Here’s to Motherless Daughters,

Here’s to the late night cries,

Here’s to getting too attached to your friend’s mom,

Here’s to wishing you could call her for a good cry and a shitty glass of wine,

Here’s to being resilient as hell.

We all remember the worst day of our lives. Mine was the day I lost my Mother.

My mother died shortly after my 14th birthday. The memory runs through my head often, as I’m sure it does to you. At 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in 2010, my mom had just gotten home from her third shift job and was winding down to go to bed. She woke me around 9 a.m., told me an ambulance was on its way. She was having heart pains and her arm was numb. I tried to soothe the woman who had calmed me many times before, she was anxiously pacing our hallway. By 9:30, no ambulance. My Mom was getting weaker and pacing faster, I tried to get her to sit, no luck. She fainted in the hallway. I tried to wake her but nothing worked. The ambulance took forever to get to my home, but I can’t blame them. Time seemed slowed, as did my hope. The EMT’s came and tried to revive her, but she had no heartbeat. My dad arrived two minutes after the EMT’s, the look on his lovely face was an unfamiliar hopelessness. I ran into his strong arms, screaming, hoping it was all a terrible dream. The ambulance took her body, we cried and frantically ran to the car, barreling down the driveway. We met the ambulance at the hospital, no lights—we understood and we wept. We said our goodbyes at the hospital and our hearts died that day—the day my mother, my father’s soulmate, left us.

Know we are not alone in our sorrows.

My mother, being active in our church, community, and her job, had many visitors in the coming weeks. Friends, family, co-workers, a variety of acquaintances came to our home, bringing their sympathy and comfort food. Being from the south, food is a staple when a loved one dies. Eating made me feel worse. Their well-meant sympathy left me empty. “Call if you need anything!”, such an insincere promise, particularly when your “person” is gone. The empathetic ones were the ones that stayed when everyone left. They helped you eat all of the food, they cried with you, they filled you with friendship, they kept you breathing. The empathetic ones could place themselves in your shoes, you will always cherish them for that.

You lost your mom before you were ready. She left before she was ready. Perhaps it was sudden, maybe it was expected. The circumstances are irrelevant. It hurts, God, it hurts. Acknowledge it’s okay to hurt. You’re supposed to have your mother, life wasn’t fair. That one day, that terrible day, changed the course of your life forever.

This is to help you understand, there are people out there who get it, who understand your forever pain, your longing for a mother, the reason you get too attached to the older women in your life. When everyone is thrusting sympathy on you, understand it’s okay not to be okay.

Break down, scream, cry, pick yourself up, and repeat.

You will go through so many things without your mother. The happiness will usually be followed with an uncanny emptiness, longing to hear her voice. The sadness will always be amplified by her absence, and that’s okay.

Find solace that the hardest things are over. Losing your role model is the hardest thing that could ever happen. Whether that be your mother, father, best friend, mentor, it’s never easy. You’ve made it through, you will only get stronger from this day. The pain will never stop, but you will find ways to cope. You will learn to be happy with the strength and foundation she left for you.

You will relearn to be happy.

I love you, Mom.