My Most-Visited Post: Losing The Ones You Love

I was just reading through some of my older blogs, trying to avoid cleaning up the kitchen, when I came across one of my first “from the heart” posts.  On January 3, 2010, two hundred and fourteen people viewed Losing The Ones You Love.

Today I decided to re-blog that post and also include all of the original comments that both friends, family and readers made that day.  I read each and every comment and really appreciated all of them.  They way you all opened up was wonderful and cathartic for me.

Grief is a terrible thing.  It’s stressful, sad, happy and so many other things.  It helps to read about others who are or who were in the same situation as you.

I’ve lost so many people in my family but losing my mother was the most grueling, tragic and heart-breaking of them all.

If you have a sensitive side like me, get your tissues out and read.  Whether this post makes you cry, remember or realize the joy of life and living while it’s here, or even if it reminds you to make that call or visit before it’s too late – then it has accomplished something.

Losing The Ones You Love

Hi everybody.  I was originally going to talk about addictions today but I’ll put that on the back-burner for another day.
My friend Vicky who just joined Facebook, after months and months of urging, posted a comment that made me think of my mom. A memory, a good memory, that I suppress along with a host of others.

She wrote, “Were your ears ringing Christmas Eve night?  We were in church – Silent Night was playing and I was remembering how you, your mom , Jules & I would go to midnight mass- I shed some tears.”

Well that did it.  The tears welled up and I started to cry.  Thanks Vick.  Then I started to think about how shitty the world is without the people I love.  I have lost a lot of people to death.  It’s not at all comforting but we all have to deal with it eventually.  It made me think of my mom’s death and how I can’t watch movies or TV shows where someone s dying, is in the hospital, has cancer, etc.  I think they call that TRANSFER.

In case you didn’t know my mother, her name was Phyllis.  Phyllis was a pip.  Funny, strong and definitely outside the box.  She was a straight shooter – so if you didn’t want to hear the truth – you shouldn’t have asked her for her opinion.   Everybody loved mom.  Even when she tried to run them over with her car – but that’s another story.

My mom Phyllis died of sepsis at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair in 2005 after fighting cancer for 24 years.  Twenty four years!  That’s amazing to me.  When I think about it, I don’t know if I could be that strong.  Radiation, chemo, chemo, radiation and finally chemo – once per week for the rest of her life.  She went into remission twice but it always came back.

She tried to refuse treatment, but the doctor fought with her to keep her alive.  I never really realized HOW SICK she actually was.  Maybe I was in denial.  Her personality was so effervescent, it never clicked.  When I look at photos of her right before she died, I can see how debilitated she became.

I remember the last time that she went to see Dr. Lee and she told her how far the cancer had progressed.  She hoped that she would go into remission again, but that didn’t happen.  It seems like yesterday.

I was waiting for my mom and dad to come home.  My Aunt Mimi was upstairs and I was in the basement cleaning poop off the dog’s butt.  I heard the door open and my aunt say, “How did you make out?”  The next thing I heard broke my heart in half.  My mother was absolutely hysterically crying and sobbing as if she couldn’t believe that she still had, at full force I might add, this cancer that was NOT going to go away.

I didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to run upstairs and hug her with all my might but I too had started sobbing and I wanted to stay strong for her.  So I finished up with the dog, choked back my tears and slowly went upstairs.  There were no words.  I couldn’t say anything to her that would help, so I just hugged her and hugged her and hugged her.

She died in a semi-conscious state while my dad, my cousin Elaine, my husband John and I were all with her.  She opened her eyes to look at every one of us – I was the last one.  I held her hands and said, “Mommy, I love you.  I don’t want you to go, but if you have to, it’s ok.”   My mom closed her eyes and the doctor came rushing in.  We asked him why he rushed in and he told us that her heartbeat just slowed significantly.  I told him that I told her that it was alright to go and he told me that it was the best thing I could have ever done.

I still question that decision.  Fighting with my selfishness and my selflessness.  I don’t care how old you are, you always need your mother.  Losing people you love is difficult.  You miss them so much but hang on to the memories.  I suppress.  It doesn’t get any easier but it gets easier to deal with or to hide.

Shortly after she died my husband said to me, “Jacq, some day you’ll talk about her and laugh.”  That may be true, but how freakin’ long does that take?  Does anybody believe that?  Is it true?  I still cry everyday.  The holidays are the worst.  Thank God I still have my dad and he’s healthy and doing well.

If you knew my mom and have a good memory of her, please post it.  If you didn’t know my mom and you have a memory of someone who you loved and lost, please post that too.  As much as I don’t like to depend of people, everyone needs someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on and someone to help you through the worst times and the best times of your life.

Comments Below…

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Republished 2011.


Hey Jac,

Unfortunately, I didn’t know you mom, but she sounded like an amazing and strong woman. I read you posting today and I found myself sitting here crying myself,…and laughing. My mom died very suddenly 2 years ago today. I think it is sort of ironic that you wrote this posting today because I was just sitting here thinking about how there couldn’t be anyone in this world who understands how it feels to lose their mother, besides someone who has lost their mother….

My mom called me January 3rd at 8 am and asked me to drive her to the hospital because she had a stomach virus and was in so much pain. Josh and I picked her up and took her and after hours and hours and hours in the ER, they finally moved her to ICU, where she passed minutes later. It was such a shock for someone who was never sick and who never complained about anything. She ended up having a serious issue with her pancreas which shut down many of her other organs. My mom was the most selfless woman that anyone could ever meet. She would honestly give you the last dollar in her wallet if you asked her. She did anything and everything for the people she loved. She made everyone feel comfortable even if that meant that she would be without something…or anything.

I remember sitting in the waiting room after I watched my mom go into complete cardiac arrest, surrounded by family and friends and thinking that I would never, ever be able to sleep, eat, love, laugh or live without my mom….my rock. I remember going home with my Dad and sister and brothers and sleeping (well not sleeping) on the living room floor, night after night after night….and just tossing and turning. I could not find happiness in anything….the holidays are still extremely hard. My sister and I cried through the planning of both of our weddings, and every other joyous occasion that my mom should be here for. We got totally jipped!

Some days are def. better than others, but I agree, every day is still a struggle. I miss her every single day. It sucks that my children will never get to meet such an awesome lady. My Mom was the kind of person found humor in the littlest and silliest things. Honestly, that’s what gets me through the hard times. I too find humor is simply stupid things….and when I do, I think of her and laugh…

Eventually I was able to laugh again, live again, love again. But every day I miss her.

Thank you for posting this today. :) You don’t know how much your story helped me.

I actually remember you talking about your mom in class. It was evident that you two were close but I think you wished that you could be even closer. As an only child, you knew that you had to be there for her through all her treatments and always had to be strong for her. I remember you showing us a picture of your mom one of the times she was in a bit of remission and her hair had started to grow back a bit. Strange that I remember that, but I do… possibly because I lost my grandfather freshman year of high school? I don’t know. It’s been 12 years since he passed now and I think about him all the time. My family talks about him a lot and we laugh, sometimes so hard we are crying. Then later, I sometimes cry just because I wish he could be here to witness us laughing at him 12 years after he’s been dead. lol, It’s definitely hard to lose someone, but if you stay close with your family and keep the memories of her alive, a part of her stays alive. I can still picture my grandfather sitting in the living room and his reactions to things as I’m sure you can your mom. Keep her alive in your heart and embrace the memories.

I never met your mom! I did have the privilege of talking to her on several occasions! I felt has if I had always known her! And you are right about one thing! If you didn’t want an answer to your question then don’t ask it! I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this to you! What a great wonderful woman! My mom is a lot like yours…pulls no punches…if you don’t like what she has to say don’t ask.

I don’t ever think you get over losing a parent. I know for Jeff it still haunts him….being only is always there. I can see Cameron at Tony’s visitation and my dad taking care of him. I guess we think that our parents will live forever! Yours does in your cooking and making the dishes you grew up with….mine too! I lucky I still have my parents and they are in good health. I know that I am going on and on but I don’t seem to be able help myself! Your mother loved you and always wanted the best she could give you. She also knew that you were very special and had so much talent! Be proud! You come from tough stock! And Just remember a cousin in law in Arkansas loves you!!!!

Jackie, I have so many memories of your mom, but I was so young when I knew her. She always invited me in for a visit when I would walk around the corner to see if you were home. I also remember this one time you were teaching me how to twirl (I wasn’t very good!) and she stood on the steps and watched looking so proud of you! They all seems to blend together in my mind from one visit to the next. but I was always happy to see her and she always welcomed a tiny drop in visitor from around the corner.
I just had a funny thought…..I was at your house and we were talking about boys and I was reminiscing about my first kiss. I remember your mom knew his family and was giving me the lowdown on his siblings and I remember being mortified that I shared that story.
Hi Jacq don’t know how to start but here goes… your story brought me to tears i lost my mom in 2007 after suffering for ten years from alzheimer’s, it was and is still a struggle but i move on for her, she would have wanted it that way. My memory of your mom happens to be with my mom! Our football games you twirling and me in my tiger outfit they never missed a game and the cheered for us like crazy!!! Still could see them up there in the bleachers soooo proud of us.. it just isn’t right that he takes the good ones, sometimes i wish he took another mother one that doesn’t have a daughter, some girls don’t even get along with there moms he could have taking one of them right? But i guess he needed them, but they are together again watching us from above and cheering us on together again…..sorry for your loss xoxo
Hi, Jacqui!

I got chills reading this. I can tell your mom was an amazing and feisty woman. I guess that is where you get your spunk from. Although her battle with Cancer was a long road I am glad she was able to give you 24 more years of memories to hold on too. Your statement that said, ” I don’t care how old you are, you always need your mother. ” is sooo powerful. My biggest fear in life is to not be there for my children. I always pray for God to keep me here long enough to have my children be able to be independent of me. But like you said, no matter how old you are you always need your mom.

I just lost my friend Diane to Cancer this past Christmas Eve., 12-24-09. She also battled for a long time, close to 10 years. Her children are young adults and I am sure the holidays will never be the same for them.

I also did loose a parent too. My dad! But I was only 3 years old. I really don’t have ANY memories of my dad and that can be really painful too. It also explains why growing up for me was so hard. I did luck out though because my mom re-married and I do consider myself lucky enought to have had two dads. I am glad you still have your Dad also.

I am sure the holidays will never quite be the same but I hope your pain lessens as the years pass. Four years is only a short time to loose someone you have loved for a lifetime. I am sure you will keep your mom alive in memory and by living your life by being a reflection of her. Keeping you in prayer!


I read your blog about Phyllis about an hour ago and I had to give myself some time to think.

I will never forget her the few times I spent at your house with you and your incredible twirling awards and trophies!! I remember her yelling JAQUI be careful in there! you and she were quite a pair!

Like me and my mom.. I miss her soo much Jaqui, It’s is close to 15 years and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I understand your saying you surpress your memories cause I do too. I have to if I am going to continue with my life, it’s still painful for me to think about her. but I didn’t start this to talk about my loss, I wanted to share a memory of your mom .

Remember when we were in girl scouts and we went camping? Carols cabin and we were scared shitless!! I remember this one particular night we were sleeping on the floor and each one of us kept having to go to the bathroom, it’s really kind of silly but she said something like” Boy, what does everybody here have a leaky faucet?? well needless to say we all thought that was the funniest thing we ever heard! Just the way she said things was funny.

I remember the last time I saw her, it was in the “old” Brookdale Shoprite, she was wearing a bandanna on her head and she was telling me how she beat the cancer! I was so amazed at her strength, I remember going home and telling my mom (who knew your mom pretty well), That I was inspired by her courage.

It is true that our parents live on through us, but I still wish every day I could see my mom and dad here on earth even just one more time. I do have faith that I will see them again, however, you never stop wishing for one more.
God bless you Jaqui and keep your faith!

Hey Jac,

Now I’m crying after reading what you wrote! My mother and I just went to see the Radio City Music Show today and I’m so glad we did now! Anyway, I do remember your mom, I remember going to your house, and what I remember was that when you were punished and it was your mother only home, she would let you go out anyway, but if your mother and father were both home, you were really punished!!! I always remembered that, I thought it was funny!

Hello my friend,

There are sssssooooo many emotions I have after reading this blog. First off, it sucks losing anyone, especially a parent. It really is hard to move forward and enjoy life in the same manner. It definitely changes things. Your emotions are in turmoil and it is hard to put everything into perspective.
I have found, since losing my dad 23 years ago and my husband 12 years ago (those being the most tramatic to me), that everytime I start to get a little down, or find myself feeling sorry for myself, something happens or I hear of another person’s struggles and it reminds me that I have a lot to be thankful for.
I do tend to talk about that person, in a funny or positive light, if I am feeling down, and it reminds me that we were able to share a lot of wonderful times and although the time we shared may have been too short, it was great while it lasted.
I know that this may sound like a big fat cliche’ but it has really happened to me over the years.
When you are ready, you will speak of your mom in a way that makes you happy.
I am absolutely sure that when that time comes you will remember some hysterical stories. She was a pip, just like you said. She was always there, sick or not. She never missed anything or a trick for that matter. She had a heart of gold and was always there to lend a hand. She was a mom that was involved. There aren’t a lot of kids that can say that their parents were there for them. You can! You might not have liked it at the time, but looking back I know that you are glad now.
Jacqui, my friend, someone very wise told me that it would take 5 years to wake up from whatever funk I was in to realize that I was actually in a funk. I thought, yeah right. They were right! The day WILL come when you will realize you have been here, but not really here. Trust me! And when that time comes and you want to tell stories, I’ll be ready to listen. I can always use a good laugh, and cry, for that matter.

Ginamarie M-S | January 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Reply |Edit

I did not know your mom passed. I am soooo sorry. I will always remember your mom. You’re so right- she was a pip and a definite straight shooter- not unlike my mom. That must be why they liked one another. Your blog made me cry. I lost my grandmother to cancer years ago and it will always stay with me. I never in a million years thought my grandmother would not be at my wedding or not be around for my children. I remember when she was in ICU and I held her hand with tears in my eyes and told her she didn’t have to fight for us. I just didn’t want her to suffer. Just last month, her son, my Uncle Frankie passed- he too of cancer. It was terrible. I was by his side when he passed, as was most of the family. I miss him so much. We take people for granted- especially family- sometimes, thinking they will be with us forever. Don’t take anything for granted because none of us is promised tomorrow.


I am reading through ALL of your blogs and I have to say your write beautifully!! I had to comment on this one about your sweet precious mom!!! I loved that woman!! I will never forget how she helped me on my wedding day! I like you know the feeling of losing my mom and to not have my own mother there with me on one of the most special days of my life was hard. I wouldn’t have had any other person in my life in the room with me that day! I remember when we got to the church she stayed in the back and helped me with my veil and train. She was one of the most wonderful people I ever had the honor of knowing. The way she made us laugh will never be forgotten. She was the true definition of a angel on earth!!!

Love this post, it really made me remember about my mother too. She passed away 4 years ago and I still think of her every now and then. I’m sure it’s difficult for everyone when they lose their parents, mothers especially.

Stay strong. I’m sure she’s in heaven watching you (:

PS. Interesting blog you have here. Will link you!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Republished 2011.

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