Finding joy and hope in the midst of grief. Life without a mom, 9 years later.

Yesterday marked 9 years that my mom has left this earth to be with her Heavenly Father. I want to be honest with all of you in this blog with some of the feelings I have had over the years as a now 25 year old woman without her mother. So forgive me if this isn’t the “God always has a plan” “I am so happy and joyful even in the midst of grief” type of blog you were hoping for. But it’s the honesty I think we all need.

(This next paragraph may seem morbid but stick with me…. the end of this blog will bring you hope.)

Death is something we will all deal with. It’s inevitable. If you haven’t lost somebody yet you will Sometime during this life. And if you’re life is anything like mine it may seem that you’ve been to one too many funerals over the years for loved ones.

I don’t know why God gave me the life he did. Being adopted as a new born, dealing with the reality of a cancer ridden mother for most of my life, losing my mom at age 16 only 1 month after losing my grandpa (one of my favorite people in the world), a year later I lost my grandma, with whom I was also incredibly close to. And to add salt to the wound two of my uncles died within a few years of all of this. Within about 4 years I lost 5 very important family members. That’s a lot.

Sometimes I just have to sit back and be like, “Seriously God? Why me? Why my family?” Why has he chosen me to lose so many people? The quick and simple answer is this. He knew I could handle it. He knew I would touch lives with my story, and He knew the grand scheme of things in that the legacy my mom and grandpa especially would carry over into my life.

Something I tend to struggle with at times is the question, “Am I forgetting her?” And even as I type that tears stream down my face because I never want to admit that I am questioning that. But I was 16 when she died. I was so young and SO lost. Just a completely different girl than I am now. I mean who isn’t lost as a 16 year old? But I look back and I think of all the ways I wish I had handled her death. I think about how I want to carry on her legacy through my own life. And I think about how much I have grown over the last nine years and just how PROUD she would be of me. I know that for a fact, so I have peace with that. But I didn’t have the 20+ adult years with her that my dad had. I didn’t have the 50+ years my aunt had with her. I had 16 small, short years. What I would give to have just one of those years back.

I have to say that now as a 25 year old I feel, to be honest, wise beyond my years. I still make typical 20-something mistakes but I’ve been called an ‘old-soul’ multiple times. Maybe it’s due to the amount of loss and grief I’ve dealt with from an early age or maybe it’s God taking place in my own heart. Right now as a 25 year old I feel the presence of God in me now more than ever before which I think has caused me to mature quite a bit. Something happens to a person when they experience death multiple times. (Even just once is enough to rattle and shake your world.)

Death causes you to really think about life. It hits you like a punch in the face and when you begin to stand back up on your feet you get those occasional flashbacks of the pain and agony you felt at the initial blow. Then it goes away and every year during special times like holidays and anniversaries it hits you all over again.

Whose had their heart broken before? I’ve had heartbreaks in my life, big, ugly, bad ones. The kind I didn’t think I could ever recover from. Breaking up with someone you think you are totally in love with is one of the most painful experiences. And if any of you have experienced heartbreak you know how it almost makes you sick to your stomach. Sometimes it actually does make you sick. It feels like your constantly trying to just take a deep breath but you can’t. Heartbreak hurts just like death. The thing with heartbreak though, is you can heal from it. It may take time but you WILL heal from it. Death is different. There’s no reconciling, there’s no hope of seeing that person in a coffee shop or at a party one day, it’s a hard reality that that person is no longer on this earth anymore and it’s almost an unbearable feeling at times.

But I am here to tell you…. there is hope.

I HAVE hope.

I have FOUND hope.

And that is in Jesus Christ.

As much pain as I am in, missing my mom every day for 9 long years -I have hope.

When I launched my business and thought about the one person I wanted to share this with, my mom, and how she isn’t here – I found hope.

On my wedding day when I walk down the isle and there’s an empty seat up front – i’ll still have hope.

And on the day when I welcome my first child into this world and she isn’t there to hold my hand through the labor – i’ll still have hope.

Because Jesus! He is the ultimate giver of hope.

Because of Him I know that I may not see my mom in a coffee shop one day, but I will without a shadow of a doubt see her again in Heaven.

I have hope in the fact my mom is pain free right now. She is chemo free, she is radiation free, she is doctor appointment free, and she is cancer free in heaven. Rejoicing with her Heavenly Father and laughing every day!

What do people do without the hope of Jesus when death hits them? I literally could not even fathom that idea.

What do people do when life hits them hard and they don’t have anything or anyone to place their hope in? Where do they go?!

My encouragement to everybody today is find that hope you are longing for. He is waiting for you. He loves you despite all you’ve done and whatever your past might be. He is fighting for you every day to come to Him. He tells us, “come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” Wouldn’t you like to just rest already? To let that pain GO once and for all and rest in the fact that Christ died for us to have a hope?

So while yesterday might mark the 9th year on earth that Bonnie Joy (my mom) is no longer with us. It’s the 9th year in a row that God has remained good and steadfast in my life. He has not left my side once. Without Him I never would have gotten to where I am, changing lives of women, encouraging others, helping women love who they are, and loving others the way Christ loved me.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Aunt Ellen says:

    Thank ya for this simple and clear message of death and hope in Jesus. I know your mom is so proud of you. I’m sure she has lipstick on, a beautiful smile on her face, flanked by some glitzy earrings.


  2. This touched my heart, my mother passed away when i was young as well, its a void that’ll always be there. As long as we keep those good memories close to our hearts, our mothers never really left. =]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen Shive says:

    Remarkable. So appreciate you sharing from your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diane Schulert says:

    Well said!


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