Have you ever noticed how much our lives intertwine with our mothers’? Every detail, every event, every emotion, every milestone. Our mothers are always there, so connected and involved, and proud.
Immediately, they are our protectors. They become our biggest advocates and evolve beautifully into the single most important people in our lives. They have power and love that is undeniable. They become our lifelines. The ones we confide in. The ones who serve as our safe haven and our saviors. We depend on their care, their love, and their expertise.
So, what happens when you lose your lifeline?
What happens when you are stuck in the midst of the most difficult situation you’ve ever experienced and you can’t reach out to your protector, because they are the one who’s been stolen from you?
The person who used to provide love, guidance, and a means of escape from difficult situations is suddenly gone. You’re left there, stuck, without a way to escape the complex emotion, the heartbreaking reality, and the absence you’re left with.
You’ve lost your lifeline. You’ve lost a piece of yourself, and you’ve gained the need to survive on your own. You’ve gained the responsibility to keep going without the person who housed your strength, courage, and bravery. You lost the person and the rope that always pulled you into safety.
Except, you haven’t.
You never lost the rope that pulled you to safety. You lost the person holding it.
And, just as a mother does, she prepares you for the future and cares for you—beyond her final days. She knew she would be leaving, so that rope, the one she held tightly to keep you safe and on track, she simply handed it off to a new set of people.
Instead of one person, you now have a village of people who take turns holding your safe space. Before your mother left, she ensured there were people there to help. Not to take her place, but to fill in the empty spaces and the lost guidance.
You may have lost a lifeline, but that same lifeline made it a priority to ensure you would stay afloat. Before the rope was dropped and the role vacated, they carefully placed it in the hands of others. Others who would become your support. Others who would remind you to breathe and to keep living.
Mothers can’t be replaced.
If you’re lucky, once they’re gone, you look around and realize the people you love have carefully provided pieces of the things you lost when you lost your mother. Pieces of her they sprinkle into your life, just when you need it.
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I’ve learned that in the pain of losing a lifeline, there is also immense beauty in all of the wonderful people who ensure you’ll always be pulled to safety when needed. People who help rescue you from the depths of grief and the intensity of heartbreak.
You may have lost a lifeline, but if you’re lucky, you also gained a village.
Previously published on Happiness, Hope & Harsh Realities