sicnce this happened; My relatives threw out all her stuff , so i have no memoribilia , and they say things like well. .... you have ot be strong , DO THEY HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH PAIN IM In? i Had an unsual relatinship with my mother , she doubled as my best friend , and my only friend really , she was more like my twin than my mother , the only person in the world who had a similar mind , similar mentality , and i dont just miss her i feel like im screaming from the inside out and there isnt a single person who understands or even cares/ I miss my mother and i miss my father , and everyone around me is just annoying me, i hate everyone, and i just want the comfort and support im so solely missing , i prefer being alone , becuase the rest of my family are strangers to me, and i have no wavelenth with them .
 
Comment
Katherine
June 21, 2009 at 8:08PM
 
Allie, you are so young to lose your mother. I know how much this hurts because I lost my mother at a young age too even though it happened when I was in my mid-40s. I expected to have my mother around for at least another 20 years. I can't even imagine the pain you must be going through and there is nothing I can say to make it go away. A good friend gave me the best advice when dealing with hardship and emotional pain. You can't go over it, under it or around it. You just have to go through it. Be good to yourself as much as you can during this time. Try not to listen to people who say stupid things like "you have to be strong" and "it will pass". They mean well but they don't understand what you are going through. Only you know what it is like to experience what you are experiencing. Be your own best friend. Give yourself time to get through difficult phase. When you are ready, reach out to others who offer you the kind of support you want and need. It sounds like you are going through so much right now. I will send good thoughts your way.
 
Comment
Linda
July 16, 2009 at 7:07PM
 
My mother passed away last week just 4 months after the death of my 6 month old grandson. They both died of brain tumors. I can't seem to grieve for my mother. I had not even begun to grieve for my grandson when my mother was diagnosed , After the diagnosis, she came and spent her remaining two and a half months in my home, with the help of hospice. I know that I should mourn her death - I loved my mother dearly but all of the sorrow I am feeling is concentrated on my grandson's death. I can't get past thinking about his death and have not felt anything about my mother's. When will I be able to concentrate on the loss of my mother? I feel that I am dishonoring her memory - she was a wonderful mother and I loved her very much.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
July 17, 2009 at 7:07 AM
 
Dear Linda, What a heavy burden you're carrying---equal parts grief and guilt, compounded by the dismayingly bad luck of two fatal brain tumours striking your nearest and dearest. When it comes to mourning, there are no "shoulds" except in our minds. Each death forces you to rebuild your emotional world, a slow and painful journey that has its own rhythm. You can't hurry it along. When your mother was diagnosed, you were already inundated with sorrow for your grandson and his parents. You were trying to fix his image in your mind, to get your head around everything he was and all the other things he'll never have a chance to be. That's hard psychological work. And meanwhile you had the physical effort of caring for your mother, giving her the most serene death that you could. You had to keep putting one foot in front of the other, doing all those things that need to be done when someone is dying. No wonder you have no more sorrow left to give---for now. The time will come when you can grieve your mother's loss. Linda, you have been a good and loyal daughter---as I have no doubt your mother would tell you herself if she could hold your hand one more time. Anyone who reads this page will see how much you loved her. Dishonouring her memory? Not at all. I'd say you're doing just the opposite. With deepest sympathy, Rona
 
Comment
Sarah
July 29, 2009 at 12:12PM
 
I read all of the above wistfully. While my mother Amelia is still alive, she is very much entering the final stage of her Alzheimer's Disease. She no longer remembers my name, but lights up whenever she sees me. I find myself making excuses as to why I don't visit her as often. Yet what bothers me most is my intense fear of her dying. That seems so silly, I know. But...there it is! And like Sally -- I too feel guilt about my fathers' death five years ago and also about how my mothers' final years have turned out. The mourning is ever-present, though I try hard not to be consumed by it and to remain positive. It is so nice to re-visit this online community and to read these wonderful insights, comments, etc.
 
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Rona Maynard
August 04, 2009 at 6:06 AM
 
Welcome back, Sarah. I'm not surprised you fear your mother's dying, even though in most respects she's already gone. Once she physically leaves this world, the shell of her former self will be fully replaced in your mind by the woman you lost. How could this not be terribly sad?
 
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Sarah
August 06, 2009 at 4:04AM
 
Thank you Rona. As always, you have put everything into perspective in one short paragraph. You really are part-therapist :)

 
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Maxie
August 31, 2009 at 8:08PM
 
My Mother had a massive stroke in her 80's and was in rehab for 4 weeks with no recovery of speech and swallowing. We had to decide to take her off the feeding tube and for a week and a half watched her die from dehydration. I happened to be the only one there at the end to see her take her last torturous breath and I can't seem to shake the guilt of making the decision that ended her life even though it was in her living will to not be sustained by feeding tube. I can not stop seeing the suffering our decision caused. My head tells me it was the stroke that killed her but my heart tells me it was my family deciding to starve her. This woman was a kind, loving and simple person. The doctors said she would have died within 6 months from infections and they guided us toward this decision. My Mother wasn't stoic and really was like a little girl in her affection and needs. I feel terribly racked with guilt and grief all at the same time.
 
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Katherine
August 31, 2009 at 9:09PM
 
Maxie, I had to make a very similar decision when my mother passed away late last year. She was on a ventillator and feeding tube. She made it very clear to me and her doctors before she went on the ventillator that she was not be kept on either if there was little to no chance of recovery after a few days. She had less than 24 hrs to live when she put on life support. LS gave her only a few more days before I decided that she had suffered enough and I needed to follow her wishes and take her off. I still feel so much guilt for that decision even though it was what she wanted. I know how you feel and it really hurts. I don\'t know if I can say anything to make you feel better but just know that you are not alone.
 
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Marcia Phillips
September 06, 2009 at 1:01AM
 
Hello Women and Daughters of the World,

I too lost my mom. I lost her in 1987. When she died, I felt as if I was suspended in space with no anchor, no foundation and I was doing a free fall to no-where. I loved and continue to love my mother deeply. I realize that I am fortunate in that she was loving, caring, self-sacrificing and all those things everyone wants a mother to me. Immediately after losing her, I was in a store trying to take my mind off of losing her. There was a young daughter calling her mother "mom" repeatedly. I had such a hard time overhearing her terms of endearment. But over time I came to realize that my mother would not want me to not live life to the fullest. True love encourages living and growing. All that my mother did for me needed to be utilized for my continued growth. While she is not here physically anymore, she is living within me through her wonderful spirit. Her words of wisdom, her funny jokes, everything comes back to my memory as I continue to live my life to the fullest. God is still in control. And all of our lives are short-lived. So, do not despair. Love continues to live on.
 
Comment
Ashley
September 10, 2009 at 7:07PM
 
My mother and stepfather died when I was 13 years old. She left my younger sister(her real father and mother) who was 3, my older brother who was 14, and me. Although I never really cared that much for my stepfather he was in fact the only real father figure in my lfe. My first memory of my "real father" was when I was about in second or third grade. He was just coming back from the Gulf War, etc. Needless to say my real father is a not a very good father and I have not spoken to him since I was 14. I sometimes forget I actually have a biological parent living in the world. So, basically you can say I have been parentless since 13.

My sister and I went to live with my mother's sister, who was more financially stable than we ever were who already had a daughter of her own,( a year younger than me-only child might I add) and my aunt and I never really got along. Although we never verbally fought nor was I at all rebellious, it was just a known fact to even my surrounding family that we didn't care for each other. Her daughter was beautiful, popular, and outgoing, and I always felt as though I didn't belong in their family and I often feel like she sometimes wanted me to feel bad about myself.

Since my sister was so young ,she is 16 now, she has grown up to be a lot like my cousin (my aunt's daughter). Really because she was so young she probably really sees my aunt as her mother and my aunt loves her just the same. I might add that after their death my brother went to live with my stepfather 's parents (another story for another day) but although we have always lived in different cities we both know that if the other one needs anything we are always there for each other.

Here is the thing: My sister was 8 when I left my Aunt's house..and I obviously moved out right away after turning 18 and went out on my on. I ended up living with another aunt who in my opinion felt bad for me because at one point I didn't really have a place to stay..long story short I ended up moving out of there into apartment of my own and have moved several times, etc and at one point even moved in with my current boyfriend's mother for a short period of time. Here is the thing: right now I am having all this guilt and shame that maybe in my sister's eyes she feels like I abandon her or something. I have always been there on Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, taken her swimming, been to ball games, but nothing on a super regular basis just the little things. Honestly, between going to college (I am now out of school and graduated close to 3 years ago) working jobs to support myself(had absolutely NO financial help from anyone) and living in another county I always feel like I did ok by her.

Now, she is growing up and all of a sudden I am having this weird depression like I wasn't a good sister and should have been there more. Over the past two or three weeks when I think about it I can't help but to cry. It is really starting to consume me. The thing is I feel like she sees my cousin (my aunt's daughter who is just now leaving the house because she is about go get married) as more of a sister than me. My cousin has asked her to be her matron of honor and this has really hurt me. As everyone seems surprised she did not ask me because we grew up together and are close to the same age etc. I kind of feel like how dare she ask MY little sister..to be her matron of honor...along with that and a couple of other incidents over the past couple of months I feel like my eyes have really opened and I don't feel like I am or was a bad sister I am just having all this guilt because I feel like I could have done more and maybe we would be closer. Maybe it is the fact that she is 16 with her own car and boyfriend, etc and I am not the cool big sister anymore, but I feel so alone and hurt and could really use some words of encouragement or advice. (sorry so long)
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
September 11, 2009 at 5:05 AM
 
Welcome, Ashley. You've come to the right place. I'm with Katherine: there's absolutely no reason for you to be carrying this burden of guilt. You've done everything you can to be the very best sister you can be under circumstances that would challenge anyone. You were just a kid when your mother died, and you had to grow up fast---"parentless," as you say. From what I can see, you've done a splendid job. You put yourself through school, you've maintained your ties to your siblings and you have a strong sense of ethics. You and your sister are still young, although it may not feel that way to you, after this long and stressful emotional journey. Give yourselves time to grow and you may find that you start to grow together in midlife, when many of us start to ask ourselves, "How did I get here?" and see the past from a new vantage point. As Katherine says, families are so complicated. But they can evolve in the most surprising and delightful ways, as I've learned from experience. You might enjoy my story of healing a difficult sister bond. It's posted here: http://www.ronamaynard.com/index.php?a-tale-of-two-sisters
 
Comment
Katherine
September 10, 2009 at 8:08PM
 
Ashley, you were so young to lose your mother. I'm so sorry. It sounds like your little sister being asked to be your cousin's matron of honor is stirring up so old feelings and memories for you. Perhaps this is reminding you of how difficult your life became after your parents died. Sounds like your aunt could have done more to help you have an easier transition into her family. Since your aunt failed you, could you be now be feeling like you failed your sister after you left? Maybe explore that. You might be feeling a little resentful that your aunt's family showed preference for your little sister and now she is showing a preference for them. Family stuff can be so complicated. One thing to remember, guilt is what we feel when we have done something wrong. Doesn't sound like you have done anything wrong - so you shouldn't feel guilty. The funny thing about guilt is we tend to feel it when there is no reason to. We take on the guilt other people should be feeling. If anyone should be feeling guilty, it should be your aunt. You were just a kid when your parents died and you did the best you could under the circumstances (and sounds like you've done very well for yourself). She should have put whatever feelings she had for you and did everything to make you and your sister feel equally welcomed into the family.
 
Comment
Ashley
September 11, 2009 at 8:08AM
 
Katherine and Rona, thanks for your advice as I really have no other "adult" figues in which I can confide. My best friend kind of offered the same advice. She thinks once my sister is out of high school and out of the teeneager years she believes we will become close again. I hope this is true. Although I am not close to hardly any of my family, my brother and sister mean very much to me and I would do anything for them. It just hurts to see that even though our parents are dead that she still has a family in which I am not really part of. Did I mention that in my cousin's wedding blod she described my sister as her "true sister" and later mentioned that we were half sisters...just sort of a slap in the face, and I am sure she did not mean it that way, but still kind of makes me wonder if that is how my sister sees our relationship too. But, i have just decided that I will try to do more and just be there for her and hopefully one day she will look back and know how much I cared.
 
Comment
Maxine Gordon
October 16, 2009 at 8:08PM
 
I guess I too am now classified as a motherless daughter. My Mother died 3 months ago and it has torn me apart. My Mother was my support, my anchor and when you lose this you are not sure where you are and who you are. I try everyday to get used to the new situation but I still long to hear her voice, see her smile, hold her hand. I miss the person who is no longer on this earth with me. I miss her,,I miss her
 
Comment
tracy green
October 20, 2009 at 12:12PM
 
today would of been my mothrs 79th birthday. she was murdered a year ago. i miss her so much and feel so lost without her.
 
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Rona Maynard
October 21, 2009 at 7:07 AM
 
Dear Tracy, I'm so sorry. What a hard, hard day your mother's birthday must be for you. I'll be thinking of you both. By the way, October 20 is my birthday, too. Warmly, Rona
 
Comment
Kim Packett
November 04, 2009 at 8:08AM
 
Wow, so many different life experiences. If I may tell you a little about my life. First of all I lost my mother today, she died of lung cancer. I lost my father 13 months ago, he had a massive heart attack and died, his dr. said he felt no pain. My son who is 26 years old just had a heart transplant 2 years ago, my son his name is Jonathan which means given by God. He has had in his 26 young years of life has been through 25 different procedures and surgeries, His grandfather was his life, he taught him how to fish, and they did a lot of that. He taught him how to love nature and be kind in his heart, my father was a wonderful man who married a not so wonderful person. She had 2 children by different men and I was one of the ones that was not her husband's child. The way I found out made me feel dirty and ashamed. What I am learning now is that it is not my shame or my guilt and some of the shame that I have felt all my life is slowly going away. My youngest sister and her fourth husband will end up with everything of both parents even though she is the other one of the children that was not her husband. When I say her husband I mean he allowed her to do this and keep his family together. The man who is my father gave up his rights to her husband. I am so sorry but that is not all my family. I suffered a heart attack 5 years ago taking a medicine that is no longer on the market, and found out that I have diabetes and still my mother never said she was sorry for my illness, and all my heart ache.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 06, 2009 at 7:07 AM
 
Kim, what a lot of pain has piled up on you lately. I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. It's always terribly hard to lose a parent, especially when there's a sense of unfinished business, as in your case. Once a parent is gone forever, you have to accept that you'll never hear the words you were longing to hear. I've experienced this to some degree because my own mother thought I had failed my child and said so often, to others as well as to me. She never told me I must have done something right. Sad as this is, I've come to terms with it. I know I did my best, as I'm sure you also did. And that's what counts.
 
Comment
Ashley
November 04, 2009 at 5:05PM
 
I wanted to pose this question to see if anyone has ever experienced going thru this: My mother died when she was 31 and I was 13 (she was very young when she had me) and even though I know I am not hopefully anywhere near my "death bed" , the older I get the more I become obessed with age, not in a vain physical way, but more in the way I am constantly aware of how close I am getting to the age she was when she died. I am 26 but every day feels like a ticking clock, literally.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 06, 2009 at 7:07 AM
 
Ashley, it's normal to have thoughts like "When my mother was my age, she was seven years away from death." In fact, just this morning I had that very thought! But my mother died at 67. Your mother died shockingly young, on the brink of adult life. So of course it's troubling for you to look ahead to all the decades she never got to experience. I wouldn't be surprised if, deep down, you feel guilty at the thought of having what she was denied. For us daughters to outpace our mothers is always painful. Anyway, it seems to me that your anxiety about age and death is interfering with your ability to live your life. If that's the case, I recommend that you seek counselling. You can get beyond this, Ashley. And you deserve to.
 
Comment
Mariah
November 11, 2009 at 10:10AM
 
I like many women was the mother to my mother at the end. She died 10/15/07
I am the 'baby' girl of 2 older brothers. I just want to share yes... EVERY day I think of her. I have a sweater and stored it ALONE in a container so I can preserve her 'scent' Yes it is still there. Rona you mentioned above that your Mother is your north star. i truly broke down when I ready that because every night I see the north star when the skies are clear and... indeed as goofy as it sounds I always since she died think that she is the one up there twinkling downon me so bright encouraging me to 'carry on'. Posting these letters is fabulous. The pain is still the same from her loss and I dont think will ever go away! EVER
It 'only gets easier' because you get used to feeling it I think.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 17, 2009 at 3:03 AM
 
Mariah, you've come to the right place. While the missing never does go away, I do feel a continued connection to my mother---and to the friends I've also lost. Sometimes you see people more clearly when they're no longer around.
 
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Talia
December 29, 2009 at 8:08AM
 
Wow, I SO understand this. My mom died 10 months ago when she was just 56. I actually blog about this topic specifically on my blog (Daughter of Cancer), Your post made me cry because I feel this exact same way.
 
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Rona Maynard
December 29, 2009 at 5:05 PM
 
Talia, I'm always glad to welcome a new visitor to my site but wish you had a happier reason for coming. I've just visited your site and was sorry to see that you'll be getting married without your irreplaceable mother. The happiest moments are always tinged with sadness when someone who should be there to celebrate is missing.
 
Comment
Sally
December 29, 2009 at 10:10AM
 
Rona, I just read thoroughly some of the letters on this site, including my previous one and especially your first article in this section. I too had to go through my mother's entire house and especially her collection of salt and pepper shakers which she collected over the years. My dad had built bookcases for her to keep them in and sadly I had to get rid of most of them and only keep those that I think might have some value. Fortunately, I did this cleaning very soon after her death and though I was a little upset with my husband for making me start cleaning out the house so soon I think it was the best because I still was in sort of a state of numbness. I could never have done it later on. I would have kept everything. Also, it made me feel that I wasn't crazy for wearing my mother's flannel nightgown to bed every night when it's cold. I also sleep on her pillow. What is strange, though, is that after she died the television in the bedroom went on by itself and just this Christmas night, a battery operated candle in my living room was on when no one had touched it. My husband tells me my mom is probably sending me a message that she is O.K. and although that may sound weird I am hoping it is true. I still miss her and my dad so very much.
 
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Rona Maynard
December 29, 2009 at 5:05 PM
 
Sally, I got goosebumps reading your stories about the candle and the television going on by themselves. Love never dies, does it?
 
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Laurie Giacomi
December 31, 2009 at 11:11AM
 
My mother passed on Dec 23rd, her 75th birthday would have been on Dec 24th. She had a heart attack with no prior heart conditions. I have no regrets and all the very best memories of my relationship with my mother. I talked with mom at least 3/4 times per week and we were very much alike and the best of friends. I have two sisters who also had the same relationship with her, and that tells you what kind of mother she was. That must be why my relationship with my daughter is the same. We daughters all have had to take her animals as my mother was a humanitarian and animal lover. I am reaching out to grief counciling and my support system to get through this as, I miss my mom so much. I know that she is with her parents and all her pets in heaven and some day I will see her again. Mom, you in life you taught us to give more of ourselves and judge no one. You were a beautiful woman and the wind beneath our WINGS. I love you forever
 
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Talia
January 01, 2010 at 8:08AM
 
Hi Rona,

Thanks. For the record - not getting married any time soon. :-)

I know what you mean about happy to have a visitor, but sad with the reason - I have lots of those. I'm happy I get to help people, even though it was not my initial intention, but I'm sad to hear other people are going through what I went through.
 
Comment
Katherine
January 01, 2010 at 9:09AM
 
Ashley, my mother died about a year ago. During the last year I was preoccupied with probate and estate matters. Now that all of that is behind me, I'm feeling some of the same things you posed in your question. Since the 1st anniversary of my mother's death, I find myself thinking about what she would have done or felt during every holiday. She loved having people over during the holidays. Whenever there is a major news event, I think about how she would have reacted to it. I also spend a lot of time thinking about death and when my time will be up. My mother and both grandmothers died in their 60's. I can't help wonder if I'm going looking at the last 20 years of my life (I'm in my 40s). My father and grandfather are still alive (other grandfather died in his 80's). So I'm trying to think that I will be long lived like them. I'm not quite obsessed with it yet but I feel it is getting in the way of living and enjoying life everyday. I'm going to take Rona's advice and seek out counseling to get through this.
 
Comment
Michelle
January 19, 2010 at 7:07PM
 
Hi Rona,

Thanks for this article. I came across it today, while searching for my favourite former editor.

I find myself missing my Mum more within the last year or so, than I did after she passed away, about 3 1/2 years ago. She was only 54 and had colon cancer. She died 3 months before my due date; my first pregnancy. She was very excited that we were finally having a baby. Since she didn't want to face the possibility of dying, she had no will or executor named. Due to an irresponsible sister, I was the one who handled (well, still is) the estate, her taxes, etc. and her 30+ year collection of everything she ever owned. I did however find a use for my 1976 wooden playpen.

With a baby to care for and the estate issues, I didn't have time to really mourn and reflect. As my daughter grew and had all her firsts, I really wanted my Mum here to see them happen. There's so many questions about your own childhood that you don't think of asking, until you have your own child. Or even just being able to pick up the phone to ask what is 'normal'. There's nothing like a 3am 'OMG! Why won't she stop crying?' to realize what your mother did for you. I didn't realize how much work it was, until I had my daughter.

I just took out her shirt the other day, to smell her again. I'll need to Ziploc it soon. Anyway, thanks all for 'listening'.
 
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Rona Maynard
January 20, 2010 at 3:03 AM
 
Michelle, you were so young to lose your mother. I don't wonder that you miss her even more today. I've found it's often at happy times---like the birth of a new grandchild---that I wish my mother could be present to share the joy. And there are so many questions I wish I could ask her. Thank you for visiting my site and do come back soon.
 
Comment
Lori
February 18, 2010 at 9:09AM
 
My mother died 4 months ago. She had been sick for about only two months with low sodium. Then after the 3rd hospital stay, she fell in the hospital and suffered blunt force head trauma. I had to make the decision to take her off life support because she was not operable. Mom lay in hospice a week dying. I have moved in with my father to take care of him. I find that I've not had time to truly mourn my mom. I miss her tremendously and keep waiting for mama to just come home. Its like a bad nightmare and I'm trying to wake up from it. I want all this pain to just go away....but the adult in me knows it never will. I know my mom knew I loved her with all my heart, but I can't stop feeling that I should have told her more. I love you mom.....for ever and always....until we meet again.
 
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Rona Maynard
February 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM
 
What a hard decision you've had to face, Lori. And now you're dealing with your father's loss as well as your own---no small challenge. As women we tend to put our loved ones' emotional needs ahead of our own. The time will come for you to get your head around the permanent, painful absence of the woman who formed you. Meanwhile, don't beat yourself up. It's abundantly clear you've been a good, loyal and loving daughter---as your mother would tell you in no uncertain terms if she could be here. If my experience is any indication, you'll eventually learn to mother yourself because she taught you so well what it means to be a mother.
 
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Susan
February 18, 2010 at 9:09AM
 
One thing I've come to understand about grief is that there are a number of stages to grief and everyone must walk through each one---not at the same pace, and not in the same order. But to begin to heal we all must walk through them--denial, anger, depression, acceptance, etc. So lest anyone of us think "something is wrong with me", just remember you've experienced an unfathomable loss and grief is the pathway from that loss to the other side, your life without your loved one. It can still be a good life, but will be completely altered. When I lost my mother I thought I would never "live" again, but I hope that if my mom could see me and my life now, she would be proud to see the woman I've "grown up" to be, in spite of, or maybe more fittingly, because of losing her! After nearly 24 years without her, I hope I'm at least a little like her, and I hope that my life is a tribute to this most important woman in my life!
 
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Rona Maynard
February 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM
 
Well said, Susan. Thank you for this nugget of hard-won wisdom.
 
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Buelah
February 23, 2010 at 8:08AM
 
When I read this this article several years ago I was so moved by it that I made several copies and whenever a woman I know lost her mother I would send a copy to her. I am the eighth of nine children. I was 7 years old when my mother died and I still mourn her loss. She had cervical cancer and was bedridden for almost a year before her death. My memories of her are not pleasant. All I remember is her pain, her death and her burial. My sisters tell me that she was an amazing woman. Today I mourn her loss because I am having to deal with personal issues. I wish she was here so that I could seek her comfort and wisdom. God I miss her!!!! To those women whose mothers are still alive I say: Treasure Your Mother because she will not always be around.
 
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Rona Maynard
February 23, 2010 at 9:09 AM
 
Buelah, I feel the same way. Although I had my struggles with my mother, I can't help but envy women who can still share their highs and lows with their mothers. I'm sorry you didn't have the opportunity to know your mother as a woman of strength, wisdom and love, not as a dying person.
 
Comment
Julie
April 08, 2010 at 7:07PM
 
My mother died today. I'm currently packing to go to her home and start taking care of things. I'm so incredibly sad, and so incredibly surprised. You see, I thought I had already grieved. My mother was an alcoholic. I grew up in a very abusive home. I escaped, survived, and succeeded and in most ways am a well adjusted, strong independent woman. And yet, through it all, I maintained a good relationship with my mother. I loved her, I laughed with her, I helped support her, I fought with her. I got angry with her. We were still friends after all we went through. I was always afraid I wouldn't be able to do enough. She was not financially secure and I was always preparing to be there when she got sick. She was just starting to be in poor health, and last night she died peacefully in her sleep. I know she had a good death. I know she's with the ones she loved. I know all the good things. It helps, but I'm still going to miss her so much. The long laughing phone calls. The great visits where we did absolutely nothing and yet I can say what I great time I had. I'm glad I was a good daughter and friend to her, for she wasn't able to do this with anyone else. But now I've lost my touchstone. Damaged as she was I just want to say to her once more I love you mom.
 
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Rona Maynard
April 09, 2010 at 3:03 AM
 
Julie, I'm so sorry that you have lost your touchstone. There's just no replacing a mother, no matter how many loving and inspiring people come into your life. What stands out for me in your comment is the strong note of affirmation in the midst of pain and disappointment---your ability to love, support and have fun with your mother. As the daughter of an alcoholic father, I know how tempting it is to carry a burden of resentment into adulthood---to focus on the shortcomings of the damaged parent and miss everything else. I'm touched to see that you've transcended this during your mother's lifetime. Absolutely, you've been a good daughter. And you became the woman you are today not just in spite of your alcoholic mother but because of her.
 
Comment
julie taylor
June 25, 2010 at 10:10PM
 
My mom died 2 months ago. She was 84 and had been fighting cancer for many years. I am 50 and the youngest of 5 kids. She was a wonderful woman and mother and at first I was just sad. Lately I'm feeling shameful and guilty because I keep thinking of these past few years with resentment - she got really angry when I suggested my parents get someone to live with them (my siblings were getting worn out doing everything for my parents and I had been there a lot too) and she carried this resentment for several years. She and I had always been so, so close and that closeness never returned...and she did some mean-spirited things after that. I feel like a big jerk because I keep thinking of this - instead of all the wonderful years with her. I don't feel like I did anything wrong - and this makes me feel guilty for blaming her. I'm sure time will help but it is difficult to function/be happy these days.
 
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Rona Maynard
June 26, 2010 at 4:04 AM
 
Julie, it's hard enough to lose your mother without the nagging worry that you didn't love her enough in her last years. Illness had turned her into someone else; in fact, I can't help but wonder if her anger and resentment might have been early signs of dementia. Whether or not that's the case, you really lost your mother long before you lost her physical presence, and that's what makes her death so excruciatingly hard. That you couldn't bring her comfort is not your fault. It's the fault of her illness. And if the generous-hearted woman you remember so lovingly could return to you for just one moment, she'd tell you so herself.
 
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Lose That Girl
July 04, 2010 at 11:11AM
 
Such a beautiful article. I lost my dear Mum three months ago and I saw myself in your piece. For the first few weeks, I could really only speak with friends who had also lost their mothers. I didn't mean any offense to my other friends who are still fortunate to have their mums -- I just needed the love and support of others who knew what I felt without me having to murmur a single word. I miss Mum so very very much. She was my north star, the centre of my universe and I feel adrift without her here. I've started to write about my feelings and I hope it helps me make sense of it all. I'm going to forward your lovely editorial to my sister. I know that she will find it as comforting as I did. Thank you.
 
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Rona Maynard
July 04, 2010 at 12:12 PM
 
Of all the things you and I might have in common, I'm sorry it's the loss of our mothers. At a time like this, isn't it a comfort to have friends who, as you say, know exactly what you're facing without your having to express it?
 
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Ghandi
July 16, 2010 at 3:03AM
 
its difficult for sons as well as daughters. men are not devoid of emotion or love. please remember this.
 
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Rona Maynard
July 16, 2010 at 4:04 AM
 
Right you are. And for some daughters the father is the harder loss. I've shared my story not because I think women have a monopoly on emotion or grief but because there's something in the mother/daughter bond that plays out in surprisingly similar ways when the mother dies.
 
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Julia
August 08, 2010 at 9:09AM
 
I was googling, seeking women with similar issues and found this page. Initially, I was wondering what was wrong with me, that I haven't cried more. This page however, has loosened the flood gates.

My mother passed July 16th, 2010. Mom had heart issues, her eyesight was nearly gone, she suffered with arthritis and crohn's disease. I was her only child here in town, thus her primary caregiver. Things were heading downhill for sometime and I tried to prepare myself for the day it would come. Mom and I had talked many times, I knew her feelings and her desires should things come down to me making the medical decisions.

The day before she died, Mom wasn't feeling great. I have to confess she seldom felt good or happy. My Dad had died 12 years before her and she missed him horribly every day. They had been together 54 years when he passed. In spite of all my efforts to get her interested in other things or to move on past her grief for him, she never showed interest.

Anyway, that day she was having difficulty walking without becoming short of breath. She was being particularly vocal about it that day, and I thought she was just being overly dramatic. I was tired and lost patience with her. I didn't pay attention to what she was really saying. Later in the morning, my mother that hated Dr's and hospitals asked to go ASAP. My heart skipped a beat then. I knew it was serious if she volunteered to go. I had to call an ambulance. They picked her up and we got her to ER. They said her oxygen level was really low and probably was due to Congenital Heart Failure. We had dealt with that before, and after a short stay in the hospital they got Mom leveled out and back home...so I still wasn't getting it, or overly concerned. Mom complained of pain in her back. She had a dowager's hump and laying on it for so long was uncomfortable. The floor nurse gave her something for the pain. I talked to the nurses, they reassured me Mom was doing ok so I left and went the few short blocks to my home for a lunch. Then I got the phone call to hurry back.

While I was gone, Mom "died" and they performed CPR got her back. They got me and our family Dr there asap. They moved her to ICU but she wasn't entirely back with us, and now, on ventilator, etc. They asked me what she would wish, and Mom had been very adamant, no ventilators, etc. I told our Dr who has taken care of us all for 35+ years. They had me sign the statement. My hand shook terribly but I signed it. In my 55 years nothing was ever so hard, even though I know thats what she wanted. We stayed with her. Me on one side and my daughter on the other. We held her hand and watched her go. It was the hardest thing I've ever experienced.

I tell myself she's happy now. She's no longer in pain and she is back with my Dad. I went about the duties she left for me, stuffing the knick knacks none of us wanted into the garbage bags for the local Mission. Thru all of the "to do" list I've been strong. Some think I'm being too strong. I'm honestly not sure what it is I should be doing, or if there is a "should" for this. I miss her, of course. I spent every day with her, tending her meals, her meds, her home, her bills. We were preparing for her to move in with us. She was 86 and remarkable in many ways. I was very proud of her. We were very much alike, both "October girls" as she would say.

I think I am wrestling with guilt. Guilt for my impatience at times, guilt for not seeing there was a real problem sooner. I had made a Dr appt for her for Monday. She passed on Friday. My older sister tells me I did all I could. My younger brother tells me I did more than any of them would have had patience to do. I desperately wanted to keep Mom independent as long as possible because that was her nature.

I'm probably rambling at this point, but thank you for this site and the postings above. Just being able to post all of this has been helpful to me in many ways. I think it's the first time I've allowed all these thoughts out .
 
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Rona Maynard
August 08, 2010 at 2:02 PM
 
Welcome, Julia, to the sisterhood of motherless daughters. I'm sorry for your loss but glad you were able to find some comfort here. As you've probably noticed from the other comments, many women share that stab of guilt, that nagging regret that basically comes down to "I should have done more." Yet I can tell from what you've written that you did all you went to the limit for your mother and were there when she needed you most. Your brother and sister saw this. It's time for you to see it, too. Women are so hard on themselves. Part of the anguish that surrounds a parent's death is knowing that the years of doing are well and truly over. No more of the rituals that made you both smile, and no more of the little and not-so-little caretaking gestures that sustained your mom toward the end. You related to each other, in large part, through caring---first her for you, then you for her. Perhaps this contributes to the pain you're feeling as guilt. I'm speculating here, but could "I should have done more" me another way of saying "I wish I had the chance to do more"?
 
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Julia
August 16, 2010 at 8:08AM
 
Thank you for the kind welcome. It's been a month since Mom's death. Your last sentence gave me something to think about and set my thoughts in a new direction.

You are right, women are too hard on themselves. I know I did everything I could and that I knew how to do. Mom would ask nothing more. I think my sadness and grief is indeed more for my own sake. I miss her. I miss the daily interaction with her and yes, I even miss the annoying chores, messes and constant battles over medications. I do wish I had the chance to do more.

I was punishing myself for impatient thoughts I had on that last day she was home. Then I realized, Mom was never aware of those thoughts. My words and actions are what count.
I do know I loved her very much and I am sure she always knew that.

I post this simply in hopes it may help someone else sort through the same maze of emotions and sadness. For my sisters in the same situation, be kind to yourself.
 
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Rona Maynard
August 16, 2010 at 8:08 AM
 
Well said, Julia. Your mother would be proud of you.
 
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Susan
August 16, 2010 at 9:09AM
 
I just "celebrated" the anniversary of my mother's death on August 10th---even at 24 years without her that day was a very unexpectedly hard day--my sister and I shared some tears on the phone together--sometimes grief just sneaks up on you!!
 
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Rona Maynard
August 17, 2010 at 7:07 AM
 
What a meaningful way to mark this sad anniversary, Susan. By crying together and sharing your memories, you and your sister honoured your mother's continuing presence in your lives.
 
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Deborah
August 20, 2010 at 4:04PM
 
Hi Rona...this site is a beautiful tribute to all mothers. I am a mother to two beautiful children. I am fortunate to have my amazing mother alive and well, but my heart breaks at the very thought that I will one day lose her. I found your sight because I have been looking for a poem/story about the death of a mother and the relationship with her child. My aunt passed away at a young age and left behind her only son who was a child at the time. My mother then adopted and raised him. I came across this poem in my mother's attic and took it to give to my cousin who at the time was now an adult and as I knew after reading it that my aunt had clipped it from a magazine and had intended for him to read it. It is about a the life/death of a tree and how in death the tree still gives life to the seedlings on the ground. It allows sunshine to come in and her roots give nourishment to the seedlings. It was basically a metaphor for the relationship between mother and child and the message I took is that our mother's are our roots. We can continue to grow and live even when they are no longer with us because they continue to grown within our hearts. Unfortunately I misplaced the poem and now have been searching for it for years. I was wondering if you have heard this story? If so, I would love it if you could please share with me and your other readers as it is a touching tribute to mothers and helps children with the grieving process.
 
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Rona Maynard
August 20, 2010 at 5:05 PM
 
Welcome, Deborah. Lucky you, to have your mother! As for the poem, I can understand how the central image took root in your mind. I wish I could help you track it down but have never seen it. I hate to ask the obvious question: was Google no help?
 
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Peggy Munns
September 27, 2010 at 11:11AM
 
We lost our mother on July 25, 2010 to stomach cancer. We had a wonderful and loving hospice nurse named Brenda. Brenda made me understand that death is nothing to be afraid of. I was able to help take care of my momma with my 2 sisters while she was dying. The 3 of us were with our mom at the exact moment she breathed her last breath. I miss her every day, every moment and I feel so lucky to have had the most beautiful experience, I think I've ever had. Holding her, kissing her and loving her will forever be in my heart. I will celebrate her birthday on 10-10-10 with something special. I feel so lucky to had been her daughter for 54 years. I am the proud daughter of Betty Mayfield. I love you mommie.
 
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Rona Maynard
September 30, 2010 at 7:07 AM
 
Peggy, as my heart goes out to you I'm glad you had such a caring mentor in the art of letting a loved one go for the last time. Aren't nurses wonderful?
 
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Nicole
October 06, 2010 at 12:12AM
 
My mother died two years ago today, almost to this very hour, in her sleep, at the age of 62. Sometimes I feel like my whole body is weeping...I want her to come back, I'm waiting for nothing.
 
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Rona Maynard
October 07, 2010 at 11:11 AM
 
Anniversaries are hard, aren't they, Nicole? There's nothing I can say that will diminish your pain but know this: you have a vast and ever-expanding circle of sisters who have felt it too. Holding your hand from afar/ Rona
 
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Nuala
November 15, 2010 at 7:07PM
 
My mother died Jan 2003. I have been on a rollercoaster of some sort since then, initially was very sad and brokenhearted, then confused, lost etc. I found it odd that almost as soon as she died I found myself drawn to my own four children (under age 10) and for the first time was released from the almost constant emotional drain of my mother who was an intense hypochondriac. (she was "dying" for 20 years prior to her actual death). Lately however, I find that I'm quite angry and feeling sort of "wooden" and not sad towards her. I had multiple experiences as a child and teenager in which I sustained serious physical injuries and one time could have died and was not given any medical attention, in fact I was screamed at for bothering her. Strangely enough I forgive her in some way however I don't know if I love her anymore. She feels like just this person who I don't really know at all. I guess it's because I can't imagine my kids having fractures and serious injuries and not treating them. I don't know if I feel any love towards her memory any more. Is that strange?
 
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Rona Maynard
November 16, 2010 at 6:06 AM
 
Under the circumstances, Nuala, it's not strange at all. Your mother was a deeply damaged person who neglected you and abused you emotionally. You wanted her love and I'm sure you loved her, despite her harsh and baffling treatment of you. Now that she's dead, you know that what little she was capable of giving you is all you'll ever receive from her. A daughter expects to grieve her mother's loss but you're in the excruciating position of grieving what never could be. Deep down, I'm sure you're angry at her for treating you as you would never treat your own children. But anger at your mother, who led such an emotionally stunted life, is bound to feel unacceptable, so you've erected a wall to protect you from your feelings. If you're not already seeing a skilled and sensitive therapist, now is the time to go looking for one. You deserve a better life in every sense than your mother had (and broken as she was, I suspect she wanted that for you). Getting the help you need is a first step toward getting there.
 
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pat welsh
November 25, 2010 at 9:09AM
 
I lost my mother in march of 2010, i found her dead in bed. I have been consumed with grief. she was my best friend and i feel so lost and alone without her. She was my anchor, she made you feel young and special,you knew someone was always looking out for you. The words of these other women hit such a resonance with me,no one understands the pain and sorrow you go through unless you have also lost your mother. I am so worried that i will never feel happy again, i don,t care about anything and this feeling really scares me. I feel like a part of me has been destroyed, like i am walking around without a limb. I know this sounds melodramatic, but this is what i am feeling. thankyou for listening to my rambling.
 
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Rona Maynard
January 07, 2011 at 6:06 AM
 
Pat, I'm so sorry. You will feel happy again, but at some of your happiest moments you'll still think wistfully of your mother who's no longer around to share the joy. Savour the happiness and accept the flip side. After a while it becomes second nature.
 
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Joyce Kuras
December 20, 2010 at 1:01AM
 
I lost my precious mother on November 17th. She took her last breath at 7PM. She did not die alone or unloved. Her daughters and her closets friends were in the room the entire day letting her know she was loved, cherished and respected. I could not have experienced anything harder or that left me in more anguish then holding her lifeless body and telling her how much I loved her.

My only closure was that she was in the hospital for 5 months and totally lucid so we talked about stuff. She knew my regrets as I knew hers. She told me I know you love me darling. Don't go back into the past.

But I do, all the times I could have visited her more, all the evenings I could have walked over and shared a Friday meal, I was so involved with my own problems, and stress. Oh what I wouldn't give for another chance.

The doctors thought they could give her another 2 years, but the operation was not a success and the cancer spread. It was so hard seeing her realize she was never going home and seeing her great grand children. She was never going to cook again and have us over, all of us having such a grand time. She was never going to study her Bible or take part in her Skype meetings with her Rabbi. At 82, she was hungry to learn and grow like a young woman. What a spirit. What a lady.

I find myself in such pain. I never realized how much she meant to my life. She was in my everyday life, I called her all the time, she called me. We spent so much time together in the everyday things of life.

I took it all for granted. May God forgive me.
 
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Rona Maynard
January 07, 2011 at 5:05 AM
 
You must have had such a terribly hard Christmas for you and your family, Joyce. If your mother could be with you for just one more minute, she'd repeat her dying words. She wouldn't want you to be so hard on yourself. Thinking of you/ Rona
 
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Nancy
January 24, 2011 at 9:09AM
 
My Mother died Nov. 2nd - she fell out of bed and broke her need - had surgery - they shifted her from hospital to hospital - some horrible - I sat with her and watched her suffer for 6 months until she died. We had a difficult relationship - she had lived with us for several years and suffered with severe depression - she just did not want to live anymore - I wish I could have my undepressed Mother back - just to hold her familier hands and feel her arms around me - at the end she only weighed 90 pounds - I have a 6 and 8 yr old boys at home so there was not time for grieving. I get very jealous when I see my friends with young, healthy mothers - I am 47 and feel like an orphan - I wish I was nicer to my Mom when she was here - we did not always get along well - wish I could talk to her right now - I loved her so much.
 
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Rona Maynard
January 25, 2011 at 7:07 AM
 
Nancy, I'm so sorry. I vividly remember that "orphan" feeling but it has moderated over time. I know it's not easy but try not to be so rough on yourself. All you could do was your very best. That's what you did under very difficult circumstances.
 
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Kathryn
February 21, 2011 at 4:04AM
 
My Mother died in 1966 when I was 7 yrs old. She was just 47 yrs old. I struggle with the fact that I do not remember her much at all bits and pieces. She died of lung cancer and I like my brothers were not told she may not recover. I remember being at school the day she passed. We were told by the nun not to cry in front of our father after all he had a tremendous burden to carry raising 5 children. All of her belongs were gone by the time her funeral was over. It was as if she was wiped off the face of the earth. Growing up we never talked about her at all. My Dad died when I was 17. I am now 52 I have raised 2 daughters and have 4 grandchildren. To this day I miss my Mom and my Dad also. Thanks for listening
 
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Rona Maynard
February 27, 2011 at 6:06 AM
 
What a terribly sad story, Kathryn. You lost not only your mother but all traces of her existence. Is there perhaps someone alive you can tell you about her or share some photos?
 
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Aliana
May 29, 2011 at 5:05AM
 
My mother died just 3 weeks ago. Me and my 4 siblings stood by her as she took her on her final moments. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer stage 4 exactly one year ago. Her condition got worse and worse. Her surgeon was her own brother. He tried his very best to keep her out of pain. Two days prior to her death. Her condition got critical. We didn't put her in Intensive Care as we wanted to be there by her side. But we made sure she had enough Morphine in her to ease her pain. One day before her death, she stopped talking at all. The last she said to be was begging me to be a good girl. I was her youngest. She had brought me up without my father when he died when i was 6. Now I'm 21, her worries were how i would survive alone. Nine hours before she died, she stopped movement. Her hands got cold. We couldn't detect any blood pressure.. Her heartbeat slowly dropped from 150 to 100.. after 100, it dropped very very fast. I heard someone say its 50.. and i saw her take her last breathe. I hadn't cried through out all of it. But when i saw she stopped breathing, i finally busted into tears. Who would be there to hold my hand when I'm sad? Yell at me when i get home late? Criticize my cooking? Give me little little gifts for no reason? Watch me get married? Love me unconditionally?
Everyday i cry myself to sleep wishing she was there. When me and my sister grab for the remote, i almost yelled out for mum to come save me from my sister.. like i always used to.
I miss her.
 
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Rona Maynard
May 29, 2011 at 8:08 AM
 
Twenty-one is so young to find yourself an orphan, Aliana. What stands out for me on this terribly sad story is the care you and for family took to let your mother go as comfortably as humanly possible. You've been a good daughter. I hope this brings some measure of peace into this time of devastating loss.
 
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Michelle
June 26, 2011 at 8:08PM
 
Hi everyone. I lost my mom a little less than a year ago. I just can't believe how many nights I spend crying over all the little memories. All the little jokes and punch lines and happy hours. It just seems like yesterday when I could look out the window and see her off to work. Sometimes i still think I hear her heels clomping through the front door. Its almost comforting for a few seconds. I think its most comforting to cry in someones arms. Like your dad or close friend. Thanks.
 
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Rona Maynard
June 27, 2011 at 11:11 AM
 
Michelle, bereaved daughters always get teary over these little memories you speak of. Over time they do become a source of comfort--and sometimes amusement. I occasionally catch sight of a distinguished looking woman in a big black hat. "There she is!" I think (my mom loved hats). Oops! It's my own reflection, and I too look distinguished now that I'm almost as old as my mother was when she died.
 
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Michelle
June 26, 2011 at 8:08PM
 
Hi everyone. My mom died a little less than a year ago. She was so good and giving to me and my dad and brother. At the ceremony I saw just how many people cared about her, but I didnt get to say goodbye. It was so sudden, the brain bleed. It was looking doubtful for a week, and then she opened her eyes on my dad's birthday. A day later she passed. She was just so healthy. I dont get why.. What did she do? She was in great health. Why?
 
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Rona Maynard
June 27, 2011 at 11:11 AM
 
Michelle, despite what some people love to say, everything does NOT happen for a reason. Sometimes life is monumentally unfair. In your life, this is such a time. I'm so sorry for your loss.
 
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Julia
June 28, 2011 at 1:01PM
 
I found this site almost a year ago. I posted about my Mother's passing in July 2010. Looking back and reading it now it makes me sad but it also makes me proud. I miss her. I miss her every single day. Sometimes a silly little thing will make me smile wistfully or make me crumble into tears.

First, this site is a blessing. After losing your mother, having a place where others understand the blinding and overwhelming waves of emotions gives you an anchor for a moment. The reassurance that you are not alone in those feelings is priceless.

Secondly, to all my sisters that have lost a Mother I just want to tell you to take deep breaths and keep moving forward. I know it seems like a hopelessly dark path, but I promise you will see flickering of light and it gets a little better.

I think I have tried to make peace with things and accept the things I cannot change. I've also started turning my attention to those that surround and love me, but primarily to myself. I remember Rona posting to me that we women are so hard on ourselves. We truly are. Be kinder and more loving with yourself.

If you were like me, your Mother's caretaker, helper, etc....dare yourself to turn all that loving time and attention you gave her, to yourself. I am doing that now. I used to think that would be a terribly selfish thing to do. But it isn't. My family is so excited and proud of me that I am taking better care of myself. I am losing weight. I am getting more involved in my life and theirs. Once you realize that you, yourself are valuable and turn your energies to that, I believe that is the greatest tribute you can give to your Mother.

I wish you all peace and comfort.
 
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Rona Maynard
June 28, 2011 at 1:01 PM
 
Wow, Julia. I'll be smiling for the rest of the day. And I plan to repeat your wise thought that taking care of herself is the greatest tribute a bereaved daughter can give to her much-missed mother. Thanks for coming back to share the hope you've found.
 
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Diane
July 18, 2011 at 12:12AM
 
I lost my mother last week and buried her two days ago. For the first three days I felt as though I had fallen down a rabbit hole that went to the center of hell. I didn't expect to feel like this because I had already lost part of her to dementia over the last 5 or 6 years. She was very beautiful and I used to idolize her when I was little. I have many wonderful memories of her when she was young and up until a few years ago. But then she couldn't remember things and would ask the same question over and over again. She went from walking to using a walker to a wheelchair and then it became nearly impossible to take her out anymore. Last Christmas was the first time she wasn't here at my home with us. We went to her in the nursing home and tried to bring Christmas with us but she didn't really know who we were. When she stopped recognizing me I realized that all the wonderful memories were only in my mind, not hers. I began to question the point of life and love and family. I would lie around depressed over what I had lost with my mother. Then, she died and I realized that being alive with dementia is a whole different thing than being dead. Being dead is horrible. There is no hope for improvement, no chance for any kind of future, no hope, only finality. When she was here but unable to recognize me, at least I could recognize her. I could still touch her and hear her voice...little things that now seem huge compared to the nothingness I am facing now. My husband used to say that he didn't know why she hung on and I told him I hoped she would hang on forever. How I wish that I could have had just a little more time with her...dementia or not.
 
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Rona Maynard
July 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM
 
Diane, what a thoughtful and touching comment about your mother's descent into dementia. I come from an Alzheimer's family in which we've tended to think that the real death comes long before the physical one. Thank you for sharing your perspective on what remains after dementia sets in. I'm so sorry for your loss.
 
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Annette Peterson
August 28, 2011 at 1:01PM
 
Fredelle Maynard wrote the most well written and beautiful article on Woman's Day magazine, 1995, In Loving Memory. Re Rona Bruser, her mother. Do you have a copy of the article or know where it appears online? I have tried amazon, online sites, and the article does not appear anywhere. I was young when I read it and I often think about it!!!

Thank you,
Annette
 
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Rona Maynard
April 09, 2012 at 5:05 AM
 
I remember it well, Annette, but am sorry to say I have no copy in my files. Thank you for writing. I'm glad to know this article has stayed on your mind.
 
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Patty
September 06, 2011 at 6:06AM
 
Today marks one week after my mother's unexpected death - she died of a heart attack during the night. I find myself walking around in this emptiness - I am just so lost without her. I have no children of my own to lean on - but I do have some of the most incredible friends one could ever ask for.

I feel as if I should be stronger, but in all honesty, I feel more weak as each day passes. She was amazing, she was my best friend, she was my rock. I didn't realize that everything I did in my life was to make her proud - now who do I call? I am blaming myself in that I should have spent more time with her - the pain is so intense. I live 1200 miles from my mother, but I called her everyday....sometimes 3 or 4 times a day just to hear her voice and tell her that I loved her.

I never considered myself a religious/spiritual person, but I want more than ever to find God/Jesus so I know I will see her again in heaven. I don't even know where to start there, but I am trying. During hard times, I have always pushed myself to come out on the other side a better, much stronger person. I need to do the same with this, but I have never felt pain this strong before and I don't know if I have the inner strength to be a stronger person.

So many thoughts, so many memories, so much hurt right now - how does one get through the day? I hear people talk about how they feel their mother with them, how they talk to their mother through God, how their mother visits them in their dreams - I have none of that, which I am sure it has to do with my lack of relationship with God. It isn't I don't believe, it just isn't that strong. I want my mother to visit me in my dreams, I want to feel her next to me, I too want to talk to her through God because she was my world, and now my world seems so empty. I know my mother would want me to be strong - and this is where again, I want to make her proud. I do not want to take away anything we have shared between us, I just want to be strong because I know that is what she would want. Oh gosh, I could go on and on and on, so I best stop for now - thank you for letting me share.
 
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Rona Maynard
January 28, 2012 at 10:10 AM
 
Dear Patty, I'm very sorry for your loss--and also for my months-long delay in posting your your comment here. It somehow got lost in all the spam about get-rich schemes. But back to you and your mother. Her death is all the harder because you couldn't even begin to prepare yourself for it. One day you were phoning, the next she was gone. After my mother died, wise friends told me, "Be gentle with yourself." That's the advice I'll pass on to you. Don't worry about what you "should" have done to be a better daughter; you delighted in your mother's conversation every day and that's enough. Don't push yourself to find God or be stronger. A grieving person is a vulnerable person. Let yourself feel the full weight of your love and your sorrow. The sorrow will lose its edge over time, although it will stick around to some degree. The love will be with you always. As one bereaved daughter to another, Rona
 
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Patty
September 06, 2011 at 6:06AM
 
Today marks one week after my mother's unexpected death - she died of a heart attack during the night. I find myself walking around in this emptiness - I am just so lost without her. I have no children of my own to lean on - but I do have some of the most incredible friends one could ever ask for. I feel as if I should be stronger, but in all honesty, I feel more weak as each day passes. She was amazing, she was my best friend, she was my rock. I didn't realize that everything I did in my life was to make her proud - now who do I call?

I am blaming myself in that I should have spent more time with her - the pain is so intense. I live 1200 miles from my mother, but I called her everyday....sometimes 3 or 4 times a day just to hear her voice and tell her that I loved her. I never considered myself a religious/spiritual person, but I want more than ever to find God/Jesus so I know I will see her again in heaven. I don't even know where to start there, but I am trying. During hard times, I have always pushed myself to come out on the other side a better, much stronger person. I need to do the same with this, but I have never felt pain this strong before and I don't know if I have the inner strength to be a stronger person. So many thoughts, so many memories, so much hurt right now - how does one get through the day?

I hear people talk about how they feel their mother with them, how they talk to their mother through God, how their mother visits them in their dreams - I have none of that, which I am sure it has to do with my lack of relationship with God. It isn't I don't believe, it just isn't that strong. I want my mother to visit me in my dreams, I want to feel her next to me, I too want to talk to her through God because she was my world, and now my world seems so empty. I know my mother would want me to be strong - and this is where again, I want to make her proud. I do not want to take away anything we have shared between us, I just want to be strong because I know that is what she would want. Oh gosh, I could go on and on and on, so I best stop for now - thank you for letting me share.
 
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Rona Maynard
September 06, 2011 at 10:10 AM
 
Dear Patty, I'm so sorry for your loss. There's nothing I can do to take away the necessary anguish of mourning, which in your case is all the more acute since your mother's death was swift and unexpected. What I can do is point out a couple of things that may help you through the process. You mention friends who feel their mother with them, as I sometimes do myself. I suspect these friends lost their mothers some time ago and have reached the stage where a dull, transient ache replaces sharp and omnipresent pain. The missing never ends but the acute phase of mourning does. It's not that your friends know something you don't know or have gifts that you lack, just that they've adapted to the empty space their mothers once occupied. Many women fault themselves for things they could or "should" have done when their mothers were alive. If you've read the other comments here, you'll see that guilt is a frequent refrain. Give yourself a break, Patty. Those phone calls carried your love across the miles and I'm sure your mother thought you were a good and loyal daughter. If you can't ease up for your own sake, do it for your mother's. She wouldn't want you to drown in self-blame. You might think about creating a memory book about your mother. There are many companies that can help you do this. You can share your favourite stories and photos with everyone else who loved your mother, and celebrate her legacy together. I have a memory book for a dear friend of hers, and it helps me to keep her close.
 
Comment
Joyce Baillie
September 08, 2011 at 9:09AM
 
Thank you for writing the passage and your words have comforted me. I was on holiday when my mum passed away last month, and when I came back I was told by my sister and father that she was on holiday - she was infact dead in the bath. She lay there for nearer 3 weeks and I cannot come to terms with this fact. She was a loving mum, and adoring grandmother or 11 she deserved better. I miss her every single day and hope and pray she made it to heaven, despite the delay.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
September 08, 2011 at 9:09 AM
 
Oh, Joyce, what a horrible way for your mother to leave this world. I don't wonder that you're having trouble coming to terms with it. I am so sorry.
 
Comment
Donna
October 04, 2011 at 12:12AM
 
My Mother passed away April 23, 2010....it was the hardest thing that I have ever had to endure....I watched my Mother for 4 days while she was slowly slipping away....she had Kidney failure and was on Morphine for the pain...and I had to sit there and watch her die....I talked to her...held her hand...sang to her..talked about memories and if the Sun was shinng and the moon was bright....I cried...I was silent...I yelled....it was so hard...the way she looked...with her mouth open and eyes fixed...I wanted so bad to help her...I wanted my Mother to get up and be better...in those 4 days..I loved her more then I ever had....yes I am grateful that I was with her...and I hope she heard me tell her all that I did....and when she took that last breath...I just cried and cried and screamed....I wanted that magic wand to get her back....I did not want to leave her....but it was her time and up to the heavens she went....My Mother used to buy me all kinds of Shirley Temple things...dolls and plates...My Mother died on her Birthday...a day my Mom knew I would never forget...I cry each and everyday...You never know how much you have loved someone until they are gone...I can only hope and pray that she is with those that have passed before her and that they are taking care of her...and that she and my Father are once together again....The loss of my parents has been the biggest grief I have ever felt...and I so wish they were here with me...I love you Mom....until we meet again....
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
October 04, 2011 at 5:05 AM
 
Donna, I'm so sorry. This kind of missing is hard, isn't it? Look around this page and you'll see how many other women understand what you're going through.
 
Comment
Rosezita
October 18, 2011 at 9:09AM
 
I am 33. I lost my daddy when I was 11 and it seemed like the world stopped spinning. Over time, I married, had a daughter, and moved my mother into our home because she couldn't find drs who would listen - (heart condition). The loss of my daddy was profound, but nothing could prepare me for the pain that consumes me at the loss of my mother.

Donna and I seem to have a common bond as my mother passed away a year before hers, April 23, 2009. It was lung cancer, DX July 2008. She had been having pain in her back, and I took her to the ER over the "muscle" that was giving her problems. She never liked to be a bother to me as she lived with me and I worked full time. That is where my guilt begins. I took care of her - with the help of hospice - for the remaining months of her life, where the cancer ravaged her body and left but a skull of the strong woman she once was.

We tried everything from partial lung removal to treatments to rehab to try to help her walk when it attacked her back. Then on March 3rd, we decided to let hospice help us what time we had left. For 52 days momma was nearly pain-free due to my careful balance of pain meds that seemed to finally work and not leave her loopy!!! I held her hand while she passed away, while I told her it was ok to go because I knew she needed to be with daddy and I knew she was tired.

Looking back, I really wonder how I found the strength to do that as I don't feel I am as strong now. It has been 2 1/2 years since I lost momma, and as I sit here typing this message I have tears streaming down my face. It hurts daily and there are many regrets (I didn't quit my job, we should have fought harder). I am glad there is a place that I can read the experiences of other women, to know I am not alone. There are times where I miss her so bad my heart actually physically aches. I truly am happy that she is in heaven, with daddy, and no longer in pain, HOWEVER, it still hurts. My daughter (12) was there through it all. She created a fundraiser to help the hospice that helped momma. I am so proud of her. She raised $1000 last year and $700 this year. I guess the loss of her grandmother will be one of those "profound moments" in her life too. Thank you for this site. I am going to get your book...
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
October 21, 2011 at 11:11 AM
 
Hi, Rosezita. Your grief and longing come through every line of this comment. I can't do anything about that, but here's hoping I can help you with the guilt. Put that burden down now. It's clear you've been a good, loyal daughter, drawing on reserves of strength you didn't even know you had. If your mother could be here with you for even a few more minutes, she would tell you to go easy on yourself--to live well and fully while you can. You have a daughter. Don't you want her to be happy? Well, why wouldn't your mother want the same thing for you? You've fought hard enough. Now is the time for gentleness. I'm touched that you're going to order my book (you won't find it in a store, but it's available online). I hope you enjoy it.
 
Comment
Kate
October 23, 2011 at 6:06PM
 
My mom died 2 days ago. I feel like my world has ended. Her health had been declining over the past year. I cared for her in my home as long as I could but in the end she had to go into a nursing facility. It broke my heart .
I was with her when she took her last breath. It was such a sad moment but also such a profound experience. I felt privledged to be able to be with this wonderful woman who shaped my life and gave me unconditional love as she left this world. The idea that I'll never talk with her and laugh with her again makes it almost unbearable. I hope I was a good daughter. I tried to be.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
October 26, 2011 at 5:05 AM
 
Kate, it's so terribly hard to lose your mother, isn't it? I'm so sorry.
 
Comment
meg
December 16, 2011 at 9:09AM
 
Katie so sorry my mom died in june fathers day i lived with my mom for 54 years
i never moved out thats why its so hard on me i cant stop crying very lonely now with out my mom feel so lost like i dont belong my mom was my best friend
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
December 16, 2011 at 10:10 AM
 
Meg, I'm very sorry for your loss. You've come to the right place to share your feelings this terribly sad holiday season.
 
Comment
Meg E
December 22, 2011 at 7:07PM
 
Was messing around on the computer, missing my mother who died 10/26 when I found your site. The part you wrote about stuffing the bric-a-brack in the garbage bags was my life most of Nov. I moved her to my town after she had a series of stokes 6 years ago. I became her part time care taker but most of all we became best friends. I had no idea how much I would miss her. She hadn't been feeling well and we had been to the dr. the day before. That night she had pushed her home alert button and I was called by them because she didn't respond when they called. I went to her apt. and let the paramedics in. I had to make the decision for the paramedics not to resuscitate. She was 88 but that decision still haunts me even after talking to the paramedics and later a friend who is a nurse. I miss her so much. I read The Broken Chain by Ron Tranmer at her funeral. That poem seemed to say what I couldn't. Thank you for your web site.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
January 28, 2012 at 9:09 AM
 
Oh, Meg, I am so sorry. This last holiday season must have been a brutal one for you. As you've probably noticed from the comments here, there are lots of other women who know exactly how it feels to sign a "do not resuscitate" order. Thank you for taking a minute to share your experience. Someday--maybe even today--some other woman will read your comment and think to herself, "I'm not alone."
 
Comment
Debbie O
January 02, 2012 at 11:11AM
 
I lost my mom suddenly just a little over 7 months ago. It's the most devastating pain I've ever known. I can't describe it, but I know everyone here feels it and understands it. I'm 51 and most days feel like I'm a child all over again without her. Life has lost all purpose and all meaning for me. I've been in denial for the most part but the reality is now forcing its way in as I knew it would. It's so lonely and dark now without her. I was on the phone with my mom as she lay dying and taking her last breaths of life. I had no idea what was happening. She was home alone and I was calling to check in on her. I can hear those "noises" every moment of everyday. I'm so sorry for everyone here and for your stories of loss. Thank you for allowing me to post.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
January 04, 2012 at 12:12 PM
 
You're right, Debbie. Everyone here does understand. I'm so sorry you've lost your mother.
 
Comment
Ungrateful for a blessing
January 16, 2012 at 3:03PM
 
I am in remission from cancer for 2 yrs. My daughter has been pregnant 4 times in 3 yrs. I think she did the best she could do under the circumstances. But by no means was she a great help to me. I had 5 surgeries in 13 months plus radiation and chemotherapy, which they had to stop mid-way b/c I am passed from the treatment. I am beginning to feel better and try the best I could to enjoy the new blessings, (my grandchildren)??.. Yesterday she told me I don?t do enough for her and that my ex-husbands girlfriend is very helpful to her (she pays her)?.. I told her that I do the best I could under the emotional and physical trauma I have been through? She told me I should stop playing the Cancer Card and that she would prefer to go through cancer and treatment herself with 3 small children then to have to deal with me getting cancer treatment again????? She doesn?t believe in God, but claims she believes in Karma. I want to live and I just can?t look at her again after this?.. I will have to write her off or I her wish may come true.. Reading the above statements, I wonder how she could feel this way about me.
 
Comment
meg
January 20, 2012 at 8:08PM
 
Hi Rona its nice to know there is a place to go where people that lost some one can go to Rona its the way my mom died thats bothering me she fell and hit her head called 911 at first she was responsive then when 911 came she could not talk brought her to the hosptail couple hours later she died first time i saw someone die have no parents now mt dad died when i was 3 he was in his 30s
 
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Rona Maynard
January 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM
 
Meg, I am so sorry for your loss. It's hard to realize you are now an adult orphan, no matter how old you are when it happens.
 
Comment
Emilia Griffith-Rogers
January 26, 2012 at 8:08AM
 
Sorry for the loss of your Mothers, Rona, Meg, Debbie,Kate and all others on this site. It's been 6 months since I lost my mother. Very difficult during the Holiday season. I felt like the world should have came to a stop after my mother passed. I was there when my mother took her last breath. It felt like it was my last breath. I envy other people who's mother's are still living. I miss picking my mother up and going shopping, eating at restaurants, gossiping, girl talks, dancing, attending church, and just sitting around watching television. My mother kept telling me the last few months of her life that," You have to die and leave everything". Thank you for reading and allowing me to post. I am going to get your book...
 
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Rona Maynard
January 28, 2012 at 8:08 AM
 
Hi, Emilia. What a sad time this is for you and how eloquently you've described your sorrow. Everything you describe--for instance, feeling that the world should have stopped when your mother's life did--I too have felt. Based on my own experience, I suspect the time will come when you can enjoy the sight of mothers and daughters having lunch together. It will bring back warm memories, not the stab of envy (another sentiment of yours that I recognize).
 
Comment
linda levin
January 27, 2012 at 1:01PM
 
My mother died one year ago. My husband and I helped my mother the last 12 yrs after my father died, and lived at her house on the final yr of her life.She wanted to die at home and she did. It was hard for her, all of it.The aging process, the slow loss of independence. I remember when the doctor ran tests on her and came in the room and said to ME...She is putting me in touch with hospice, she had cancer of the pancreas. I looked over at my mother, sitting in her wheelchair and she had her head bent down looking so sad... I wish the doctor had talked to her instead of announcing it to me..like she wasnt even present..

I loved my mother very much. She used to laugh and say how much she loved carrying me around on her hip when i was little, and all the little things we did together.We talked about everything from metaphysics , her childhood, when her mom died when she was 5, her stepfather who raised her during the depression. The goats and animals she loved. How she missed her mom all her life, and then so missed my dad Joe .the love of her life...my moms life had a lot of emotional and physical childhood pain and sorrow,. I think of the many things she has told me thru the years, and I cherish the memories.

The worse for me was cleaning out her house,,,giving stuff to the used stores and goodwill, I brought home as many items as my small home would handle and mourned anything I couldnt take because.everything was a treasure to her..To empty the house was like getting rid of my mom. piece by piece, hard to explain the finality of it....I dont like being an orphan now... I must tell all of you that my mother was very psychic and her mother and grandmother were also, and yes, so am I. When cleaning out her master bathroom, , I look under the sink cabinet and I hear my mothers voice as loud and clear like she was right beside me., and she said...LOOK UNDER THAT LYNN, so I did, and under that bottom shelf , pushed way in the back was an old cookie tin, when I picked it up and shook it it rattled, and my mom spoke again sayng, ITS MONEY TAKE IT HOME. and it was full of silver dollars she saved. I said thanks mom, Would have never found that hidden under there.

Have seen her many times since she crossed over, and my dad as well.. They are vibrant and strong again in spirit. I love you mom and dad, thanks for being my parents, I know I was a pain in the butt sometimes but I tried to be a good kid... the loss.. all I can say is some tears never really dry. I miss you both and Ill see you soon, your daughter Linda
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
January 28, 2012 at 8:08 AM
 
Linda, thank you for posting this touching comment on the anniversary of your mother's death. Your love and empathy infuse every line of this tribute. I wonder if there's anything more painful than cleaning out the home of someone you have loved with all your being. With each newly emptied drawer and closet, you take another step toward dismantling a life. As you've eloquently put it, you were "dismantling [your] mom, piece by piece." In your memory, she is whole and will remain so as long as you have a memory. I'm touched that you took a few moments to celebrate her on my site.
 
Comment
meg
January 27, 2012 at 6:06PM
 
Ty Rona its just hard to deal with i feel like i dont belong having no mom now no parents at all my mom was my best friend at times i feel like i cant go on
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
January 28, 2012 at 8:08 AM
 
Hi again, Meg. It's normal to feel profoundly sad after losing a loved one. In fact, it's healthy. The losses we don't grieve are the ones that didn't really matter. To mourn is to know that you have loved. But there's a difference between normal grief and depression--a treatable but potentially life-threatening illness. Feeling that you can't go on can be a symptom of depression. Speak to your doctor. If money is a problem, investigate free services. Many communities have 24-hour crisis lines staffed by trained, sympathetic volunteers. Depression is a common illness, especially among women. I've survived it myself, thanks to treatment and ongoing self-care (plenty of sleep, regular exercise, time with friends). I'm proof that it's possible to climb from the depths of despair to zest, productivity and hope.
 
Comment
Theresa
January 28, 2012 at 1:01PM
 
I just came across this link and am so happy I did. I too have lost my mother it 's been 4 yrs. She was my best friend. She taught me how to garden and sowed all of my doll clothes. Taught me to respect my elders and love my family. She taught me to enjoy the simple things in life. Appreciate my friends and be good to myself. We used to go out together shopping, to dinner, and to a movie, just spend the whole day together. She loved to shop just as much as I did. We talked on the phone everyday and shared our day. When I had my only daughter she was my life coach in the hospital as my ex and I were serperated. She was such a source of strength for me. I remember one night we shared so many feelings on life and life after death lying together on her bed. I remember crying and telling her that she was my best friend and that I didn't know what I would do without her, she told me she would always be near me and I believe her. I still talk to her and feel her love so strong.

I still have all of her clothes and boxes of things from her apartment. I have the last shirt she wore hanging in my closet. I am very sad as I have only one daughter and have always hoped that our relationship would someday be like I had with my mother as I tried to raise her with the same morals and values. But she is 28 and just doesn't seem to have the desire to share with me like I would have hoped. But I just wanted to share with all of you that you are not alone. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of my mother and miss her love. She was a truly amazing women. I just could not get myself to give her clothes away, so I have decided to have a quilt made of all her blouses she wore. I can lay with that on the couch and again she will be near me. ....
 
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Rona Maynard
January 29, 2012 at 5:05 AM
 
Theresa, what a lovely idea to make a quilt from your mother's clothes. How appropriate, considering that she taught you how to sew. She'd be proud. And touched.
 
Comment
paige
February 04, 2012 at 8:08PM
 
reading this article made me legit cry theventire way through. it has been 2 years since my mom died and it has been really hard on me and my brother because we are only kids (me 13 him 15)
 
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Rona Maynard
February 05, 2012 at 1:01 AM
 
Paige, I'm so sorry. Eleven is awfully young to find yourself motherless. Now here you are, going through adolescence and all its changes without your mom's love and guidance. Look around and you may find another woman to provide at least a little of that encouragement--perhaps a favourite teacher or a relative. There's no replacing a mother but a kind heart and a listening ear can go a long way.
 
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Jenny
February 07, 2012 at 12:12PM
 
My mom and I were best friends. She was warm, loving, selfless and she made my life beautiful. I could share anything with her and she would listen, truly listen and she always believed in me, always loved me for me, faults and all. I miss her smile, her hugs, the smell of her hair, the sound of her voice and our talks. I am sad my sons were so young when she passed and won't get to enjoy her in their lives, and she won't be here for all the milestones. Her family was her life, she was totally devoted to all of us and its so upsetting to see what her loss has done to our family and how its affected our relationships with each other. I ache for security and acceptance I had in her love. I hurt for all the memories I have made and will make for the rest of my life without her.

Today is the second anniversary of her death from brain cancer. Mom was young and she was robbed of many great years with us and while my grieving has changed, lessened in severity, I still have a gaping hole in my life where she was. I wonder what she would think, say or do about the things that have happened in the years since she passed. I wonder if she would be disappointed or proud of me. To say I miss her, is an incredible understatement. I hurt still, very much but a sense of gratitude for having been blessed with her for a mother, takes a bit of the sting out of her absence now. I cling to that. I was lucky to have her even if she left us far too soon.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
February 08, 2012 at 3:03 AM
 
Jenny, I can identify with your observation about the interplay between missing (which never ends) and gratitude. Over time, I've found I can focus a little more on gratitude for what we had than on missing what we lost too soon. Here's hoping you'll notice the same gradual shift.
 
Comment
S. A. Mills
February 27, 2012 at 11:11PM
 
Thank you for this article.rn I lost my mother the end of last yr. Dec. 30, 2011. I'm still in shock. Not a day went by for 57yrs that I did not talk to my mother and share everything with her. She saw me threw divorce, marriage childbirth, and every pivotal part of my life. She was faithful and constant. I over estimated the friends I thought would be there for me. What's even more hurtful is I did not hear from most of the women in my church group even though we all have a print out of each others phone and email. I want to encourage any friend of someone who experiences a loss to send a card, email or call just to say that you are thinking for them in their time of bereavement. It is what I have always tried to do for others.
I was shocked at the insensitivity of people I thought cared about me. It was as if they trivialized my mother's death by ignoring me. I has just started a new job and co-workers I had only known two weeks were more supportive than long time friends.
My mother's death gave me an eye opener of who really cared and who really didn't.

My mother was the love of my life. I was so blessed to be there with her and had 30mins. before she died to tell her everything that was on my heart as I held her hand and watched her take her last breath, that was a gift from God and when the wound of great hurt from losing her has somewhat relented I can fully appreciate being there and comforting her while she died. My faith gives me hope that mom is not in my past but in my future.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
April 09, 2012 at 5:05 AM
 
It's hard enough mourning a loved one with plenty of social support. I'm sorry people haven't rallied around you--but I'm not entirely surprised. Some people are so uncomfortable with death that that they have no idea how to help or what to say. So they do nothing. The silence has more to do with awkwardness than lack of concern, it seems to me.
 
Comment
S. A. Mills
February 27, 2012 at 11:11PM
 
Thank you for this article. I lost my mother the end of last yr. Dec. 30, 2011. I'm still in shock. Not a day went by for 57 yrs that I did not talk to my mother and share everything with her. She saw me threw divorce, marriage childbirth, and every pivotal part of my life. She was faithful and constant. I over estimated the friends I thought would be there for me. What's even more hurtful is I did not hear from most of the women in my church group even though we all have a print out of each others phone and email. I want to encourage any friend of someone who experiences a loss to send a card, email or call just to say that you are thinking for them in their time of bereavement. It is what I have always tried to do for others.

I was shocked at the insensitivity of people I thought cared about me. It was as if they trivialized my mother's death by ignoring me. I has just started a new job and co-workers I had only known two weeks were more supportive than long time friends. My mother's death gave me an eye opener of who really cared and who really didn't.

My mother was the love of my life. I was so blessed to be there with her and had 30mins. before she died to tell her everything that was on my heart as I held her hand and watched her take her last breath, that was a gift from God and when the wound of great hurt from losing her has somewhat relented I can fully appreciate being there and comforting her while she died. My faith gives me hope that mom is not in my past but in my future.
 
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Rona Maynard
February 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM
 
I'm so sorry for your loss. And I agree: too many people overlook the importance of condolences. I suspect it's at least partly because they don't know what to say and are uncomfortable with the very thought of death. Our grandparents had all seen people die; today death is hidden away, which makes it seem unnatural when in fact it's just part of the cycle. You might enjoy my posts on condolence notes. Here's a link to the first one: http://www.ronamaynard.com/index.php?the-necessary-art-of-condolence-notes
 
Comment
Carolyn Thomas
March 02, 2012 at 6:06AM
 
Dear Rona,

I love this essay, and I've quoted it (and linked to it) following my mother's death 10 days ago: http://myheartsisters.org/2012/02/21/when-your-mother-dies/rnrn"Whether you model your choices on hers or cringe at the very thought, whether she nurtured or neglected the girl you really were (as opposed to the one she thought you would be), your mother is your North Star."

I found this profound message to be equally applicable to those who say their mothers were their "best friends" (a concept I found personally utterly incomprehensible!) as well as to those whose relationships with Mum were difficult and damaging. But no matter how difficult, particularly for those mothers who lived with increasing dementia as my mother suffered, the reality seems to be that we daughters bury the mother of our long-ago childhood - not just the frail, elderly, confused and angry mother of her old age. rnrnThank you so much for these words, Rona. Although you wrote them back in 2007, they are timelessly true. regards,

Carolyn Thomas
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
April 08, 2012 at 7:07 PM
 
Thank you for linking to this essay, Carolyn, and for posting such a thoughtful comment here. You're so right about the difference between the mother of childhood, who lives forever in your head, and the "frail, elderly, confused and angry mother" she becomes in old age. Putting the two faces together is part of the effort of mourning. I'm sorry for your loss.
 
Comment
Marie
March 04, 2012 at 7:07AM
 
My mother died a few years ago. Back then, it was so comforting to know that my brother and father were right there with me, going through similar feelings. But now, my father is dating, and even though i said it was fine when he asked, it wasn't completely ok with me. I felt cheated, because i can still remeber to this day when my neighbor's parents divorced, and my parent asked me if i had any questions about it. I asked them if they would ever get divorced. They said never. Back then it was a comfort to me, but now its different. I want my father to be happy, but it's just so odd to have another woman there that's trying to replace my mother. Its awkward, but i hope i will get used to it after time.
 
Comment
joyce ann
March 05, 2012 at 11:11AM
 
My mother is currently dying. Thank you for this page. I am trying to prepare her and me, her only daughter

 
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Rona Maynard
April 09, 2012 at 5:05 AM
 
Joyce, how well I remember trying to prepare for the loss of my mother. No one can tell you what it's like and no amount of anticipatory grief can take the edge off when it happens. It's like becoming a mother--you just have to give yourself up to this huge life transition that never really ends. I'm so sorry you're bracing for it now.
 
Comment
cathy
March 23, 2012 at 4:04AM
 
My beautiful mother was taken from us on May 27, 2011. She was outside sitting on her front porch drinking her morning coffee when she passed away from a sudden heart attack. My dad found her about 30 minutes later and i cannot describe the pain i heard in his voice when he called me to let me know what had happend. They had been married for 46 years. My mom was my everything and I am still so lost without her. I loved my mother so much and I will never get over losing her. I have two great kids, my dad and a husband that need me but not a second goes by that i am not thinking of her. I put on a brave face but inside i am dying. It is hard to imagine that i will live with this pain for the rest of my life. I too feel so sad that there will never be someone that loves me as much as she did. I LOVE YOU MOM!!
 
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Rona Maynard
March 23, 2012 at 5:05 AM
 
Cathy, I'm so sorry. It's true that you'll carry this loss for the rest of your life. Yet over time, you'll become increasingly aware of what you also carry--your mother's great, formative love for you. At least that's how it is for me. Sometimes I talk to my mother in my head and know exactly what she'd say in reply.
 
Comment
Shannon
April 08, 2012 at 6:06PM
 
First of all, I want to thank you for writing this article and responding at least five years after the publishing of your book. Just reading your article and the responses has somehow helped me know that this feeling is universal.

My father died 11 years ago. I was young, not yet 30. I was pregnant with my first child and it didn't sink in in a way that I now feel. I am 40 and my mother has passed after a brutal fight against esophageal cancer.

My brother and I were with her in her final moments; to us, it was a gift that she gave us as she clearly moved to another realm, with wonder, not fear.

She was a strong woman, an independent woman, yet devoted to family. She faced her death with an unusual openness of her increasing physical weakness that actually showed her strength. Her courage, her love, her grace will always be with me and my family. Thanks again.
 
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Rona Maynard
April 08, 2012 at 7:07 PM
 
Some gifts are so hard to receive, Shannon. Thank you for writing. I'm sorry for the loss of your remarkable mother.
 
Comment
Irene
April 14, 2012 at 6:06PM
 
I am so glad I found this place where daughters are sharing their experience on the loss of their mothers. My 85 year old mother died March 31 ths year after all her seven surviving children agreed to take her off the ventilator on which she was 100% dependent to breathe. Mom then began to breathe on her own and continued for six days. I couldn't leave the hospital because I didnt' want mom to die alone. When she took her last breath and passes quietly and peacefullly. I was the only child there. I think that was a gift for me. I miss her very much. She had a good long life and thanks to my youngest brother and his wife who took her into their home when she could not live on her own, we had mom for six more years. The values that she taught me to live in my life were her greatest gift. We had the mother-daughter issues and stumbled at times but the love was always unconditional. May she rest in peace as I struggle to move forward in tribute to my mother's unique strength and character.
 
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Rona Maynard
April 14, 2012 at 7:07 PM
 
I'm so sorry, Irene. Isn't it interesting how "the usual mother-daughter issues" start to recede in importance while the legacy of love remains?
 
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Lauren G
May 24, 2012 at 9:09PM
 
The greatest shock in my life was not my mother dying but that she died before my father. My mother was vital, healthy and looked decades younger than her 88 years. She was the most energetic, authentic, humble, funny and intelligent person I have ever met. At a very young age, perhaps 3, I registered that my mother was way ahead of her time and I knew I had to absorb all the knowledge and wisdom that she possessed. 9 weeks and one day after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, my mother died 11/03/11 from untreatable pulmonary embolisms caused by her cancer. Initially she was given 3 good months before her cancer would begin to claim her. All I focused on was making her last birthday, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's wonderful for her. She died 3 days after my 51st birthday. I spent weeks enduring anticipatory grief. When she finally passed I felt numb but relieved for her. I have 3 older siblings, all of whom are self absorbed baby boomers afflicted with profound self entitlement. I had no sibling or family support, but did from my dear husband and 2 close friends. I planned her funeral by myself, went to the funeral home alone and methodically followed the requests she made of me. What hurts me most is that I could do nothing for my mother. I found the best Oncologist, but she had adverse reactions to chemo. Her tumor was responsive but rebelled by making her blood become clumped gravy. I yearn for her advice about everything and I feel like I was a terrible student and didn't learn so much of what she loved and knew. She gardened. I hate flowers. She never paused. I over think and get analysis paralysis. Mother's day 2012 was a day of catatonia. We tried to honor the day but it fell flat. My mother and I shared great love of fine art, antiques, interior design, fabrics, architecture. We would go to auctions and then have a wonderful lunch or dinner together and discuss the day. We were each others loyal confidants. All that is gone now and the void is widening as each month passes. I partook in 10 weeks of group bereavement which helped but at the end of the day nothing will compensate. I find myself wanting to live rather grandly and go and do and experience as much as possible before I too get struck down with some monstrous illness. We never had children but I now understand what 'the first' means. I can never forget the first Thanksgiving, Christmas...without her here. I am very lonely and hunger for her voice, gentle suggestions, sincere compliments, constructive criticism. No one will ever be able to give that to me and I'll never be able to adequately give that to myself. I've been left to keep the entire ball of wax intact, including being sole caretaker of my 89 year old father. He tries his best but without intimate support I am exhausted. The only thing that sustains me is that my mother never felt pain and never suffered. She looks so stunningly beautiful in her final days that I knew she was ready to exit. The greatest gift my mother gave me was life and I felt honored being there for her everyday leading up to her final exit. She showed me how to live and I showed her that it was okay to die. Although it is painful I love seeing mothers and daughters together shopping or lunching. I miss that tremendously but know my mom is near me when I'm out and about alone doing what we would have done together. All that remains in me is eternal love for my mother. I hope she knows.
 
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Rona Maynard
May 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
 
Lauren, this line of yours says it all: "She showed me how to live and I showed her that it was okay to die." Your mother's gifts to you illuminate every line of this letter. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I'm sorry for your loss.
 
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Susanna Frackiewicz-Ponce
June 22, 2012 at 11:11AM
 
My mom died last Tuesday, June 12th at 8:30 pm. She was 92 years old. I was at her side the last 29 hours of her life....to her last breath and beyond. My 11 year old daughter was there too. In fact, my entire family arrived from across the country to escort my mom from life to death. My mom went from a fiesty, independent woman, living alone in a humble 2 story house one year ago to a 71 pound, contracted, confused resident in a nursing home. Her journey from health to decline was swift and painful and tortuous for me.

It was exactly ONE year ago today at this exact time, my mom and I (along with my husband and daughter) traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to spend a long and fun summer week together. Exactly one year ago today, we were walking around a local 3 day community celebration, eating ribs, drinking strawberry smoothies, watching my daughter on carnival rides and creating memories.

One day, I hope to add an eloquent story, poetic thoughts and words of wisdom. Right now, the pain is so fresh, that I can only grieve. I can't wait till time soften some of the sting.

Thank you all for listening............
 
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Rona Maynard
June 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM
 
Anniversaries are hard, aren't they, Susanna? I had many similar thoughts when my own mother died. Yet by and large, people don't send condolences on anniversaries. The pain is private and perhaps even deeper because you know the world is going on while you miss someone you'll never stop missing. I'm sorry for your continuing loss, which you've captured in these brief but vivid word pictures of a mother and daughter enjoying each other's company.
 
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Susanna Frackiewicz-Ponce
June 22, 2012 at 11:11AM
 
My mom died last Tuesday, June 12th at 8:30 pm. I was by her side the last 29 hours of her life and escorted through her last breath and beyond. In fact, my entire family was present. I just wrote a long comment, submitted it, but it did not post. Now, I don't feel like I have the emotional energy to retype what I had already done. However, I'll try.

A year ago today, at this exact time, my mom was living alone in a 2 story house in a small town in Iowa. Through a swift and tortuous 7 month journey, she passed away as a frail contracted, confused 71 pound nursing home resident.

Just ONE year ago today, at this exact time, we were walking around my hometown, enjoying the simplicity of a 3 day city celebration. She was walking, talking, feisty, eating, drinking..........playing with my daughter, enjoying music and flowers and the summer heat.

And one year later, she is gone. Of couse, she lived a long life. Of course, she was blessed to live into her nineties. Of course....but it is still a numbing experience.

The pain is fresh and cutting....thanks to all for listening and reading. One day, when time softens the pains, I hope to contribute something more valuable, more poetic, more healing and helpful. Right now, I just feel numb. An era has passed. My mom is gone.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM
 
Anniversaries are hard, aren't they? I had many similar thoughts when my own mother died. Yet by and large, people don't send condolences on anniversaries. The pain is private and perhaps even deeper because you know the world is going on while you miss someone you'll never stop missing. Thank you for posting and bearing with me, Susanna. These comments are moderated to keep out spam, and lately I've been falling behind. When you're able, do come back and past again.
 
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Susan
June 22, 2012 at 4:04PM
 
I recently read this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and think that it really beautifully describes grief--doesn't put a nice pretty bow on it, but tells it like it is:
?There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve ? even in pain ? the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.?
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran pastor and theologian


 
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Rona Maynard
June 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM
 
Thank you, Susan. Pretty bows are definitely not in order when you're grieving. Feeling the enormity of the loss is part of the transition to a life without that essential, forever-missed person.
 
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susanna frackiewicz-ponce
June 25, 2012 at 3:03PM
 
I've tried posting several times, but have not been successful.
My mom died last Tuesday, June 12th at 8:30 pm.
I was with her hte last 29 hours of her life, and along with my family, escorted her from this life beyond.
My story is similar to many others on this site.
The pain I'm feeling is so intense and so raw.
I am grateful for this site so I don't feel alone.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
November 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM
 
Hi, Susanna. I've found your comment belatedly and am late to tell you how sorry I am. Every daughter's pain echoes the pain of every bereaved daughter who ever lived. Yet every daughter's pain has its particular rawness and intensity. That does ebb over time, although the missing is eternal. Thank you for visiting here.
 
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love
July 03, 2012 at 5:05PM
 
I hate this story my mother died and this dosent help me this book sucks
 
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candice
July 21, 2012 at 8:08PM
 
My mother died in December, just before Christmas. I have to say that I really felt nothing. My entire childhood was a lesson in emotional abuse. I was told all the time that I was just a stupid kid and knew nothing. I always felt like she never liked me. Several times she told my brother, sister and I that she never wanted any snot nosed kids but ended up with them anyway. A couple years before she died she told me that she wished that I would grow up ( I was 48 with a master's degree and a thriving career and an extremely happy marriage, and helping to support her). When I think of her all I can come up with is memories of a selfish mean woman who really couldn't love anyone other than herself. There are so many things that happened that I can only cover the tip of the ice berg. I have asked myself what kind of person am I that I came to not love my mother, and the answer that I have come up with is WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WAS SHE?
 
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Rona Maynard
August 06, 2012 at 2:02 PM
 
Candice, I don't wonder that you felt numb when your mother died. You had to detach from her in order to withstand her cruelty, her refusal to fill the role of mother. She must have been so jealous of you, a daughter who could love both a husband and a career, when she was not able to love. Now that she's gone for good, there's probably a place deep within you where grief lurks for everything that should have been and now will never be. If and when the time is right, you will go there. For now, I think the question you're asking--what kind of mother was she?--is the right focus for your emotional energy and will occupy you for a good while yet. You might find it helpful to get inside her head through family photos, old correspondence, the memories of other family members, etc. Who was she and how did she become such a stunted person? You might enjoy Jeanette Winterson's terrific new memoir of a mother from hell, Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal? Winterson never came to love her horrific, evil-hearted mother, but did come to understand her and to appreciate her as a bizarrely fascinating character.
 
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candice
July 21, 2012 at 8:08PM
 
My mother died in December, just before Christmas. I have to say that I really felt nothing. My entire childhood was a lesson in emotional abuse. I was told all the time that I was just a stupid kid and knew nothing. I always felt like she never liked me. Several times she told my brother, sister and I that she never wanted any snot nosed kids but ended up with them anyway. A couple years before she died she told me that she wished that I would grow up ( I was 48 with a master's degree and a thriving career and an extremely happy marriage, and helping to support her). When I think of her all I can come up with is memories of a selfish mean woman who really couldnt love anyone other than herself. There are so many things that happened that I can only cover the tip of the ice berg. I have asked myself what kind of person am I that I came to not love my mother, and the answer that I have come up with is WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WAS SHE?
 
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AnnMarie
September 13, 2012 at 6:06PM
 
It's been almost 6 months since my mom died and I miss her terribly. We were very close. She wasn't perfect (and neither am I), but I accepted her for how she was and we had a good relationship. We laughed a lot and spent a lot of time shopping. She loved to buy things for my daughter, who became the love of my mother's later grandmotherly life. My mom even moved from Florida to where we live in Delaware to be close to us. I'm so glad she did. I've been told by several of her friends that she truly enjoyed her years that she lived nearby us. I spoke to my mom for what would be the last time on March 26, 2012. The following day would mark the worst day of my life. I hadn't heard from my mom and went to check on her. I found her dead on her kitchen floor. She had been bringing groceries in and had a heart attack that killed her instantly. It was 3 days after her 71st birthday. At that moment time seemed to come to a stand still, I could not believe this was MY life--it had to be a nightmare. I couldn't breath and I just stared at her body which was already bruised and blue, hugging her and rubbing her I tried to miraculously revive her. God took hold of me that day and guided me. Somehow I called 911. Somehow I called my younger sister and bluntly told her about our mother. Somehow I spoke to other siblings and family members. I was numb. On my daughters birthday this month will be 6 months and I still cant believe that she's gone. My heart literally aches. Especially when my 6 year old tells me with tears streaming down her face that it hurts for her to think of grandma or look at her pictures. I feel her pain. I want to call my mom and tell her something funny that my daughter did or just see if she wants to go have lunch. There is a void in my life that is impossible to fill at this time. I know that all I can do is continue to pray for strength, be a good mother to my daughter, and take one day at a time. My mother wouldn't want it any other way. I miss you, Janie! XOrnThanks for listening, Rona.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM
 
AnnMarie, as one daughter to another, I can feel the urgency of your missing Janie. I'm so sorry. You're being gentle with yourself, and that's a good thing at this excruciatingly difficult time. Your mother would approve.
 
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Theresa
October 03, 2012 at 3:03PM
 
I'm so glad I found your site. My mother got sick in 1970 and was in and out of the hospital until she died in 1974 when I was 17. My father fell apart and I had to take care of him (cooking, cleaning) during her illness and after her death. Six months later, he remarried and changed the locks on the house. By that time, I was a freshman in college and never lived at home again, although I was invited to visit during school holidays. (invited... but never really felt "welcomed.")

Today... 38 years later... I am exactly the same age as my mother was when she died. Fifty six and three months to the day.

I feel paralyzed. Do I mourn? Do I celebrate? It feels like a touchstone moment, but I have no one to share it with as most of my friends still have their mothers and I don't want to burden anyone with my anxiety.

I wasn't very nice to my mother. I was mad that she was sick. I was mad I had to visit her in the hospital. I was mad I couldn't hang out with my friends. I was mad I had to cook and clean and deal with my dad. I like to think that she saw through my adolescent grumpiness and aloofness and knew that, deep down, I did love her and that love would have deepened had I gotten to know her as an adult.

When friends with elderly parents complain about having to deal with them and ask for advice, I always say this: Do whatever you need to do so that when they die, you won't feel guilty. Period. You don't want to live your life saying, "If only."
 
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Rona Maynard
October 08, 2012 at 6:06 AM
 
Yes, Theresa, milestone moments like yours are hard. I haven't reached mine yet, but it's coming up in four years and already I'm bracing myself. I'll be the age my mother was when she died, a good 20 years before I expected to lose her. From what I've heard and read, the feelings you're experiencing are absolutely normal. Now, about the guilt that you carry: give yourself a break, Theresa. You were 17. A kid. You needed a mother to guide you into adulthood, and you found yourself reluctantly guiding your mother toward her premature death. Every adolescence is fraught with anger--it's part of the process known as growing up. You had one more reason for anger, one it wasn't acceptable to voice. At an unspeakably difficult time, you did the best you could. I'm pretty sure your mother knew that.
 
Comment
Susanna
October 07, 2012 at 10:10AM
 
4 months since my mom died and I'm having a hard day. Everything feels dark. I go to work and remain responsible to my job duties, my role as a mother and wife. But I feel a scary sadness and I'm afraid it won't go away. I feel like part of me died. I knew it would feel bad. But I'm afraid of how sad I feel. Any words of wisdom are deeply appreciated. Blessings to all.
 
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Rona Maynard
October 08, 2012 at 6:06 AM
 
Susanna, I'm so sorry you've lost your mother. Don't be afraid of the sadness. It's a sign of how much you loved her. Four months is not so far along in the grieving process. For me a couple of years went by before I could look at other women with their mothers and not feel a pang of envy.
 
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Brandy Byers-Wilson
October 11, 2012 at 8:08AM
 
My mom just died last Friday. I'm 38 and tomorrow...well is my birthday. We buried her yesterday. My dad gave me some presents she had already picked for me. Beautiful butterfly earings, necklace, and a bracelet. Just like her...she gave me too much. I miss my mom so badly...the pain is so raw and fresh. I miss her, and my youngest child is only 8. He needs me and is acting up to get my attention. I wish I could have had her longer.
 
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Rona Maynard
October 11, 2012 at 5:05 PM
 
Brandy, I'm so sorry for your loss. It must be terribly hard to be there for your son when your mother cannot be there for you.
 
Comment
Lauren G
October 12, 2012 at 10:10AM
 
11/3/12 will be the first anniversary of my mother's death. I've been counting the days since 9/2/12 which was the first anniversary of my mother's pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I've had some very emotionally immobilizing days since that time and have had a challenging year.

In June my brother (the only one of my 3 siblings I speak to) nearly died from severe slow heart rate and low blood pressure. He was hospitalized 9 weeks and has stabilized and improved. I believe he nearly died from a broken heart.

Last month my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, on my 21st wedding anniversary he had surgery and is now in a sub acute rehab getting strength back. September is officially my most despised month of the year.

In spite of all the grief life improves and the cloak of sorrow rots and falls away. My lousy point here is simple: life is for the living. I miss my mom and would gladly give 5 years of time of my life to have her back for one more. I cannot barter time, I wish I could. What my mother's death has hammered into my soul is simple: If you have children, a husband, a partner, family or someone or something you authentically love in your current life embrace, covet, cherish and foster that. I believe that is my mother's message to me. She would be so miserable if she saw me in continual mourning.

I have moments, grief bursts, and I allow them in like a passing storm. For many months I didn't and lived in the eye of my storm. I had no clue that my husband was so adversely affected by my mother's death. I was so caught in my own sorrow that I failed to acknowledge his. Or my brother's or my dad's. I nearly allowed my marriage to die from benign neglect.

Allow your raw, unfiltered sorrow to go through you, let it out and give it permission to be on it's way. It may come back around again but don't allow it to stay. All of us, you, are too valuable to be sad all the time. I have prayed to my mother, lit candles for her spirit, laughed at her jokes in my head. I honor her now and in doing that I cry less and less. I wish that for all of you. It's okay to cry, it's also okay to laugh your ass off between the tears. I'll come back after 11/3 and tell you how it was. Mom would like that.
 
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Rona Maynard
October 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM
 
Dear Lauren, What a year you've had: two devastating illnesses in the family, strain on your marriage and the root of it all, the loss of your irreplaceable mother. I am so sorry. There's no quick escape from grief. You have to bodysurf it until you wash up on the shore, forever changed. I like your observation that "it's okay to laugh your ass off between the tears." Well said, Lauren! Humour is the best way I know to cope with life's disasters. So keep laughing at your mother's jokes. And do check in here again. Thinking of you, Rona
 
Comment
Brandy Byers-Wilson
October 17, 2012 at 2:02PM
 
Thanks for the beautiful words and hope. I understand, Lauren, more than you realize. My mom only has one surviving brother. My grandparents (her mom and dad) passed away within the last few years and lived well into their 90s. My mom was just 65. She has 1 brother left, and there were 6. Three of them have died in the last 2 years including my mom. My grandpap died followed by his daughter (my aunt) two months later followed by my uncle two weeks later. It was a hard year. My mom was then diagnosed with lung cancer (which did not take her life) and her suriving brother has heart problems. It has been a tough road for sure. Now when I hear people arguing with family members (and gosh knows we all have our moments), I just tell them to appreciate what they have. You don't know how long it is you have this person in your life..especially your mom. You just don't know. And God will take him/her at any moment. I am still feeling so sad. I miss her. Deeply. Thank you for this forum. It is comforting to talk with other women. My little guy is doing somewhat better, but he doesn't like to sleep alone right now. I think that is okay. He wants someone near always. I am blessed to have two wonderful boys, a loving husband, and a beautiful step daughter. And people who care. This is always a blessing.
 
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Susanna
October 17, 2012 at 6:06PM
 
My mom and dad's cremains were laid to final rest today, as a couple, in a cemetery in Cedar Falls, Iowa. My dad died December 10, 1992 and my mom died on June 12, 2012.They met in a post WWII resettlement camp in Fallingbostel, Germany. My dad was a displaced Polish citizen and my mom, a nurse. Today their love story came full cirlce as they rest together forever. Whew.....it's a painful day!
 
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Rona Maynard
November 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM
 
A painful day, indeed. Susanna, I'm so very sorry. But as you say, they've come full circle.
 
Comment
Denise
October 22, 2012 at 11:11PM
 
My Mom unexpectedly died 2 months ago . . . just four days before her 68th birthday. I unknowingly walked in on the paramedics trying to revive her from what we know now was a massive heart attack brought on by complications from uncontrolled diabetes. I knew she was gone the minute I opened the door and saw her. Dying at home meant they had to go thru all the legal mumbo jumbo and her body was left in the middle of the kitchen floor for hours with police officers and medical staff walking around her. It is a image I wish I could erase but at the same time I am glad I was there to support my Dad and kiss my Mom goodbye. She was buried on her birthday a celebration of life lived. My Dad was the one with a bad heart and had had a triple by-pass a year ago on the day of her funeral. My Mom died just 5 weeks after the birth of my second daughter. I am so thankful I gave her my Moms name for her middle name. A decision I almost didn't make because my Mom never liked her name. I am thankful she was there and held my new daughter and for the 4 years she had being Nanny to my oldest daughter. My Dad had surgery for more blockages just 2 weeks after her death. Although he is doing well I am constantly worrying and afraid of losing him too. My uncle (my Mom's younger brother) died unexpectedly last week and I had to once again tell my Nanny about the death. She lost both her children less than 2 months apart. She says you are not suppose to out live your children - I feel so sad for her. My mother and her truely were best friends. I have been strong because I've had to be but I hurt. I am sad but too busy with my new born daughter, busy 4 year old, Dad, Nanny, and house work to crumble. I have very limited help with the kids as my partners parents are both gone too. I'm tired and I'm stressed and I'm sad. I am not at my best and I feel as if I am missing out on precious time with my girls. My youngest is 3 months already . . . I want to be the best I can be and smile and giggle with my girls but my heart is so heavy and my life so busy. Everyone tells me they are amazed by my strength and spirit and that I am a good Mom but I feel as if I am doing everything but nothing well. I've been crankier then normal and will raise my voice when frustrated at my 4 year old quicker. I do not have time to loose as each day I am not fully there is precious time lost from my daughters. I want my happy back, and I miss my Mom. I understand the Mom Envy but was afraid to express it ... Each time a friend talks of taking their children to Nannys so they can goto the gym or out to supper or when they spend the day shopping with their Moms I feel this and then I feel shame and guilt for feeling it. I talked to her daily and often about nothing at all but she was always there . . . I miss that, I miss her, and I miss me.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM
 
Oh, Denise, I'm so sorry. How beautifully you've put it: "I miss her, and I miss me." This is a powerful insight. You are now a different person. Your mother's death has changed you forever. It will take time for you to get comfortable with this new person while mourning your mother and coming to know her legacy. In many ways, I became a stronger, more confident woman after my mother died (a story I've told in my book, My Mother's Daughter). But that doesn't mean I don't miss her. I always will, as you will miss your own mother.
 
Comment
jenny
November 04, 2012 at 3:03PM
 
my mom died a week ago. this is the first thing i've been able to read that has given me any measure of comfort. i still feel like nothing will ever be ok again, and i know i will never stop missing her, but i know that's ok right now. thank you.
 
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Rona Maynard
November 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM
 
You're right, Jenny. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to miss her. You always will but time will dull the pain and reveal all the little ways in which she's still part of your life. Thank you for visiting.
 
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KC
November 10, 2012 at 12:12PM
 
My Mommy, yes I called her Mommy until the day she died on Aug 8, 2010 of lung cancer. There was a time I did not like her. I stayed away from her, angry and mad. Then I became a Mother and we grew close. My children loved her as I did. At 49, I had a triple bypass, she brought food, prayed and called me every day. Two months before she died I found out I had breast cancer. She prayed and loved me through my pain. After my mastectomy my sister brought her to my house and she brought me warm food and warm Mother love and loved me through my pain. She pulled a stool next to my bed. I could tell she was frail and weak. When she left she kissed my forehead and told me she loved me. I looked in her eyes and I could see death looming. I knew then that would be the last time she would be at my side. My heart broke into a billion pieces and I cried until the next morning. Two months later I was with her holding her hands when the angels came for her. She was an awesome gardener! When I visited she would give me flower bulbs and seedlings out of her garden. I took them home and planted them. Now I have flowers and bushes blooming from HER yard. She lives on oh yes she does. I walk by the spider lillies and say," Well hello Mommy I love you and miss you."
 
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Rona Maynard
November 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM
 
Thank you for visiting, KC. I wish you had a happier reason to stop here. I'm so sorry you have lost your mommy (and I love the fact that you still call her that). I know you will always miss her.Three things leap out at me in your post: you found your way back to your mother through all the anger and pain, she had time to give you that comfort that only a mother could give and she lives on in your garden, which no doubt is where she'd want to be if she cannot be by your side.
 
Comment
Danielle
November 25, 2012 at 10:10AM
 
Rona,I lost my mother to an alcoholic overdose on September 5th, 2012. She was 64 years old and had battled alcoholism for her entire life. My 75 year old father had no idea what to do when he found her dead, so he called me. I went into her bedroom and found her covered in a pool of her own urine and vomit with beer cans surrounding every inch of her room. I will never forget that image in my mind for the rest of my life.

My mother was an alcoholic, abusive swinger and as a child I saw things that no child should ever have to see. The children in my family were beaten, starved and never nurtured. I am writing to you because of my confusing overwhelming sense of loss. I was the closest child to my mother, the one she talked to, and listened to and loved ( on her good days of sobriety). I feel as if I am in a whirlwind of emotions. Some days I am stoic, and other days a crying mess. I am writing you in hopes that you can give me some advice in letting go of my horrible past. I have half good memories and half horrible memories of my mother and was wondering what kind of advice you give someone during the mourning process when you lose a parent who had a life gripping addiction. I know a million people must write you a day, but any tips or guidance would be of great appreciation. Thanks for listening. Dani
 
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Rona Maynard
December 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM
 
Hi, Danielle. I am so sorry. Your mother was a lot more than her alcoholism, as you clearly understand. Your loving memories reflect the best of her, the part that was crushed by her illness. Being her daughter has affected you profoundly, for good and ill, and continues to affect every day of your life. Sorting this out will take some time. I suggest you check out Al-Anon, the sister group of Alcoholics Anonymous. You'll be surrounded by people who've walked in your shoes and learned from the experience. Each group has a different chemistry, so you might want to visit several. I learned a lot from Al-Anon.
 
Comment
Susanna
December 04, 2012 at 6:06AM
 
Whew......my mom died June 12, 2012. We finally had her memorial on November 23.....one day after Thanksgiving. We had the memorial in the chapel of the nursing home facility where she lived for 7 months and died. My brother delivered a beautiful sermon. I read a 15 minute tribute about her life.....from her history in Germany, her nursing career in post WWII Germany, and her life after immigrating to Iowa. Then I showed a 27 minute video slide show of her life with photos of her, family, friends and her garden against the back drop of her favorite hymns....................it was excruciating.
The pain I feel 6 months later is as fresh as the night she died. I've gone thru so many painful firsts without her....my birthday, hers, my daughters, Thanksgiving and now, awaiting the pain of Christmas. I am in such pain and I thank everyone for listening.....................

A verse from the song, "All Through The Night"

Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever
There's a hope that leaves me never
All Through The Night
 
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Rona Maynard
December 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM
 
I'm listening, Susanna. Yes, this Christmas will be hard. But next Christmas will be easier. Take a deep breath, put up the tree and honor your Christmas traditions. They'll bring you some measure of comfort.
 
Comment
Patty
December 04, 2012 at 3:03PM
 
Hello Rona,

My mother passed Aug 30th, 2011, which is right around the time I found your site. I was so devastated, and I remember writing to you how lost I felt because not only did I lose my mother, I lost my best friend.

It is now coming up on 16 months since I lost my mother and I wanted to write and give you an update on how I am doing. My hope is that others will read this and it will give them a sense of peace, especially those who recently lost their mother.

Well, I admit, it has been quite a journey these past 16 months. Exactly 10 months to the day after my mother's death, my father passed away. I thought I went into a state of shock when my mother passed - to become completely orphaned really knocked the wind out of me!

After I returned home from going through all of their personal belongings and settling their estate, I sat down and cried for hours. My whole world completely changed in less than 12 months, and trust me, the tears were non-stop. After my meltdown, I laid down on the bed and prayed like I have never done before. Between the loss of my mother and father, I had many people come up to me saying that my parents were with me spiritually. So, I asked for God to send me a sign that my parents were truly with me. I did get specific on my request to God. My mother loved doves, and I asked God to send me a dove or something similar and then I went about my day. That evening, my friend and I took my dogs for a walk. It was a hot September day, and upon our return, I went into the house to grab a couple of bottles of water. As I was in the basement, my friend came running in the house yelling my name and told me to get outside quick. As I walked outside onto my patio, she said to me, look up. I looked up at the blue sky and there were literally hundreds of white birds flying over my home. I kept asking her if they were doves, but she had no idea. My friend said to me, I have lived in Nebraska all my life and I have never seen this type of bird before! At the time, I didn't share my request to God with my friend, or anyone for that matter, because I am a very private person when it comes to my relationship with God. As I stood there watching hundreds of white birds fly over my home, an overwhelmingly sense of peace and joy filled my heart. In all honesty, it was a feeling I have never felt before in my life. Within minutes, the sky was clear again - not a white bird in sight.

From that September day forward, when I think of my parents, which is quite often, a sense of warmth fills my soul and I look up and smile. Yes, I miss them terribly, but I know now they are in a happier place with God and their loved ones, and they are with me in spirit.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
December 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM
 
Hi, Patty. Thank you for visiting again with this update, which I'm sure will bring comfort to many. Although I'm not religious, your story of the white birds touched me. By the way, there are white doves on my Christmas tree as I write this.
 
Comment
Mary
December 24, 2012 at 9:09AM
 
My wonderful loving Grandmother passes away on Dec 21, 2012...3 days ago. My poor mother went to check on her since she wasn't returning her call that day. My mom found her dead, face down in her room. No autopsy is being done because of her age, so we can only assume it was heart failure. I can't even imagine the grief my mom is feeling. It must have been a nightmare finding her like that. I am too far away to be with her right now, but I will be flying to be with her after the New Years. Is there any advice on what I can do to help ease the pain. Thanks for the article. Reading it and the comments has warmed my heart.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
December 27, 2012 at 4:04 AM
 
Hi, Mary. I'm so sorry. What a hard holiday season this has become for you and your family. You're mourning the grandmother you loved while your mother is mourning her own irreplaceable mother--intertwined losses. There's no quick fix for this kind of grief. You have to let it overtake you like a wave and trust that you'll eventually float to the surface (not that the missing ever really ends). My advice, for what it's worth: don't feel you have to say anything to your mother. There are no healing "right words" (although there are some wrong ones, like "Time heals all wounds"). Sometimes it's enough just to sit with a bereaved person and be the generous witness to her pain. Don't be afraid of that pain--yours or hers. It's a testament to the love your grandmother inspired and will continue to inspire after death.
 
Comment
Kelly Robbins
January 02, 2013 at 9:09AM
 
I felt soooo alone today. Missing my mom and feeling misunderstood by a lot of people. Thank you Rona for this site and for your book that i'm looking forward to reading. After i read what everyone wrote i don't feel so alone in my sadness. Like the whole world is celebrating while i'm just trying to hold together the broken peices of my heart. My mom died 4 months ago and each holiday seems to get harder. New Years kind of caught me off guard. I guess it's just the thought of a new year without her seems too painful to look at. My mom was the last parent for my husband and I. That seems to magnify the pain. I am the 5th youngest out of 6 kids. We have all been close but losing our mom seems to have put a big strain on a few of our relationships. We are all in our 40s and 50s with families of our own. I guess i am learning that even though i thought we would be able to lean on each other at this difficult time we are all grieving differently. We all had different relationships with my mom so we can't expect to mourn the same way. It's been very traumatic to have no more parents and then feel you could lose your relationships with your siblings too. My mom would hate that. She was the thread that held the many different pieces of fabric together that made up my family. I just want to say thank you to everyone whose shared their losses. It's helped me realize we are all hurting. It's helped me look at my brothers and sisters and not focus on what they do or don't do right now but on who they are. Who we all are. Good people just trying to make our way through the storm.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
January 02, 2013 at 4:04 PM
 
Well said, Kelly. So often it's one parent--usually the mother--who quietly holds the family together, leaving everyone bewildered and at odds when death pulls that thread. I've experienced this myself. You think the family will pull together and support one another, but each person is crushed by a private grief. You're wise to focus on the essence of the each person instead of dwelling on the crazy-making things they do (or don't do). Thank you for stopping here to share your insight. I'm very sorry for your loss.
 
Comment
Eva
February 04, 2013 at 1:01AM
 
I loved this article even though it made me cry. I lost my mom 5 years ago when I was 20. I have that "mother hunger" real real bad and I don't want to get rid of any of her things and have managed to keep a lot. How do you know if you are coping well? Like if I have a hard time with things (relationships, jobs, motivation) how would I know if it has to do with my mom passing away or if it would be that way anyway?
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
February 04, 2013 at 9:09 AM
 
Oh, Eva, 20 is young to find yourself motherless. I'm sorry you had to face that loss so early. As for the question that you pose, my advice is to let your feelings be your guide. If you think your mother's death has something to do with your difficulty facing the challenges of adult life, then chances you could be onto something. You're going to need a wise person--preferably a trained counsellor--to help you sort this out. In the meantime, try not to judge yourself harshly. That's the last thing your mother would want for you.
 
Comment
Mary Lauren
February 15, 2013 at 2:02PM
 
I lost my Mother on 29 October 2012, It would of been her 68th birthday today. I would speak to her at least once a day and see her most days. She died suddenly of a heart attack. I miss her terribly and dream most nights it is a terrible mistake and she has not died. She was my rock, she was the one by my side as I gave birth, she was the one who gave me money to start my business, she was the one who done all the childcare for my son who is now 5. Im 36 and both my parents are now dead. Im glad she never suffered cancer or an undignified death and accept you have to die at some point, but I do miss her terribly. I miss our chats so much what I would do to pick up the phone dial her number and say "Hi Mum How are you?" Life is so short.
 
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Rona Maynard
March 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM
 
Mary, I know the feeling. I'll never forget my mother's phone number, even though she died well over 20 years ago. I'm so sorry you've lost your own mother.
 
Comment
Sonja
February 26, 2013 at 9:09PM
 
I lost my mother two weeks today February 12 ,2013. I knew my mother had some health issues, and she seemed to be withdrawing from me. Sometimes I would call her and she wouldnt answer her phone, so this particular time i just felt she didnt want to be bothered like she had so many times before. But things werent ok, I tried to contact her and decided to go check on her the next day. She didnt answer the door so the Apt manager had to assess the situation. Unforunately my mom was dead on the floof of her bedroom. My mother had her isssues while raising me and my sister but to me she was my world and I tried to let her know that everyday we talked on the phone several times a day, and on my days off from work I would bring her to my house because she never knew how to drive. She was 64 years old and my BEST FRIEND but I know she is not suffering anymore. And I will always miss her. I LOVE YOU MA:(
 
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Rona Maynard
March 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM
 
You were a good and loving daughter, Sonja. I'm sure your mother knew this. I'm so sorry for your loss.
 
Comment
Tsvetan Tsvetkov
March 06, 2013 at 11:11AM
 
My mother died when I was 12 from brain aneurysm and it has been a tough 12 years from then. Her death was so sudden that I couldn't see her for the last time. I'm 24 now and I have serious psychological problems. My family felt apart and grew very cold after. It has been 12 years and I feel like it was yesterday. I feel so alone that every day becomes unbearable.
 
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Carolyn
March 18, 2013 at 5:05PM
 
I lost my mom on 1/11/12. I am still very sad. I am trying to make the most of each day of my life. However there are some days that are very hard. I use to speak to my mom about changing careers. I am currently in health care but may be interested in teaching young kids. I wish she was still here to help me with my concerns / problems and to let her know how much I love her.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
March 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM
 
I know the feeling, Carolyn. I've found that if I meditate on people I've loved and lost (like my mother and a treasured friend), I can start to imagine what they'd say to me if they were here. It's not the same as a real conversation but it helps. Relationships do continue after death and this is one way to explore that connection.
 
Comment
Maureen
July 13, 2013 at 7:07PM
 
I am approaching the 7th anniversary of my Mom's death. It has not gotten any easier. I still want to reach for the phone to share the news of the day, be it good or bad, with her. My children are young adults and now without the time constraints of raising children I would have more time to spend with her, but she it not here. My children are achieving wonderful things and she is not here to celebrate with us. Everything seems diminished by her absence. I miss that person who was always in my corner, always willing to listen, always had a kind word. I miss her advice about all matters.

She had spent the last 4 years of her life caring for Dad who had severe Alzheimers. It always seemed so unfair to me that her last years were not less stressful. Dad outlived her by 3 1/2 years and it took lots of health aides and teamwork with my brother to do what my Mom had done alone.

I recall when she died I was thinking I couldn't imagine making it through an hour, a day, a week, a month without her. But time keeps right on going. It's filled with happiness and sadness but there's still a gaping hole - Mom's not here.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
July 20, 2013 at 5:05 PM
 
Hi, Maureen. I am so sorry. I know that gaping hole you speak of. So do all the other women who have posted here. What concerns me is that seven years have passed since you lost your mother, and the missing remains so acute. While no one ever really stops missing a loved one, the anguish typically ebbs over time. I get the sense that it hasn't in your case and suggest you seek out a counselor with experience in treating prolonged grief. I wish you well in that quest.
 
Comment
Suzanna
August 05, 2013 at 4:04PM
 
Hello, My mum died of cancer 21 years ago when I was almost 4 and my brother just 1. As we were so young I never understood what had happened when it did and don't remember it so have never been through what I think of as a grieving period. We stayed with my dad who remarried twice but is again on his own , we are very close to him and also our maternal grandparents. My mum was a nurse and I am now a midwife, I married two years ago and I'm now expecting my first baby in december. Mum would have been 50 on wednesday, I find it so hard to let this pass without marking it but have never done so and don't know what to do. I find that it only gets harder to deal with as I grow older and into a woman doing the things she did only a few short years before she died. The only person that I feel understands how I feel is my brother , not knowing her makes it harder to know what I miss - it's like a black hole that nothing will fill but you don't know what should have been there. It's very hard. Writing this has helped a little.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
August 05, 2013 at 5:05 PM
 
Dear Suzanna, I feel your longing for a mother to guide you through the huge transition ahead as you become a mother yourself. It's natural that you should feel your mother's absence even more acutely at this stage in your life. There's no replacing a mother, but other women may be able to shine some rays of light into that void you speak of. Do you have an older friend who can fill the role of surrogate mother? Are you in touch with an aunt or friend of your mother's who can bring to life the mother you weren't able to know? I recommend a book called Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. It was published some years ago but is considered a classic, widely available online if not at your local bookstore. Wishing you well, Rona
 
Comment
kate
August 17, 2013 at 7:07AM
 
I was glad to come across this today. I lost my mum in January 2012 - and this year seems harder than last year. I'm constantly feeling nostalgic for my lovely childhood when we were all together as a family - how was it all over so fast. i dont know anyone in the same position as me and nobody understands the deep and intense pain of my grief. I really need to communicate with others who have lost their mums and understand how personal this is. I look normal and carry on with daily life and try and be as cheerful as possible but its there every minute of every day - deep sadness for my very special and precious mum and our very personal memories and conversations and all our family memories, that nobody else can possibly understand. - i feel guilty thinking i could've done more- i remember our last conversation and how i left her - i cant stop thinking about my child hood and all our memories. I dont know how this will ever get any easier! its getting harder - it would be really good to be in contact with other people who are experiencing the loss of their mother.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
August 19, 2013 at 12:12 PM
 
Hi, Kate. You've come to the right place. As you see from the many other comments posted here, you're among women who know exactly how you feel. Here's a suggestion that may help you channel your grief. Start recording those precious conversations and memories in a pretty notebook or album dedicated to your mother. They are her legacy to you and hold the power to sustain you for a lifetime--but only if you preserve them in all their vibrancy. Memories have a way of fading over time--yes, even the important memories that seem indelible. By writing them down, you'll protect your legacy and keep it close. One more thing: don't beat yourself up over what you could or should have done better. You did your best for your mother, and she surely knew how much you loved her. She wouldn't want you to suffer needlessly. How do I know? I'm a mother.
 
Comment
Liane
January 04, 2014 at 3:03PM
 
I came across this site after typing in "I lost my mother and am so angry". rnMy mother passed 6 weeks ago after a horrific battle with pancreatic cancer. rnI was there until the bitter end and was holding her hand as she took her last breath...I witnessed things, during the progression of her illness, that keep me from sleeping. rnPart of me feels blessed to have been able to take this journey with her so she was not alone to face the fate that she knew was inevitable...but this journey has changed me, worn me out, made me angry, intolerant.... I cannot explain it except to say that I just don't have the time for people and their petty "pity parties". They annoy me.rnMaybe I am finally starting to face the reality of the situation. I was so caught up in her illness, her care, doctors, nurses, administrative paperwork, funeral arrangements.....and the list goes on...that I never allowed myself to "lose control of my emotions".rnI am tired...yet sleep won't come. I want to scream...but I cannot. At times, this wave of sadness grabs me out of nowhere and I stop it by swallowing very hard....rnI am not sure how to deal with all these feelings and emotions....rnI am angry at the world and everybody in it...their selfish indifference frustrates me...rnI am tired of pretending that everything is ok and that I am fine. My silence worries the people that care about me but voicing my feelings seems to upset them. I guess I don't have the luxury to not be the pillar of strength that they were always accustomed to.rnIs this normal? Does anybody else feel or has felt this way?
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
January 07, 2014 at 10:10 PM
 
Liane, I'm sorry that your mother's loss has unleashed such a maelstrom of unfamiliar and threatening emotions. You sound unable to grieve because so many other feelings are getting in the way. A compassionate therapist can help you sort this out and get some perspective. Don't struggle on alone. Your mother has died but you can be reborn.
 
Comment
Casey Yau
March 19, 2014 at 11:11PM
 
I lost my mother about a month ago due to lung cancer. She was a never smoker and she was only 56. I am so grateful that so many women posted messages about the love they have for their mothers. I love my mother more than life itself. I wish so much that I died I instead of her or that I could bear the pain and suffering she had to go through during the last months of her life. I was by her side almost 24/7 at palliative care unit of the hospital for the last 2 weeks of her life. We were inseparable and we lived together. I accompanied her during every appointment and every scan plus radiation. I was almost never apart from her all 30 years of my life. We lived for each other. She gave me life, and an all consuming and unconditional love that i will never experience again. I continue to be haunted by the images of my mom quickly losing her ability to speak or even drink sips of water. Her passing is the end of us and the end of me. I will never be okay without her. My purpose now is to wait till I can see her again.
 
Reply
Rona Maynard
March 20, 2014 at 8:08 AM
 
Casey, I'm so sorry for the loss of your irreplaceable mother. It's natural to feel devastated and I'm sure you'll always miss her. In my experience, the missing becomes less acute over time and the focus shifts from the anguish of loss to a growing awareness of the lasting gifts that remain. Your mother would want you to have a purpose in life and to savor your time on this earth. I hope that you eventually do.
 
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