I’m not sure where to begin.


I’ve been struggling with whether or not to share this with you – it’s personal, it’s painful, and even the idea of writing about it seems to diminish its significance.

But just going on as if nothing happened, sending you upbeat articles and not letting you in, somehow feels disingenuous.

Perhaps sharing this part of my life may actually be helpful…for us both, I hope.

My mom died Easter Sunday morning, just before sunrise.

She was beautiful, thoughtful, talented, gracious, and humble. She personified kindness.

She and my Dad, married almost 53 years, were in love ’til the end.

I loved her very much and, although I wish I had said it more often, I also admired and respected her as a mom, a wife, a grandmother, a veteran, an artist, and a woman.

She was my mom.

I had the privilege of being with her for ten days before she left us. Watching her go was heart wrenching and I will never be the same.

Over the past few weeks I have felt a range of emotions – lost, hopeful, scared, optimistic, angry, peaceful, abandoned, and raw. I have sobbed and laughed, sometimes together, and often at unexpected times.

I am grateful to my friends who have just listened and not tried to make me feel better. Grief is an individual process, it takes times, and any attempt to speed it up or stuff it or smooth it over only interrupts the healing.

Mainly my friends have just “met me where I am” at the time, whether that’s reminiscing about something funny, or consumed with regret. They each have the gift of drawing up along side of me and walking the path with me at my pace, a gift I simply have no words for except “thank you.”

I’ve learned there’s a real art to writing a sympathy card, or leaving a phone or text message. The best ones were from people who stumbled over their words, said how sad they were to hear of her passing, and then related a happy memory they had about being with my mom or how sweet she was or how they will always remember her. They were personal, both awkward and graceful, and spoke straight from the heart.

Here’s what was said with love, and I know eventually I will come to embrace, but stung at such a fragile time:

“Heaven is rejoicing.”
“The angels are singing.”
“It was a blessing.”

Here’s what I found comforting:

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“There are no words I can say that will comfort you.”
“Your mom loved you very much.”

In her final days, my mom taught me about courage, about grace under pressure, and about letting go.

If your mom is alive, regardless of your relationship, please pick up the phone and call her today.

Call her every day, for that matter.

After she’s gone, there is no do-over. All you have are the moments you created together while she was here. If your relationship is frustrating or tenuous or not the one you would have chosen, that’s okay. No mom is the perfect mom, and not one of us is the perfect son or daughter.

But I’ll tell you this, no matter how accomplished or educated or busy or distanced you become, no matter how many miles or years you put between you, you’re never old enough to lose your first friend. And when you do, you’ll wish you could call her just one more time.

One of the greatest gifts my mom ever gave to me is a love of the seashore. Growing up we spent summers at the shore, gathering with enough cousins we needed a chart on the wall to determine who everyone was related to.

We lived on or across from the water since the time I was four years old. Mom was a water girl and so am I. She and my dad built their final home right on the ocean’s doorstep. My mom gave us all the gift of the beach.

She once wrote, “I have loved the ocean since the day of my birth, for I am closer to God at the seashore than anywhere else on earth.”

The beach is where I also go to talk with God. It’s where I catch glimpses of my mom now too – walking for miles, looking for treasure, collecting shells, with sand between her toes and a smile on her face, knowing she is finally home.

I love you, Mom.


Leadership and Success Expert

Dr. Ann Vertel is a leadership and success expert, motivational psychologist, and 20-year Naval Officer. She speaks, trains, coaches, and consults on personal leadership, professional development, and how to take charge of your life, your career, and everything in between. Want her to speak to your organization? Learn more…

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46 thoughts on “Mom

  1. Oh, Ann, I am so very sorry for your loss. Just thinking of that inevitable day with my 90 year old mother, makes me tear up. We would love to keep them with us forever and we can do that, but only in our hearts. I know it will leave a big hole in my heart when I have to say goodbye to my mother and I can imagine that is what you are going thru too. Thanks for the good reminder–wish I could pass that onto my son!! Thanks for being vulnerable enough to share your heart with your readers. hugs…

  2. Ann, thank you for sharing your pain. I appreciate it. Losing my mom in 1991 was far more painful than I ever expected. They still watch over us and sometimes I believe they hear what we have to say to them; but when I doubt I just ask the Lord to tell Mom how thankful I am to have had her as my mom. If I remember a rough spot in our relationship, I ask Him to tell her how sorry I am. I know my mom and your mom know our hearts and probably everything we do – good & bad. 🙂

  3. My mom is almost 89 and every day – every Mother’s Day, Easter, her birthday – could be her last. Though I often don’t want to hear about her aches and pains, that is her life and that is what she knows to talk about. She has a deep abiding faith in her Saviour and I’m reminded daily how much she means to me. Do I call everyday? No, and I feel guilty when I don’t. My dad passed away 20 years ago this June and I remember the hurt, the waves of emotion that I couldn’t explain, the unexpected tears and the unexpected laughter because something reminded me of him. I miss him daily. I am sorry for your loss – and you’re right, there are no words to say to someone who’s in the midst of all the emotions. Thank you for sharing this personal experience. Your perspective is helpful to all who have been there and will be there yet again. Prayerfully – Carolyn

  4. So sorry to hear about your Mom. Thank you for letting your readers know so that we can be in prayer for you your Dad and the rest of family. My Mom has been in Heaven for almost 6 years this Sept. I miss her but know I will be with her again and we will have a prefect body and mind. What a nice to picture of you two to share with us. Know that she loved you too.

  5. Ann,

    I so identify with what you are feeling right now. My Mom turned 90 years old this past Easter Sunday, and passed away exactly 2 weeks later. Like you, I was with her when she died: I had been visiting her daily for the previous month and hoping she would regain enough strength to come home.

    Like your Mom, mine was also a veteran. She was my first mentor, and one of the most courageous women I have every known. I spent the first 3 days after she died creating a video as a memorial to her, and crying most of that time. Now the video encourages me and helps me to remember the good times with her. (I’d be glad to share that with you, if you are interested.) I think your Mom and mine would have been friends, if they had met. It sounds like they had a lot of common interests.

    I will think of you and your Mom forever, just as I think of my own Mom. (My middle name is Ann, by the way. I never knew why Mom chose it for me…)

  6. Hi Ann, I am so very sorry for your loss. It has been almost 11 years since my mother passed. I was with her and I agree that it changes your life. I fully understand the range of emotions. I have been through them all. Difference for me is my Mother was my only parent. I know the pain at time is overwhelming and I feel for you. Laughing, crying and sometimes both at the same time, yes I did that too. I speak of her and speak to her all the time and it brings me comfort and the feeling that only her body is gone but her spirit is with me always. I send you my hugs and I pray that you find peace in knowing that I truly understand how you are feeling. God Bless you and your family in this very difficult time and God Bless you for the work you do.

  7. Dear Ann,
    This is true…
    My mom died Easter Sunday morning, just before sunrise…2000.
    She was beautiful, thoughtful, talented, gracious, and humble. She personified kindness. She was my mom.
    I had the privilege of being with her in my home for five years before she left us. Watching her go was heart wrenching and I will never ever be the same. Never…
    In her final days, my mom taught me about courage, about grace under pressure, and about letting go. The longer I live, the more I realize the impact she had on every aspect of my life. She taught me to live in faith and joy, to sing and dance, to trust God no matter what, and to be joyful and positive in the face of adversity. She taught me to have steele and velvet. She was the strongest sweetest person I have ever known.
    She loved everything about the mountains, and when I look up at the misty blue mountains with their wildflowers, leaves falling, or snowcovered, I cannot stop the tears that come as I remember the gentle strength she showed thru all the seasons of her life.
    She touched the heart of everyone who ever had the blessing of knowing her. The fragrance of her sweetness remains thru all the years….
    Ann I do not have the words to comfort you – I wish I did, but I do know this. We were both blessed, blessed beyond even the beautiful words you shared so eloquently. So few people are blessed with Mothers like ours, with sweet memories of childhood, and the gentleness that touched our lives….
    No wonder there is so much heart and brilliance in all that you do….
    Thank You for always sharing your heart in your important work. You continue to pass on the legacy to make a difference for so many and in so many lovely, powerful, positive ways. Today you have touched my heart again.
    Every sunrise, on Easter morning, and many many other sunrise mornings for the rest of our lives, I will know that you are one person who is feeling the love and the loss of the passing of a precious Mother. We will always be thanking God for the beautiful Mother that we were so lucky to grow up with and so honored to call friend…
    “Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Thank You Ann for sharing your Mother Story…. I hold you in my heart and prayers today as you walk through this valley and thank you for using the pain to remind us all yet again of the power of love.
    Blessings, Hugs, k

  8. Ann, Mothers are one of the most precious gifts we are given early in this life and my heart aches for your loss. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for you to share that personal piece of your life, but know that my prayers are with you that time will help you continue forward and inspire women everywhere. We were raised that tomorrow is never promised and to love as much as we can while we can. I don’t know you personally, but would think you have made your mother very proud. Thank you for all you do. Blessings and peace to you.

  9. Hello Ann, I identify with everything that you said in your writing today. Thank you for so eloquently putting it into words. I lost my Mom on January 3rd this year. She celebrated Christmas with the whole family gathered together for a reunion and then she just slipped away from us the following week. I spent a lot of time with her over the past year as I saw her health failing. I’m so glad that I did. The ‘firsts’ are now hard and some days it seems so strange because I think of something I want to tell or ask Mom and then go to pick up the phone and….’sigh’. I share your grief and
    my heart goes out to you at this difficult time. I pray that God’s supernatural peace will carry you through the day’s ahead.

  10. I lost my daughter to cancer almost three years ago. The most helpful thing anyone has said to me is, “Grief is not linear.” It gives me permission to give my heart whatever it needs when it needs it without any judgment about how I “should be doing.” My heart sends healing to yours.

  11. Ann, thank you for sharing with us ~ I don’t know if you remember, but I met you at Jen’s writing workshop a mere one week after I lost my mom. I almost didn’t go, but just knowing my dear friend was in town, and that she would gather together some magnificent women who might help my focus to broaden, made me go. It was so sweet to meet your daughter (a reminder of the special relationships mothers and daughters have). Spending creative time with the women there was so healing for me. It was just one of those baby-steps I had to make that help turn tears into happy memories.
    I can’t tell you that I didn’t just well-up with those tears as I read your blog just now ~ and felt everything you are feeling all over again. Sometimes missing her just blindsides me. But other times I feel her peace, know that she had a wonderful life and I cherish the last words she said to me. I feel blessed to have been able to say goodbye, but for her not to linger too long. I stayed by her bedside as she slipped peacefully, gracefully away , played a little Frank Sinatra to ease her exit. Eventually, remembering that made me smile a little. About two weeks after she passed away, I awoke at dawn, in happy tears, because in a dream she came to me and said “I want you to know that I am OK”
    I hope I’m not rambling too much, it’s just that I want you to know, as time goes on, you will feel comforted, that little things that make you weep now will help you smile in time. That she will let you know in little ways, in the sound of the sea, in your daughters eyes, maybe in a dream, that she is with you always now.
    Take care, my dear.

  12. Ann,
    Your letter to us was so warm and wonderful. There are no words to say except, I am so sorry. My Mom was my best friend and when she passed I lost a piece of me. Its been six years. The memories are what keep her in my heart always.
    Time does heal but I am so thankful that the memories live on. With Mothers day next week is the first of many NEW memories you will be making.
    Thanks so much for sharing your heart.

  13. Hello Ann! I’m sorry for your loss! The pace of heart increased as I read your message because I began to think how I would feel if I lost my mother. My oldest sister often calls me and rakes me over the coals for not loving our mother the way SHE thinks I should. It frustrates me that she tries to force me to feel the way she does about our mother. I am the youngest in my family and I express my love differently than my older siblings do! I know how much I love my mother and although I don’t see her as much as I would like, we talk nearly everyday! I am thankful for my mom and I will do more to express my love for her. I appreciate your heartfelt message and I will take your advice! As soon as I hit submit, I’m going to call her!

  14. Ann,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers! I wish I would have known sooner to reach out!


  15. Hi, Ann,
    My mom has been gone 23 years, and I still miss her … especially this time of the year as Mother’s Day rolls around. I also lost a son about 18 months ago, and grief is very much an individual journey. Many times having someone sit with you and not say anything can be just as heart-warming, or even more so, than a note or card. Take care and be good to yourself. Let yourself grieve when you need to grieve but also rejoice when the good memories come to mind. Time helps the grieving process, but it is a journey that is very different for each of us.

  16. Ann,
    I know your Pain. My Mom passed away March 8, 1993. I will always miss
    her. every day. all holidays. It takes time to pray and grieve. Ann take care and I will pray for you..

  17. Ann –
    So sorry for your loss.

    Do your best to take care of yourself during this difficult time and I wish you the best.


  18. Ann, thank you for sharing your grief. My deepest sympathies to you and family. I’m not gonna say “what a good day to go-Easter being a meaningful celebration for Christians(my late Mom was Christian). My mom went to her maker late Christmas night, early Boxing Day 2009. And I still don’t think it was a “good day”. Reading your sharing brought tears and a smile. I still feel her loss, I still have regrets. I still feel 61 was too young to go. My baby son 18mths old will only know his feisty, bighearted, generous Nanna through our stories and photos. I smile at whatever lessons and memories we shared. I am still trying to accept I also lost my Dad 40 days after I gave birth to Mikhail. A double blow. He held his grandson just 3 times before we had to say goodbye. Oh Ann. Your Mom must surely have been wonderful cause she left behind her legacy-YOU for the world to share. Take your time to grieve and heal, my “virtual hugs” go out to you. Thank you again for sharing. We will be here whenever you are ready to inspire, ignite. Take care. With love from the other end of the globe.

  19. Dear Ann,
    Your words are beautiful and painful at the same time. I’m so touched by the love and friendship you had with your mother, it’s a blessing.
    Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Take time to mourn, cherish your memories and be gentle with yourself, this is hard stuff.
    Kate Jordan

  20. I am so glad you have invited others to share their experiences and comfort with you. My mother died almost 5 years ago at the age of 86. Seems like yesterday – seems like an eternity ago. It was unexpected, but in retrospect, it was well in progress and we were all in denial. She died from something called Temporal Arteritis – which isn’t supposed to be fatal. But she could not handle prednisone or any steroid, so there was nothing to be done. She just went to sleep and didn’t wake back up. I didn’t think I could feel so empty. Every minute of every day. I’ve had to learn how not to focus on feeling bad. As a result, I’ve now learned how to focus on what I do want to feel. Life is richer now because I can choose how I view the world and how I interact in it. That was my mother’s final, and oh so precious gift to me. I loved having her fill my space, and now that she has excused herself from that space, I now love filling my own space. I wish you a successful navigation through your grief. Please be comforted that those of us who have been on the path you’re traveling want very much to reach out to you and lend a hand, or a shoulder, for you to lean on. I won’t say your wounds will heal in time – they may not. But you will be able to let grief sit side by side without it overwhelming you. Love to you.

  21. Dear Ann,

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mom. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It truly is a privilege to be let in to something so personal. I am sending healing energy your way.

  22. Ann, you described so many of the feelings I had when my mother died almost three years ago. I, too, got to spend the last days with her during her final stay in the hospital. But, by being self-employed, I also got to spend many other days with her–throughout surgeries, chemo, etc. Thus, I feel I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to have had that time with her. You see, I am the baby of the family and my mother also had three other children, two boys and another girl, but I was the one who lived closest to her.

    I agree, each person must deal with their loss in their own way. I was aware that I went into depression for over two years and most of those two years I cannot recall what I did on a daily basis–it is all a fog. For so many years, mother’s health had been a big part of my life to the point that I had to learn how to schedule my weekly and monthly activities with the idea that anything could change with a phone call. After her passing, I didn’t know how to complete my schedule for the longest time.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and I can still tell you everything that happened in those last eight days with her–very vivid memories. Your email came on a day that I found myself in a saddened state. You see, my dad has just sold the home he built for them four years ago (in a town of 600) and will be moving to another town, however, he will be 30 minutes closer to me. I talk with him daily and he will be completely moved next week. They were married for 54 years when she died. They moved a total of 27 times during their marriage (because he is a contractor) in nine different towns so I was use to all their different homes, but this time it is different–maybe it’s because I don’t have pictures of the home he just sold.

    My dad, love his little heart, is a stubborn man. He won’t let me help him pack or move and told me “there’s no reason for you to have pictures of this house”. But you see, I don’t have pictures of any of the homes he built for them other than a photo here or there in a family shot. Also, he is packing up items he wants me and my half-sister to have but is getting rid of everything he doesn’t think he will need. I know it’s just material things and no doubt I already have more “stuff” than I need, but I guess it’s just the whole idea of how everything is taking place. Or, maybe it’s the fact that he will never build another home (he’s 80). Whatever–it’s been a downer today.

    Anyways, we all have lost someone very dear to us and it is hard to comfort that person who is struggling at the time. But, you will sort through your feelings while cherishing your memories. I have my own quote that I include in sympathy cards, “Tears last for awhile but memories last forever”. The days will seem long but they will get better. Thanks for reading this as I feel I have unloaded on you, but if you feel like we need a joint crying session, just let me know! Food for thought: this, too, shall pass. Hugs!

  23. Dear Ann,
    It is so difficult to lose your mom. I know. May God comfort you as you grieve. You will make it through this time, no matter how empty and vast it feels. Blessing and Understanding….

  24. Hi, Ann. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I am so sorry for your loss. So much of what you shared is so familiar. Your mother sounds like an amazing woman – I believe you will carry her with you always.
    May I tell you about my mother?
    My own ‘Peggy Pooh’ (as in Winnie the Pooh) passed two years ago. She never learned to drive, so after my Dad passed, she lived with my husband and me for eleven years. She shared in the births of our two children and was a huge part of their young lives.
    Peggy suffered a long, slow decline into dementia, but always showed others her best self. About a month before she died, she called me and my siblings (something she hadn’t been able to do in years) and simply said she was dying. It took me three weeks to find a way from Arizona to New York to see her (an amazing gift from a loving friend). The day I arrived I spent the afternoon with her. Mom passed on that night. She had waited for me, and I am eternally grateful for that gift.
    Peggy Pooh had a great faith in our Lord. She was a dreamer. She was always there for us, adored our father. She was the only person in the world who could make me laugh until I cried. She, like your mom, gave me a love of the seashore – Cape Cod. I love it still.
    Ann, as the weeks and months pass, things that you see, hear, read will remind you of your mother. Those memories are, of course, so painful, but so meaningful, so poignant. Treasure them.
    Thank you again, Ann, for writing about your mother. What a lovely way to honor her life and share your love and esteem for her. God bless. Jane

  25. Dear Ann,
    Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with me. I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a beautiful woman and was obviously loved very much. I pray that all the wonderful memories you have will comfort you and keep her close to your heart always. God’s peace to you.

  26. Hello Ann. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I share your pain. May 1st marked the 23rd anniversary of my mom’s passing. Both parents are gone now. I miss them dearly. Believing that their spirits remain with us, I daily offer my thanks and also apologize for my many shortcomings. I see my mom in every flower that I plant. Oh if only we could have a do-over, even for a day! Cherish your wonderful memories of your mom.

  27. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
    “I don’t know what to say.”
    “There are no words I can say that will comfort you.”
    “Your mom loved you very much.”

    Ann, this is what you said helps. So I am saying to you. I lost my mom, one of my best friends, about 16 years ago. I did not cry at her bedside, at the funeral or any other time. Three years went by and I woke up saying “I want my mama. Tears flowed and I have never felt the love that only my mom could give, evey more. I can say, I know how you feel. I have been there. What caried me was the love of Jesus. He held me when I wanted her hug. He squeezed my heart ever so gently, when I needed her love. He carried me when I could not carry myself. God bless you, always.

  28. Dear Ann,

    Thank you for sharing your heart and your grief. I understand how you might feel that writing about your mom’s passing diminishes it, however, I believe it gives her life even more meaning. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    I read your post with tears streaming down my face thinking of my mom who died this past September. I, too, remember so vividly the days leading up to her passing and want to hold on to every memory of her. I made some big decisions about my business during that time that allowed me to be with her 100% and I have no regrets. I miss her terribly and think about her everyday especially during the planting season…she loved to garden; it was her therapy.

    Thank you for sharing such a private piece of you and allowing us “in”. I respect you even more for doing so. May each day bring you more beautiful memories of your mom. Hold on to them and know that she is watching from above.
    With love,

  29. Ann – so very sorry to hear of your tremendous loss. I lost my mother many years ago, of course, and now there are sweet memories. I feel sure your mom is watching over you from heaven, and so very proud of all you have accomplished. In the autumn of my years, I am so lucky to have reconciled with a wonderful daughter, and granddaughter, so I know how important is that bond. Take good care of yourself. Prayers staying with you. Bernice

  30. Ann,

    I went through the same when I lost my Father 5-6 years ago. He was admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion and 16 days later had to exercise his ‘Living Will’ regarding the end of his life. His platelet count was so low that they couldn’t do anything to start dialysis for him, he made his choice to go his way. It was hard to watch, but he was such a good man and taught us kids what unconditional love is, feels like and how to project that out to others. They were also married 53 years. I miss him every day, as I as his little girl (one and only), and our relationship was so uplifting…no matter what I was going through with my mother, who wanted to be my friend, not a mother. In my life I’ve had two really close ‘mother’ figures – my mother-in-law and my best friend – so I learned from them how to be a wonderful mother to my children. After Dad’s passing, Mom and I had some very rocky times, and still do, but I talked with her everyday until she decided to marry someone else – within a year of Dad’s passing. Shocked us all..and her new ‘husband’ has never had any ‘girls’ to raise – and doesn’t want her talking to me. So when we get time to be together, I treat him with respect and shower my Mom with love and all. I try to talk to her at least twice a week, even though she gets negative feedback from it. But we endure and she knows that I’ll be there for her and love her as a Mother – but as for the friend part – we still have some things to overcome – from her past. I do not have words of wisdom to pass along to you, I just know that if I don’t try to talk/see my Mother while she’s married to this ‘person’ that I would regret it. You know the coulda/woulda/shoulda concept. Take care and what you’ve been told the Heaven is rejoicing at their ‘daughter’ coming home is true, we here in this realm have our memories to keep us going until we meet them when our time comes to ‘pass through the veil’ and into eternity! Stay strong and know that she’s with you….all you have to do is talk to her. She will hear you and you may even get a feeling of peace when you do – that’s her sign to you that she’s there.

  31. Dear Ann,
    I am so sorry for your loss! Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman. Thank you for sharing your feelings: My mom is 88 and I am going to call her right now to tell her how much I love her.

  32. Ann, I am so sorry for your loss of your beautiful mom. I too loss my mom and I miss her dearly. Everyday is a learning experience for me but I know my mom taught me well. Even though she is gone she still has a hold on me on my life here on this earth and with my family. Promises were made to her and I know in my heart she is checking and no matter what I still reaffirm what she has taught me. Take it easy and do it one day at a time. If your having a really bad day take it hour by hour. Remember your mom walked that path and she was strong but held on to your hand to get her through. So you must do the same. Take care and Go Bless you.

  33. I have way too much to do today but here I sit, bawling my eyes out. I am 65 years old. My mom died Feb. 18, 1998, she was 87.
    I went to court for the third time against my ex husband this last Tuesday and wore her earrings and her ring. I still had to have her with me.
    Aparently you and I shared the same type of relationship with our mothers. We were poor growing up, we immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico but we were lucky, we had mommy. She worked and raise three of us and we adored her. She was tough but she was always there. Now, I too want to pick up the phone and just tell her “I won” or my latest epiphany.
    We, who have felt the pain you feel right now want to hold you and cry with you and tell you it does get better with time. But…….

  34. Dear Ann, thank you for sharing of your mom’s passing. With tears hun I believe what an honor and blessing God bestowed upon you to have a mom in your life to truly and deeply love and who loved you so. I cry with you hun for your loss, rejoice with your mom’s heavenly arrival, and at the same cry for my own loss. Thank you for being honest and sharing in your sorrow Ann. God’s best to you Ann, as you hold your mom in your heart and mind until you are once again reunited. Love to you, Patricia



  36. Ann, How thoughtful to share with your readers something so very personal, yet something we will all face if we haven’t all ready. I recently lost my grandmother just days shy of her 104th birthday. I lost my dad when he was 72. I lost a child who was just hours old. We just never know, do we, when that hour will come. I’m so glad you have close friends who can walk with you through this time of mourning. There was a reason black was worn years ago to identify those who had lost a loved one. You are set apart, thinking different thoughts daily as you learn to live without someone you love so very much.
    I know this Mother’s Day will be most difficult for you. Not that those in the future will necessarily be any easier. God bless you and keep you and guide you.
    With love, Jeni

  37. Hi Ann,
    As one of the cousins whose name was on the list on the wall (thank – you Tom!), I want to say what a beautiful tribute this is. The ocean and your mom have gone hand in hand since I have known you all. She was a very special lady and obviously has raised a very special child who “gets” it.
    Hang in there, it does get better. It has been four years since we lost mom and the days and weeks preceding are clear in my mind, but the memories of all the good times far surpass what we went through at the end. Remember the good times! Love from MA.!

  38. Dear Ann,
    My deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your dear Mom. I lost my Mom in April 2008 and although she wasn’t in the best of health, it was sudden. I spoke with her every day during my morning walks and I am still reminded of her daily with the presence of our Robins on my walk. I still find myself wanting to call her. No matter our age, when our Moms have left this earth, a piece of us goes with. That day changed everything for me…….. the relationship with all the other women in my life, my husband, daughter, and sisters. I’m sure others have told you that absolutely everything you feel, whether it’s happiness, sadness, or anger is what you should feel. Your grief journey is your own and I pray that each day that passes will bring you to a place of peace and love knowing that time really does heal the rawness of it all. Please find comfort knowing that many hearts join with yours as you grieve the loss of your Mom and best friend. ♥

  39. Hi Ann — My clear memories of your Mom are from Crescent Street and to this day, they put a smile on my face. On the way home from church we would stop at Aunt Kitty’s house and the first thing we would do is fight over who got the spin around chair first and who pushed us around until we could not walk? — your Mom and Willa….Then into the kitchen we would go to stand over the huge hot air vent that would blow our skirts up, up and away….and we would all laugh so hard…..Then your grandmother would go out into the back hall where the freezer was and get eskimo pies for us for breakfast…..I can till see your Mom’s “squintey eyes” saying “You’re having ice cream for breakfast? In this different world, we are blessed to have these simple memories and so many more. These are gifts you can’t buy at a department store and that is what makes them so special and also so hard for you right now….She gave you guy and all of her family that feeling of love, a love you can’t replace, but treasure. Our hearts go out to you all.

  40. Ann… thoughts are with you. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your mom. I can only imagine how you feel. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to love your mom while she is still here. I know there aren’t any words that really will comfort you but just know my heart is with you.

  41. Ann,
    Reading your words, with tears flowing down my face, brought me back to the time 11 years ago when my mother left me for Heaven. I miss her so..and there is not a day that goes by that I want to pick up the phone and talk to her…just one more time. I truly feel for you…and understand what you are going through. It ‘takes time’ for the loss to not be ‘so raw’…but it will always be there. I take time every day to remember my mother and the life we shared. I also know that she is watching over me and my family. And I am reminded often by my daughters and husband when I say something or act a certain way or make a certain face…”that looked/sounded just like your mother”. so..I encourage you to remember the good times and know that your mother will always be with you…in love, in spirit, and even in the things you ‘say and do’. Take care!

  42. Dear Ann,
    I am very sorry for your loss.
    There are no magic words to make us feel better. The ache lessens eventually, but never really goes away. I was very close to both of my parents and I miss them very much. Dad has been gone since 2007, and mom since 2008. Some days it feels like yesterday….
    May your sharing your feelings with us help you to heal a little. After reading your words, it brought back many of my own good memories! It helped me to feel better to know my mom was in a much better place and with many of her loved ones she had been missing for years.
    Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  43. Ann- So sorry to hear of your loss. I feel your pain. My mom’s been gone nearly7 years and it is still hard. As you mentioned , I keep thinking I’ll call and realize I can’t anymore.

    It may sound silly, but sometimes I feel she is with me in spirit, like when I plant or pick new flowers as she always loved growing cutting and giving flowers away.
    My God keep her memories near and dear to your heart. Blessings for the future.Suzanne

  44. Hi Ann, So sorry for you loss. My mom passed away 6 months ago. She was the rock that kept me focused and on track. I know she is in a much better place but I keep think she might call to see what’s going on. She usually never missed a day in checking up on me and when she did, it was because in 2003 she had a stroke and lost the use of her right side. In the 9 1/2 years following she always wondered why God left her on earth. She always said she wanted to wait until my son graduated high school leave this earth and he graduate May 2012 and Mom had another stroke on the opposite side Aug. 14 or 15 and died Aug. 21, 2012 21 years and 7 days after Daddy. Thankfully she is in peace. God bless you.

  45. Hi Ann,
    Although I read this as soon as you sent it out, I’m just now really able to respond. I’m coming up on the 1 year anniversary of my mother’s death. It was sudden, unexpected, and caught me completely and totally off guard. I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. My heart just ached for you when I read your note because of course I knew exactly how you were feeling.

    My mom was a strong Christ follower so I know where she is, but it still has left such a hole in my heart and life. I’m learning to grieve in my own way and in my own timing. I’m not thinking “I should be past this now” or “why am I having such a hard time getting over this” either. I’ve settled in to the journey that comes with grieving, and trusting that as with all things, God is causing this to work together for good. My mother is ecstatic with joy now and having a blast I’m sure, and I know I’ll see her again. She would be cheering me on especially now that I’ve left Corporate America to pursue my business full-time. She was always my biggest cheerleader and encouraging me to “go for it” so I know she’s dancing about right now with the decision I made to “jump off the cliff”.

    Anyway, just wanted you to know how your letter touched my heart and how much I understand what you’re going through…be very gentle with yourself.


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