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The Hope and Love I Hang On to After the Loss of My Mom

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When I tell people: “Actually, uh… my mom died three years ago.”

They usually respond: “Aww, I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK.”

The two words above, though rare, sometimes do fall out of my mouth, simply out of habit.

And when they do, I immediately want to say, “Actually, it’s not OK, but thanks.” And usually I do. However, when I don’t, I am left with a feeling of guilt and sadness that sticks in my mind and heart. Because, the truth is, it isn’t OK. It wasn’t okay for a woman who had so much more life to live, and hope to give, to be taken away by cancer. It wasn’t OK for me to lose my mom at 19 and a half, when I was just starting to figure out this life. It isn’t OK that I can’t just pick up the phone and call my mom and tell her about my day like I used to do — even when I act like it doesn’t bother me. It is not OK for my siblings and me to grow up without our mom. It isn’t OK for my dad to live the rest of his life without the love of his life. It is not OK.

The only thing “OK” about losing my mom is that I was at least lucky enough to have her for 19 and a half years. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything, and I am incredibly grateful for them. But that still doesn’t mean “it’s OK”, and that’s OK — if I can just give myself a little grace. For now, I will continue to hold on to the hope and love she gave to me and all of my family. She promised us, “Everything will be OK.” She told me, “You are going to be just fine…” Some days those words are impossible to believe, but I hold on to the hope she graciously gave to me, because in her words: “There is always hope.”

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Originally published: September 25, 2017
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