Overcoming the sting of death

This is something that is very dear to me since I lost my mom when I was 17. I know that to many this may not seem as difficult as their own loss. I know that everyone’s situation is different, and they may have felt differently about it.

But to me losing my mom was really hard. Not just a little hard, but extremely hard. It was hard enough for me that for many years I often felt that I did not want to live any longer. I spent many days in bed depressed because I was in so much pain.

It took me years to get over the death of my mom and while many may not think that my pain is as big as theirs was, I know that what I went through was really hard and it was tough enough for me to tip me over the edge on many aspects of my life.

I thought of this thinking of anyone who feels that they may struggle with the loss of a loved one. I did heal from that pain and I have realized that there were things that I had to do in order to start being happy living life again.

This was a long process. But these are the thoughts that helped me feel better.

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Don’t look at the past, but look at the future.

I had to start thinking about my mom and our reunion in Heaven and the time we will have in Heaven rather than the time that she couldn’t spend here with me. Often times I would also think of certain moments that we spent together and feel regret for what I did not do while my loved one was still there. I had to stop thinking about our memories together in a way, and realize that me not thinking of her did not mean that I didn’t love her. But thinking about our past made me feel depressed. And so when I thought of the past would come, I had to replace that thought with the thought that I would see her again in Heaven. So I had to spend more time thinking of our future together rather than our past.

Learn to not think about them constantly

For me getting over my mom meant also that I needed to be ok not thinking about her. And that if I didn’t think about her it didn’t mean that I didn’t love her, but just that I needed to take care of other things for a little while, just enough until we will be ready again to meet in Heaven. I had to find other things to do in a sense that gave me purpose. I had to make peace with the thought that if I wasn’t thinking about my mom, it didn’t mean that I no longer loved her, and that I had forgotten her. And sometimes that nasty thought was exactly what came to my mind. I had to learn to cast it away and learn that it was not true.

Learning to do things without the person that you lost

I would have had to learn to be independent regardless when my mom past away. I was close to leaving the nest. Soon enough I would have had to learn to do things on my own. Honestly I hadn’t learned that yet. We had only practiced at home.

But still, many people never stop needing their mom. Moms are often there for family events, for the birth of a baby, to help when the baby first comes home. Moms give lifetime advice when their kids struggle with life, their marriage, finances. I felt the loss of my mom constantly around me. I had to learn to do so many things not only on my own, but also without the help that I saw so many others receive. So no matter who we lose, we will need to go through a period of adjustment where we need to learn to live without that person.

What was hard for me was that I never knew how life was without having my mom around. All I knew was life with her. I had been around her for my entire earthly existence. In a sense even if we meet someone later on in life and then they leave our life, the absence of that loved one always leaves a whole. It’s a little bit like a break up in a sense. You spent time with that person and now they are gone and it hurts, because you miss doing what you did with them for a time. Except for, usually break ups are bad and sometimes that person should be gone for good reasons.

I had to learn to not feel sorry for my situation and compare my life to others. I had to learn to be independent of my mom and her advice. And this help often came from angels on earth. People that helped me. I remember one time I was sitting at the grocery store trying to figure which type of flour to buy. I sat starting at different brands for a few minutes when another mom with her daughter just happened to walk by and stopped to tell me that she was buying a certain type because it was the best flour for baking. I nearly cried because I immediately recognized that I could get help and that I wasn’t going to be alone all the time while doing this.

Believe that the pain won’t last forever

When my mom was gone I was in pain for many years. I was mad about it because I thought that I never again would feel joy in this life. But then one day that joy did come back. I wanted to feel the joy that I had as a child for so many years. And I thought it was going to be impossible to ever be happy again without my mom being here. But that joy did come back. And now that I know that, I want everyone to know that it is possible to believe that happiness can come back. Joy will never be lost forever. and we are allowed to give ourselves permission to be happy again.

Our loved ones would never want us to be sad about their absence

My mom had actually left a poem in her journal asking us to never mourn her loss. Well I did not listen to that for a long time, but eventually I understood what she meant. If I was gone tomorrow, I would never want my children to be sad that I am gone. I would want them to remember the love I have for them, but have joy in the mean time. Never would I want them to suffer for me. The thought of it actually makes me shiver because I know they need their mom, but because I love them, all I want them is to be happy.

Forgive the person for their mistakes

One thing I had to realize was that my mom wasn’t perfect and I needed to let go of the bad moments. I hadn’t learned by then that parents are not meant to be perfect, so for me it was hard to deal with the loss of a loved one, while still not understanding the things that didn’t go as planned in life. There were so many questions and unresolved issues in my life.

I had to learn to forgive the things that happened that in my case were small issues. I also had to learn that in life we progress. If my mom had still been here she would have progressed with me. She would have come a longer way. She would have learned new things. I had to learn to play the game by my own rules and do so unapologetically. Now I was living a new life in a new era too, so I needed to learn to live life in a different way than my own mom did.

At times I felt as if I would have done my mom wrong by doing things differently than she did, or I learned that maybe the way she did do some things didn’t work for me or wasn’t the best way to handle situations. But I needed to learn to be ok with that and accept that my love for her was not going to change by doing things differently.

I remember often wondering what my mom would do if she had been around when social media came about. Truth is I even got my grandmother to be on it. But despite what my mom would have thought, now I needed to make my own decisions and trust my on judgement.

I have learned mostly throughout the years to view difficulties as temporary and not permanent.

When my mom was alive she actually taught me that this life in a way is like a parent that leaves the room for a little while while leaving the child there. We can’t see them or hear them, but we can learn to know that that person still exists and is there, we just need to distract ourselves until they are back so we don’t sit there crying awaiting for their return.

I have applied this principle to our earthly existence away from God physically, but also for when we are away from a loved one physically.

I have had to learn in my life, that my love will continue on existing forever, and make peace with the fact that if the people I love were alive I wouldn’t constantly be thinking about them, so I needed to do the same now that they were gone.

See even if I lost a friend, I wouldn’t be with them 24/7. I would still need to be independent sometimes and create a life of my own. My children some day will be gone out of the nest and I am going to have to learn to live without their presence here at home. My husband sometimes leaves me to go to work so he can provide for my family.

No matter who our loved ones are, leaving them is very painful. I have had to learn to just live life as if they were away on a trip. I have learned that it’s ok to give ourselves time to grieve no matter what and cry about that person.

I also know that because life is a lot longer when we are in pain, we need to find things to replace that hole and distract us just until we are reunited again.

That reunion will come and it will be beautiful. But give yourself permission to be happy while still believing that the people you love would truly only want that for you.

Love, M. Serena Essuman

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