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My mother


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October 21, 2006 at around 1:30pm my mom died after an eight month battle with lung cancer.

I do not even know where to start, or when this will end.

I've cried so much over the past eight months, and especially the last week that my face feels drained and just burns. I've held my breath to stop myself from agonizing aloud. And alone I've walked the corridors at the hospital openly with tears streaming – a moments reprieve to forge the strength that would allow me to march back up there and work toward calming my mom's worries.

In losing my mom I lost the most irreplaceable, unconditional love that we shared.

I think about all the experiences my mom and I had together and strain to make the memories more vivid. But what I realized today is no matter where we were, or what we were doing, there was something exceptional during every moment we shared together.

During the last eight months I felt so helpless, saw such horrible things, and every time I thought it could not get worse it always did. Nothing could have prepared me.

It wasn't about me, though. That afternoon in the courtyard of the hospital, after seeing what I had, crying as hard as I ever will, reflexively I said, "She does not deserve to suffer like this…why does this have to happen to her?" It wasn't why me, it was why her. In that moment I recognized where my heart and mind were during the last eight months: Solely focused on the torment she was going through, and doing anything I could do to help her escape it, always.

Today the most profound feeling I have is that I would give anything to be with her again and just talk. I think back to any place we've ever been together, a mundane setting such as Target or going to Eat n' Park, and in that memory I am overwhelmed with a desire to just hug and kiss her and tell her how much I love her – it just doesn't matter where we would be. It brings me to tears just to think of her in front of me, healthy, again. This is not a concept that I would have ever conceived or understood until my mom took that final step, crossing over into heaven.

My mom lives on through me because I know her so well.

I still know how to make her laugh.

I still know what brings a smile to her face.

I still know the method to all the ponderous, nonsensical, questions that I would impress on her so as to distract her from her worries.

"OK…Mom…I know you're not…but I'm saying: if you were a bunny rabbit would you like the taste of grass?"

My mom is an amazing person with amazing virtues. Anyone who knew her well knew she had charitable and a self-less heart. Her upbringing had shown her arisen with nothing, and despite that scarcity still she gained the ability to will everything she had into others. From her I learned modesty and compassion, and most of all empathy which, unbeknownst to her, would ultimately accord me the grace to ease her suffering during the most arduous time of her life.

I remember being determined to bring to her a lifelong dream by going to Graceland and visiting Elvis' mansion – and we did. Mom loved it.

Together, my mom and I got to see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and I am sure the magnitude of each is only now surpassed by her new home, Heaven.

Finally, I can remember every movie we ever went to see together.

I may not be able to recall seeing her face while we were there, but then like now I feel her with me, and I am certain that will never change.

I love you mom.

-John Duff


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It has been 12 yrs since my mom died of nsclc.

I still remember VIVIDLY all the moments we had, I am glad to say I smile now instead of crying.

She was my best friend and she is with me still-I see her in the mirror and in the grandkids,I pray you too will get to this feeling soon.


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That was a lovely post. What a tribute to a wonderful woman, your mom. I am so sorry for all the pain you are feeling right now, and am praying for God to give you strength to get through this difficult time. Your mom will live on through your beautiful memories of her. Stay strong!

God Bless,


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John, so sorry for your loss. What you wrote was beautiful. You have me crying now and missing my Mom so very much. Your Mom was very lucky to have you. Sounds like you shared wonderful memories together and you will always have those to reflect on. Your Mom is with you, every step of the way. Wishing you comfort and peace.

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