My mother was just 48 when I lost her. I was 24. In a way we knew that it was coming. She had stage four lung cancer and it was only a matter of time until I would have to face the heart breaking reality of losing her at a young age. I realized she would not be there to ever see me or my sister get married nor would she ever get the opportunity to be a grandmother. She wouldn’t be around to celebrate 30 years of marriage with my father and she wouldn’t be there to help me through the troubles most 24 year olds have along the way. I think of her every single day, she is the first thought on my mind the minute I wake up and she is the last thought before I lay my head down to go to sleep.
Through the heart break, change, and devastation I have learned some key points that will help me along with several others on the healing journey.
1. Nothing lasts forever.
Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you hurt, you heal. After darkness always comes light and you get reminded of this each and every morning. Bad times make good times better. Nothing lasts forever. Not the good or the bad, So we all might as well smile while we are still here.
2. Love is stronger than death.
My relationship with my mom continues on each and every day and will for the rest of my life. I see pieces of her in myself every time I look in the mirror. She lives on through me. When I hear mine and my moms song “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad I feel as if we are together. Physical planes cannot separate love and i know this to be true.
3. It will forever be a part of who I am.
I’ve met many people after losing my mom. It’s almost as if I want to introduce myself as “Hi, I’m Jenna, I’m only 25 years old, I’m a motherless daughter and I lost my mom to lung cancer.” The question “So tell me about your parents?” is like nails on a chalk board. Those who truly know me and knew my mom know pretty much every heart breaking detail of the pain I’ve endured after losing her, but for those who I’ve recently met or have yet to meet have no idea. Losing my mom has reshaped who I am, how i see the world, and has changed my life forever.
4. Memories are gold. (Seriously. Cherish them.)
Oh the memories, they flood through my mind all the time. The good memories are more so from before she was diagnosed with cancer. But I will literally NEVER forget the last few days of her life. We shared laughs, cries, and all different types of emotions but the memory I will be forever grateful for occurred just minutes before she died. I knew something was wrong, she was rushed to the Medical ICU where her heart rate was sky high and her blood pressure was dangerously low. My heart was beating out of my chest, I grabbed her hand looked her right in the eyes and my last words to her were “I love you so much”. She looked at me, squeezed my hand and she didn’t have to say a word, I knew how much she loved me. In that moment i realized that I have received more love from her in my 24 years with her than most receive in a life time.
5. Some things will just always be out my control.
Watching someone you love suffer is one of the worst experiences you can imagine. All you can do is stick by their side, hold their hand, and try to make them smile through the pain. It’s a huge sense of helplessness and you want to take on the pain for them but some things will forever be out of your control. I fought endlessly to try to save my moms life and I just couldn’t, there was nothing more I could do but let her know how loved she was.
6. Music heals.
I personally love music, I love songs with deep meanings. One song that makes me smile when I am feeling down is “Footprints in the Sand” by Leona Lewis. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me that my mom will be right next to me for the rest of my life, not physically but I know her spirit will continue to follow me.
“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” – Elton John
7. Life is for the living, So live it.
After a tremendous loss I’ve heard of many people losing themselves or getting caught up in the bad rather than the good. I often find myself doing certain things and I think how unfair it is that my mom isn’t here to enjoy the little pleasure that life brings. I also look at it as more a reason to go out and live. I do the things she loved to do, I do the things I love to do, more so now than ever. Life is just too damn short.
8. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
After my mom passed away I felt a strong urge to share her story with anyone who would listen. I even went as far as writing and publishing a book. I figured if I could make it though the worst time of my life than i could help others do the same. I’ve had random messages online from people telling me how inspiring my mothers story is, I’ve had strangers come up to me and tell me I’ve helped them through a loss and this is the most rewarding of it all. Through my book I hope to continue to inspire many more.
“The true story of a mother’s undying love through her battle with cancer, treasures left behind after she is gone, and the realization that even through the darkest of days, life still goes on..”