Two months ago, I lost my mom. She was my best friend and has always been my person in life. You really can’t prepare yourself for something like this. Others try to tell you hope to cope, but really, these are murky waters you need to learn how to navigate on your own. I feel like I have learned so much in these last few months. Many of these lessons have changed me, shaped who I am now, and will be with me forever. These realizations are something we all need to remember. 

Until I lost my mom, I didn’t realize . . . 

How much you could miss hearing “I love you” even if you’ve heard it millions of times. And how much you could miss a hug even if you’ve had thousands of them (also that no one else hugs with the love and comfort that a mom does).

That when you lose someone close to you, you not only mourn what you lost, but also what will never be, and what will always be missing.

That pushing hard feelings away doesn’t make them disappear forever, it makes them resurface with force.

How deep the pain you feel is when seeing your loved one fight for their life and not being able to help them or save them.

RELATED: Watching A Parent Battle Cancer Is Hell On Earth Torture

That some situations in life leave you with no explanations or closure, and you have to learn to live with that and move on.

That healing has many layers to it and takes a lot of time and soul searching.

How picking up the phone to call or text a loved one is something that’s so deeply taken for granted.

That everyone questions their faith at some point—even if you don’t want to, even if you feel guilty about it.

That when you dive into your faith, you learn that sometimes the “victory” doesn’t mean getting a miracle or winning the battle here on earth, it means eternity with Jesus in Heaven.

How thankful I am that I always express my love to others and that I never left anything unsaid between us. 

That when people say the little moments end up being the big ones, it’s the truth.

RELATED: Don’t Take Your Mom For Granted—I’d Give Anything to Have Mine Back

That we should talk with our close family about important and uncomfortable things like what their wishes are if something bad were to happen.

How happy I am that I took pictures and videos every chance I got and I have a voicemail saved.

That now that you can only have one-sided conversations, you’d do anything, literally anything, to have that person sitting in front of you again (another thing we take for granted).

That you can’t help but feel jealous, angry, and ask why me. And it will feel like others having what you lost is constantly in your face. 

How truly amazing, strong, gracious, and kind my dad really is.

That people show their true colors, good or bad, in the darkest of times.

That if you need something to make you feel better, do something kind for someone else (it will help at least a little, I promise).

How badly you sometimes want to hit the pause button on life, but you have no choice to keep going, no matter how difficult.

That joy is something you have to choose, along with looking for blessings, big and small. 

RELATED: God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

That sometimes the happy days—the holidays and special occasions—are the hardest ones. 

How strange deep-rooted grief is and the constant roller coaster of emotions it brings.

That we should always ask our parents and grandparents (even if they’re healthy) to write things for us—recipes, letters, etc.

That when you hold the hand of someone you love as they take their last breath, you realize there really is no reason to sweat the small stuff ever again because nothing compares.

How important a support system is, that family and friends are one of the only things to help you through heartbreak.

That there are times in your life when you have no choice but to be strong, and you will be.

How doctors and nurses are legitimately angels on earth.

That this life truly is too short, and you never know how much time you’ll get.

Lisa Taras

Lisa Taras is a wife, mom, and photographer. She loves pizza, her family, traveling, and bringing joy to others.