An Orphaned Mom


I’m young – 37. And I don’t have living parents anymore. I’m an orphan and I, of course, hate it. My friends have parents, why did mine have to die so young? (Commencing pity party…..).

The Backstory…..

In 2013, my dad passed away just four days after I told him that I was pregnant with my third child. He was in the hospital in Tennessee and I thought by telling him, it would brighten his day – and it did. I thought he was going to get better, so when I got the call four days later that he passed, it was traumatic to say the least. He was 59.

A few months later, my mom’s breast cancer advanced to stage four. The cancer that was originally located only in her breast broke off and traveled to her bones, spine, liver and brain. After a long, hard road with breast cancer, she passed away at age 53 on September 3, 2013. And my third child was born just 13 days later on September 16.

One of the weird things is that I didn’t know the gender of my baby. So in my head, I could name it after either of my dead parents – middle name Raymond if it would have been a boy or middle name Kimberly if it was a girl. Turns out, my mom “won” and Elise Kimberly was named.

It’s an awful story, right? I hate that this is my story, but I try to not let that get me down. I realize there are other moms out there that have lost a parent, or like me, both of them. We are young. We are trying to do our best for our families. We are aching for our parents.

A card my dad wrote me for my 32nd birthday.

I often wonder to myself, does not having living parents make me less of a mom? My children will never see me interact with my parents. It’s weird to think about. I saw how my grandparents shaped my parents – my children will never have that knowledge.

Do my children realize they don’t have grandparents? It’s a hard pill to swallow that my children were 4, 2 and not even born when I lost my parents. To know that they won’t know how much Grandpa Terry or Grandma Kim would have loved them and eaten them up is really, really hard to think about. My husband’s parents are still alive (of course they are, he’s only 40), but they aren’t MY parents. You know? It’s in no way, shape or form the same.

When it’s all said and done, I still have a lot to learn and “no one” to learn from. Every day I push through the inevitable emotions and try to remember my parents and talk about them to my kids. My kids know more about death than the average bears, and that’s okay. It has to be okay.

Have you experienced a loss? How did you involve, or not involve, your children in your grief?


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Jessica is a native of Cleveland, OH (well, a small town 30-minutes outside of CLE, Perry, have you heard of it?!) who moved with her family of five to Columbus in 2014 on a giant leap of faith. Columbus has not disappointed from Day One. She is mom to three great kids, Sadie (7), Colin (5) and Elise (3). Somehow the kids ended up each being 26-months apart, something this not-so-mathematically inclined mama definitely did not plan! She’s been married to her husband Brian for ten years and credits him for (mostly) keeping her crazy in check. Her work is one of her passions – she works media relations in the field of organ, eye and tissue donation. Her job brings her great pride and joy and she actually looks forward going into work every single day. Her other passion is advocating for stage four breast cancer research. Jessica lost her mom in 2013, after a two-year, harrowing road with cancer. She tries to raise awareness for the spread of breast cancer and to educate others on supporting causes that fund stage four research to save lives. Jessica recently won her first Blue Ribbon at the Ohio State Fair for “Button Price” a button art (yes, that’s a thing) rendition of Prince (the singer and purple legend), loves Beyoncé, will never turn down the opportunity of a mid-Saturday nap and is excited to continue exploring this great city we live in!