Grieving a Parent’s Death

moms pixI don’t remember the date my mom died though her birth date is ingrained in my memory. I’m not sure why I don’t remember the day she left this earth. Seems like I should because this event affected me profoundly and still does.

Many of my newsletters and blog posts are about my mom. Some focus on memories of her while others are lessons I learned. I didn’t know my mom would have such an influence on my life until after I had children and more so after she passed away.

I think of my mom a lot; perhaps not daily but many times per week. I think of her when I’m struggling as a single parent and wishing I had her to talk to when I have to make big decisions for my children. I think of her when I’m cooking a meal and I wonder how in the world she did this night after night for six children. I think of her on the holidays and am in awe at how she made each one seem so special.

I’m especially thinking of my mom a lot lately. My children are coming to the end of important life chapters and in a few short years, both will likely be moving on to begin their adult lives. I’m starting to think of what my next chapter will be and I can’t help but wonder if my mom felt like she never got her own next chapter.

Lately, my life has been quite stressful and there are days when I want to hide under my covers and return to simpler times. I find myself envious of my kids who have no idea how simple their lives are now, though they think them complex.

When I would visit my mom in the last months of her life, I remember trying hard to firmly cement in my memory the physical connection to her because I knew it would end. I’d concentrate on how it felt when she would hug me or kiss me goodbye. But what I worked the hardest to remember was her fingers running through my hair as I sat on the floor with my head resting on her knee.

She would be sitting in the big recliner chair in our den. I would be on the floor as we watched Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, or even, yes…WWE Smackdown with my son. (He always got a good laugh at her reactions to the fights!)



I’d close my eyes, place my head on her knee, and she’d play with my hair or rub my head. All was well with the world. Even after she died, when I was feeling low or stressed, I could just close my eyes and go back to that place instantly. It was like my own magic time machine.

I thought I would never forget her touch. It was a gift – a precious gift that I thought would last forever.

Over the past couple of weeks (months?), as the stress in my life has escalated, I have tried to go back to those moments; to place myself at the foot of that chair with my mom. To return to a time when, if only for a moment, I was safe, loved, and comforted. To my utter dismay, I can’t remember.

I can’t remember the softness of my mom’s knee or the fluttering of her fingers through my hair. I can’t remember her hugs or the kisses on my cheek. It’s gone. And I don’t know why.

There are many things I’ve forgotten. If you ask my kids, they’ll say there’s barely anything I remember! How to solve an algebraic equation or the dates of upcoming events or even, something my kids told me only minutes earlier.

In the scheme of things, these pale in comparison to the memory of my mother’s touch. I’m not heartbroken over not being able to figure out a math problem and a quick glance at my calendar will easily refresh my memory of the week’s events. But there’s no device, no app, no Google search that will return those memories of my mom.


I don’t know why this happened. Is it a lesson in letting go or a reminder that nothing lasts forever? I’m not sure. I’m not sure that when I need to remember her touch the most, I’m unable. Seems cruel to have that taken away from me.

While I may not be able to remember those brief moments in time, the other memories of my mother are still intact and I will hold on to them always.

I know my mom’s in a great place. I know she’s looking down on me and my kids and taking good care of us.
I know she’s smiling when she sees all the good in our lives. I know her love for us is eternal.

Guess I’ll hold on to that. For while a touch is but a fleeting thing, love is forever.

May this Mother’s Day bring you lasting moments and memories to cherish forever.

Jen’s Gem: Get to really know your mom (and dad!). Find out what makes them tick.

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