This summer is all but gone and I have experienced none faster in my life. My heart was pulled from my chest in an instant and I have been searching deeply for reason and purpose ever since.

After a long day at work on Friday, July 1st I was in the frozen pizza aisle in Woodman’s grocery store. Mom was coming home for the weekend and I was buying her some treats. She had been spending the past two weeks in Osseola taking care of her youngest grandchild and I was looking forward to her coming home.

I hadn’t looked at my phone in a while and saw that my sisters Jerissa and Elizabeth had been trying to call and text me for about 30 minutes. Their persistence worried me. Elizabeth’s text said I should call her right away, that something had happened to mom. So, I did. I called her right away. She didn’t answer. I tried Jerissa but she didn’t answer either. I completely forgot where I was and cared only about what might be wrong with mom.

Minutes went by that felt like an hour. Then Elizabeth called me back. “What’s going on?” I asked. “Jerrika, it’s really bad. Mom’s in the hospital. She didn’t make it. Mom is dead.”

Nothing existed at that moment except the words “Mom is dead” sharply echoing in my mind, searching for a way out. My breath deepened and quickened. I left my cart with groceries in it and ran out the door, running past moving cars. I jumped in my car and headed towards Elizabeth’s house. Shock and confusion overcame me. Tears clouded my vision. My life forever changed. Mom is dead.

Halfway through my college career my mom and I moved into a house together. In the three years we lived together she spent many hours a week creating and maintaining a home for us, doing so with utmost love and gratitude. At least once a week she would profess “I love our home”.  Our home – now my house – remains untouched. Everything is as she left it last.

No matter how much the world around me has remained the same everything is different. Garbage still needs to be put out every Tuesday morning. Her plants still need to be watered. The lawn still needs to be mowed. Work is still there, but my heart isn’t. Nothing is the same.

As Elizabeth and I drove up to Osseola the day mom passed we talked a great deal, trying to process a reality I was nowhere near prepared for. I said “I want to honor mom’s life in EVERYTHING that I do”. Throughout my entire life my mom deeply and lovingly instilled these three words, “Follow your heart”. I know that if I am to honor my mother’s life it means that I must do just that – follow my heart. This statement returns to me daily as the depth of its truth requires great change to my current existence and I am challenged with equally great resistance.

We did not write Mom an obituary for the public to read. She will never have a gravestone for others to pass by. These are things she did not want. She wished for privacy just as she lived her life. But she will not be lost in the sea of forgottens. That is impossible. Her existence was full of heart and truth. Anyone who ever met her knows this. Her presence was undoubtedly profound.

Her dream and hearts wish was to be a mother, and she was an amazing one. She was the most beautiful, loving being I have ever experienced. Her love was enormous and comforting. It gave me confidence that I probably never deserved, but I have it and I have her love. I am so deeply saddened that she won’t meet and know the love of my life (I hope I meet the love of my life – I hope I have a love of my life). If I have a love of my life I do have peace in knowing that they will know my mom through my love.

Another thought that entered me on that drive to Osseola, I shared with Elizabeth, “I don’t feel that Mom’s role in our lives is done. I think it has just changed”. Ever since Mom passed incredible moments have happened to me and I know she has something to do with it. I believe that mom is able to do things for us now that she never could in life. The magic that is happening around me daily is evidence of all of this. I must continue to trust this if I am to follow my heart. If I am to honor her existence, I must continue to trust in her – in all the good and love she placed in me, and all the good and love I continue to receive from her.

There is so much more I have to say and share about my mom. She still has so much to teach me and all of us. More thoughts and words are coming, so prepare yourselves.

Wow, how incredibly lucky I have been to have had her in my life at all.



4 thoughts on “Life is Forever Changed

  1. Jerrika -thank you so much for sharing that. Losing a parent is so awful, but you are making that pain into something. I feel that way about the house we built – I only thought I could do it because my parents did it, twice, and then even though my dad passed before we finished it, he is in it. He stockpiled building stuff, right down to tile scraps because he was something of a hoarder, and now those scraps are part of our floor. Deep peace to you and your family as you journey through your loss and find what the next step is.

  2. Jerrika, i feel your heart. Thanks for sharing such intimate emotion and insight. I know your mom is part of you and everyone she touched. And i know she is now able to do things that she was limited in by humanity before. She is a powerful, loving force. I love you and your family dearly, and especially appreciate the depth of the thoughts you choose to share. I am forever and always rolling through this life with you and your spirit weaving through, flowing like that river deep. Peace to you my friend.

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