Losing My Buddy and a Part of Myself

I have always known that I was lucky. It’s not that life didn’t have its struggles; it always does. But even as a kid, I knew I won the mom lottery, and it’s one of the last things I ever told her …

The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds

I can’t say I never got annoyed with her, especially when she insisted on trying to start a conversation before school everyday with her non-morning person daughter or when she always reminded me of how she would do something in the kitchen even though I make a living off of cooking. I can’t say I never talked back to her or slammed a bedroom door too hard in frustration. Every relationship has these moments. But those moments weren’t the important ones and they were far between compared to the moments of love, support, laughter, and even friendship.

The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds

I am the youngest of 4 kids by quite a few years. I have been thinking about our family dynamics a lot since my mom’s Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis last summer – the good, the bad and the inevitably complicated. Mostly, I’ve been trying to think about our unique relationships with Mom. If we all had to, how do we define that connection and now that loss? I will never speak for my siblings on that front because honestly, I’m not positive what they would say, but I know my answer.

My siblings are 10, 8 and 6 years older than me, and for most of my childhood, I thought I was probably an accident baby. So did my siblings. This isn’t a “woe is me” story though. It wasn’t anything that ever bothered me at all because I always felt loved. It wasn’t until I was 15 and my oldest sister’s bridal shower that I overheard my mom talking to my now BIL’s family. She was telling them how she “wanted to know what it was like to just have one at a time” and that she “wanted a buddy to go to lunch with and go shopping with.” And I was exactly that – her buddy.

The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds

We watched hours and hours of old movies and mysteries together. We would even watch mysteries over again after awhile because neither of us could quite remember who the killer was. We’d spent an entire day running errands and shopping, stopping for lunch and maybe a lemon bar. We read the same books, me starting Harry Potter immediately after we returned from the midnight release so I could make sure to give it to Mom the next day to start. We talked about the blog and worked on aspect of the blog together; she was always willing to brainstorm or browse ideas at the craft store or spend hours stapling together paper chains for my Inside Out party. We talked about the future, family, her being a grandma again one day …

The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds

Finding the right words to write about mom feels impossible. As a whole, I strive to be as real with all of you as possible. I shared with you the pain of my migraines and feeling like a failure when I couldn’t continue teaching and being in pain everyday. I shared with you my anger and despair about watching someone I love dearly be bullied and fall into depression. I shared with you fights Bryan and I have had over money, jobs, and life.

But I did not share my mother’s cancer with you all because she wanted to keep things as normal as possible. Many of our friends and neighbors never knew she was sick at all. She wanted to laugh when she saw people she cared for. To hear about someone else’s day because she truly cared more about what was happening with them.

The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds

Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer last June. By the time we found it, it had already spread to her liver. We thought we were winning the fight as December scans showed positive test results, but her health quickly deteriorated at the end of February and beginning of March with multiple trips to the hospital.

After 9 difficult months on chemotherapy, there was nothing else that could be done except love her and make her as comfortable as possible. She passed away Thursday, March 17th, 2016 at 11:40am.

The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds

To say we are devastated to have lost her is so far beyond an understatement. I have heard so many times in the last few weeks that time will heal this pain, that things will get back to normal, that at least I still have the rest of my family. Time will never completely heal this pain – I will always miss her, always want her there when I have my children, always want to call her when I get to work with a big brand, always want to go out to lunch for a lemon bar, always want to ask her for advice. Things will never get back to normal because the normal we all knew is gone. We have to struggle to find a new normal, one that will always feel a little less whole. And yes, I still have my family who I love and could not survive this loss without. But at the end of the day, I still don’t have my mom.

There are those of you that will find that negative or pessimistic. I consider it realistic. There is no good way to ever lose someone in your life – only different kinds of hell and pain.

I am simply not the same girl I was just a little over a month ago when we still had hope my mom would beat this and I am definitely not the same girl I was over 9 months ago before the pain and fear of hearing her say “I have cancer”, the trips to the hospital, the nights laying awake worried. Before watching her in pain, too weak to go to lunch, too tired to even watch tv.

However, if we could not have more time with her feeling pain free, than I am grateful she is at peace.

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One thing remains though – This blog will still be about making moments matter. There will never be enough moments in this life to say I love you, talk around the dinner table, laugh together, and celebrate the good. I will still share fun ideas to do with kids, recipes to make for game night, and date night fun. I will share trip ideas because it brought so much joy for us to look at all the places Mom had gone. I will share the good and the bad, the joy and the pain, because that is life. Both happening often simultaneously, and I know I am not the only one with this ache and these struggles.

This year has emphasized to me that LIFE needs to be the priority in work-life balance, and I will never feel ashamed about putting my family and my needs first before work success again because I hope that when my time comes, my children can say that they got the best possible mom, just like I was able to say to mine.

The Hardest Post I've ever had to write - Losing my buddy and a Part of Myself | The Love Nerds

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Comments

  1. Jean says

    So agree with you we can not ever replace our moms
    Sorry for your loss
    Lost my mom and two sisters last year and nothing fills that hole even though I am blessed with other great family

  2. says

    Maggie,

    I am so deeply sorry you lost your mom. I came back to your website from my Feedly feed because I absolutely love your site. I was browsing the internet, when I remembered your site and went to catch up with you on Feedly. It only loaded two recent entries to I came to your home site to see everything. Then I saw this post, which is so timely for me.

    My dad passed away on June 12th from Stage IV lung cancer. We found it too late, and it had spread to his brain, lymph nodes, and stomach. It was everywhere, but my dad was determined to live long enough to see another birthday, and finish up projects around the house. That was not in the cards, as he was never strong enough to start chemo (which might have ended his life sooner). We had just short of three months with him. I find myself thinking I should have been over there more often, done things differently, but you are so right there is just never enough time, hugs, kisses, laughs, trips, we always want more.

    So, I am moving forward in life with the attitude of making it all count, and saying “yes!” to more things more often. We cannot let our parents struggles and suffering with cancer be in vain. I am so happy to see you moving forward in the same way. As my dad died in his own bed, surrounded by his family I learned a valuable lesson that day, “You enter and leave this world with nothing except the love you receive and give.” That’s my mission moving forward. Things do not bring happiness, experiences do.

    Love to you, and again, I am so very sorry you lost your mom in the same way I lost my dad. Peace, blessings, and love to you, lovely.

  3. Kris says

    Maggie,
    I just found your website and enjoyed perusing some of your recent posts. What a fantastic blog you have created, I will enjoy returning often!

    This particular post struck a chord with me, as I lost my Mom suddenly last November. This was such a devastating unexpected event for my Dad, and my 2 brothers, 2 sisters, and our families. My Mom was a wonderful teacher and educator who fought aggressively with rheumatoid arthritis for the last 25years. We knew that she struggled tremendously every day with great pain, but we all thought she would live to an older age, as her parents did.

    It has been such a journey for all of us as we learn to carry on without this bright sunshiny person in our lives. I am finally at the point where I can talk about her without breaking into tears, and even though I know that she wouldn’t want us to be sad and dwell on her loss, I find myself still picking up the phone to call and tell her something funny that my kids did, or about some special event that wouldn’t mean much to anyone else, but I knew that she would quietly rejoice with me! It was uncanny how often I would call her, or she would call me, and one of us would say “I was just thinking about you!”

    Yes…quite an adjustment. So, here’s hoping that you are able to find comfort in warm memories you had with your Mom and family! My sympathies, of course, and warm hugs for the difficulties you are facing during this sad and trying time!

    Take care,

    Kris Althouse

  4. says

    After reading this and checking out your about page, I realize how much we have in common. Some good and some bad!

    I lost my mother to cancer (leukemia) in October of last year. I completely understand what you mean when you say you aren’t the same girl you were before the trips to the hospital and nights lying awake. I haven’t written about my mom on my blog yet. It just seems to make it all final for me. I will have to do it soon… probably soon with Mother’s Day coming up.

    I, too, was a teacher and gave it up due to migraines. I have chronic migraines and get about 10-12/month. At the time I left teaching, it was more the depression (due to the migraines) that made me leave. I realized that if I didn’t care about the students anymore, how could I keep doing it? I was so passionate when I started out and just didn’t feel that anymore.

    Like I said, we have some things in common, huh? The good? My husband and I got married in September of 2011, so we have been married pretty close to the same amount of time! Having my husband with me during all of this has been amazing. I’m sure you’re husband has been your rock as well.

    Thank you for this post.

  5. says

    So sorry for your loss. You were blessed to have such a wonderful mother and friend. I hope that as your grieve and find your new normal, you will be able to remember the wonderful times.

  6. says

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. You both have been on mind a lot these past months as I’ve wondered how she was doing. I will keep you in my prayers as you and your family find your way in this new “normal”- though you’re right, nothing will ever be the same without someone you love.

  7. says

    I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how hard this must be. Your mom sounds amazing and I know she’s watching over you. 💜 I’m sure everyday has been so hard. I’ll pray for the Lord to comfort you.

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