I was 25 when my mom passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Watching her slowly slip away right before my eyes is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through—and I have been through a lot. Trauma in high school, years of battling an eating disorder, numerous treatment centers for said eating disorder, and two miscarriages—but the images of watching my best friend die from cancer are forever etched in my mind. 

The grief has been unbearably heavy lately. Once again it is starting to feel like an open wound, fresh and raw. The pain pierces my heart and the tears sting my eyes.

My father is getting remarried at the end of this week and again, I’m experiencing loss. My parents were high school sweethearts, married for thirty-some-odd years. And although I want nothing more than for my sweet dad to be happy, it feels like a slap in the face. Has he completely moved on? It’s only been four and a half years! Where does this leave our family? Can I bring up precious memories at family gatherings? Can I speak her name without causing unease? Nothing will ever be the same again. This all feels too heavy.

Grief has no timeline, this I know. It ebbs and flows like the ocean waves, and on the stormy days, the waves leave me crashing to the ground. I fall to my knees and ask Jesus for peace and understanding. To help me understand deep within my heart that it will all be OK.

I know my mom would want all of us to be happy, but I also know it is OK to be angry and sad. I have learned I can hold all three emotions at the same time, which is what makes grief so confusing. 

My mom was known for her laugh. It was truly a famous laugh that family and friends could instantly recognize. A laugh that lit up the room. So on the hard days when the grief feels all too heavy, I close my eyes and picture her laughing. That laugh that was once roaring with life and full of so much joy, and I can’t help but smile to myself and laugh right along with her. Grief is weird like that

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What it’s Like to Love a Motherless

When Time Doesn’t Fix Your Grief

Only a Motherless Daughter Knows

Leah Hamel

Wife, Jesus Follower, and stay at home mom of 2 boys, learning to navigate my way through grief and loss.