What Losing My Mom Taught Me About Unconditional Love, Death, And Grief

Written By Guest Blogger:Colleen George

It’s been four years since my mom died of cancer, and not a day goes by where she doesn’t pop into my thoughts. I still remember the days she was sick. Seeing my strong and wonderful mother in such a vulnerable state was terrifying. I wanted to protect her; I wanted to save her. She stayed brave and beautiful through her last days, which was nothing less than I expected. After all, she was the strongest person I have ever known.

After she died, I remember going numb. I went through the routines of life, but I could not fully accept she was gone. It was like I was living, but my brain and heart were taking an emotional leave. To this day, I still don’t know if I can truly say I have reached a state of acceptance that she is gone. However, I have realized that maybe this is OK. Maybe she doesn’t ever truly need to be considered “gone.”

Grief has no timeline. We all experience loss in unique ways, and we cope differently when someone we love dies. While you may never feel completely healed, if it’s any consolation, the empty spot you feel is there for a reason. It’s the space in your heart that can be filled with love and memories of the person you lost.

If these few years have taught me anything, it’s that although death cannot be fixed, love is stronger than death will ever be. We can choose to love people long after they are gone, and we can choose to keep them in our lives.

Here are seven comforting lessons I have learned about love and death from the loss of my mom:

1. Unconditional love is stronger than death.

In the words of Anaïs Nin, “You cannot save people. You can only love them.” From day one, my mom taught me what unconditional love is. She protected me from the beginning, and yet, once she was diagnosed with cancer, I could not protect her.

She was sick and vulnerable, and she was slowly on her way out of this world. Soon, she would depart us for somewhere else, and our family would be left behind. This strong and loving mom of mine was now in a hospital bed, still smiling at me despite her pain and fear.

Although I could not save her anymore, she had already saved me. She showed me what unconditional love is, and how love is all we ever truly need.


2. Death is just a farewell for now, not a goodbye forever.

When someone you love dies, your relationship with the person will never change. Your relationship will never die. It lives on forever in your heart, in your actions, in your thoughts, in your values and in your memories.

I am — and always will be — the daughter of the most kind, wonderful, inspirational mom I could have ever asked for. My mom taught me the valuable lesson that although death can end a life, death does not have the power to end a relationship.

Though she is not physically here with me, I am certain that, until I see her again, she is — and always will be — my beautiful, beautiful mom. In the words of Sirius Black, “The ones that love us never really leave us.”


3. Death is not an ending.

Sometimes our time on earth is cut too short. Our time in this world is precious, and when it ends sooner than we expect, we must have faith that something beautiful still lies ahead. This is not the end; it is solely the end of one chapter of many.

My greatest peace and hope came from my belief that the world had something more beautiful in store for my mom. She made her impact on this world, and it was time for her to be somewhere else where she could do the same. She was somewhere else where she could spread her magic in another way.


4. When someone we love dies, we have to keep living.

My mom taught me that even though she would not be physically here with me anymore, I had to keep living. My mom said to me, “Don’t spend a lot of time mourning me. I had two beautiful, beautiful children, a great husband and a job I gave my all to. So please, be proud of me and not so sad.”

She told me she wanted me to do great things, to make my mark on this world. She wanted to leave knowing my dad, sister and I would still be happy, and that we would still continue to live.

So when someone we love dies, when we feel like our whole world is falling apart, we can’t allow ourselves to die along with them. Our loved ones want us to continue to live our lives and make them proud. They want us to be happy, to be sad, but not sad forever.

This makes leaving the world a little bit easier for them, and it gives us hope that we still have a purpose here. So, keep trying to live life to the fullest, even when your heart is broken.

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5. Be grateful for your relationship.

You can’t stop people from dying, but you can love them while they are here. Death teaches us how love is the most sincere form of appreciation and gratitude in human existence.

When we love someone who is leaving us, we have to understand and appreciate how much of a gift it has been simply to love this person. And even when the tears or numbness hit you, even when you realize you cannot stop the cancer, or keep the person’s heart beating longer, you must remember what a sincere privilege it has been to have this person in your life.

So, when someone you love with all of your heart is dying, just truly realize how grateful you are to have had this opportunity to love this person.


6. Stay with them until the very end.

Lie with them in their hospital bed and hold their hand. Stay there with them until the end. Hold their hand and never let go. Tell them goodbye, but only for now.

Even when they are inching further away, slowly more distant, you will still feel the deep understanding and love when you look directly into their eyes. And when you tell them you will love them forever and ever, and they squeeze your hand, you know the beauty of love.


7. Death is temporary, but love is infinite.

You will never, ever, ever be alone. Love really is forever, and our hearts have special pockets solely for those we love. We carry them everywhere we go. And this is where love is so truly powerful. This is where love overpowers death every single time.

I hope one day you reach some sort of peace with the death of your loved one, and that you can look back on their life with pride and happiness, rather than grief and despair.

But until then, I hope you can find some comfort and peace in your heart with the realization love will win the battle against death every single time.

Thank you, Mom. I love you, and I am honored to be your daughter.

Purchase my NEW book Life Still Goes On here

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What do you do when you lose someone you love? What do you do when that someone is your mother? There is no correct answer to that question and somehow our natural instincts kick in and we find a way to go on. The thing about grieving is that nobody can tell you how to grieve. There is no right or wrong way and words, although they sometimes help, may never be enough. After losing my 48 year old mother when I was just 24 years old, I have found a way to live creatively with a bruised and broken heart and I hope my story will inspire you to do the same. In this book I will share my journey through life, love, loss, hope, and a reason to believe that even after losing someone we love tremendously, Life Still Goes On.

 Purchase my book “Life Goes On..?” here

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 Life goes on. But does it really? This true story was written with the intent to inspire many. To those who are fighting the fight, keep on fighting. To those who have experienced tremendous loss, we must remember that even through the darkest of days, life does in fact go on.

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22 thoughts on “What Losing My Mom Taught Me About Unconditional Love, Death, And Grief

  1. Audra Lessa

    Wow…it’s as if you were reading my mind…just beautiful..thank you…now I know for sure that I am not alone in my thoughts and pain..

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  2. Jenifer

    My mother died in March 2013 from stage four lung cancer as well. Reading this brought all kinds of feelings of early grief back to me. I couldn’t finish reading it. Was that powerful!! The hardest part I read was when she was diagnosed with cancer, although she’d protected me all my life, I couldn’t protect her or save her. That was hard to digest….I needed to read this though. Thank you and bless you!!

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  3. Connie

    This is beautiful! Today is my Mom’s birthday. I lost her just 2 months ago to lung cancer. Found out on a Friday and she passed the next Thursday. My emotions are rollercoasters. Feel like I’m dreaming…wishing I was.

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    1. Kristin

      Hi! Our stories are so similar. My mom passed away in March of 2007, we went into the hospital on 3/11 and passed 6 days later on 3/17. Devastating me and my family, I was also 7.5 months pregnant (1st grandchild). Wide spread metastatic lymphoma was the final diagnosis was, no one knew, including my mom that she had cancer.
      Missing my mom everyday!

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  4. Gabrielle Christine

    My Mother passed away December 2012 … and not a single day has gone by since then – that I don’t miss her with an aching heart. I don’t recall one single day in the past 3 years and 5 months that I haven’t cried, with an aching heart, missing her more than I could have ever imagined – but knowing that she is gone from this earth forever. I know I should go for “grief counseling” … perhaps someday …

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    1. Leslie Layton

      My mother also passed away in December of 2012 from lung cancer, and I too have the same thoughts, feelings and never ending grief. I was so devastated when she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in late October 2012 that I asked my mom to make a plan to communicate with me after she was gone- – something- any sign that she could give me to let me know she was still “with” me when I really needed her. She smiled at my foolish question ( as she usually did I) and said it was up to God if we’d be allowed to communicate. So while she is in my heart and thoughts every day, there are no flickering light, doors closing, or cool breezes when there shouldn’t be. In fact – I never even have dreams about her, unlike my best friend who lost her mother and has dreams regularly. Meanwhile I pray she’s in a better place and at peace and that someday I’ll be with her again ❤️

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  5. Martin walborn

    I too lost my mom to lung cancer. Im male your words were truly inspiring. She was my angel ai eas with her when she died. Ie never felt so much pain in my hole life. Those 7 messages you wrote were beautiful thank you sincerely yours martin walborn

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  6. Renee' Suiter

    I heaven gained my mom 1 year ago this past July (stage 4 colon & liver cancer). She lived 4 months once she was diagnosed. Reading your story was like writing my story down. I was blessed to be with her for the 3 months of her life on earth. I layer in bed with her and held hands a lot. No regrets. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  7. Deanne

    Lost my mom 20 years ago. She was 53. Brain tumor. It just seems like yesterday. A day will never go by without her in my heart and thoughts.
    Loved this. Thank you.

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    Reply
  8. Jac

    Am balling now 😭 as reading this and the parts that hit home hard 😔
    My mother passed away 11.3.2015
    After going into hospital on the 11.2.2015 one month to the day and 7 days after being told she had cancer and not treatable but has about 2 months left with us ..
    How truly wrong was he as 4 days after all my mum could say was I don’t want to die and tore me to shreds 😢 as she was the strongest lady id know and never once had shown any fear in life including the day of her results ..
    I spent one month at the hospital daily and nights and sleepless nights to keep her comfortable as the nurses couldn’t settle mum and if not there beside her they would soon ring me to get back to mum ..was my turn to look after the mother that had done for me 39yrs but never dreamt this day would really of came nor happened
    My last photo with my mother was holding her hand the night /morning of as I had for hours on end 😭
    We never got a primary only secondary as the liver 😔

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  9. Lesia

    I lost my mom June 2002..and the day I put her to rest I new what unconditional love is….b/c nobody will l9ve u like your mom…I miss her everyday. .and now I’ve lost my son Nov 2013..and now this is a whole new level.

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  10. Deb

    It’ll be 8years this June 4th that my mom died from Stage 4, Non small cell Lung Cancer. Just 12 days before she died, she was put I. the hospital, and diagnosed stage 4, placed on hospice & comfort care- she was able to come home, just a few days later she died. By the time I was starting to get my thoughts around being that sick with cancer, she was already gone.
    I’ve been lost ever since-

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  11. Sandra

    My Mom passed in 1997 and everything you said still resonates as though she just passed yesterday. Thank you for this. It was beautiful.

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  12. Dee

    I lost my best friend-my mom on march 25th, 2010 but she had actually been gone alot longer than that as she had vascular dementia. I suppose that helped me deal with it a little better but to this day i still miss her immensely! I believe she is with me in spirit and that i will see her again on the other side, along with my grandparents & dad, luv & miss uall!

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    Reply
  13. emily

    My mother passed away two months ago today at the age of 59 and I am 28. It seems like an eternity has already gone by. She was sick with stage four cancer for 55 days and had never had any other health problems. This article has helped me so greatly, given me comfort, and I want to thank you so much for that!

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    Reply
  14. Leah

    I lost my mommy on October 13,2014 in a car accident😥Not a day goes by where I’m not thinking of her, absently picking up the phone to call her about something that happened or just every day events, this will be my third year without her🎀Still hurts especially when I c other mothers & daughters together & I wish I still had my Ma.💜

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  15. Pat counihan

    My mother has been gone 34 years& I still tear up just thinking of her being gone. She was my rock& had a rough life, but she loved her kids dearly. I think back about what I didn’t do for her, I didn’t tell her enough how much I loved& appreciated her. I was a crazy kid& guess a little spoiled. I was the youngest of 4 girls then came a brother when I was 11. There’s just so much I’ve thought of that I didn’t do for her& will hate myself for it the rest of my days. Tks, just had. To vent. Pat Counihan

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  16. Me'chelle Rogers

    I lost my mom March 26 2016, to stage 4 COPD, Nothing has been the same since. I miss her so much it all seems so unreal still to this day. As we are coming up on our 2nd year with out her it seems so much harder on me than the day she left us. Ppl! Say it gets easier I must disagree with that statement we just learn to live with out them the pain still remains the same. May God bless you all!

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