July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009

In life, we all have defining days that make us or break us, or do both. Days that are marked as a distinct line that divides the before and the after.

For me, that day was July 27, 2009, when, in the early morning hours, my mom lost her battle to cervical cancer. There in that hospital room, with her closest family and friends surrounding her, she took her final breath and was finally free of the pain that consumed her for more than a year.

I was 19, had just finished my first year of undergrad at UNC Asheville, and had no idea how her death would impact the course of my life. But the moment my mom took her last breath, my world was forever changed.

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A letter to all women who just miss their mom

A letter to all women who just miss their mom

To my lady friends and fellow motherless daughters — women of all ages, women I know personally, women I have connected with through social media because of my status as a motherless daughter, and women out there who I have never met but share the same grief with: My broken heart aches for you. I know the loneliness you feel and the pain that comes with missing your mom.

I was 19 when my mom died in 2009, and at the time of her passing I did not think about the long-term grief that I would battle for the rest of my life. I did not know that as time moved forward and my life evolved, I would wake up some mornings completely fine and by the end of the day, I would be in tears because I just missed my mom so much.

Becoming a motherless daughter happens in an instant — the moment she takes her final breath is the moment your life is forever changed. I will spend the rest of my life longing for her, and that is the burden of being a motherless daughter — a burden many of us know too well.

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What a complete stranger taught me about grief and losing someone you love 

Today, I met a woman with a tragically beautiful story.

I boarded a discount flight this morning from Concord, NC, to Sanford, FL, and sat next to a woman who was trying to keep her daughter with special needs occupied in the seat on the other side of her.

I quickly took my seat — I get anxious if there are people behind me in the airplane aisle and I feel like I’m holding them up. The woman, who had her back turned to me, spun around and greeted me with a kind smile and a hello before turning back to her daughter.

Shortly after take off, it became apparent that the two older children in the seats behind us were hers as well.

Typically, I don’t speak to someone I don’t know unless they engage with me first. And that’s just what this woman did.

She asked if I was traveling alone today and I told her yes. She asked if I’m from Concord and I responded with “Yeah, kind of. I live in the Charlotte area, but this is my first time flying out of Concord.” Looking back, that response makes absolutely no sense in relation to her question.

She introduced herself and her daughter, and the little girl stretched her hand in front of her mothers body to shake my hand in a very polite nice-to-meet-you fashion.

Side note: Flying out of Concord Regional Airport has been an experience in itself — one “terminal” in a tin building and the bathroom is a portable toilet on wheels out back. We boarded the plane on the Tarmac. I was told that this is only temporary and a new facility will open in September.

The woman shared that this is her children’s first time flying at all and her first time flying out of Concord, too.

She then offered up information that broke my heart and made me smile at the same time. Her husband passed away at Easter and she has made it a point to keep her children busy since then — to just keep them moving. So, this week they are traveling to Disney World for a few days.

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Disney World, baby bumps, and the fear of being a motherless mother

Disney World, baby bumps, and the fear of being a motherless mother

I want a baby.

I have made this statement to myself and then out loud at different points over the past two years, and I mean it when I say it.

It’s difficult, though, when you want so badly to bring another life into this world but you know that your job will not provide you with the financial means or schedule flexibility needed to properly care for a tiny human.

So, you postpone turning your “want” into a “have,” and you take the necessary steps forward to plan for a future that includes children.

You find a new job — one that does grant you the peace of mind you need.

You move into a house, and though it might be small, it is perfect for bringing home your firstborn.

You finally get to a point where you and your partner feel ready to build a family.

You plan a vacation to Disney World and decide to make that trip the official baby-making kickoff.

Then, you return home, the excitement of vacation wears off, and you realize that planning for a baby when you’re a motherless daughter is more emotional than you ever imagined.


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