There are a lot of mother-daughter memories I never had the chance to make with my mom.

Memories that have come and gone without her, that I’ve spent many sleepless nights praying circles around, standing firm with God that my daughter will one day have. 

I will be at her wedding. I will hold her babies. I will show up to clean her dishes and make her soup when she’s sick or when she needs nothing more than someone to call.

When sickness steals a mother far before her time, it does more than just steal the person you love.

It steals a lifetime of memories you and your person had yet to make. When I lost Mom, I lost an entire life we should have had together, grieving all of the supposed-tos that suddenly and permanently became never-wills.

RELATED: Only a Motherless Daughter Knows

Hugs we would never share. Belly-laughs that would undoubtedly bring us to tears. Silly texts and late-night calls and visits left to my imagination that would never really exist. When I lost Mom, I mourned much of my own life along with hersboth the life we shared and the life we never would.

I sat at the edge of my daughter’s bed not long ago, rubbing her aching legs.

It was dark, and my 4-year old’s face was smooshed into her pillow as she squirmed from growth pains until the touch of her mama’s hand finally helped her slip into sleep.

I stayed watching her for a while, transported in memory to my own childhood bedroom where my mother once sat at the edge of my bed, in the dark, rubbing my aching legs until I fell asleep.

RELATED: When Time Doesn’t Fix your Grief

I closed my eyes then, lost somewhere between being a daughter and being a mother, and thought to myself, this is the place where redemption lives.

It wasn’t until I had a daughter of my own that I discovered the many redemptive gifts motherhood had waiting for me.

Gifts I’m unwrapping every single day, with every late-night leg massage and every laugh shared between us.

RELATED: If I Could Talk to the Girl Who Just Lost Her Mom

A daughter to a motherless daughter is one of God’s most loving ways of redeeming the many somedays stolen with new somedays that can’t possibly replace, but can absolutely restore memories lost with new memories just waiting to be found.

For every laugh Mom and I would have shared, I share one extra with my own daughter, and I treasure the melody our laughs together make. It reminds me of a sweet song I used to know. 

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

Shawna Kaszer

Shawna Kaszer is a storyteller whose work spans film, theater, and most recently her book Mountains Into Roads: One Woman's Adventure On The Road Between Losing A Mother And Becoming A Mother. She is fiercely determined to see women and men find freedom, healing, and wholeness. Shawna and her husband run KZRHouse where she leads identity and story, working with passionate forerunners and innovators on mission to help change the world. She is co-founder of The Future Is Family (www.thefutureis.family) a social impact shop focused on the pivotal role of family in the transformation of culture. Shawna lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Chad, their two young children (third on the way!), and their puppy P.T. Barnum. Her favorite days are simple and sweet, getting dirty in the garden with her family, or sticky on the front porch eating ice-cream. You can check out her recent film and more about her book at www.shawnakaszer.com.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Small dog with head hanging out car window, color photo

Our dog Carlos has slowed down considerably within the last few months. He’s always been outspoken and opinionated–a typical firstborn trait–and to hear him snoring most of the day and tolerating things he normally wouldn’t tolerate (i.e. being carried from place to place by my son, forklift-style) put me on notice that he’s in the fourth quarter. Carlos looks and acts like an Ewok from the Star Wars franchise. According to Wikipedia, Ewoks are clever, inquisitive, and inventive. Carlos checks all three boxes. As a puppy, we tried crate training, but it never took. It wasn’t for lack of trying....

Keep Reading

You’ve been Gone a Year, So Why Does It Feel Like Yesterday?

In: Grief, Loss
Old photo of mother hugging her young daughter, color photo

In February, you will have been gone a year. How is that right? It was just yesterday. I still remember the day we got the diagnosis. One I knew was coming but still prayed wasn’t true. I still remember promising you that everything was going to be okay, and knowing that it wasn’t. I still remember the first time I saw you and thought to myself, “The dementia is moving too fast.” It was just yesterday. I still feel your hand in mine as I sat next to you in the hospital bed. You were talking and humming along while...

Keep Reading

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

Growing Slowly around the Grief of Losing Your Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on couch with folded arms

Everyone has heard about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Society often assumes the stages of grief happen in order, but those who encounter grief know that’s not true. Undergoing grief can feel like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded—disorienting and chaotic. There are numerous ups, downs, and twists you wouldn’t anticipate. Grief is like an ocean. When waves come crashing, it feels like you’re being swept away. Regardless of their size, waves are always rough. Despite everything, you also get pushed forward to the shore after every wave. Sometimes, you may feel like you are drowning...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

Dear Dad, Maybe You’re the Bird

In: Grief, Loss
Young girl sitting on father's lap, older color photo

Maybe you’re the bird. The one I see outside my door. The one who flies so low it seems you’re somehow weighted down. Like you’re carrying more than just yourself. Like you’re carrying a message. Just for me. Maybe you’re the rain. The sound I hear that reminds me so much of home. Of you. Of driving in your car as a little girl when you looked over and asked my opinion about everything. When you made someone so small feel so very big. RELATED: Dad Left a Legacy in Fried Green Tomatoes Maybe you’re the butterfly. The one I...

Keep Reading

I Hope You Never Know What it’s Like to Forget Who You Are

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman staring at camera, black-and-white photo

I write best when I’m passionate. It’s always been my release. But lately, I’ve struggled to write. I’ve struggled to find purpose in my words. It’s all been twisted and choppy, not a bit poetic or beautiful. These feelings are what the struggles of loss, parenting, work, and marriage push against. It’s finding yourself over and over again and trying to make sense of the senseless. It leaves you questioning most things and leaves you feeling broken with no idea how to put yourself or others back together. I hope you never know. I hope you never know what it’s...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Know How to Live Without My Sister, But I Must

In: Grief
Sisters smiling in posed color photo

I’ve spent a year of my life living in a haze. Holding my breath, afraid to exhale. Focusing on staying in this frozen moment where there is no reality. I pressed the pause button. Pumped the brakes. I’ll stay right here and wait for my life, life as I knew it, life as I loved it, to come back around. Where there is no future to mourn, thinking about the way it should have been and no torturous past to remember, recalling the horror of that day. The special occasions that will come are now outlined in sadness. Wait, she’s...

Keep Reading

6 Ways to Be a Friend to Someone Grieving

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Friends hugging

Grief can truly be such a lonely experience after you lose a loved one. The loneliness isn’t necessarily because you don’t have anyone around you. It’s because only you had your relationship with the person who died, and it’s hard to find anyone to replace that. I have first-hand experience. My mom died recently and unexpectedly at the age of 62 and I at the age of 34, and it single-handedly has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. However, having support from family and friends will help you navigate this difficult time. Without it, the loneliness...

Keep Reading

These Final Gifts from My Mom Are Hard to Let Go

In: Grief, Loss
Little girls boots with worn toes, color photo

My daughter wobbled toward me in silver, square-toed go-go boots, one heel dislodged and flopping against our hallway’s faux wood floor. On her opposite foot, a striped sock peaked curiously through the growing toe hole. “Mama,” she said. Her tiny voice raised another octave, “My shoe!” I sighed, then sat on the floor. Waves of grief washed over me as I contemplated what kind of glue might capably reconstruct the shoe’s sole. Elmer’s glue? Textile glue? Maybe Krazy Glue? I knew the boots should just go into the bin. And yet, they—along with a vibrant, overbearing cat dress that would...

Keep Reading