Posted by: Kathy | July 13, 2010

Words of Loss, Words of Comfort

Writing has been my way of remembering my mom and dealing with the pain of losing her to pancreatic cancer. I’ve used many words to describe the loss that I feel. I’ve also used words to describe the love I have for my family and the good times we’ve shared together. These words bring me comfort and help to ease my pain.  

About 10 days ago, I received the following text from my dad:   

“Warmth of the sun, always the breeze, quiet save the chirping of birds, a sense of peace, yet loneliness. She is at peace. I remain unsettled. I love her so much.”   

My dad had gone to visit my mom’s grave after church. As I read his words, my heart went out to him. I could relate to what my dad was feeling. I know my mom is at peace, but I still feel so unsettled at times. My mom should be here with us. I feel lost without her. I still need her. I love my mom deeply.   

The place where my mom and her parents are buried is beautiful. This is a place of peace for my father, and at one time it was a place of peace for me too. But now it is a reminder of all the special people in my life who are no longer here with me. And it is too painful to see my dad’s name on the headstone next to my mom’s. I know that everyone dies, but losing my dad is something I just can’t think about.   

My mom and my grandparents made a deep and lasting impact on me. The loss of grandfather, my grandmother, and then my mom over a time span of 8½ years was very painful. I lost my grandfather on May 4, 2000, a mere 27 days before his 93rd birthday. Pop Pop was a wonderful and very talented man. What I remember most about him is his sense of humor. My grandparents always “bickered” back and forth with each other, but it was done in a loving way. They were very devoted to each other and had been married for 63 years when my grandfather died. My grandmother went to be with her husband on December 15, 2005. She also died at the age of 92. Mom Mom was a true lady, very dignified and full of grace. She was polite, kind, and caring, and no matter what, my grandmother always put others before herself. On the day she died, an ultrasound showed that I was pregnant with a girl. One of my daughter’s middle names is Kathryn, in honor of my loving grandmother. I know the loss of my grandmother was very hard for my mom, just as my mom’s loss was so devastating for me.     

Cross tile on my grandparents' headstone

Orchid tile on my mom's headstone

Everyone grieves in different ways, and I think people choose to remember or honor their loved ones in different ways too. I honor my mother and my grandparents by sharing my memories of them with my kids. I keep their memory alive through the stories I tell and the pictures I have placed all over the house. I also have copies of tiles that were made by my brother and set into the headstones on my mom’s and grandparents’ graves. These tiles are beautiful, and my brother crafted them in memory of our grandparents and our mother.   

Words have helped to ease my pain and to bring me comfort. I write and rewrite until my words express exactly how I’m feeling or what I want to say. I was never really interested in quotes, but since my mom died there are quotes and Bible verses that have helped me during hard times. I will end this post with my favorites:  

  • “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
  • “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” (Thomas Campbell)
  • “I dropped a tear in the ocean. The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you.” (Author unknown)
  • “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” (Wayne Dyer)

For more words of comfort, see Words of Comfort #2.

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Responses

  1. Hi, I found your website by putting “i miss my mom pancreatic cancer” into the search engine. I am sorry that you, too, have lost your mother to this disease.

    It is just over 3 yrs since I lost my mother to the same when she was 71. (My father I lost to another cancer 27 yrs ago.) I miss her (them) terribly. There are times I need her, we were not often living in the same state since I’ve been an adult yet we have always been there for each other through mail or phone. We shared a special closeness. With me always is how her incredible spirit, energy and good humor seemed to fade away as her life ebbed. And the bittersweet memory of our last moments together face-to-face (3 mos before she died) is when she said told me, “I am sorry”. Sorry for leaving me…

    As you and your father also have felt, it is still unsettling. Someone is missing. They left us tragically and yet the world goes on. Even we go on. And oftentimes, I feel I am doing just fine. Other times, the grief is so deep. I need her still, maybe now more than ever. Unsettling indeed but not always without peace. I try to rest. But they are all gone. My mother, both her brothers (one also to pancreatic cancer) and their mother: all gone in 2-1/2 yrs.

    Thank for your site, and the recognition towards pancreatic cancer: its grim statistics and the need for earlier diagnoses and cures. I have joined with PanCan, and have participate in one of their walks.

  2. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!


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