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Reflections on a Mother's Death

Real Estate Agent with Falcon Property Company

Today is the tenth anniversary of my mother's passing. I wrote this post not too long after she died. The pain, of course, has lessened, but the lesson learned has not changed. Tell them over and over while they're alive how much you love them. One day it's too late. Ben Kinney recently lost his mother. He asked that in lieu of sending flowers, people send flowers to their own mothers. Brilliant idea!

Virginia J. HenryMy mother died recently, and although she was 93, I never thought it would happen. She had lived with us for ten years and was always so strong and self-sufficient.

My mother died recently, and at the age of 61, I often wondered if I would ever have my life back while there was much of it left to live. It had become difficult over the past few years to leave for more than an hour because she panicked whenever I left the house. Even when others were here, it was me she depended on, me who was her security.

My mother died recently, and I’m shocked at how many tears the human body can produce. At the oddest times for random reasons, I cry.

“Mimi, I’m out of Shalimar. Could you get me some?” “Mama, you can’t possibly be out of Shalimar. I bought you three bottles in December. You must’ve put them somewhere we haven’t found yet.” She loved her Shalimar. I didn’t ever get around to buying her more.

My mother died recently, and instead of ‘having my life back,’ I’ve hidden myself away to deal with the grief. I know that in my lifetime I'll never stop mourning her loss, but the grief will lessen, and I'll be able to think of her without crying.

My mother died recently, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, or wish I could tell her how much she meant to me, or love on her, which is all she ever wanted. But I was so busy, I had so much work to do. “Would you sit with me if you knew I was going to die today?” She said it so often, it was like the little boy who cried wolf. Instead of making me want to sit, it made me think she was guilting me.

My mother died recently, and I was blessed with being with her for eighteen hours a day the last two weeks of her life. “Does your dad ever visit you?” she asked late one night during an intimate conversation. “He hasn’t in a while, but he used to right after he died,” I said. “Good. I don’t want to spook you, but I hope the Lord will let me visit every now and then to let you know how much I love you.”

My mother died recently, and there aren’t many days when I’m out that I don’t find something I want to buy her. I was conscious that she couldn’t leave often, and I loved to pick up little gifts or treats to bring her. She was always so appreciative.

Virginia J. Henry

My mother died recently, and a few days beforehand she asked me where we should meet after she passed. “We sit for hours every night together in front of the fireplace. How about we meet there?” I teased. “That’s a great idea! How will you know it’s me? Oh! I know! I’ll call you Madeline Maria, then you’ll know I’m here.” I haven’t yet heard her say my name.

My mother died recently, and I’ve only given away some of her clothes. When I open the closet and smell the Shalimar, I close it again until I’m a little stronger.

My mother died recently, and I remember telling one of my daughters that I was afraid to be too close to my mom because it would hurt too much when she passed. Little did I know that very attitude would be the single biggest sorrow for me of her passing.

My mother died recently, and sometimes I pick up the phone to tell her when I’ll be home. I no longer know how to reach her.

My mother died recently, and it was so special the day before she died when she opened her eyes and saw me sitting with her, holding her hand, and said, “You’re so pretty! I love you.” Those would be the last words she spoke. It was my birthday.

My mother died recently, and I want to tell everyone who still has their mother or father or children or a spouse or loved one – treasure them while you can. Don’t ever let a day go by without letting them know how much you love them. Life is short. There aren’t any do-overs when it’s finished.
Madeline Maria

Here's a video I made for her memorial service.


Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Ben Kinney lost his mom last week. When I read his post about it (on FB) he asked that people who wanted to honor her in some way to send flowers to their own mothers.  I was so struck by his request.  

Apr 15, 2016 08:33 AM
Mimi Foster

I didn't know that. What a lovely gesture! It's never too late . . . until it is.

Apr 15, 2016 08:39 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat

What a great idea - To send flowers to their own mothers!

Apr 15, 2016 10:15 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Your mother is so respectfully and lovingly remembered by you, Mimi.  Losing a parent is never easy.  I lost my dad when I was 23, and my mother when I was 32.  Even after all these years, the loss brings an occasional tear to my eyes.

Apr 15, 2016 10:14 AM
Mimi Foster

Both very young ages to lose your parents. Even with time, it's surprising how close they still are. 

Apr 15, 2016 11:24 AM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Your mom died recently ,

To the day yesterday..... on your birthday!   

A beautiful tribute, from daughter to mother, neither of whom appears to age.


Apr 15, 2016 12:35 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Dear Lord, I've missed your face and your heart around here, Brian L. Sirota, Esq. I'm not around alot - in phases, but you are a treasured human to me. Thanks for your kind words. 

Apr 15, 2016 12:44 PM
Daniel Z Stoltzfus
Lancaster, PA

Mimi, you are a great inspiration.  

Apr 15, 2016 02:13 PM
Mimi Foster

Daniel, I didn't have nearly the burden you are facing, my friend. If I were closer, I would sit with your mom at times. Strange how, since my mom's death, the Lord has seen fit to bring so many old people into my life who are in their final chapter. I buried six of them last year, and there will be more in the near future. Blessings to you.

Apr 16, 2016 01:38 AM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

Good morning Mimi.  I lost my dad in 1978 and my mother in 1983.  I still miss them to this day.  

Apr 15, 2016 07:58 PM
Mimi Foster

If there was a relationship, it's hard not to grieve their loss. Certainly for me, my mom made me the woman I am today. Thanks for stopping by.

Apr 16, 2016 01:41 AM
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Hi Mimi Foster I know you cherish the time you had with her. You had much more than most of us. Now it is your five (is that right?) girls that need to spend time with you.

Do you remember "Cycles"?

Bill Roberts

Apr 15, 2016 11:52 PM
Mimi Foster

I know of few mothers who are closer to their children/grandchildren than I am, Bill. We speak daily, see each other often, I have the grandkids over often (I'm blessed to have four of the five here in town), and we share hearts. The greatest gift my mother gave me was teaching me about unconditional love. I am, beyond measure, truly blessed.

"Cycles" by Frank Sinatra, or another cycles?

Good to see you back. 

Apr 16, 2016 02:08 AM
Bill Roberts

Yes, Sinatra's. It is a good philosophy. Worth listening to again.

Apr 16, 2016 07:41 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mimi- I do remember reading this and more than tha I remember the picture of your mother.  I wish I'd had the relationship that all mothers and daughters must want, but it was still a good one.  She's been gone 16 years now but what I remember most are all of the things she taught me. 

Apr 16, 2016 01:53 AM
Mimi Foster

Things we don't necessarily appreciate at the time, huh, Kathy? The thing I greived for for a while after her death was that I didn't use my words more. I showed her all the time, but I didn't tell her as much as I wish I had. Lesson learned, and it's changed my life for the better. 

Was your mom near you?

Apr 16, 2016 02:11 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Sharon Tara ~ I responded on the thread, but never know who sees reponses. Thought you might appreciate the link.

Apr 16, 2016 02:00 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


Mimi... your mother gave you love, beauty, brains, education, happiness, togetherness, and her spirit remains in you. I know it's hard. Grief has no expiration date. I have lost so many people in my life. I remember in my early 30's when my boss told me I was pining over the loss of my spouse. He told me, isn't it time you find a new daddy for your children?  I looked him straight in the eye and said, you don't replace loved ones like you do furniture.  I remember crying after my mother died. At the funeral services, my oldest sister said to stop crying because I was making a scene. I cried harder and said, let everyone see my pain. I remember crying after my father died. My other sister said stop bawling, he didn't like you anyway. I never stopped crying.

We are all only human. This is a beautiful tribute to your mother. The story of her life is beautiful and the way she smiled over the years showed me she lived a good life and understood what family was really all about. Carry her torch and keep it close to your heart. You exhibit all her great qualities. 

Apr 17, 2016 01:32 AM
Mimi Foster

There are so many things I could say in response to this, Patricia, but the most important one is, I'm sorry. (And your sisters don't sound like they offer much of anything except unpleasantness.)

I was surprised at the people who said, Stop crying, she was 93. Huh? A loss of a loved one is a loss, no matter the age or the circumstance. I'm so very sorry. Wish I could give you a hug.

Apr 17, 2016 01:47 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Oh my goodness, I too am in tears. My mama will be 90 on August 2nd. I can't imagine not having her around. You and I will always treasure the time we spent having our mom share our lives as adults. There are days when it can be challenging right? But, oh so worth it...

Big hugs. 

Apr 17, 2016 01:34 AM
Mimi Foster

There were challenging days, intrusive days, "I just want to be alone" days. I am so glad you have the help of a sibling, that would have made all the difference. I had my wonderful husband, but we had her for ten years with only a few weeks of reprieve, and people don't understand how challenging it becomes the keep normalcy as their minds start to go.

I'm so very glad you have the set up you do to help you and your mother through this joyful, poignant time. Daniel Stoltzfus shares in the care of his mother who turned 100 this week. 

I wouldn't have traded it for the world. There are things I wish I had known then . . . hugs back to you, my friend.

Apr 17, 2016 02:00 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

We know the feelings well...when your last parent leaves...life will never be the same....but we will always have the wonderful memories to hold in our hearts for which we are forever grateful.

Apr 17, 2016 07:24 AM
Mimi Foster

We had a long run together. I have many cherished memories.

And one of the problems when they've both passed is that you are now the oldest of the generations. 

Apr 17, 2016 07:38 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

I probably would have missed your response on the thread, so glad you took the time to comment and tag so I wouldn't miss it. The poem is beautiful!  Wow, to find that after her death must have been heartbreaking for you. 


Apr 17, 2016 12:43 PM
Mimi Foster

Yes, it really was. I found it in a pile of papers from the 1940s (before my time ;) ), but it was still touching. 

Apr 17, 2016 01:33 PM
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Mimi Foster did they ever call you Maddy, or have you always been Mimi?

Bill Roberts

Apr 17, 2016 11:31 PM
Mimi Foster

Good morning, Bill.

My name is Madeline Maria. I had a brother who was 18 months old when I was born, and Mimi is as close as he could get to calling me by name, and it just stuck. I had an uncle who called me Maddy to get a rise out of me (Madeline was an old woman's name when I was a kid), and in elementary school, as kids are wont to do, my name (Madeline Henry) became Mad Hen. I'll stick with Mimi LOL 

But come to think of it, I was Madeline to most people, except very close friends, in high school.

Apr 17, 2016 11:44 PM
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

OK Maddy, I mean Mimi. I don't think of you as a MAD HEN however.

Bill Roberts

Apr 18, 2016 01:33 AM
Mimi Foster

NEVER  Misnomer, to be sure.

Apr 18, 2016 01:45 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Hello Mimi,  This was a tough read.  Beautiful heart felt and honest words.  I will let them sit with me for a while.  Glad I am not in a public place.  Mark

Apr 19, 2016 04:51 AM
Mimi Foster

Thanks, Mark. Totally understand.

Apr 19, 2016 08:29 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

What a beautiful video and tribute to your mom. You are right, there are no do-overs and treasuring the people in our lives has to be a priority. I am positive that your mom knew she was your priority. 

Apr 19, 2016 05:46 AM
Mimi Foster

Thank you, Kat. I love in a whole new way now.

Apr 19, 2016 08:28 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Hello Mimi ...

What a heart felt post and your mothers photo is beautiful! Love your video and I lost my mother to cancer in 2008, thanks for sharing and your post has been featured to the group:



Apr 19, 2016 08:15 AM
Mimi Foster

Thanks so much. I'm sorry for your loss, and the pain of that kind of death. 

Apr 19, 2016 08:28 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

Mimi, I do not know how I missed this ...you are an amazing daughter, mother, person, and friend.  Just tears here ... feeling your pain and loss ... and relating. 

Apr 22, 2016 05:20 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Ah, Kathleen Daniels, your story obviously spoke volumes to me. Everything you said I could so relate to. I think the reclusiveness is healing . . . for a season. And the "letting go" - that was so good for me. I hope you find that to be true as well. I wish you peace in your journey, and a listening ear should you ever need it.

Apr 22, 2016 06:10 AM