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On Losing My Mother

It has been 3 years since my Mother died at 9:41pm on a hot August night. She was 62 and pancreatic cancer had ravaged her body in a short 7 weeks. I was there. I remember the room, the funeral home removing her body and my 45-minute drive home with my Yorkie. It was surreal and I didn’t cry.

Reflecting back on her loss and the associated grief, I didn’t start to grieve until 6 months after she passed. Immediately following her death, my siblings and I had a condominium to sell, clothing and household items to pack, and a funeral to plan. I told myself I was too busy to allow the sadness and grief in.

During this time, I often found myself comforting others about her loss. “I will be ok” or “thank you for your concern,” but in reality I was losing weight, experiencing hair loss and exhaustion. When I saw the Doctor to discuss my symptoms her response was, “Your Mom died. This is normal.”

But what is normal after loss? What does the grief process look like? What I can tell you is it is different for everyone. I read the books, reviewed the stages of grief, and scoured online journals about losing a parent as an adult. What I found is grief is a journey, and I don’t see an end. There isn’t a concrete start and end point. But what I do see is that the weight of the loss has become less with time, it has changed shape. I think of her every day and the anniversary of her death, holidays and birthdays are hard; but my life continues, as she would want it to.

I put the energy from her loss into a little free library in the town where I live. I stained and treated the wood red, her favorite color, and put my grief energy into that library. It took several weeks to complete. With each stroke I released my anger, sadness, and frustration. I used my physical labor to help release the emotional turmoil I had inside.

The library is near a local park that I frequent with a plaque that says “In Memory of Marita Grasher.” I visit that library weekly, take books, and make sure it remains clean. It is how I utilize my grief energy, putting it into something living, something to give back to the community in which I live. Friends, coworkers and town members donate books for the library. This library has connected our community, but it has also continued a connection to my Mother. It is a positive outlet for my energy.

We each have our own story of how we work through grief. I have found peace in the library and comfort sharing with others who have experienced loss of an immediate family member. I don’t have to explain or inform them about my thoughts, ideas or actions; there is a gentle understanding. With my siblings, in a group, or in an online forum, I can be me.

This is my grief story about my beloved Mother, Marita Grasher. What is yours or what do you want it to be?

On Losing My Mother

Elizabeth Grasher, MS, LPC, LMFT

Elizabeth Grasher, M.S., LPC, LMFT, is a counselor who has worked in a variety of settings including juvenile detention, non-profit drug and alcohol and outpatient practice. She assists clients with relaxation and mindfulness techniques and also practices them herself.

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APA Reference
Grasher, E. (2018). On Losing My Mother. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 27 Sep 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.