THE BLOG
01/25/2016 06:52 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2017

Still Feeling My Mother's Love 25 Years After Her Death

I was scrolling through Pinterest when I saw this quote, "Because the love of a mother starts before birth her love will endure long after death."

The quote was not attributed to anyone in particular but I definitely could have said it because I'm still feeling my mother's love 25 years after her death. Her love is in the kisses and hugs of my grandchildren and the hymns we sing at church. I feel her touch on my forehead when I am sick and hear her telling me, "You can do it," whenever I attempt something new. I have kept several of her jackets, her bathrobe and the blankets she and my grandmother pieced each winter and whenever I need physical comfort I wrap myself in them and I am warmed through and through by their love.

I was so close to my mother that when she died it felt like my heart had been ripped right out of my chest. For years there was a wound there that refused to heal. That pain was so raw and so searing that to this day when I think of it tears flow down my face. When it comes to the loss of your mother these three things I know to be true.

1. No one ever replaces your mother.

2. You never forget her.

3. For the rest of your life you miss her.

A Mother's Love Is A Powerful Love

Over the years I've come to terms with her death and realized that when we love with our whole hearts and hold nothing back we are taking a huge risk. The more we love, the more we hurt when we lose the person we loved. Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Of course it is. Love is a risk worth taking because without it life would be empty, shallow and without meaning.

Great Love-Great Loss

This past October when my cousin Martha died after decades of fighting breast cancer, I was reminded again of the price we pay for loving someone so much that you wish you could die for them. The two of us were so connected, even as children, that being separated from her is as painful as if someone had severed my right arm. The only way I can describe it is to think of a deep winter snow. When you open the door of your house and look at the blanket of white there is almost an erie stillness. It's a quiet that doesn't exist outdoors unless it snows. That's how the world sounds to me now. The world is void of sound without her voice. I can listen and strain to hear it, but it's not there.

Because I lost my mother when I was about the same age as Martha's girls I think of them daily. I know what they are going through and I want to take their pain, tie a stone around it and throw it into the middle of the ocean. I know how hard it is to raise little ones, go to work, keep being a wife and mother, while your heart is yearning for the one who gave you life. It doesn't matter that you are a grown woman ... a grown woman still needs her mother.

High Wire

Martha was the safety net for her girls, just like my mother was for me. If something went wrong, if I was treated unfairly, momma was there to catch me when I fell. Life after your mother dies means you are forever walking a high wire with no safety net beneath you.

In a way I'm mourning Martha twice. I mourn the loss of my best friend and the loss of Mandy, Kiera and Brittany's mother. I understand their fears about life without your mother. I know the heartache of having children that your mother will never see and of watching your children graduate, get married and have children of their own without the blessing of having your mother at your side. It's hard but you can do it. If ever there was a true warrior when it came to battling cancer it was Martha andI I see her strength in each of her girls.

I would never try to replace Martha in her daughter's lives or even be a substitute. Martha was always the good little girl with a halo while I plodded along behind her trying to hide my horns and wishing she'd mess up occasionally (she never did) just so she wouldn't make me look so bad. I am not Martha but I am Martha's best friend. I know how much she loved each of her girls. We had endless conversations about them from the time she was pregnant with them, until her death. I know the things she loved and cherished about their personalities and how proud she was of their talents.

Mandy, Kiera, and Brittany, I've said it before but I want to say it again ... if you need me anytime night or day, just call and I'll come running because that's what best friends do for each other, and for each other's children.

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