Were You Too Young When You Became A Motherless Daughter?

How has becoming a motherless daughter impacted your life? Has the pain left a life-long hole in your heart? Do you struggle with self-confidence, identity and courage?  When life is challenging, do you wish you could just run home to your mom?  While losing a mom at any age is devastating…the impact of becoming a motherless daughter too soon is a life long journey of grief, learning and healing.  

The News That Mom is Sick…

Within a few days of my high-school graduation my mother and her new husband informed us that she had stomach cancer.  There was a mass in her stomach that needed to be immediately removed and surgery took place a week later.  I am a summer baby, and I hadn’t turned 18 yet.  My sisters were 15 and 13.  You can imagine what horrifying news this was to us!  After surgery, we learned that the cancer had metastasized.  The outlook was bleak but my mother wanted to exhaust all options so she set-out for chemo and radiation.  All attempts failed and nine months later…February 10, 1990 at 8:00pm to be exact…I became a motherless daughter.

Surreal…Not Able to Fully Comprehend Mom Died

Being a teenager and having never lost anyone so close…I had no idea the impact losing my mom would take on me.  For a time, I didn’t quite believe it.  I would dream that she had gone on a long vacation and was coming back.  But, of course, that day never came.  Sadness, confusion, and loneliness visited me most days… for years.  In fact, I still experience deep loss and its been over 27 years.

The Moment of My Mother’s Death Changed My Life Forever…I Would Never Be the Same

I would change in ways I never expected, and become a different person had it not been for her death.  For the better and for the worse.  No going back.  Mom was gone and it was time to grow up fast.  I was already an overly responsible child, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders.  The death of my mom only intensified this until eventually I had a break-down.  My mother and father divorced when I was 2 years old.  My dad, a good man but scarred from life’s tragedies, was unable to support and guide me.  I was all alone.

In My Deepest Pain…I Met God

God literally saved me.  Though I had years of healing ahead…meeting Jesus was the beginning.  Without Him…I don’t want to imagine where I would be.  With Him was a path…one I have been on for the last 22 years…grief and healing, pain and joy, sadness and love.  You will notice I put the negative words first…because there’s no easy way around loss…you must experience it.  However, God…well he turns ashes into beauty!

The Impact of Losing My Mother Too Early

  1. Forced to grow-up too quickly.
  2. Vision for my life was put on-hold.
  3. Dreaming became a thing of the past.  
  4. Feelings of abandonment grew.
  5. Lack of self-confidence set-in.  
  6. Fear of loss became a new reality. 
  7. Identity crisis hit.
  8. Underlying loneliness and sadness invaded.  

“When a mother dies too young, something inside her daughter always feels incomplete.  There’s a missing piece she continues to look for, an emptiness she keeps trying to fill.”  Hope Edelman

From Impact to Life Obstacles

For me, the impact of losing my mother too soon created a fertile ground for obstacles.  Obstacles that made it harder to reach my dreams, believe in myself, and have courage to take chances.  Battles with anxiety and depression that were rooted in an identity crisis…a young girl without a mom doesn’t know who she is.  Mothers provide a safety net…a place where a daughter can run to when life beats them up.  A place of comfort and unconditional love.  Without that, daughters can get lost.

Crying with You

If you are a motherless daughter…particularly those who lost their moms when they were young…my heart cries with you.  This loss never goes away.  At first, there are more sad days than happy days, but as time moves on that reverses.  But know that the grief never goes completely away.  There will always be triggers…moments of unexpected sadness and longing for her.

Encouragement and Hope for Motherless Daughters

Though the grief of losing your mom never goes away…it does get better. Here is what I have learned and I hope it helps you on your journey to heal.

  1. Meet Jesus Today: He is able to bear your burdens and care for your soul.
  2. Grieve:  Don’t hold it in.  No matter how much time goes by…let yourself mourn.  This process will never go away. Grief is a tool to get you through the hard days.
  3. Seek Community: Refuse to walk this road alone.  Make it a priority to meet with other like-minded women who feed your soul.
  4. Dare to Dream Again:  After such a painful loss, dreaming sounds like a thing of the past.  It isn’t!  More than anything, your mom would want to see all your dreams come true. Courageously dream again.
  5. Be the Mom You Don’t Have:  There is healing in being the mom you long to have.  Either to your own children or to young ladies needing a motherly figure.
  6. Create an Annual Tradition to Honor Your Mom: Pick a special time of year to honor your mom.  It could be Mother’s Day, her birthday or a special time of year she liked.  For me, it’s my mom’s birthday.  We (my daughter and I) honor her by letting go of balloons with a birthday card and watching them disappear.  We imagine the balloons are reaching her in heaven.
  7. Surround Yourself with Wise Women:  Though no one can replace your mom, surrounding yourself with mother-like figures or building a special relationship with a mom-like figure will be nourishing and healthy for your growth.  This has been challenging for me.  My independent spirit gets in the way…that is an obstacle I continually have to overcome.
  8. Learn Who You Are:  For motherless daughters this is challenging and may take longer…but don’t lose heart.  There is an amazing person inside of you.  Invest in getting to know who you are.  Don’t live in a constant identity crisis…read, take classes, talk to people and find out who you are.

 

YOU ARE ON MY HEART!

I write this to you…Motherless Daughter.  I know your pain and struggles all too well.  You are on a journey of grief, learning and healing. There is a wonderful life for you.  Maybe not the life you expected or imagined, but a life with laughter, joy, dreams and becoming all you were created to be.  Though your mom isn’t here to guide and lead you…your’e not alone.  Seek community and God.  God is with you.  He can fill in the gaps by leading you, guiding you and comforting you.  Take hold and be brave.

Hugs,

JJ