It seems as though I’m in good company in the Motherless Daughters Club these days.

While it’s hard to watch friends lose their moms (and dads) much too young, I know from my own experience that, eventually, they will come out the other side, stronger and wiser, even though that ache never really goes away.

Here are five things you will probably experience after your mom dies.

1. You become your own biggest cheerleader.

When your mom is gone, you become your own biggest fan by proxy. No one will ever care about your accomplishments and your dreams and your fears as much as your mom. Others may try but they are not hormonally programmed from the time you were born to love you.

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In the end, being your own biggest cheerleader can be a good thing. When your confidence and self-worth move beyond your mother’s love and protection, you will likely become more willing to take risks and push yourself far beyond supposed limitations.

2. Everything starts to remind you of your mom, including yourself.

When your mom dies, she will start showing up all around you—in songs you used to listen to together, in movies you used to watch together, in places you used to go together, in things you used to do together, in holidays you used to celebrate together. You will see her in your children, and, sometimes, you will even see her looking back at you in the mirror.

3. All of your other relationships will be tested.

It will become very obvious who really cares about you when your mother dies–who shows up for the funeral services, who sends flowers, cards, and messages, who brings food. And who doesn’t.

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Your relationship with your spouse may be tested the most. If your marriage can weather this storm, it can probably weather any storm.

4. You will always need your mom but you will get used to not having her by your side.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” –Winnie-the-Pooh

The ache of missing your mom will never go away, but you will eventually realize she is such an integral part of who you are that, in a way, she has never truly left you. She is an ingrained part of your identity, as much a part of your future as of your past.

5. You will find out how resilient you really are.

Once you’ve grieved a loss of this magnitude, most future losses and struggles will pale in comparison. Once you figure out you can survive this hurt, you will know you can survive anything.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

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Lauren Flake

Lauren Flake is a wife, mom to two girls, watercolor artist, seventh generation Texan, and early onset Alzheimer's daughter. She is the author and co-illustrator of two award-winning children's books for grieving preschoolers, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go? and Where Did My Sweet Grandpa Go?, and the editor of Love of Dixie magazine. She loves green tea, dark chocolate, and collecting all things turquoise.