Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

December 23, 2018: I’m sitting in the airport waiting for a flight to head home just two days before Christmas. I’ve been gone five days to Virginia to be with my best friend for a funeral.

Her mother’s.

Her mother’s funeral, just days before Christmas.

My dear friend since third grade had been by her mother’s side both times she fought cancer. She was a warrior fighting alongside her mother as her battle grew harder and harder. Taking her to doctor visits, staying with her at the hospital, making sure she had the care she needed, and as the end grew near making sure she could leave this earth with the peace and dignity she deserved.

This time the fight would end, but certainly not without a long, hard fight from both of them.

Death doesn’t consult a calendar. Death doesn’t check in and make sure it’s a convenient time. It comes in the night while you’re sleeping and takes you home. So it forced my dear friend to lay her mother to rest just days before Christmas.

The day you never want to come, the day you say goodbye to your mom.

This is not the first friend I’ve had to lose a mother. Several of my friends have lost their mothers already. We still seem so young to be losing parents. Eight years ago my best friend from high school lost her mother very unexpectedly. And similar to this, I got on a plane and flew home to be with her. At the time I was living in Maryland when I received the call early one September morning. It was a call I will never forget. I booked the earliest flight I could and made it home to be with her.

A day harder then that was when I had to leave both of them and go home.

Watching your best friends bury their mothers is a pain that haunts you. And I’ve had to watch two of them do it. Knowing they are hurting so badly and there is really nothing you can do to take that hurt away.

Knowing, as the daughters, they will have a lot of responsibility to prepare things just as their mothers would have wanted. They will host the family and friends who come to visit. They will pick the dresses and make the arrangements.

They will do everything for everyone else to help them in their grief, but won’t be able to stop and deal with their own. Then everyone will go home.

Including me.

“Do you have to go . . . go?”

Just when they needed me the most, I had to get on that plane and fly home, leaving them to deal with the loss and pain without me. That made me so incredibly sad. I felt so much hurt knowing I couldn’t be there to hold them when they needed to cry. I wouldn’t be there to help pack up her clothes, go through her ever-expanding craft room, deal with the business left behind or be there when they just needed a hug or to laugh.

I remember the day my high school BFF buried her mother like it was yesterday. The thing I remember most about both of these funerals was the gut-wrenching pain you feel seeing them hurt so much.

When the service was over and most people had gone home I found her in her childhood bedroom wrapped up in her mother’s shawl when I went to say goodbye.

Laying down and wrapping my arms around her I whispered, “Hey, I gotta go”.

Then she said to me, “You gotta go . . . go?”

“Yeah I gotta go . . . go,” wanting to just die that I couldn’t stay with her when she needed me the most in her entire life.

But I had to go. I had to leave them both and get on a plane to fly home hundreds of miles away not knowing when I’d be back to see them again. Leaving them in someone else’s hands to deal with the aftermath of death. It’s such a helpless feeling when your best friend loses her mother.

I still have my mom, thank God, but I imagine the loss of your mother is something you feel for the rest of your life.

Honestly, as more friends lose their parents, it really makes you think about losing your own. The terrible grief and lose you will feel. The pain and absence that will probably never go away, fade maybe, but never truly go away. As I age, so do they and even though my parents are still relatively young, everyone will leave this earth at some point.

I can’t help but think about my own mother’s mortality and it makes me incredibly sad.

I did almost lose my mother once, many years ago but God saw fit to save her life. He has allowed my brother and me many more years with her. He has allowed her to live an extraordinary life. She has traveled the world, married a wonderful man, and allowed her time to spend with her four grandchildren. But we are all called home one day and she will be, too.

My husband and I have recently moved back home to be closer to friends and family and I’ve really enjoyed being back with my mom. She’s such a big help with the kids and I love those days when she calls and says, “Hey I’m coming over, you wanna have lunch?” I haven’t gotten a phone call like that in over 15 years and I love getting them now. As much as I love being close, I have to admit I find myself slipping back into those old habits of not calling or visiting as often as I should. Our lives become busy with those insignificant things that keep us from the significant people that we love and cherish most.

Tomorrow is never promised to anyone. When your time on earth is done it’s done and those left behind will certainly grieve your absence.

Remember to call, visit and show your love to those you care about because you never know when it will be your time to say goodbye to someone you love dearly. And when you do know those friends will be right there beside you.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

You may also like:

My Parents Are Aging and I Worry

To the Friend Who Just Lost a Parent: You’ll Never Get Over This, But You Will Get Through It

I Was Too Young to Lose My Mom

What it’s Like to Lose a Motherless Daughter

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Emily Hunt

Working mom with two little girls, married, living in MS. Love to travel, entertain and love some Mississippi State Dawgs!!

The Last Text I Sent Said “I Love You”

In: Friendship, Grief, Living
Soldier in dress uniform, color photo

I’ve been saying “I love you” a lot recently. Not because I have been swept off my feet. Rather, out of a deep appreciation for the people in my life. My children, their significant others, and friends near and far. I have been blessed to keep many faithful friendships, despite the transitions we all experience throughout our lives.  Those from childhood, reunited high school classmates, children of my parent’s friends (who became like family), and those I met at college, through work and shared activities. While physical distance has challenged many of these relationships, cell phones, and Facebook have made...

Keep Reading

I Obsessed over Her Heartbeat Because She’s My Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and teen daughter with ice cream cones, color photo

I delivered a stillborn sleeping baby boy five years before my rainbow baby. I carried this sweet baby boy for seven whole months with no indication that he wouldn’t live. Listening to his heartbeat at each prenatal visit until one day there was no heartbeat to hear. It crushed me. ”I’m sorry but your baby is dead,” are words I’ll never be able to unhear. And because of these words, I had no words. For what felt like weeks, I spoke only in tears as they streamed down my cheeks. But I know it couldn’t have been that long. Because...

Keep Reading

We’re Walking the Road of Twin Loss Together

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and son walk along beach holding hands

He climbed into our bed last week, holding the teddy bear that came home in his twin brother’s hospital grief box almost 10 years earlier. “Mom, I really miss my brother. And do you see that picture of me over there with you, me and his picture in your belly? It makes me really, really sad when I look at it.” A week later, he was having a bad day and said, “I wish I could trade places with my brother.” No, he’s not disturbed or mentally ill. He’s a happy-go-lucky little boy who is grieving the brother who grew...

Keep Reading

Until I See You in Heaven, I’ll Cherish Precious Memories of You

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler girl with bald head, color photo

Your memory floats through my mind so often that I’m often seeing two moments at once. I see the one that happened in the past, and I see the one I now live each day. These two often compete in my mind for importance. I can see you in the play of all young children. Listening to their fun, I hear your laughter clearly though others around me do not. A smile might cross my face at the funny thing you said once upon a time that is just a memory now prompted by someone else’s young child. The world...

Keep Reading

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

To the Healthcare Workers Who Held My Broken Heart

In: Grief, Loss
Baby hat with hospital certificate announcing stillbirth, color photo

We all have hard days at work. Those days that push our physical, mental, and emotional limits out of bounds and don’t play fair. 18 years ago, I walked into an OB/GYN emergency room feeling like something was off, just weeks away from greeting our first child. As I reflect on that day, which seems like a lifetime ago and also just yesterday, I find myself holding space for the way my journey catalyzed a series of impossibly hard days at work for some of the people who have some of the most important jobs in the world. RELATED: To...

Keep Reading

I Loved You to the End

In: Grief, Living
Dog on outdoor chair, color photo

As your time on this earth came close to the end, I pondered if I had given you the best life. I pondered if more treatment would be beneficial or harmful. I pondered if you knew how much you were loved and cherished As the day to say goodbye grew closer, I thought about all the good times we had. I remembered how much you loved to travel. I remembered how many times you were there for me in my times of darkness. You would just lay right next to me on the days I could not get out of...

Keep Reading

I Hate What the Drugs Have Done but I Love You

In: Grief, Living
Black and white image of woman sitting on floor looking away with arms covering her face

Sister, we haven’t talked in a while. We both know the reason why. Yet again, you had a choice between your family and drugs, and you chose the latter. I want you to know I still don’t hate you. What I do hate is the drugs you always seem to go back to once things get too hard for you. RELATED: Love the Addict So Hard it Hurts Speaking of hard, I won’t sugarcoat the fact that being around you when you’re actively using is so hard. Your anger, your manipulation, and your deceit are too much for me (or anyone around you) to...

Keep Reading

Giving Voice to the Babies We Bury

In: Grief, Loss
Woman looking up to the sky, silhouette at sunset

In the 1940s, between my grandmother’s fourth child and my father, she experienced the premature birth of a baby. Family history doesn’t say how far along she was, just that my grandfather buried the baby in the basement of the house I would later grow up in. This was never something I heard my grandmother talk about, and it was a shock to most of us when we read her history. However, I think it’s indicative of what women for generations have done. We have buried our grief and not talked about the losses we have experienced in losing children through...

Keep Reading