Silver Lining: what it feels like after someone is gone

December 10, 2012

what it feels like after someone is gone

This is a tough time of year for me.

Almost three years ago, my angel mother became an actual angel.

Many people have asked me to share more, to tell what it's like to have someone so close to you be gone, and how I coped with it. Many sweet, sweet people have told me they're going through something like this too.

So as a disclaimer, this post is full of real life thoughts and feelings. It's my version of the truth, and I don't claim that the experience of losing someone close to you is universal or easy. This is just my feelings, my reality. And I'll love you whether you read on or not.


For a while, it doesn't sink in. There are too many relatives, too many funeral and other arrangements to be made, too many people bringing you dinners. But eventually, that dies down. People move on with their lives {as they should}, and that's when some realities hit you.

//we found ourselves sitting around the dinner table, the food getting cold, waiting for that last person to come sit so we could start. Eventually, someone would realize that everyone who's going to be there is there, and we'd give each other that look, and someone would reluctantly start the prayer and eating process.

//when we got back from burying her, in the midst of all the condolences cards there was a paper from the elementary school inviting the kids to parent teacher conferences. I laughed right out loud. Those are still happening? Then you have the weird realization that normal things are still going to happen, even though for you, nothing will ever be normal again.

//salespeople on the phone make you cry. "No, she's not here. No, there's not a more convenient time to reach her." 

//I realized the value of sentimentality. I was left with only a few handwritten notes and journals, photographs, a bottle of perfume, and some voice recordings to preserve my mom's life. Those became the most treasured things in the house. That's also a big reason why I started blogging. I learned the value of preserving the everyday moments, the importance of documenting a daily life, of leaving a map for others of what my life looks and feels like.

//it's hard. It's hard beyond hard, and it's not fair, and it takes a long time before it gets easier. It's a lot of crying yourself to sleep, and that grief that hurts so hard it's like a cannonball went through your stomach. 

//little things set you off, like the sound of the engine from the big car she used to drive. When you hear that engine sound on your street, your heart jumps and you think for just a moment that she's coming home from the grocery store like normal. Then you remember.

//you learn it's okay to cry in public.

//the good news is we never have to hit rock bottom. Even in the midst of all our questioning and sorrow and remembering, it's never going to be too hard to handle, because someone already handled that for us. Someone already suffered for us, and He turns grief into hope. It's a temporary separation, and the older I get, the more I realize my mom's closer than I know.

//that's the truth for me. It's different for everyone, and there's no right answer, but for me, on this early Monday morning, that's my reality and that's my truth.

Read more thoughts on my angel mother and grief here.


  1. you are an amazing woman brooke, your mom is so proud of you- i know it!

  2. love you brooke. always here for you. i feel like i know so much more now that i've taken a mind, body, spirit class. we spent a whole day on grief actually. love you brookie cookie (because thats your email) see you tomorrow :)


  3. My mom has been battling cancer over the past year...I find myself thinking about what it would be like if she didn't push through and it hurts so much.
    Praying for your pain new friend!

  4. This is beautiful. I've never lost a loved one. I hope I never do. You are such a strong example. Thanks for sharing.

  5. brooke, i love you.
    and your faith.
    and your strength.
    and your example.
    thank you.

  6. Brooke, I love this! I lost my sister and I echo everything you said. Learning that life goes on around you is hard and takes so much strength! This was beautifully put, thank you!

  7. One of my friend's mothers just passed away, what is the best way to help even if it's not much?

  8. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  9. This is beautiful. I'm so glad you are part of our family! I hope you know how much it means to us that Sam has someone so wonderful to share his life with. :)

  10. Hi lady, thank you for sharing this. You are very strong to write it all down, as I'm sure that was hard but also felt refreshing at the same time. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a mother. Losing my grandma five years ago was the toughest death I've had to experience so far, as we were very close.

    New follower :) Thanks for stopping by my blog and contributing to Cans For Comments!

  11. Oh my beautiful Brooke, I am so grateful for your influence in my life you truly are your Mother's daughter.

  12. amazing. thanks

  13. I completely agree. My Dad died at 52 - I was 27. I cried for 30 minutes in his room while we waited for the coroner to come, and then it was time to work - return his wheelchair, plan for funeral, etc. I even read a tribute at his funeral (I blogged it here - - if you're interested) without crying a tear. As I walked down to my seat after reading it, however, I bawled for the rest of the funeral until it was over and I had to be 'strong' again for all of the guests. The strangest thing was how 'ok' I felt after he died - although his last few months were so awful, it really was a relief to have his - and all of our - suffering over. But my first feelings, really, were elation. I think about David crying and praying for his infant son until he hears the news that the child is dead, and he gets up and is completely ok, shocking everyone around him. It was totally like that for me.
    I still have to tell myself not to set two place settings (2 years later) when my Mom comes to visit. And I caught a lump in my throat the other day when I saw an insurance form that said my Dad was my additional emergency contact - and had to inform the insurer that I needed to change that. It's been a roller coaster - some days are really hard - even so long after - but it feels silly to break down and cry because it's been so long. In some ways, I don't think it ever gets easier - at least, it hasn't for me...


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