Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

My mom died at the age of 45. Yes, just 45. 

Around Mother’s Day, the reality of just how young she was hits me hard. As a mother of two young boys, I’m evaluating my own motherhood journey and in the absence of my mom, trying to give myself some sound advice for this next year. 

My mom was a family doctor. She got her MD at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s from Johns Hopkins University. Brilliant, most would say. She was in generally good health, petite, never smoked, never had more than a glass or two of wine, and had lots of energy. Not someone you’d ever look at and think, “They’ll die young.” 

But ovarian cancer doesn’t discriminate. 

RELATED: But Mom, I Always Thought We’d Have More Time

I don’t think she prioritized herself the way she should have, although who could blame her? I can’t imagine how tough it would have been to prioritize yourself as a mother of five, wife, and household manager with a demanding career. I have no idea how she even did it all, let alone did it so well.

When she died, she had five children between the ages of 4 and 18. I’m sure she never imagined at 35 or 40 that she had less than 10 years left to live. I’m sure she didn’t imagine she wouldn’t see her youngest go to kindergarten or her oldest graduate college. 

That’s the thing with death—we never know when it’s going to happen to us, and we all tend to live as if it’s light-years away. 

Gosh, I just can’t imagine my kids not having me as they go through life. My heart hurts and tears fall even thinking about the possibility. 

All of this reflection has me reevaluating my own life. I need to exercise more consistently and eat less crap. I need to somehow find (okay, make) time for silence, breathing, and true relaxation. 

RELATED: To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent

I can’t tell you the last time I sat for even 15 minutes and did deep breathing or sat down and mediated/prayed/pondered/relaxed. I’m always doing. It’s very difficult for me to relax when housework isn’t done, bills aren’t paid, or I have work to do—and all of these things are endless. I don’t think there is or will ever be a time when at least one of those things doesn’t need doing. I need to figure out how to relax despite and in place of it. 

It can wait. It can wait. It can wait.

My health and mental well-being are far more important. Who cares about any of that stuff if I’m in an early grave because of stress? It’s not worth it. 

Let’s hold our mom friends accountable to control what we can to be there for our kids for as long as humanly possible. 

Cheers to health and accountability this Mother’s Day and beyond. 

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

Joanna Gossett

Joanna is a wife, mother of two boys and multiple business owner. She lost her mother and brother as a teen and conquered a dibilitating anxiety disorder called trichotillomania (hair pulling). Joanna is fueled by helping others see the positive in tough situations and offering hope for a brighter tomorrow. 

Dear Grieving Mom, Do Not Stay Silent

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sitting by window

I never knew what rock bottom felt like until I lost my first child in the womb. I never understood what it meant to have an identity crisis until I went from working 50+ hour weeks to being home full time—knee-deep in poopy diapers, wearing vomit-covered shirts, speaking in weird voices, working my tail off just to see my little one’s toothless grin. I also never understood love the way I do now until I became a mom. The heart-pounding, gut-wrenching desire to protect that little soul. To wear sweatpants around all day, working tirelessly to keep the baby fed,...

Keep Reading

A How-To Guide To Life For the Motherless Daughter

In: Grief, Loss
mother in the hospital with daughter

I don’t have appropriate words to describe my mother. It wasn’t that she was determined because that implies an overall plan of action. She just kept going. I wouldn’t call it perseverance because that invokes the idea that eventually she prevailed. She didn’t. She just kept going. She was not quite persistent or tenacious, and certainly not resolute or steadfast. She woke up every day and did what had to be done all day long, no matter how difficult or unfair or unpleasant. She was not energetic or particularly positive or even hopeful. She just kept going . . ....

Keep Reading

As You Go On Living Life Without the One Who Gave it to You

In: Grief, Loss
sad woman www.herviewfromhome.com

My dear, beautiful friend, I remember the day I received the news; the way my heart pounded and my eyes filled with tears as the enormity of your loss hit me. I remember imagining, just for a moment, being in your shoes, and the heartbreak and physical illness that tore through me. Yet the reality was not mine; it was yours. You had lost your beautiful mother. It’s the natural order of things—we’re supposed to lose our parents at some point—but that day is supposed to be an unidentifiable point years down the track, so far off that it never...

Keep Reading