What You Miss Most When A Loved One Dies

After a loved one dies the things you miss surprise you. Small sucker punches all day long to the heart. They creep in the week after the funeral and you think I had no idea I would miss that. 



Sensory Things After a Loved One Dies

Of course you miss her smell, and it is visceral, the way you seek it, find it lingering on her shirt, a blouse, a blanket, even on a pair of sunglasses. That was my Mom. That was how she smelled and I never really noticed it until right this second. And your heart hurts thinking what happens when the scent wears off and I cannot see or smell her.

two senior citizens

The Emotions After a Loved One Dies

You cry a lot at first. Then it stops for awhile and you sleep. But then you wake up thinking today I will go visit her and then daylight wraps cold fingers around your heart. You want to sleep longer every day in case you can see her in your dreams, or maybe you can just forget.

All The Small Things

When she passes away, you spend weeks missing how she worried about you. You miss how she fussed over your daughter’s hair. The funny way she wrote little notes all over Kleenex boxes. She was your biggest champion and she was a good Mom. She was proud times 20, even when you did nothing extra special at all.

Being Loved

The last two years she lit up every time she saw you. It was the best welcome, even better than the clinging arms of your kids when they feel abandoned. It was a deep well she drew from, and in the last two blessed years together she shone brightly with appreciation and love.

Being Chosen First

She chose you every time. Over anybody else. She chose you, her daughter, and you her son. There was nobody else she would rather spend time with and you felt that each time you walked down the halls of her retirement home. Always, you were first in her eyes and heart.

Oh, Those Phone Calls

You miss the phone calls, the hugs, the way you held her hand lately and she followed you. You miss that she worried. You miss her tiny wave, her hair, her lipstick and that specific Vichy face cream. Her laugh, her voice, the way she kept a Kleenex in her sleeve just like your Grandma did. All lost.

Maybe We are All Balloons

Your brain starts drifting towards the idea of balloons. Missing her, you start to wonder maybe this is life. Maybe we are all balloons tethered to the ground by so many strings, each one a person we love.  Eventually all the strings vanish and you simply float away when you pass on. Maybe you watch and cry, or smile, as you see the world below grasping at air.

You miss her love and you miss her face and of course you miss seeing her. Easy to recall every visit, mentally measuring how much shorter she was getting. Of all the things though, you miss those comical phone calls daily telling you what she had done, who she had called, how dinner was.

How Is It Possible?

After a loved one dies you miss her familiar clothes, her slow walk, her impatience and even her music. How is it possible that after a loved one dies you miss worrying about her, writing cheques for her, giving her small reminders of dates and things? Birthdays. Anniversaries. Even, the way she was misplacing things.


All The Accomplishments

You miss her funny side. Her words and jokes. You miss calling her, you miss the sound of her voice and you miss her reminding everyone she taught school for 33 years. 

Now You Say Thank You

At the funeral every last person approached you to say how much you look like your Mom. In your 20s, you rebelled against that, refused to see it and now you see it too. They say it to comfort you. There was a time you would have argued that you were your own person and you looked nothing like her. But now you welcome this, say: Thank you. It stops your tears and fills you with a strength you thought lost. It is comfort, a blanket of everything special you loved about her, or a cape of strength like a child’s make believe super hero costume. It flies you home.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Samantha Nickerson

    It has to be a very difficult time for sure. I know that when my Grandmother died, my Mother missed their daily phone chats the most. She still has trouble with that part of her day. Hang in there!

  • Kristen @ My 3 Little Kittens

    I smiled toward the end of this post because the moment the page loaded, the first thing I thought was ….Wow, she sure looks like her beautiful Mom….and then, upon reading, you mention it as well…hehe….Oh Paula, my heart breaks for you as I know your pain and how “fresh” the wound is right now …. but in everything you do…your writing, your compassion, your devotion to your children, exude everything wonderful that was your Mom. She clearly raised an amazing Daughter & I know that where she is right now …. she is rocking it out and feeling beyond joyous! *Hugs*

  • Tasha

    This is such a beautiful post! Such strength and compassion. It spoke to me which is something I haven’t experienced before quite like this in a blog post. Me and my own Mother aren’t speaking right now. Maybe that’s why. It hit home. I miss her so much, (the person she used to be). It’s a whole long story on why we aren’t speaking, but I feel it’s for the best. Your so lucky to have had that closeness with your mom. It clearly shows you are an amazing woman, just like your mother was. My thoughts are with you. Your mama is surely looking down on you and will continue to do so. xo

  • Bewildered Bug

    Oh Paula 🙁
    I’ve had a lot of death in my family, even as a child, but have never been able to explain the numbness and the stupid little things that upset you after. You did it beautifully.

    *hugs* and please know I’m here for you if you need it, even though I’m miles and miles away!