“Your mother’s gone,” my dad said as he walked into our apartment.

Those words still haunt me, even 19 years later. My mother’s death wasn’t a surprise—she had been battling lung cancer for sixteen months—I just wasn’t ready to hear it.

The finality of it all.

My mother was gone.

Those few days, weeks and months remain somewhat of a blur. I was very angry and bitter.

I had recently started dating a wonderful man (my now-husband, Brian) and our lives revolved around parties and other social events. 

But I wasn’t ready.

I wasn’t ready to be happy.

While out and about, I took notice of particular people. 

The mother and daughter shopping together at the mall.

The mother and daughter who got to celebrate holidays together.

Many of the daughters I glared at were my own age.

Why was I robbed?

My anger reached high levels on those times I would catch a mother/daughter pair arguing. No doubt about something really silly. Didn’t these daughters appreciate what they had? Did they even realize that it could be taken away from them at any second?

If I had to wager a guess, they didn’t comprehend it at all.

I have learned that a lot of us “motherless daughters” exhibit similar behaviors.

We still have the urge to pick up the phone.

We still want to laugh and share stories.

We still have many questions.

But . . . I had to move on. My mother’s death did not stop the world from turning even though I thought it would.

Now that I am a mom, the grief takes on a different form. I not only hurt for myself, but for my children. They would never get to meet this amazing woman named grandma.

She is one I would be calling in the middle of the night if their fever wasn’t breaking.

She is the one I would be calling for advice on feeding, potty training, tantrums and feedings.

She would continue to be my mentor.

For my children, I keep the memory alive. It is a bittersweet experience. They know all about her contagious laugh and warm heart. 

My oldest, at eight-years-old, frequently asks if I am still sad.

Nineteen years later, I sure am.

The sad reality is that every one of us will experience loss in their lifetime. No doubt, a parental loss is one of the worst.

Nineteen years later, I can finally say I have achieved happiness. Looking at my beautiful children, I have little choice. They are the gift that keeps me going. They have taught me that life does go on and that it is a beautiful one. It is just not the way I would prefer it.

However, 19 years later, I still miss my mom. 

I always will.

Kathleen Sullivan

I am a freelance writer and full-time mom. My work has appeared on: The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Brain, Child Magazine, Mamalode xoJane, Parentco., Mommyish and Your Tango. I can also be found blogging at: http://www.threekidsonehusbandandabottleofwine.com/