Posted by: Kathy | August 18, 2010

What I Really Lost When My Mom Died

My mom and me - 1969

One year, nine months, and two days ago, pancreatic cancer took my mom from me. Although my mom is physically gone from my life, in many other ways she is still here with me. She is in my heart. My love for her didn’t die when she did. I think about my mom every day and I miss her more than words can express at times. The feeling of loss is always with me. It’s something that never really goes away.

I’ve been reading a book that was given to me by a friend. It was written by a man who lost his son to drugs. I couldn’t imagine losing a child, and I know that losing my mom is different than losing a child. But it’s still a loss, a painful one, and I can relate to some of what he wrote. The author made a list of his losses – what he lost when his son died. This list made me realize that my mom’s death is so much more than just losing a person from my life. I guess my heart knew this, it just took my mind a little while to catch up.

Here is what I really lost when my mom died:

  • Unconditional love
  • Good advice, even if I didn’t always listen
  • Someone who was there for me, ready to listen or help
  • A true believer in who I am and what I can do
  • Guidance during times when I have no idea what to do, especially when it comes to my kids
  • Sharing a book with my mom
  • Saturday outings as a family (my mom always knew of somewhere to go or something to do)
  • Going to see a movie with my mom
  • Answering the phone and hearing my mom say “Hi, Hon”
  • Hugging my mom and feeling her love for me
  • Watching my mom play with her grandkids
  • A soulmate and best friend for my dad (I know how much he misses his wife)
  • Seeing my mom dance with my son at his wedding (a dream she held on to as she tried to beat pancreatic cancer)

I know there’s more, but this is all I can handle right now. What bothers me the most is that I took this all for granted. I feel like I didn’t let my mom know how much she meant to me. I didn’t tell her how much I appreciated everything that she did for me and my family. I believe she knew how much I loved her, but I wish I could tell her one more time.

My mom and me - Christmas 2007

The feeling of loss will always be with me. But I think it will continue to affect me in ways I can’t control until I can figure out a way to forgive myself. At least I understand now what I truly lost when my mom died and why I feel her loss so deeply. She was a wonderful mom.


  1. I’m really enjoying your blog. My mom passed away from pancreatic cancer on Aug 13, 2011. this really helps thanks!

  2. I Lost my mum to gallbladder cancer 29 days ago. She also had tumors in the liver. she was 60. I feel totally lost and so so sad. I cannot believe it. From diagnose to death, it was five weeks. my whole world is falling a part. I am 40 this year, but I never saw this coming.How does one survive? I came across this site, and it moved me.

    • Hi Anna:

      I’m so sorry you lost your mom. It’s something that changes you and your life forever. I cannot believe how my life has changed, how much I’ve changed. Some of these changes I don’t like and just have to accept. Although my mom has been gone for almost 3 years, I still feel lost at times and very sad. Healing from this has been very slow and painful. I was 39 when my mom died at age 65. Both of her parents lived to 92, so her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and death was something so unexpected for me. My world did fall apart and then I put it together again, very slowly, piece by piece. I don’t think I’m done yet. But I keep trying to move forward, not just for myself, but for my husband and kids.

      You asked how does one survive after something like this. I guess my best answer for that is you keep trying to move forward, one day at a time, even one second at a time if that’s all you can do at that moment. It’s not easy. For me, it seemed like a very long and rough road, filled with many hills and potholes. But you get there eventually, as life begins to become more “normal” again. I’m here for you if you need to talk.

      Take care, Kathy

  3. I found your blog right after my mother died 6 months ago. I love reading your posts, and you speak so honestly of all that has been lost. I have a blog as well, and have left the address if you would like to read it. Thanks for writing so beautifully about your mother…it has touched me.

  4. Kathryn- The Christmas picture shows the unconditional love you and mom had for each other – so much more than even your touching and eloquent words could express. Love, Dad

  5. Beautifully written Kathy. You are my constant reminder that I should never pass up on the opportunity to let those people I love & care about…know exactly that.

    My prayers are always with you & your family.

    So grateful to have you in my life…my dear friend.

    Take care & God Bless,


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