Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

We needed to get our day started. Really. It was the beginning of a new homeschool week, and the morning was crawling closer and closer towards the afternoon. I looked across the room at my girls, ready to tell them it was time to head upstairs and get started.

They were totally immersed in the imaginary world they had created in our living room. They were laughing and smiling and making silly voices for their toys. It was priceless, but I still started to open my mouth to interrupt it all and get our school day going.

But then her voice and her words echoed in my mind, and I stopped myself.

“Take care of each other, because one day it will just be the two of you, and you will need one another.”

My brother and I heard those words endlessly from our mom. She ingrained that idea into us—how one day she and my dad would be gone, and we would only have the relationship we built with one another to stand on. So we needed to need each other. We needed to love each other. We needed to protect each other.

So I let them play together longer.

Some days my girls are at each other’s throats all day. They argue and they push each other’s buttons, because that’s what siblings do. And I try to help them resolve it, or I sit back and let them work it out themselves. But on those days, I want so badly to hear them talking and laughing and enjoying one another. This morning they were doing just that.

So I let it be.

My favorite moment in my life is the one in which I watched my daughters meet one another. It was the most important thing I have ever seen, and I have loved watching them become the sisters they are to one another. My mom used to tell me when my youngest was a newborn, and the days were long and challenging, that one day I would be able to sit back and quietly watch my daughters play together. That it wouldn’t be as hard as it was in the early days of having a newborn and a three-year-old. She told me that it would be amazing to see them create their own relationship, independent of me.

So I sat quietly and watched and listened, and let them play together longer.

My brother was my sidekick as a child (or I was his, depending on the day). We had the same hobbies, the same friends, the same interests, and the same completely weird sense of humor. My brother made this friend when he was eleven that he thought the world of, and I grew up and married that guy. My brother was our best man.

No matter what I faced, or he faced, my brother and I had each other. We have seen great things for each other, and we have seen each other suffer. But we have had one another through it all.

“Take care of each other, because one day it will just be the two of you, and you will need one another.”

I want my girls to have that kind of relationship with each other, so I let them play together longer.

My brother and I lost our mom three years ago. She was too young, and so were we. But anyone who loses a parent is never, ever ready for it. You never feel old enough to face the world without your parents.

But my mom prepared us, because she gave us each other. She let us have every moment together that we could, and she told us to cherish it. We built ridiculous Lego villages. We ran around our yard until it was dark, making up games that made no sense. We got older and drove for hours blasting Ben Folds Five out of the car windows. We graduated a day apart from the same college (because of course he just had to be a genius and graduate a year early). We became adults and worked for the same company for years. My mom built that.

And when my mom left us, she proved herself right (as usual) that one day we would be without her, and our relationship as siblings would be crucial. And it is, because we need each other now more than we ever have. One day my girls will need each other that much too.

So today I let them play together longer.

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

Hannah Angstadt-Gunning

Hannah is a former full-time working turned stay-at-home/homeschooling mom. She is a contributing writer and co-editor for Columbia SC Mom’s Blog. You can also find her at her blog, Palindromic Musings, where she writes about living with and navigating through grief, and on Twitter.  She is passionate about writing, painting, social justice, wine, and raising strong women. Hannah lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband and two young daughters, and is an alumni of the University of South Carolina and devoted Gamecock fan.

A Letter To My Mother in Heaven

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Wide open sky at sunset

Dear Mom, I miss you. I wish you were here. I can tell you a mom is irreplaceable for a child. When a mom dies, her child is no longer whole. The loss makes it hard to breathe. That child flails in the wind like a cottonwood seed. A piece of fluff that gets knocked about the world by the wind. Sometimes I landed on solid ground, sometimes I landed in a pond and almost drowned. But I’m still here. I survived. RELATED: To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent In the year after your death,...

Keep Reading

The Grey Sweater

In: Death of a Parent, Faith, Grief
The Grey Sweater www.herviewfromhome.com

Folding the laundry gets me down sometimes. It’s a mindless activity, really. My brain runs on autopilot as it remembers the old days when laundry only took up a small percentage of my time. Nowadays, I can spend up to four hours in one afternoon doing laundry for my tribe of six people. I drift into a mechanical rhythm as I go through my three step process: retrieve fold put away (Granted, this is an ideal scenario- I don’t typically make it through all three steps in one day!) While I was going through the motions this morning, my hands...

Keep Reading

Even Though You’re In Heaven, Your Grandchildren Will Know You

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Mother and little boy looking down road

The well-loved picture frame sits on the shelf in your grandkids’ room; just high enough to be out of reach from curious toddler hands, but low enough for me to pull it down each time they ask about you. That photo of you— it has always been my favorite. You look so happy, so healthy, so whole . . . just the way that I want these sweet grandbabies of yours—the ones you never got to meet—to know you. Because although you may be in Heaven, they will know you. You’ll never bounce them on your knee, or sneak extra...

Keep Reading

He Died Getting Sober For His Granddaughter: What My Father’s Death Taught Me About Grief

In: Death of a Parent, Grief
He Died Getting Sober For His Granddaughter: What My Father's Death Taught Me About Grief www.herviewfromhome.com

Years had been spent trying to tell my father that he needed help. He and his wife had separated, gotten back together, and separated again. His alcoholism was controlling every facet of his life and he was in complete denial about it. That had been the way for years. When I finally became pregnant, my husband and I decided to drop the bomb on Dad with humor. He had what we called a “thriving” waistline (due to excessive drinking and poor diet) and so I pointed out his gut and said “give me a few months and I’ll catch up....

Keep Reading

Moving Through Grief With My Sensitive Son

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Kids
Moving Through Grief With My Sensitive Son www.herviewfromhome.com

My middle child, Austin, is not the extrovert like his older sister and younger brother. Though he doesn’t hide from a crowd, he’s most happy at home, reading books, riding his bike in the alley, and cuddling in our big chair with me. He’s always been this way. My husband, Shawn, and I spent a painful year watching Austin scream and cry every single day when we’d leave him at the preschool doors. The next year was less dramatic, but he still shed many tears. Finally in kindergarten he could walk into the classroom without crying, but he would still...

Keep Reading

My Mom Died and It’s Not Fair

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
My Mom Died and It's Not Fair www.herviewfromhome.com

“I think we should leave,” I whispered to my husband through clenched teeth as my two-year old daughter, Hailey, wailed in my arms. We were at my cousin Ryan’s house for his daughter’s birthday party and Hailey was having a typical overtired toddler meltdown. Tears started to well up in my eyes, but not because of my daughter’s less than ideal behavior. As I surveyed the room, I could see my aunt smiling and laughing with her granddaughter and Ryan’s wife’s mom right beside them, doting on the little girl, too. Witnessing this made me think about my own mother...

Keep Reading

A Love Letter From Mamas in Heaven to Their Beautiful Daughters on Earth

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Journal, Loss
motherless, motherless daughter, grief, loss, heaven, faith, grieving, mom www.herviewfromhome.com

“We know days don’t come easy for you and so we chose to band together and compose a love letter in your honor. Funny thing when it comes to mamas in Heaven: we find each other and form a tribe like a sisterhood on earth. We comfort one another when you’re hurting and we brag up the wazoo when you accomplish anything. Actually, we brag from morning till night. Yesterday Kim’s mama made us gather around and listen for over an hour how her daughter graduated college with honors although she had mononucleosis for two semesters. Right now, Sara’s mama...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Know the Importance of a Dad, Because I Lost Mine Too Soon

In: Death of a Parent, Journal
Dear Husband, I Know the Importance of a Dad, Because I Lost Mine Too Soon www.herviewfromhome.com

Dad was enlightened. He knew that every small moment mattered. He was silly, too. He made funny faces at me in every situation. He told stories of sailing to China on container ships, and he practiced Tai Chi every morning. He knew how to engage my creativity, spreading butcher paper all over the living room floor so I could draw on and on and on. His collection of string instruments and the bright, whimsical canvases he painted in oil decorated our home. We danced and sang to Ry Cooder and David Lindley and ate slices of juicy red watermelon on...

Keep Reading

To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent

In: Death of a Parent, Grief
Sad woman head in her hands sitting against a wall

To the young adults out there who have lost parents, this one is for you. You experienced a great loss and you’re still so young with so much life ahead of you. You often wonder how you can make it through the rest of your life without the parent who is no longer here. I see you struggling. On the outside, you hold it together. You keep a smile and hold your head up high; you want to take on the world and embrace life. You meet new people and want to tell them your story because maybe they understand....

Keep Reading

Mother’s Day Magnifies the Loss of My Own Mom, and It’s Still Hard

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Mother's Day Magnifies the Loss of My Own Mom, and It's Still Hard www.herviewfromhome.com

“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...

Keep Reading