As I walked away from the hospital all I could think was, “don’t let yourself throw up.” I could feel the remnants of the breakfast I had just consumed bubbling to the top of my stomach. As it hit my gag reflex I slowed briefly so I could dry heave without my family seeing me. Miraculously nothing came up. I didn’t cry even though I wanted to throw myself on the ground like a child – kicking and screaming. My brother and I slowly crawled into the car. We exchanged glances and I said, “This.Fucking.Sucks.”

Nothing prepares you for the acute pain you feel or the intense sadness you experience as you watch someone you love take their last breath. It’s not like on TV. Music doesn’t play. The machine doesn’t suddenly flat line. At least not for me. It took 4 days. My mother’s beautiful heart was fine, it was simply the rest of her body that was failing. And when that final moment came – that horrible moment in time – my world froze. I had not said everything I wanted to say. I had not demonstrated my unwavering love. I had not made amends for the pain I had caused her in her short life. The only relief came knowing that she would suffer no more.


No three words have ever summed up an experience better than those three words. They can begin conversations, end them, and generally summarize the pain in three simple words when someone asks how you are. These words were my MO as I navigated the whirlwind of emotions after my mother died. Even now, almost 3 years later, the stabbing pain still tears at my heart. My children do something amazing or funny and I want to call. Oh, to hear her voice one more time. To hug her. To hear her laugh. Losing your mother sucks.


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