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The Death of a Mother - More Than Just Grief

Updated on June 11, 2010
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Lorena Wood has a BS in Psychology and a Certificate from The School of Life. She is a Writer, Professor, and hard working matriarch.

The End of a Chapter

I lost my Mom last year. I thought I was prepared for the grieving process. My Dad had died 9 years earlier. I've lost other family members and friends. My mom had been sick, and suffering for over a year. I wanted her to find relief and had made my peace with the idea of her passing on. My family and I had been grieving for that 18 months in stages. The concept that I hadn't considered was that losing a mother cannot be compared to any other loss or experience.

I hadn't realized how much it meant to know that my Mom was there, around the corner, to listen or give advice or just give a hug. It's not really the need for advice that makes this a loss. It's the idea that the woman that took care of you as a child, that helped to create who you are and how you would view the world, is no longer there. We have our parents all of our existence, until suddenly, we are parentless. It's a new chapter in life. Whether or not I agreed with my mom's views, I was used to measuring my opinions against hers. When she gave encouragement or advice I could be happy for the help. When I disagreed, I could remind myself how different we were.

While some must suffer the loss suddenly and then cope with the sudden loss of conversation and contact, I was able to go through that stage very slowly. My mom died of Alzheimers. She first went into a nursing home and it became difficult to call her to chat. She became confused, but at times we had normal conversations. Then she became less and less able to communicate on important issues, and eventually was barely able to speak. So when she died, I had already accepted that she wasn't there to call or chat. I thought that would make it easier.

The problem was that, after the intial grief, the idea that my mom no longer existed on this earth seemed to shake my view of life. Everyone knows that someday their parents will die. The thing that hit me was that a whole, major part of my life was over. Every part of the relationship and connection was over. As memories spring into my mind, I realize that was past, and never will be again. I might be driving down the road and see a heron flying over. This triggers my memory of our favorite camping trips. Then I realize that now, it is just a memory, and my mom will never be able to join us, or even reminisce with us.

Why does this revelation hit me so hard? I've experienced death before, but it's something about the fact that it's my mom. I admit I miss the understanding ear, the soft shoulder and smiles that made me feel like everything would be alright. I think it's that my mom was a touchstone. I've lost an important touchstone in my life, and I realize that life is always changing and I'm not sure what's next. I'm now the touchstone for many in my own life, and I miss the wisdom that she shared with me. I hope that I absorbed enough to last for the rest of my life here on earth. I think of things I wish I'd said and questions I wish I'd asked.

So many times I hear others talk of their moms and I silently whisper to myself, appreciate her while you have her. I have spoken the words aloud at times, but I fear the true import of the message cannot be understood until it is experienced. At least I had my mom for a good portion of my life. Some lose their moms way to early and that grief and loss cannot be compared to losing a mom that is older. If anyone needs help with the grieving process there are some amazing blogs on here that relate to death and loss. Be sure to find someone to talk to and give yourself time to grieve. I thought I was prepared, but my mind and body did things I didn't expect. Grief takes its own time and its own course with each of us. Life is precious. LIve each day and each moment like it could be the last. You may have years before you experience the loss of your mom or another loved one, but those years will be filled with precious moments.


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  • bibliopola profile image

    Işın Tuzcular 3 years ago from Istanbul

    My mom died 12 years ago, she was just 59. I miss her as she was the best friend I have had.

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    jovonni07 5 years ago

    Yes, sorry to hear about your mothers. I too am seeking information in regards to losing a Mother on the Internet. I am losing my mother as I speak of Lung Cancer. She is in her end stage and I am blessed that we had have her to the age of 81. Yes, I wonder what is next. She was the biggest influence in my life the lady I call 5 times a day. I am very close to her and have been wondering if it is strange at my age to feel like a child who is losing her mother I am 55! but I feel like a little child so not wanting to accept I will no longer have this person I needed so much in my life. I am lost for words. Of course, my faith is strong in my dear lord and like anything he will be the only one to get me through this difficult time but, it is just so very sad...

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    thebutterfly51 5 years ago from Georgia

    Dear Mary Ellen,

    You are so right about everything! I lost my mom April of 2010 and the only consolation that I had was that I had no regrets. She helped me rear my two boys, so I regularly laughed and talked with her. I miss her being only a phone call away, but sometimes I will go out to her grave and talk to her or take her picture off the wall and talk to her. When I am in an uncertain situation, I will sit and talk to her, then leave with peace and know in a spiritual sense what she would have advised me to do. Is that weird? I guess I just knew her too well. God bless you as you grieve.

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    Tami Fite 6 years ago

    Nothing can prepare us for losing our mother -- thank you for you heart-felt writing.

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    Lorena Wood 6 years ago

    Hi Julie,

    Sorry to hear about your mum. I know it's hard, and I wish you the best. I still find the anniversaries bitter sweet. But I feel better when I take special time to remember her.

    Take care.

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    Julie in UK  7 years ago


    my mum died on 1st jan this year 2011 and it will be her birthday tomorrow 14 April. Your words above have helped me tonight as i was using the internet to try to see what others did on anniversarys etc..for some reason i noticed your comments and as tears roll down my face this moment, thank you for sharing your story which was very similar to mine xx

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    Kay 7 years ago

    Thank you for writing this, it's beautiful..mothers are the most precious thing in this world

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    Lorena Wood 7 years ago

    Mary Ellen, I'm glad you liked it. I was just trying to put words to my feelings, and it's nice to know you get it too. Miss her.

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    Mary Ellen  7 years ago

    Thank you for your beautiful words~

    from the other daughter of your mother