When Life Must Go On After The Loss Of a Loved One

Mom and Me

How I’m Coping With The Death of my Mom

I was sitting in the parking lot of Aldi one afternoon with an envelope on my lap. I already knew the contents of the envelope and that I should wait until I got home before opening it.

Loss of a Loved One
Mom and Baby Me

My World Was In That Envelope

The envelope was from my oldest sister. It contained my mother’s ashes. When she passed away, Mom’s wish was to have her ashes separated for each of her 8 children, and we could do with them what we saw fit.

I opened the envelope, took out the plastic bag that contained all that was left of the most influential person in my life, and sat there. All I could think was, “I’m holding my dead mother in my hands, then I’m going grocery shopping.”

How strange that I could sit there and rationalize the fact that I was about to proceed with the mundane aspects of my life when my world had just been turned upside down, and I was holding the proof in my hands. But I didn’t really have a choice.

Mom and Me
Visiting with Mom Before my Wedding

People Need Me

I have a husband and 5 children. I knew I couldn’t give in to my desire to let my world stop after my mom died. My husband and kids needed me. To be strong for them, to show them that life goes on for the ones left behind. To not give up.

But I did almost give up. Who wouldn’t, after losing the person they’re closest to in this world? And I would have had every right, in my opinion, to let my world stop turning.

It wasn’t fair. My mom was my best friend. She was my go-to for parenting advice. She was my coffee partner. And now she was gone.

Me and Mom
Coffee Partners

“Moving-On” After the Loss of a Loved One

I have heard so many times that you should “move-on” after the loss of a loved one. That it gets easier as time goes by, and the hurt will lessen each day.

How totally untrue. It’s been three years, 9 months and thirteen days since my mom died, and I’m still as hurt and sad as I was that day.

I did, however, know that my life had to go on. I had a family that counted on me, and (at the time) a job that I could only take so much time off from.

It hasn’t been easy, but I have managed to pretty much get back to my normal routine. There have been several things that have helped me deal with the pain.

Music Helps With My Loss

Music has been a huge part of my healing process. My mom loved to play her music as loud as she could, and occasionally we would be lucky enough to see her dance.

It never failed that I would go to her house and hear “Happy” by Pharrell Williams or “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett (her all-time favorite) blaring out of her speakers.

I’ve turned more to Christian music to get me through the hard moments. Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Chris Tomlin has been one of the most heart-soothing songs throughout it all.

“Well Done” by The Afters has been another one that really helps me. It has made me realize that although she’s not here with me anymore, Mom is waiting up there in Heaven. She’s finally done with her race and is reaping the rewards of all she endured here on Earth.

Aside from Christian music, I’ve also found healing in songs like Ed Sheeran’s “Supermarket Flowers” and “When I’m Gone” by Joey and Rory.

And just for old time’s sake, I like to listen to Joey and Rory’s other song, “Cheater Cheater” because Mom showed me that song when I was going through a rough patch and it cheered me up.

Dealing with my Loss Through Humor

Humor has played a major role in my ability to go about my daily life. I intentionally think about funny moments Mom and I shared, and I can hear her laugh. There were so many times she made me laugh so hard I cried.

Like the time she couldn’t figure out why her cell phone wasn’t working, only to realize she was holding the television remote. She could always laugh at herself, which was amazing.

Loss of a loved on
Mom’s “phone” that wasn’t working.

Look for the Feathers

Life Must Go On
When Life Must Go On After The Loss of a Loved One

Mom told me on our last day together to look for the feathers, and that’s how I’ll know she’s around. Now, it’s impossible for me to go outside without spotting random feathers on the ground.

I’ve even got a collection because every time one of the kids finds a feather, they bring it to me as if to say, “Mommom was here today”.

Yes, logically I am aware that there will always be feathers anywhere there are birds. But it helps me when I’m having a particularly tough time, one where I would normally call her for advice, and I see a feather just sitting there.

I always knew what advice she would give me, even before she said it, and that feather often prompts her voice in my head telling me I’m being a sissy, or I need to put my foot down and say what’s on my mind.

The name of my blog, Frugal Feather, is a nod to her.

I’ll Never “Get Over” the Loss of My Loved One

The death of a loved one is not something you simply get over. There are people who will tell you not to let it consume you, that it’s simply a part of life, and that you’ll eventually “get over” the loss of that person.

You won’t. You can’t. When a loved one dies, you lose a piece of yourself. But you owe it to them to live your life to its fullest.

I know Mom is looking down on me from Heaven. And I know that she is criticizing some of my stupid mistakes. But I believe that she is also beaming with pride at the positive choices I’ve made, and the life I have built.

There’s not a day that goes by, still, that I don’t pick up my phone to call her. I just have to remind myself that I don’t need a phone to tell her what’s on my mind. I simply have to speak it, and she’ll hear.

An Angel's Hand
Mom asked that I share this poem after she passed.

If you are trying to heal from the loss of a loved one, please don’t be discouraged.

Healing from a loss is an ongoing process that is never complete. Your loved one may be gone physically, but spiritually they will always be with you.

And if you believe in the afterlife, take comfort in knowing that your loved one is patiently waiting to see you again.

Donna Jean Brady 4/7/59- 1/8/16

6 thoughts on “When Life Must Go On After The Loss Of a Loved One”

  1. ???This made me cry so hard, then laugh, then smile, then cry some more. Then I laughed even more when I “heard” her say Frugal Feather, that r in frugal would really get her???

      1. What an absolutely beautiful message and one that will touch so many. You have a beautiful way with words that makes a person feel like they are sitting at the table having a cup of coffee and talking with an old friend. Thank you for sharing your loss, pain, and experience to help someone out there (often a total stranger). You are truly remarkable. ❤️Love you bunches

  2. This was so beautifully written, you’ve brought me to tears. Your mom sounds amazing! So lively and vivacious! such a beautiful read and so touching. I’m glad you’ve turned to things you both love to help you heal. She may not be here physically but there is solace in knowing some part of her is always with you.

  3. Live Well Choose Joy

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings! It is not easy and I try to focus on the good memories from the loved ones I’ve lost. Your message will help others in their time of hurting, you share wonderful
    ideas from your heart.

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