Losing My Mother - 12 Years Later

If I told you life has been easy since the day I lost my mother to breast cancer, I’d be lying. Every day is a battle for me trying to accept that this woman that gave birth to me and raised me for nearly nine years is gone for the rest of my life. I know that can seem kind of depressing, but unfortunately it's just the reality I have had to accept after all these years. So how have I managed to allow myself to move on from something so traumatic and heartbreaking?

To be brutally honest, I haven’t. What I have done is learned to accept it. Every day I still wish I had my mother to tell me life is going to work out for the best and things will get easier. What people don’t want you to hear is that it’s okay to not move on. I think the one thing I have failed to allow myself do all these years is grieve when I need to and just simply do that.

People will tell you to distract yourself or try to see a therapist to assist you in the moving on process, but you have absolutely no reason to feel guilty about not moving on. This was your parent. This was someone that you admired for many years of your life. This was someone that unconditionally loved you and remains in your heart for the rest of your life because of the impact they had on you. You have every right to feel like crying every once in a while. 

Allow yourself to grieve. I can’t emphasize that enough. Grieving is such a vital step to being able to continue on with life. For me, it has allowed me to accept the circumstances that occurred and love my mother without her physically being here. Do I grieve every day? No, but I do give myself time to think about her, look at pictures, and wish she were here. 

It is difficult to explain this kind of situation to someone that has not experienced it. People will try to empathize and say they know how you feel. Realistically, no one knows what it’s like to lose a parent at such a young age unless they have had to experience it themselves. 

People will try to tell you that their parents divorced so they know how it feels to be ‘without a parent’. They don’t. People will try to tell you they have military parents and that it is just as difficult. With all due respect, they don’t get it either. And before I start to sound bitter, I’m not trying to say that these situations aren’t difficult on some other spectrum, they just don’t relate to what those who have lost a parent are going through.

I will never hear my mothers voice again. I will never make her smile the day I walk across the stage with the degree I never in a million years thought I would receive. I will never get her approval on the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with. I will never give her the chance to hold my first born child. I will never be able to go to her for life and career advice. I can never randomly text or call her to tell her how much I love and appreciate her.

I think of these kinds of things all the time and how different life could’ve been if my mom were still here. On the other hand, I have learned to accept my life as it is. Unfortunately, there is no way to bring back those we have lost, however there is a way to keep their memory alive. 

In every situation and obstacle I may face, I ask myself every time “What would my mother think/do?” And my final decision normally reflects how I feel she would handle the situation. By doing this I am keeping her spirit very much alive and present even though she is not physically here to help me make a decision.

At the end of the day I have learned to continue on with life without this amazing woman. 100 years can pass by and I’ll still be thinking of her every day. It’s the only way I learned to live without her and there’s nothing wrong with that. I still attempt to live life to the fullest I possibly can because I know at the end of the day that is what she would want for me. 

There is no secret to making progress because we all do it at our own pace just like in every other obstacle in life we face. I lost my mother nearly 12 years ago and to this day I still couldn’t tell you there’s a magical way to move on from something like this.  You do not have to be finished grieving at any point in your life. I think the important thing to recognize is that you just have to learn to simply live with the circumstances you’ve been given and make the best of what you have. 


Photo credit: 1