A part of me died with her...

by Lizzy Flanigan
(Indianapolis, Indiana)

I lost my mom Monday, September 9th, 2013 to a sudden, fatal heart attack. Her arteries were completely blocked, and from what we were told she felt no pain. She passed quietly. Painlessly into Heaven.
For the last several years she lived, she seemed pretty healthy, (aside from being a long-term smoker, she ate low fat and kept herself active around the house or if she was running errands outside of the house. She was only 54 when she passed. She would have turned 55 on September 23rd.
I never would have thought I could lose my mother at such a young age. I am 24 now and I grew up with the mindset that she would be around to see me become independent, get married, have children and have a good career. I am not even entirely sure she is allowed to watch me do all of that from Heaven.
Her death affected me greatly. It was so sudden and unexpected. I still, to this day, live in some sort of denial. Three days prior to her death, she had fallen ill with very mild cold-like symptoms and she would lay around rather than getting up unless she needed to use the bathroom. She barely ate. One day she complained of a stiff neck. Another day she complained of upper abdominal pain and nausea. I found it so odd that she would feel so tired and lay around with mild cold symptoms. We offered to take her to the doctor, but she disregarded it, thinking nothing of it - like we did - yet she was restless off an on throughout each day or when she tried to sleep. My dad, my brother and I all thought she just had a cold. She has never had any heart problems in the past which is why her death was such a shock. On the fourth day, while I slept in late, my dad had been downstairs playing a video game when my mom told him she had to use the bathroom. After about 15 minutes, my dad finally realized she had been in the bathroom too long and rushed up to the door to call her name. He didn't get a response, so he flung the door open and found her keeled over between the wall and the toilet. With sudden adrenaline, he yanked her out of the bathroom, called 911 and they guided him through CPR until the paramedics showed up and took over. By the time paramedics were banging loudly on the door, I awoke to the sound of utter chaos downstairs. I heard my dad crying and calling my name as commotion erupted from other people in our house. I dressed quickly, rushed downstairs and the first thing I see is my mother on the floor, surrounded by tons of paramedics while she was hooked up to machines and they gave her CPR. They worked on her for 30 minutes. During those minutes, I kept praying to the Lord not to take her. I pleaded and pleaded, but deep down I knew that if my mother was alive, they would have revived her. That was not happening, so I stepped outside and called my sister and many other family members, letting them know what was going on. After a while, my dad came outside, shook his head and told me she was gone.
For several minutes after, we waited for the paramedics to get things situated and I sat on the recliner forcing myself to look at my mother's body on the living room floor, her mouth slightly ajar and her beautiful, hazel eyes open and lifeless. I cried and cried, not wanting to believe the pain or the shock I was in. I did not want to believe I was staring at my mom like that. There were so many things I did not get to do with her. So many things I did not say to her. Her world was cut short. - I couldn't eat at all that day. I slept uncomfortably that night, hoping it was all just a terrible nightmare I was having, but I never woke up. I kept pinching myself and felt pain. It was real. It was all very real. At her funeral, I delivered a heartfelt eulogy that depicted her very nicely. That was the very first time I had stood in front of a crowd of people and spoke to them. I made it through the eulogy without crying, but after I finished, I couldn't hold back the tears. We filled her casket with teddy bears and flowers and she was buried with them. - I cannot accept what has happened, but the pain has lessened slightly. I still miss her like crazy, still hoping I will wake up. When she passed, my world had been turned upside down. She left me as the only woman of the house. I am caring for my father and my brother like she had. I am suddenly left in a cold, cruel world where I realize my own mortality and independence as if there is no one else to help me. I never thought this would happen to me. I never thought a loved one could leave in the blink of an eye. I never ever thought it would be this difficult!
Still, the minutes, days, months and years to come are hard to ponder. The holidays are fast approaching and it will be lonely. I am truly heartbroken. A part of me died with her. I feel as though I have lost that part of me and I know it is true. It is not just a feeling. My reality now seems like hell. I cannot wait to see her again. I know she no longer suffers and that she would not want to return to earth if given the chance. Heaven is a much better place. A perfect place for someone like my mom. She was a petite, sweet, loving, caring, giving woman. She disliked confrontation and went through great lengths to avoid it if necessary. She was wise, intelligent and extremely selfless. She meant no harm to no one and it is such a shame to see something so awful happen so suddenly to her like this. I still ask myself why she died the way she did. I wonder if there was anything I could have done to save her. I know my dad blamed himself at first, but he does no longer. He knows, as well as I do, that she will remain in our hearts forever, and we know the pain will eventually subside over time, but it is still going to be hard. If she can see us, I know she is smiling upon us. She wants to see us smile and laugh again. She wants us to enjoy what time we have left in our physical beings. Rest in peace Stephanie Lynn Flanigan. I love you so much!!! (September 23, 1958 - September 9th, 2013)

Comments for A part of me died with her...

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Oct 31, 2013
Thank you ALL
by: Lizzy

It's been a while since I posted that terribly heartbreaking story of my mother's passing. It's been a little over a month since her passing and ever since I wrote out how I felt about her death, and how it's affected me, has lessened the pain, but only slightly. It was enough to feel a distinct difference. However, I am still extremely lost over her death. My mother was the one, wisest woman in my life that I could share anything with, and to hear so many out there that are feeling my pain, I feel so deeply for all of you! So very deeply! I can't imagine going through something quiet like this ever again nor can I imagine wishing that pain towards another. So I would like to thank everyone for visiting this page and posting their comments, sharing their stories and feelings with me. I understand completely. We all feel like we want to give up because we don't want to face the reality of it. We don't want to face the pain. We just wish we could get past it without the emotional trauma. But we have to be strong and face it. We must cry and break down so we do not lash out in anger towards others. Being too distracted can lead toward a destructive path, as it can compromise the grieving process. So to all of you who have lost their mothers, please grieve as much as you possibly can, talk about it as much as you can, every single day till you no longer feel such so hurt. Tell yourselves the pain will pass in time. It will get better. The reason we don't give up is because we're strong. There is also hope that keeps us going. So I encourage you all to rely on that hope. Rely on this experience to make you stronger. We're not weak because we cry. We cry because we're human and our emotions are what make us human. It's a natural reaction to get upset and cry, or even be angry when a loved one leaves us. It shall never mean we are weak. I hope these words encourage those to keep looking forward. I am doing the same. I would like tell those that have not lost their mothers to cherish every moment you spend with her. Make every moment count. Don't worry about the bad times you may or may not have had with your mother, make what happens in the present count. You never know when a loved one will be snatched away and that is the life lesson I have learned. Thank you again, so much, for sharing your thoughts, feelings and stories with me. I will pray for you all. Please stay strong!

Oct 24, 2013
my sympathy
by: Anonymous

hi lizzy!my name is benita and we been same situation Im 24 and my mother pass away on September 11,2013 on sudden cardiac arrest. Im on denial process and until now im still shocked of what is happen to my mom.I thought that its only a nightmare in my life.I feel empty and depressed.we three siblings and im a bread winner..on behalf of this I tried gradually to move on my life just for my sister. and I know someday it will come that we will meet our mom in eternal life. As of now we should keep strong because our mom wants us to become more independent woman..I always keep on mind that everything happen for a reason.:)


Oct 16, 2013
I understand your pain
by: Nancy

I am so sorry for your loss. My mom passed on 9/27/13. Her death has broken me. I know exactly what you mean when you say you have lost a piece of yourself. I can't stop my tears and this feeling of being alone. I feel shattered. It's almost 3 weeks since mom has passed and it feels like yesterday. I hope for both of us that as time passes the pain & hurt will become tolerable.

Oct 16, 2013
Feel exactly the same...
by: Anonymous

I lost my mother suddenly also on September 10 2013 and I feel just as you do. She was only 53 and I'm 21. It was completely unexpected - ruptured aneurysm. She had a hard life and I keep trying to tell myself she is in peace but I feel as if my life is over. The first month was a complete blur and I feel as if I'm in a living hell now. She and my dad were together for 35 years. I know exactly what you are going through ...

Oct 12, 2013
by: Anonymous

Hi lizzy, i know what you feel right now. My mom passed away last oct 2, 2013 and same reasons. My mom got high blood and then turn to stroke which one reason to be in coma, and then it takes 2 days then she die. Its so hard, i felt like it was an end of d world for me. I was also 24 yrs old an didnt even get to see me married. Until now, i dont know when i was gonna move on, i also hoping that it was a nightmare,but no its not, its for real. And this time, im still shocked. I told to myself, that i will not be happy this coming holiday season, because she left us. by theway im bert. My email ad : bert_profile@yahoo.com

Oct 03, 2013
A part of me died with her....
by: Doreen UK

Lizzy I am so sorry for your loss of your mom to a sudden death. Being in denial is our way of coping with loss. I also feel it is God's way of helping us go through our grief in small doses. I have been in your place praying like mad for a loved one to survive. Filled with panic and desperation that this can't happen. Not to Me. Not Now. I lost my husband of 44yrs. to cancer 17 months ago. He had terminal cancer I had 3yrs 39days to grieve from diagnosis to his death 17 months ago. I felt numb with grief. Prayed for miracle that did not happen. It is the suddenness of knowing a loved one will die and leave us that is hard to process. Even if we all know we will die one day means nothing till we go through the experience. The grief pain is like nothing we can even imagine. The healing process is so slow it feels as if we are grieving forever. Care if you have to for your father and brother. But don't put your own life on HOLD. It is possible to care for yourself and your family. It will take time for you to recover from your grief but you need to nurture yourself into coping with life by building yourself up with good things you do for yourself. Your mother is at peace now. It is us who are left who will struggle for months to find peace from our loss. Take one day at a time. This helps. Don't focus on the future. Just one day at a time. Otherwise the enormity of the years ahead will swallow you up with worry and pain of how you will get through the rest of your life. This happens one day at a time as we don't have tomorrow till God gives it to us. Having a Faith in God helps us get through grief each day. God is our healer. I wish you Comfort and Peace in your grief.

Oct 02, 2013
Dear Lizzy
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I lost my Dad to sudden cardiac arrest, and I feel the same way you do. I think I am still in denial...the utter shock of it all has shaken me to my core. I take comfort knowing that he passed peacefully. By the time we got to the hospital, I knew he was already gone, but I sat by his bedside and held his hand while the doctors worked and worked to restart his heart. It was such a surreal experience...I couldn't believe what was happening. I am left here without my father, my friend, my walking buddy, my kids are left without their beloved PopPop....My mother is lost without the love of her life...there is just constant sadness. Many days I just feel like I am going crazy....I can't break out of the grief, but this website has been a lifesaver to me, and I hope you find some strength here. We all share the same emotions, the same difficulties and the same sense of loss. We all manage to go on, taking comfort in the fact that one day we will be reunited with our loved ones. I will pray for you...I know how much you are hurting. Barb

Oct 02, 2013
I know the pain you speak of.....
by: Katrina

Hi Lizzy, my name is Katrina and I am so sorry about you losing your mom. My mom also passed away of sudden cardiac arrest and she too was young, she was 59. My mom was also a smoker and had been for many years but she was also very active and petite. The only thing we were aware of regarding my moms health was high blood pressure which was probably caused by the many years of smoking. Well my story is so very similar to yours with only a few differences. My mom was doing fine but the last week and a half of her life she started complaining of upper abdominal pain which I now know that that pain in her stomach was a sign of heart trouble. My mom would also get short of breath a lot but she too did not want to go to the hospital. My mom was a nurse for 15 years so I am still having a hard time with this cause I don't understand why. My mom passed away on June 3, 2013 and I am 43 and the oldest out of 6 other siblings and we all are taking my moms death so very hard. I also know that the day my mom died part of me really did die with her. My mom also lay on the floor with her eyes open and mouth slightly ajar while paramedics tried to revive her when I already knew she was gone as soon as I ran to her bedroom and saw her. I too started making phone calls to my other siblings while paramedics worked on my mom. It is so very hard to come to terms with this. My mom and I were like sisters and best friends and I feel so lost and alone without her, but I know I must go on and I do the best I can. I pray a lot, and I have my faith because I know that is the only way my siblings and I are going to survive this. It will be 4 months October 3, 2013 since I lost my mom and I never thought I would make it one day without my mom, so I know there is a God above because He has got to be the reason I've made it this far. I will keep you in my prayers Lizzy....

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