A Letter to My Mother

mother's death

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of my mother’s death. I’m skipping the dedicated fitness/running/weight loss journey post to write a little letter to my Mommy. My heart is heavy today; no other subject will do. If you’ve lost your parent–especially your MOTHER–may you get something out of this, too.


June 8, 2012

Dear Mommy,

Three years today. It’s crazy. I can’t believe I’ve now gone 1,096 days {I’m including Pammy’s Leap Year birthday} without you here. It almost doesn’t seem real. And it most certainly doesn’t seem right.

I look around at all the people still here. Centenarians, murders, rapists, Casey Anthony {you would have been glued to Court TV even MORE than you were with the OJ case by the way}, and I scream to myself wonder, “Why are YOU gone? Why aren’t YOU still here?”

Cancer took you away from me at precisely 7:10 am on that sunny June morning. As you lay in your bed surrounded by me, Dianne, Pammy and Daddy, I watched you struggle to take your last breaths. Honestly, I wondered how long it would be before I did the same. Live without my Mommy?? Have to go on without my greatest supporter, my twin separated by 41 years, my life, my mother? I didn’t think I could. I was quite sure I couldn’t. There were some dark days and nights when you left me.

I just didn’t want to be here any more. Not without you.

Oh, did I think of ending it all? Yes. I’m not proud of it; but I did. I finally understood the immensely powerful emptiness you felt when your mother died. You lived 18 years without her. You changed when she died. There was always a sadness about you since that day. You were as close to her and I was to you–how was I going to live in that sort of state for so long?

I don’t know–call it divine intervention. Call it mother intervention. But I had to snap myself out of it. Or rather, you snapped me out of it. I could hear you, “Ohhh, Cherie. Stop it. Stop crying. Now look–your make up is all a mess. I’m okay. I’m OKAY. I’m not in pain anymore. Cancer isn’t eating me away. I’m with my sister, my father and best of all, I’m with MY mother now. Live your life. I’m not here but I’m still HERE. I had your back then and I’ve got your back now. You can’t see me; but I can see you. I know when you need me and though I’m not there, I’m still THERE. You can talk to me. You can call out for me. I can’t talk back, but I hear you. I’m not going to let anything happen to my baby. Never did and never will.

Did stuff happen to me once you passed away? Stuff I’d consider bad? Oh yes.

Not even two weeks after you died, I herniated my lumbar disc that June. Could. Not. Move. Pain like I snapped it in half.
I couldn’t work anymore because of it so they let me go in August.
I missed you, was in crazy pain, had no job and was more sedentary than I’d ever been.
For every pound you lost with the cancer, I suddenly gained it between then and December.
Talk about depressed.

You let me have my 6 months of Cherie’s Personal Pity Party and then somehow pulled me out of it–again. Appearing in my vision, mind, daydream or whatever, I saw myself leaning over your deathbed that day in June as you said to me: “Save Money. Lose Weight.” I had to do it. I had to make some positive changes.

Yes, I’m still working on the Save Money thing. {You know me…} But the Lose Weight? I got that. Oh Mommy, you would be SO proud. When I went back to school in January 2010, some evil teacher called me Precious {the fat black girl–you missed the movie}. I mentally snapped into action. That comment sparked your dying words and it just did something to me. I started on a massive journey to drop 100 pounds. I’ve lost a little over 80 so far, Mommy!! Oh what fun I’d have charging new clothes at JC Penney with our card and calling home to tell you what “you” bought me!! I definitely miss that!

This weight loss led to my back getting a lot better. It also led to a new job. So in a roundabout way, I had to go through some really dark periods to see the light. I think know I’m better for it. Could these things have happened if you were still here? I suppose so. But I also suppose there wouldn’t have been such an urgency to change my life. To make the loss of you worth something–to make some sort of good come out of it. Maybe that’s what keeps me going…I work so hard to keep up my end of the Save Money. Lose Weight promise so it’s not for nothing. So that last bit of breath you used to say those four words to me wasn’t wasted.

I think of you everyday. Several times a day. And I talk to you, too. Sometimes I just look in the mirror and talk because I grow more like you in looks and mannerisms everyday. It’s like you’re looking back at me or I’m looking back at you. And when I roll my eyes, as I always do, that’s you, too.

You’re all around me, watching me and protecting me. Death couldn’t stop that. If anything, strangely enough, your death gave me more life. Three years later, not an easier life at all, but a different life I needed. A life I strive to make right, cherish, not take for granted, and live.

Thank you, Mommy. For everything then and now. I love and miss you, so, so much.

I think I can finally say, “I’m okay,” too.


Comments 24

  • I am sorry for your loss. I lost my dad 6 months ago to lung cancer. It’s so crazy how the sadness has gotten worse. I keep hearing “Time heal all”. I hope they are right. My blog started out as therapy and now is that and much more. Best of luck with your fitness goals.

    One day at a time.


    • JENerally it will get better as in you’ll regain your focus, ability to think of them and not cry, be able to smile and even laugh out loud when you mention them or talk to them.
      Six months in and it’s still fresh. I remember begging for a pill I could take that would eliminate the pain. They didn’t have one. The pain won’t disappear but will be come managable. You honor them by moving forward and being the best you can be. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. The next time you see your loved one, remember it’ll be for eternity πŸ™‚ Hugs!!!

    • Oh goodness, Jen. I’m so sorry!! I couldn’t stand when people would tell me “time heals all” or “it’ll get better with time.” I can’t honestly say it gets better or I’m healed. I’m just trying to deal with everything the best I can. Nothing is really “better”–it’s just “different.” But everyone is different and handles it differently. Incidentally, the people telling me those things had never lost a parent! Ugh!! Here’s to healing/dealing in your own time!!

  • Hi Cherie! I hope you can feel me hugging you reeeal tight. Still after three years, I absolutely HATE that she’s gone. I unconsciously think to call her or go see her everydayβ€”. Every. Single. Day! But then I remember that I can’t. I know beyond anything how proud she would be of you, her Baby Ree Ree. And you DO look more and more like her everyday!!! πŸ™‚ I’m just thankful we all still have each other. We have to hold on to that and do what she always said to us, “keep living,” and that’s everything we can do. I love you!

    • Hi Pammy! Yes I can! πŸ˜€ And now I’m crying reading this, lol! Yes, she’d be proud of all three of us and I know she’s watching. Sitting with Granny and Aunt Connie, having coffee and discussing us. πŸ˜‰ I love you too!

  • Beautifully written Cherie! No other words seem to matter right now.

  • Beautiful and hope your day is not filled with sadness but laughter and memories.
    I lost my mother at an early age and I still miss her. There is something about the one who carried us in her womb, nurtured us and shared our breath.
    What a wonderful tribute. Many hugs to your sister Pammie also.

    • Thank you! Yes, it was a lovely day and I felt her all around me even more than I usually do! There is something about that!!

  • Cherie, Your mother is reading this letter in some way and I know she is likely crying as did I. So touching and so sad. I watched my mother change after she lost her mom almost 20 years ago so I know the sadness you speak of. For you today, a hug from me – as a mother (of a little girl) , I am proud of you.

    • Thank you Jen!! And sorry to make you tear up! With this kind of post, it was almost a given though…lol. HUGS right back to you!

  • That was absolutely beautiful. Your mother would be so proud of all you’ve accomplished. Love you sis!!

  • Oh, jeez! Took me all day to stop being on the verge of tears, now they’re flowing again. Lately I’ve been smelling perfume she used to wear. I’m okay living here in the house; I just go in the living room and talk to the beautiful portraits. Your letter is beautiful. I know she’s proud of the woman you’ve become!

    • Sorry Sissy! Haha, this post should’ve come with a warning to grab the tissues! πŸ˜‰ Yes, I sit in the living room a lot when I’m home. We “chat” a lot in there! I just wrote to Pammy that she’d be proud of all three of us!! Love you!

  • […] you all so very much for the love you showed me in regards to the letter to my mother. In deciding to spend the anniversary differently this year, I actually had a very healthy day for […]

  • Cherie, I finally had the time to read this post….. wow~ you know my son, Connor, was born on June 9, 2009. Really puts into perspective how precious life is. Want you to know I really appreciate your openness through this blog. On a positive note, I have lost 20 lbs. since the end of February, and you are a big part of the reason I started to get in shape! And I thank you so much for that inspiration. Keep it coming! One of these days we’ll cross paths in PA hopefully…. it would be great to see you again!

    ZLAM girlfriend!

    • Thank you! Wow…the day after! Yes, very, very precious life is! And thank you–it’s pretty much my live diary, so I just keep it all honest and out there. And definitely open! 20 is friggen fabulous! Look at you go!! See? You just have to get started, stick with it and then you’re on your way!! It’d be great to see you too! πŸ˜€

  • This letter is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. My heart ached for you, reading that, about your mom’s passing three years ago. I am absolutely certain I would find myself in the same emotional and mental state of mind. But look at what you were able to accomplish, with her as your guiding light. She would be so proud.

  • Wow. That was amazing Cherie! I believe your mom is with you wherever you are. She’s always hugging you, and always watching over for you. I just know that she is SO proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished. I mean, who wouldn’t be proud?! πŸ™‚

    Way to be on writing such a heartfelt post. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Krista! She was definitely on that run, and for sure watching me every where else. I’m sure I can feel her here sometimes!! πŸ™‚