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Mom, I’m Still Learning How To Live Without You

Mom, I’m Still Learning How To Live Without You

Written By: Colleen George

I miss you. It’s as simple and as raw as that.
I miss the way you loved me. I miss the way your smile made me feel safe and at home. I miss the way you cared for me and about me, and that I knew you would always protect me. I miss the way you encouraged me, and the way you always held your hand out to me whenever life knocked me down.
I miss how special you were you were to me, and I miss how special you made me feel.
I miss hearing your voice on the other end of the phone. I miss hearing all of the little details about your day, and sharing all of the insignificant details of my day with you.
I miss hugging you tightly and squeezing your warm hand in mind. I miss the sound of your vibrant laugh, and I miss the way you would smile at me from across the room, a smile only shared by the two of us.
I miss the way you challenged me, and always encouraged me to do my best. I miss the way you reassured me that everything would be okay, even when I felt like the world was falling apart. I even miss all of our silly arguments and disagreements, just because I would do anything to relive them so that I could be with you.
I miss you. It’s as simple and as grand as that. I miss seeing you every single day, and I miss loving you with every fiber of my being. I miss the time we spent together, and I miss the time that I thought I still had with you.
I miss you. And the missing you part never gets any easier. I feel as though I was robbed of a lifetime I thought we still had. I feel as though I was robbed of new memories and new stories. But all I have to hold onto are the memories we already made, the memories that we already formed.
I am very slowly learning how to live without you, and I am very slowly learning how to fit missing you into living.
I’ve learned that missing you doesn’t mean that I cry every day, or that I never smile or laugh. Missing you doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped trying to live, or stopped trying to do my best. But it does mean that sometimes I just don’t feel right. Sometimes I look at the day ahead and I just don’t feel good. Missing you means that sometimes I feel numb, and I don’t know why.
I try to reassure myself, by remembering how lucky I am to have lived our little infinity together, but then I become scared, as I realize that some parts of you are fading from my memory. I realize that it’s up to me to hold on to our time together. It’s up to me to use the time we had together to continue to live a beautiful life for the both of us.
Since you’ve been gone, a little part of me has stayed empty. And this emptiness still leaves me feeling unsettled and incomplete. A little part of me is still not sure how to live on my own in a world without you. And truth be told, I probably will never know how. But I will keep trying. I will keep trying to live in a way that radiates the love you had for me, and the love that I had for you.
So as simple and as vast as it is, I miss you. I miss you every single hour of every single day. And I will continue to miss you, day after day after day. I’m not sure if it will get easier, but I will keep going. I’m not sure if I will ever be okay, but I will try to be.
But I do know one thing, if missing you every single day is the price I pay for loving you, it is well worth it.

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Grief: 8 Ways To Get Through The Holidays

Grief: 8 Ways To Get Through The Holidays

1. Start a new tradition.

This year marks the second Christmas without my mom. I made a promise to myself that each year I will buy a new ornament in memory of her. It will be like I never spend a Christmas without her.

2. Don’t avoid or cancel the holiday.

Although it is so hard and different without our lost loved ones here, we must remember that they would still want us to continue on a happy life—not only around Christmas time but all the time.

3. Have a good cry and let it all out.

If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like screaming, scream. Let it out. Don’t hold the pain and sadness in; talk to a friend about it.

4. Make a difference.

Volunteering or helping people who are struggling will often result in you feeling better about yourself. Spend some time at a local soup kitchen, donate a toy to a toy drive, or even send an old friend a Christmas card or a small gift. I promise you it will make you feel better.

5. In place of buying your lost loved one a gift, buy something for yourself.

Shopping has a magical way of lifting our spirits. This holiday season consider buying something for yourself.

6. Start a “holiday journal.”

I love writing and sharing my thoughts with people. Consider starting a journal and each Christmas write down what you did, how you made it through, and one memory of your loved one. Each year you can look back and see how far you have come.

7. Remember you’re not alone in your grief.

Although you may feel no one is hurting as bad as you are, there are so many other people who share the same pain. Join a holiday grief support group or even ask a friend to chat.

8. Know that life goes on.

We must remember that even though we would sometimes like life to stop, it will never stop for anybody or anything. Continue on your life and honor of your loved one not only this holiday season, but every day of your life.

 

 

 

A Letter To The Motherless On Christmas

A Letter To The Motherless On Christmas

For more great blogs visit Motherless Daughters!

Dear Friend,

If you’re reading this, chances are you went through the same hell that I did; the loss of your mother.

This may be your 1st Christmas without your mother or it may be you 50th Christmas without her. Either way it sucks. Plain and simple.

There is absolutely no love in this world like the love of a mother. There is a void that cannot and will not ever be filled, no matter what anybody tells you. You don’t miss her today any more than you will tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. The holidays are just another painful reminder that she is no longer physically here. As you watch friends celebrate with their moms, please remember that yours is tucked away deep down in your heart where she will forever stay. As the wind blows through your hair, know that it is her gentle and loving touch. As the cold winter sun shines on your face please remember the warmth in your mother’s heart through all of the days she had on this earth. She didn’t want to ever leave you and she still hasn’t left you. Your mother was greater than this world. I know sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair and it never will but please, please don’t cry, for your mother would want nothing more than to see you smile. I feel the pain within your heart as another day passes by without her. She doesn’t want you to be sad. She wants you to honor her life in the best way possible, and that way is to live it. Live it for you. Live it for her. I know it is sometimes easier said than done and sometimes words just don’t help and I know this because I lost my beautiful 48-year-old mother two and a half years ago when I was 24.

Christmas without my mother approaches, I have come to find that the best way to heal is to remember. Remember her. Remember the sorrow, remember the love, remember everything. Talk to her, she’s always listening. And simply cherish the time you did have with her and the memories you have made.

I want you to know that during this holiday season, you are not alone. You are never alone. All of our mother’s are watching over us from heaven this Christmas… and every day, for the rest of our lives.

Happy Holidays to all of the motherless out there. Celebrate her, start a new tradition, live life to the fullest, and most importantly remember that even through the darkest of days, life still goes on.

Please do not forget to check out my books Life Goes On..? and Life Still Goes On The Blog Book of a Motherless Daughter

Love,

Jenna Rose Continue reading

The Letters My Mom Left Behind Before She Died

The Letters My Mom Left Behind Before She Died

My mom was 48 when she lost her short ten month battle with stage four non-small cell Lung Cancer.  I was just 24 at the time.  Never in a million years did I think I would lose her so young but life is crazy and nothing is ever promised.

My mom was awesome. She was one of the best people I will ever know and I am so grateful that I had her in my life for 24 years and I am so grateful for the things she purposely left behind.

After my mom passed away and we had to do the dreaded task of going through her things, we found letters that she left behind. My mom wasn’t the greatest writer and she would often spell things wrong but the best part about that is how authentic those letters were.

When I read them I get sad because I think about what she was thinking while writing them. How do you live knowing you’re life is going to be cut short by cancer? How do you live knowing that you will be leaving behind a loving husband and two daughters?  Four and a half years after her passing and her strength still amazes me.

The first letter we found said,

“Bob, Kristina, Jenna,

When you see ladybugs and butterflies think of me. It will be me watching over you all! Tell your kids how much I love them even before they were born.  Dad will make a great grandpa. I will watch over my family. I Love you all.”

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The next thing I found was a “memory box” she had put together for my sister and I. It had all things in it from when we were little, but the thing I will cherish the most was the wish bone she left behind telling us to “make a wish” and a printed poem about a mother’s love for her daughters, with a hand written message from her at the end.

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Sometimes in grief, we have to realize how lucky we are with the memories left behind.

Thank you, Mom. Continue reading

Losing My Mother At The Age Of Nine

Losing My Mother At The Age Of Nine

Written By Guest Blogger: Jaimee Tackney

I often worry I’ve forgotten everything about her. The way her voice sounds or the smell of her perfume. Losing a mother at only nine years old leaves a child with very little to hold onto. Many memories I have of her are ones spent in hospitals or doctor’s offices.

I shut out much of my grief after her passing. I remember my sister saying, “you haven’t cried yet, why are you so cold?” I went on that way for thirteen more years. Sure I cried when I was alone but never in front of anyone. It was bad enough that I was the girl who got voted Class President because her mom died that school year, I wasn’t about to let anyone else think I needed special treatment. The way I saw it was these are the cards I’ve been dealt and I have no choice but to carry on with my life.

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One morning, at twenty-two years old, I woke up with a heaviness in my chest and an uneasy feeling throughout my entire body. All I kept thinking about was my mom. She didn’t get to see me graduate high school and she won’t see me get my college degree. She won’t be at my wedding or in the delivery room when I give birth to my first child. Am I anything like her? Do I look like her?

It was as if my body needed to catch up to my brain. My body knew I lost my mother but my brain hadn’t processed the loss and everything that came along with it. Now instead of suppressing my grief, I embrace it. I ask everyone who knew my mother, about her. I often times even pray to her when I’m nervous about something or a big event is coming up. I am everything I am because of her loss and I am everything I’m not because of it as well.  Continue reading

My Mother’s Reflection

My Mother’s Reflection

Written By Guest Blogger- Amber Marie Hoonhorst

I think of her as soon as I wake up, those groggy daze before my first sip of coffee. It is her ghost inside me, feeding her addictions from beyond the grave. The way I do my hair and make-up mimics my earliest memories of her. There was a time when I looked at her so much in hopes that my gaze would somehow transform me into looking just like her. I remember sitting on the edge of the bathtub while she stationed herself in front of the mirror for hours. My eyes glued to the movements of her arms as she brushed and styled her long golden-blond hair. The way she looked at herself in the mirror, determined to find perfection. It was as if she were an artist that was creating a masterpiece. As I inhaled the thick polluted air from her hairspray, it cemented my soul with admiration and the desire to look just like her. Everything I know of beauty is from looking at my mother.

Ironically, the possession begins when my mouth goes on auto-pilot. When my tongue is engulfed with her sharp words that my brain doesn’t dare attempt to intervene. Her harsh delivery and dialect catches me off guard as it projects out of me, as if it were my basic instinct, as if I were her.

There were parts of her that weren’t beautiful.

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I only wanted to be the shell of my mother. You see, she was constantly fighting something, something that I didn’t know until she passed. It was a dark traumatic battle that she kept buried inside for so long that it consumed her and became a part of her and a part of me. It was a part of her that I resented and I tried to purge it out of me but her presence was too dominant to not be influenced. She never won her battle, but she didn’t know how strong it had made her either, how strong it made me. I never appreciated her strength like I do now, now that I know, now that she is gone.

The fear of hating my mother before she died evaporated when the despair of living the first second after her last breath. Missing her has made me feel it necessary to be her. All of her. I see her in my reflection now and I never had before. I embrace the moments she possess me instead of denying it as what I thought was her weakness. My own voice softly breaks through, reminding me that I am not her. And the weight of her loss starts from the beginning and I grieve her all over again.

I want her back so badly sometimes that I blame myself. Did I push her away by wanting my own identity? I would always associate myself with a monster for anticipating her absence. Thinking I could finally be myself if she were gone. She conditioned me to be her and I inwardly retaliated by suppressing any part of me that was. She never knew who I really was, and I didn’t either. We both never knew how much of her I am. Now that she is gone, I don’t even know who I am without her, all I know of me is who she was. Because being her is the closest thing to having her here. I thought I could be stronger than her by being nothing like her, untouchable from her influence. I pondered thoughts that she couldn’t even comprehend. I found happiness when she couldn’t. But now I feel abandoned, like a lost child looking for her in every cell that makes up my body, frantically searching for anything that resembles her. The first similarities I find are the ones that I tried to hide. If I can resurrect them, maybe I will feel closer to her. In the moments that I need my mother, I wait for her voice to echo into my consciousness and speak to me.

I tried so hard to figure her out, only so I could make my own blueprint contrast to hers. Now I find comfort in the familiarity of a layout I know, hoping it will guide me to her. When I do find her, I continue to see light in what I once thought was her darkness. I do not want to lose anything else when it comes to her, including myself. And although I am still making sense of her, she is the only clarity I have ever known.

-Amber Marie Hoonhorst Continue reading

10 Simple Ways To Achieve True Happiness

10 Simple Ways To Achieve True Happiness

It’s pretty simple—happiness not only feels good, but it is good for your health, your relationships, your work, and your life in general. This world needs more happy people. Experiencing true happiness is a matter of changing your thoughts, being grateful, being kind, smiling, and living a life you love.

These 10 little steps can change the way you look at life, love, and relationships. Wake up each day with a smile on your face, clear your mind of any negative thoughts, and make it a point to practice these steps so you can achieve a true sense of happiness.

1. Ignore the opinions of others.

What others think of you should never outshine what you think of yourself.

2. Know your worth.

You know what you have to offer, so why settle for any less than you deserve? Always remember that no one will ever value you more than you value yourself.

3. Do what you love & love what you do.

You know that old saying, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life?” Either find something that you love to do, or make it a point to make what you do be something you love. If you wake up every morning with the mindset that you are going to have a kick-ass day, you simply will have a kick-ass day.

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4. Express gratitude.

Many of us could be a lot happier if we practiced gratitude for what we already have rather than focusing all our attention on what we don’t have.

5. Let go of anger.

Holding a grudge or holding onto any type of anger won’t do anything but cause resentment. Dwelling on the past is only going to hold you back from having a better future. Hate is a very heavy bag to carry; let it go.

6. Live in the moment.

I sometimes get lost in my thoughts and think way too far ahead. Doing that only causes me to get frustrated when/if things don’t go my way. Live for today, because tomorrow is never promised.

Ever hear of the simple act of paying for the person behind you in line at the local coffee shop? Something as little as holding the door open for somebody or letting somebody cut in front of you in traffic can make you feel better about yourself.

8. Be yourself.

Try not to compare yourself with others. Everyone is unique in his or her own way. Embrace your features along with your flaws. Be the best you that you can be.

9. Be honest.

Always be honest with yourself. Figure out exactly what it is that you want and what you expect from yourself along with what you expect out of friendships and/or romantic relationships. If you know what you really want, you’ll achieve it more quickly.

and last but not least…

10. Smile.

Smiling is infectious; you can catch it like a cold. I was feeling pretty down today. While I was out on my lunch break, a stranger flashed me a huge smile. When I smiled back I realized I didn’t have much of a reason to be feeling down. That stranger’s smile turned my whole day around.

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Dear Cancer, I Hate You.

Dear Cancer, I Hate You.

Dear Cancer,

I hate you.

You suck. You’re terrible. You are the true definition of a heart breaker. You single handedly ruined my entire life in the matter of ten short months. You took away my best friend, the only person in this world who will ever love me unconditionally, my mother — and you took her in the most horrible way possible. You stopped her heart from beating at the young age of 48. You crushed my future and tore my family apart. You broke all of our hearts, so many of us. You stole my mother’s dreams of seeing her baby girls get married, or becoming a grandmother, or spending the rest of her life with the love of her life, my father. You forced me to witness things no person should ever have to witness and you’ve forced my mother to endure pain that goes beyond the physical aspects. Not only have you taken away my mother but you’ve taken away so many other important people. The same thing that drives me to live after this loss is the same reason I hate you, cancer.

But cancer, you did not win the day my mother gained her angel wings. You did not beat her. She beat you, as she left this world with her love, her hope, her strength, her bravery, and her dignity, surrounded by the people who she loved the most. You may have destroyed a lot but you have in turn taught me lessons I never thought I would learn by age 25. You showed me just how short and precious life truly is. You showed me that everyday truly is a gift and that I should never take anything or anybody for granted. You have forced me to recognize a strength with in myself that I never knew I had.

Cancer, although I hate you with all of my heart, you have brought out the woman in me that my mother always hoped I would be. I will never forgive you for taking away the best person I’ll ever know and I will never let you take away what made her that woman. You may have taken her life but you will never, ever take away the way she lived it and the love she shared. And that is why you did not win.

Check out my book Life Goes On..?

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Check out my new book Life Still Goes On..

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8 Life Lessons I’ve Learned After Losing My Mother

8 Life Lessons I’ve Learned After Losing My Mother

For more great blogs visit Motherless Daughters on Facebook!

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 heartbreaking 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 heartbreak, 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 mom’s 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 heartbreaking 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.

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4. Memories are gold.

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 mom’s 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 mother’s 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 books and my blogging experience I hope to continue to inspire many more.

 

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