A Mother’s Love Lives On

My daughter died in 2007 from the injuries she received in a car crash. At the time of her death, she was soaring in life. She was a composite engineer, had an MBA, six industry certifications, a job she enjoyed, excellent performance reviews, and was assured of advancement in the company. Life was brighter than it had ever been and then she died.

Her death was bad enough. Two days later, my father-in-law died. Then my brother (and only sibling) died. Nine months after my daughter died, my former son-in-law, father of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries he received in another car crash. My husband and I became the twin’s legal guardians. Raising teenage grandchildren was our new mission in life and we felt it was sacred.

Six years have passed since my daughter died. Though I have a new and happy life, a place of sorrow is within me. This place reveals itself on the anniversary of my daughter’s death, her birthday, the twins’ birthdays, at holiday time, and during holiday celebrations. It reveals itself when my grandson says something his mother would have said. My granddaughter looks more like her mother each day and sometimes the resemblance is startling.

I will always love my daughter.

I’ve spoken at conferences for bereaved parents and local chapter meetings. Every parent has a story like mine. They share stories about sudden death, prolonged death, and suicide. If we do our grief work bereaved parents, including myself, learn to cope with loss. We learn to work around it and find joyful moments. As grief expert Rabbi Earl A. Grollman writes in his article, “Holding On and Letting Go,” mourners need to walk through grief, not run. I’ve walked through grief, with grief, and learned love is stronger than death.

I will always love my daughter.

My husband and I honor our daughter’s life in many ways. In addition to caring for her children, we have tried to be good role models and live her values. We commissioned a choir piece in her memory and it is beautiful. Contributing to organizations in her memory is another way to honor our daughter’s life. While these actions have helped us cope with grief, we still have moments of sadness. My husband thinks of her early in the morning and I think of her all during the day.

I will always love my daughter.

Multiple losses changed my writing. A health and wellness writer for years, my work shifted from general wellness to grief recovery. Writing led to research and the more I learned about grief, the more I understood it. I’ve written about multiple losses, grief reconciliation, grief recovery, affirming life, and more. My resources help others and writing them has helped me. Many of the words that appear on my computer screen are assurances of a mother’s love.

I will always love my daughter.

Bettyclare Moffatt writes about moving forward with life in her book, Soulwork. One chapter, “When I am an Old Woman,” tells what she will do in her advancing age. Instead of going out on rainy afternoons Moffatt says she will sit in a comfy chair by the fire. Her cat will be on her lap and she will drink tea with honey. “I will remember all the bright days and dark nights of my life . . . and I will hold no regrets,” she writes. “I will be satisfied.”

Though my daughter died, I will always be her mother, and will always love her. I will be satisfied with knowing I did my best. My daughter lost her way for a while and I will be comforted by the fact that I never gave up on her. Caring for her twins has been more than satisfying; it is the biggest blessing of my life. Raising her children links me to the daughter I love so much.

 

Harriet Hodgson

More Articles Written by Harriet

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of 36 books, and thousands of print/Internet articles. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. In 2007 four of her family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling), and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and recovery, and she is the author of eight grief resources. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of blog talk radio programs, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, hospice, grief, and caregiving conferences. Hodgson’s work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy wife, grandmother, author and family caregiver, please visit www.harriethodgson.com.

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