What I Learned About Being a Mom…… because I Lost Mine

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Exactly one year ago today, I held my Moms hand while she took her last breath and I felt her heart beat for the last time.

A short 6 months earlier my Mom had slurred her speech for the first time, igniting a month of intense doctor visits that ruled everything out but ALS- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – Lou Gehrig’s disease. A terminal degenerative disease that comes with a life expectancy of approximately 2-5 years. Not for my Mom, she lived 4 1/2 short months from the time she was diagnosed.

We knew her condition seemed to be deteriorating faster than most cases of ALS. With my husband’s blessing, I packed myself, Davis, and Beckham up, and when we went down to my parents home for Thanksgiving we didn’t come back. We planned on staying for the entire month of December. If there was even a chance this was going to be my Moms last Christmas, I wanted to be there for every moment and every tradition. By the time Christmas rolled around my Dad and I were full time caregivers and she asked me not to go home.

My husband and friends were amazing and I was able to care for her until she peacefully slipped from this world into the next. It was the most difficult and the most amazing experience all at the same time. Here is what I learned about Motherhood while losing my own Mom.

A mothers love is irreplaceable. I know this is something we all “know” in our minds but I am telling you there is nothing in this world that provides the same security and comfort as the love of a Mother or the Mother figure in our life. They are like an emotional security blanket that keeps us safe and secure in our darkest days.


I was 32 when my Mom passed away. I had a loving husband and 3 wonderful sons, and yet I felt as if the world had collapsed around me. I lost my foundation and felt so vulnerable. We as Mothers have a power that can not be replicated or replaced anywhere! It was empowering for me, as a mother, to realize the impact my love and presence has on my childrens lives.

I learned you can make a lot of mistakes as a Mother and still be a great Mom. My Mom made mistakes – as many as I make each day. It does not mean that my children will be less than they could be otherwise. In fact, my mistakes are as good of a learning experience for my boys as my perfect mommy moments are. I have wasted so much of my energy as a Mom getting down on myself for my imperfections and when I lose my patience. The only thing that matters in the end is the love you have showed your children. That is what your children will remember.

I also learned how important it is to be kind to everyone. The kind smiles and benefit of the doubt when my Mom was disabled absolutely made our day! The hardest part of ALS is that you look and sound like you are handicapped, but your mind is as sharp as it ever was. You are the same person trapped in a body that is slowly becoming more paralyzed and useless. A few people treated her like she was not as smart as she use to be. It was humiliating and frustrating for her. We never know what is in a persons mind and heart. Kindness is always the right reaction.


I learned that people for the most part are kind, well-intentioned, and doing the best they can. There is so much good in the people around us! We are all so busy with the little things that occupy our time, that for the most part usually don’t matter that much. When you have a life changing experience like this, for a small moment you are blessed with the clarity of what truly matters most.

Most of all I learned how rewarding it is to be a Mom and how blessed I am to have my sons. My Mom got so much joy and pride in who I had become. It was an honor to care for her in many of the same ways she had cared for me as a baby and child. What a blessing to give her that same unconditional love. It changed my life.

Pam had talked to me about starting a blog before all of this happened and I had brushed the idea off. But losing my Mom lit a fire in me to create this little space to honor her. In many ways this blog is my little tribute to her dedication and creativity. She was amazing and innovative. I love sharing the tips and tricks she taught me, as well as the passion she had for creating a “home.” She was one of the most dedicated Mothers ever! She always placed her family as her first priority. I am so blessed that I was her daughter.

I have fought back the waves of sadness that rolled in this week. It has been a year – a whole year– I have been forced to live without her. I miss her comments on my blog, I miss calling her when I have a bad day, I miss calling her when I have a great day, and I miss calling her to come save the day! She understood me in a way that no else does. I miss having someone who knows me so completely and still loved me so unconditionally.

And then today I was flooded with a sense of peace when I realized that the only thing that separates me from my Mom now is time. Each year that passes brings me one year closer to seeing her again. So, today I don’t mourn that she has been gone for a year, today I am going to celebrate being one year closer to being reunited with her.

My boys saying “goodnight” to Grandma.

Love you Mommers.You are the best guardian angel a girl could ask for!

If you want to read more of my Moms story, it can be found here.

Pam Dana

Pam is a stay at home working mama that enjoys all phases of life! Between her 3 kids, fur baby (a beyond cute Goldendoodle), wonderful husband, friends and working, she stays pretty busy! But, she is loving every aspect of her life! Here on Over the Big Moon, she loves to share DIY's, recipes, printables, organization tips and more!

Comments (22)

  • Wow! What a strange and yet small world we live in. Today I am grieving the 2nd anniversary of my father’s death from ALS. And I just happened to stumble on your blog. My heart aches for you because I sooo know what you must have and are going through. Although, I agree with a previous post loosing my mother would somehow be far worse..I was still very close to my dad. The hardest part of it all is the horrible way ALS takes their body before their mind. It is a cruel disease and I continue to pray for a cure so that NO ONE endures what our families have been through. My mom was completely in denial throughout my father’s last year, continued to believe he would recover. She has since had great difficulty dealing with life without her husband of 52 years. I have found a little comfort in pictures and memories of my father and I think your blog is a great way to help with the healing process. My prayers are with you and your family.

  • i found this post through lil luna.
    what a tender post this is! your mother was beautiful inside and out. I am so sorry you and your family had to go through this. I have lost 2 people close to me in the past two year and its been rough but, i can’t imagine losing my mother. You are a strong,faithful person! I have 1 18 month old…so this part really stuck out to me, as i try my hardest to be the best mom i can be everyday. “The only thing that matters in the end is the love you have showed your children. That is what your children will remember”

  • Your Mom’s story touched my heart. I lost my Mom 7 years ago from complications from ALS. I still think of her daily, and miss her so much still. I still slip up every once in awhile and say I’m going to call my Mom, since we talked on the phone often. I am glad you know where your Mom is and that she is rejoicing with her family and friends in God’s presence. I wish you the best.

  • I avoided reading this post on purpose because I knew that I would bawl like a little baby. I did. What a touching post. I am sure your Mom is proud of you and all that you do! So sorry for your loss! -Caralee(Pam’s friend)

  • As new mom – this really hit home! I My mom recently moved out of state and I have never needed her more than now with my new baby girl. Thank you for sharing your story – I can’t imagine your grief.

  • Lisa,

    I just recently found your blog and I wanted to say a huge thank you for writing this post. I bawled my way through it because a little over a year ago I lost my young father in law to ALS and I can totally relate (although losing a mother would be much harder.) It’s horrible to watch someone you love become a prisoner in their own body, while there mind is still sharp as a tack. My father in law started showing symptoms shortly after my daughter was born and 2 1/2 years later he was able to hold my newborn son but passed away not too long after. Your pictures bring it all back to me, because I have some so very similar. But instead of being sad, I’ll try to be like you and look at it as one year closer to being an eternal family again. I don’t know anyone else who has lost a family member to ALS so thanks again for sharing!

  • I too lost my mom long before I expected to. She was diagnosed with colon cancer and lived one year and two weeks after that. I was 30 years old.
    We talked everyday and saw each other often. I also lived with my mom during the end of her life and had the blessing of being her caregiver. She and I were alone when she passed. She knew when it was near her time to go home and my husband and three kiddos came to tell her goodbye.
    So many things you wrote today resonated with feelings I’ve experienced and am experiencing still. Thank you for this post. My mom has been on my mind almost constantly lately and grief has threatened to stop me in my tracks more than once recently. I really enjoyed this reminder of all the blessings that a mom leaves us with.
    I’ll be saying a prayer for your continued strength and peace!

    • Thank you for your sweet comment! I know exactly how you feel. I am glad you got that time to care for your Mom also – that is such a blessing. Grief is such a tricky thing to work through. I will pray for you too!

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