Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

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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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

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

Mom, Six Years Later and Still Missing You..

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Written by: Colleen George

It’s been six years today. Six years since everything changed. Six years since a light went out in my life. It’s been six years since I’ve seen you, six years since I’ve hugged you. It’s been six years since we’ve talked to each other.  

Six years is a long time. I had thought that by now, I would be closer to “healing.” I thought that by now,  But I guess it just doesn’t work this way. Six years later, and I still miss you everyday. You still cross my mind in all of the moments in which I least expect it, and all in all of the moments that I most expect it. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real to me. In these six years, so much has changed, so much has happened. And you haven’t been here for it.

I’ve learned that the hardest part of losing you has been learning to be happy  in this life without you. The hardest part has been  continuing to grow up, continuing to change, and continuing to make new memories without you by my side.

I’ve learned how terrifying it is to think that I may be forgetting parts of you. It breaks my heart to think that I could forget some of those special moments with you, that I could forget the exact tone of your voice or pitch of your laugh. Feeling as though you are slipping away from me hurts my heart. Feeling as though the memories are fading away pains me greatly.

But I’ve also learned that the most meaningful memories are not specific events. The most meaningful memories are feelings. The most touching memories I have of you have to do with the warmth and comfort I felt when I was with you. The little memories aren’t as important as remembering how it felt to know that you were there for me through the thick and the thin. I will always remember how it felt to care about  you and look up to you.  I will always remember how you always loved me and always kept me safe no matter what. I will always remember the way that you made me feel.

Some of the other memories stick with me too of course.I still remember singing Glee with you and my best friend in the car that beautiful summer night after we all went to the park. I will always remember the time you insisted on going to the beach with us, even though your foot was broken and you had crutches and a knee high cast. I remember how  dad voluntarily gave you a piggy back ride on the sand. I remember going on long walks with you and having to jog to keep up.  I remember your wonderful sense of humor and how you used to say the funniest, quirkiest things, always catching people by surprise. I remember the “I love you” notes you put in my brown bagged lunch every day (even when I was a senior in high school).

Tears still come to my eyes when I hear “I’ll Stand by You.” I still start to cry when I listen to  Lady Antebellum’s “Never Alone,” and I will always remember that time that I sang it for you, and how you started to cry. I remember the  time, after you were diagnosed, that you told me not to grieve for too long, and instead to be proud to have had you as my mom. I remember you told me that I had to keep living my life, and that one day I would be okay.

But the truth is, I wasn’t ready to lose you, I wasn’t ready to live without you. And even now, years later, I’m still not ready to lose you. And sometimes it feels like I lose you again and again.

Looking back, you taught me almost everything I needed to know. You taught me how to be brave and strong, and how to follow my dreams. You taught me how to be silly and serious, honest and kind.  But the one thing you didn’t teach me? You didn’t teach me how to live without you. You never told me how hard it would be, or how lost I would feel with you gone. You never taught me how to live with the loneliness, or how  to cope in the moments in which everything felt like too much.

I still wish I could run to you for advice and guidance. I still wish I could call you and tell you good news, and hear the excitement in your voice.  I still wish I could go home and giant whole wheat cookies with you, and hear all about your day and all of your funny teaching stories. I still wish I could give you a huge hug and tell you that I love you.

I still wish these things with all of my heart.

And while it still hurts six years later, and while I still miss you every single day, I take comfort in knowing that I was the luckiest girl in the world to have had you here for nineteen years. I was so lucky to love you, and even luckier to be loved by you.

I am  going to keep on missing you and loving you from a distance. But just as you told me to do,  I’m going to try my very hardest  to make this life beautiful for the both of us. I’m going to do my very best to make the most of  my life, just as you wanted. And I’m going to do it knowing that I am armed with your strength, blessing, and love.

In the words of E.E. Cummings, “I Carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.”

Check out my Books Life Goes On..? and Life Still Goes On, The Blog Book of a Motherless Daughter

Goodbyes Are More Than Endings

Written By: Colleen George

Goodbye.

Just two syllables, but so many meanings. So many feelings.

I think we are all afraid of goodbyes. I think we are all afraid of the permanence we attach to goodbyes.

I think we are all afraid that “goodbye” will leave us lonely.

And most of all, I think we are afraid of forgetting, afraid of moving on.

But goodbyes are not as powerful as we think. Goodbyes are endings, but they are only endings in the physical sense.

Goodbyes don’t have the power to erase what happened. They don’t have the strength to wash away memories or to steal heartwarming experiences. Goodbyes are only what we give them the power to be.

Sometimes hellos last for years. Sometimes people come and stay, and they become your life. But sometimes people come and go. They are just visitors in your story. They come into your life for only a season, and when the season changes, it is time for them to go. But during this very special season, they were exactly what you needed.

Goodbyes are bittersweet.

Sometimes goodbye means that your days may be filled with missing someone.
Sometimes goodbye leaves you heart stinging or aching.
Sometimes goodbye means nights filled with insomnia and a mind filled with wandering thoughts and what-ifs.

But sometimes goodbye means that you are lucky.
Sometimes it means that you parted ways with someone or something that was irreplaceably special. Sometimes it means that your heart was touched by another heart in the most beautiful way.

Sometimes you have to say goodbye to a person who you thought you had more time with. Sometimes you have to say goodbye to a place that you may never return to.
Sometimes you have to say goodbye to who you are at this very moment in time, knowing that you will never be her again.

Goodbyes are endings. But they do not end memories.

You will never forget the echoing belly laughs or the warm embracing hugs. You will never forget the side smile or the feeling that enveloped you when you met his eyes. You will never forget the beautiful moments you spent at your family’s old beach house, playing cards on the porch. You will never forget how special that one person made you feel. You will never forget how special you made that one person feel.

You will never forget the moments you loved or the moments you were loved.

Goodbyes are endings, but memories stay. Feelings last.

Goodbyes are endings. But moments? Those loving, enchanting moments…they are never ending.

They are invincible.

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Are You Scared To Be Lonely?

Written By: Camille Madayag

Are we only looking for love because we’re scared to be lonely?

Admit it or not, we are so desperate to find love; but is it only because we’re scared that when we cry, no one’s gonna be there to hug us so tight? Or is it because we’re so scared to eat alone at night?

Have you ever ask yourself what really love means?

For some, love is just a game; for some, love is life; for some, love is redemption; but for me? For me, love is a fear.

I fear love. Yes, I fear it.
I’m afraid of it. I’m scared of it.

Fear. That’s what it all comes down to.
We seem to live in fear of never finding love, scared of being alone, frightened of feeling unwanted, and terrified of never meeting anyone who makes us feel loved.

I fear love because I’m scared that it might be a mistake to love me. I’m a mess. I’m so damn complicated. I fear love because I’m scared that love was never meant for me. I fear love because I’m scared that no one’s gonna love me.. Forever. I fear love because I’m scared to be lonely…

Yes, I’m scared to be lonely because I’ve been so lonely all my life.

But I know, that love is not always the answer.

I’m lonely but it’s not because of love; it’s because of the idea of love itself. I always picture that love will be my rescue and love is everything but I realized, love is not everything but it surely an amazing something.

It is an amazing something that will lead us to open not just our hearts but also our minds, our eyes and our souls.

Because when you finally learned what love really means, eventually, you’ll realized that love is what makes us brave.

Love will never save you but it will strengthen you to save yourself from all those darkness and pain.

Love will never rescue you but it will surely make you brave enough to rescue yourself and fight yourself.

Love will never get you out of loneliness but it will surely motivate you to find your happiness and do more of it.

Love is not always the answer because love is a REASON.

A reason on why eventually, we will be stronger, wiser and braver.

And Love is the reason on why I finally realized, love is not a fear. I shouldn’t fear it because it is not a FEAR but it’s a BRAVERY.

Love is bravery because love means facing your biggest fears. Continue reading

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. Continue reading