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Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Remembering My Mom

02/17/2011 at 09:00 AM ET

Thanks for welcoming our celebrity blogger — Elisabeth Röhm! The actress, 37, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, has a busy 2011 ahead of her.

She can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Abduction, and plans to continue her role as spokesmom for Juno Baby.

In her latest blog, Röhm — who is mom to 2½-year-old daughter Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — remembers her mom and explains why she joined the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement in her memory.

Adam Hendershot

 

Whenever I meet an amazing woman, pass one by on the street, have a random conversation with one, talk to one of my dear friends or have the pleasure of my Aunt Lolly’s company, the thought always crosses my mind that all of these women are somebody’s daughter — yes, I love that John Mayer song — and if they are lucky, they are also somebody’s mother too.

I am what you might call a ‘girl’s girl’ and I am blessed to have great women surrounding me with their support and power. The greatest woman I have ever known is my own mother, who passed away suddenly last fall. She was and still is my compass, she is my North.

Her passing was unexpected; in fact, we were in the midst of planning a big Christmas family gathering in Los Angeles. Then I got the call. The call you never want to get, especially when you are laughing and playing in the sun-drenched backyard with your 2-year-old. My mother had suffered a severe heart attack and was in a coma in Holland.

I tried to hold it together in my daughter’s presence as my step-father ran through the horror of his experience and the condition of my mother so many miles away. I’ve been trying to hold it together ever since.

My mother was my best friend. A single mom who did everything she could to give me a true depth and love of life, she was a mirror for me and made me accountable. She most certainly helped me to carve out a purpose with her sincerity and vision.

Lisa Loverde-Meyer was what you would call a bonafide ‘hippie chick.’ Not a day went by when I didn’t receive 10 emails from my mother regarding causes that I should rally behind and stand for. My mother expected me to be real and care for others because she was a thinker and she drove me to have a core based in integrity. And she gave me a palpable faith in God.

Needless to say, my compass was shattered and even though I told her on her deathbed that I would be okay — primarily due to her kick-ass parenting — it has been a very painful year. One that I hadn’t anticipated and have felt sorely equipped to handle.

After my mother died, my Heroes costar Jack Coleman said to me, “Those who know, know. And those who don’t, forgive them.” I will always be grateful to him for those words, because most of the time people don’t know what to say to those that are grieving. It has been a lonely year, but I understand.

I don’t really know how to put my experience into words either. What I can say is, thankfully my mother met my daughter and thankfully Easton has been bringing the intoxicating light, laughter and daily reminder of gratitude that only our children can.

As a mother, I have tried not to burden Easton with adult stresses — relationship, financial, etc. You know, the big stuff that keeps us up at night. So, when I’m feeling my loss more profoundly on any given day, I keep it to myself and wait until I have a moment alone or I am with my cherished BFF or one of my aunts so that I can reminisce or simply weep like a baby.

I don’t know if I’m doing Easton a favor by shielding her from what I am going through personally. I’ve thought about that a lot lately because one of the greatest contributions my mother gave me was her truth. She kept it real. Like I said, she was a hippie and a single mom so there was no other way for her. I have been grateful that she told me the truth, demanded the truth from me and was my friend. Not a day went by when we didn’t talk at length and willingly share our secrets.

I long for her.

So, what does one do when you feel lost from loss? In my world, you do what your mother told you to do and find something worth fighting for and turn a painful situation into something meaningful. She’d have had it no other way.

To honor my mother, I’ve made it my mission to help fight heart disease by joining American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement. We have to remind each other about the truth of the matter. Our hearts are vulnerable. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Please take care of yourselves and check out the status of your health. Listen to your body. I want all women to make this their mission.

I hope that we can inspire each other to live heart-healthy lifestyles so that we can better recognize the symptoms of heart attack. My mother was overweight and inactive, so her symptoms were hard to detect. Because of my family history with heart disease, I am motivated to take action both for myself and Easton so that she won’t have to endure what I have. We are trying to be as healthy as possible these days.

Please visit GoRedForWomen.org to learn more. There is helpful information available that can improve our lives in sections BetterU and HeartHealthTools. You can also join GoRedForWomen on Facebook. The power of the female community is stronger united. Let’s empower each other to fight heart disease so that we can be here for those we love. My mother wouldn’t have it any other way.

All my love, ladies.

– Elisabeth Röhm

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Showing 27 comments

Brooke on

What a lovely entry, Elisabeth……I think that you do Easton a favor, and when she is older, sit her down and tell her the wonderful story of her grandmother. No one expects someone to hold it together all the time when thinking of a lost loved one, but since Easton won’t have the pleasure of having her in her life, take that time to write down the memories you love and then give those to her when she is ready to understand who her grandmother was.

Tee on

Elisabeth, your mother sounds like she was an amazing woman! I think Easton is a little too young to understand all of the emotions behind death but as she gets older, you will have some wonderful memories to share with her. May the Lord be with you.

Barron Harris on

Elisabeth, you have had a great mom and friend, my mom too, was a great woman. she passed away last year, and im still trying to deal with her passing, everyday its hard but the love of god gets me through the day.

You are a very beautiful and im sure you are going to be the mom your mom was to you. God Bless you and your family can’t wait to see you on the screen again,

Nella on

This one is my favorite blog from Elisabeth…wow, filled with sadness, love, and just real. “She was and still is my compass, she is my North” this made me tear up a little.

This is something that most of us will go through, the loss of a parent must be a difficult one. I still have my mom around and I am so grateful for that, but when my mother lost her mother (my grandmother) 4 years ago, I saw how painful it was for my mom and how she tried to hold it together and even to this day when she sees something that reminds her of her mom she gets sad.

It’s okay to grieve and express your feelings, we have them for a reason. Raise Easton with the memories of your mother so she can always have a part of her grandma with her.

Shannon on

I am so sorry for your loss but glad that your mother and daughter had some time together. It’s wonderful that you are honoring your mother through such great work. Hang in there.

a.n. on

Elisabeth, I feel for you. Your mother sounds like an amazing woman and you do, too. Feel confident that Easton will be an amazing woman too. She has 2 great examples to learn from. You’re so lucky that your mom met Easton. Even if she doesn’t remember her, you will always have the peace in your heart that your mom loved her. I highly doubt my dad will ever meet my children and if he does, he won’t even be able to interact with them because of his low immune system. Stories like these make me happy that your baby girl met her grandma. God bless you!

p.s. I LOVEEEE you on Law and Order. Serena is my favorite female character. She’s so articulate, classy, and intelligent and your blogs have led me to realize that YOU make Serena all of those things. I can’t wait to see you in other shows and movies.

Jes on

Thank you for sharing, you are a strong women and a great role model for Easton when she is older she will be what you were to your mom.

I lost my mom 10 yrs ago to cancer and there is not a day that goes by still that I don’t think of her. I was married a week before they diagnosed her and she died a few short weeks later, but I have the memories of my parents together and mom and I on that special day. I don’t have kids, but if I did I would be sad for them not to have had the chance to know and love the strong women who raised me.

Janine Krolikowski on

Elisabeth,

As a National Spokeswoman for Go Red For Women, 2011 Campaign, I want to welcome you personally to the movement! I am so happy to see that you are on board with us and sharing your story. You will help so many lovely ladies! I enjoy your blog and will continue to check in to read your positive inspirational messages! Please feel free, if inclined to do so, my own blog : http://avoicefrommyhearttoyours.blogspot.com

I also have a family history of heart disease, my mother died at the age of 49 and father at the age of 51. I was only 12 years old when my mother was first diagnosed with Congested heart failure. Heart disease has affected most of my life. I too had a major heart attack at the age of 46. Now 53 I am leading a wonderful, full life and have made changes to my to my life so that I can one day meet my grandchildren. I have chosen to share my personal life journey with Heart Disease publicly also, in hopes of helping women. I personally thank you for your efforts in this fight to lessen the strangle hold that heart disease has on women.

Sincerely,

Janine Krolikowski
National Spokeswoman for Go Red For Woman 2011
From Michigan and New York

Kassy on

Great post! I lost my Mom a few years ago to ovarian cancer (not the same as heart disease, but still hard to deal with). I bought a teal cape to honor her when I did an ovarian cancer awareness event, maybe you should get a red cape?

Paula on

Thanks for this post. I lost my mom a few years ago, but was unable to say my last goodbye. I remember breaking down into tears on the plane because I suddenly thought “She will never meet my children. Who will help me be a great mom like I had?”

The longing and sadness don’t go away, but with time I realized that she had prepared me for that stage in life already, and the best way to remember her was to give my children those gifts she gave to me.

Michele on

Thank you for sharing your story about the profound impact that the loss of your mother has had on you. I, too, lost my mother to heart disease. She lost her fight 6 years ago on Tuesday, February 22nd at the age of 54. I was 30 at the time and 6 months pregnant with my first child. My siblings were 33, 16 and 15.

It has been quite the journey to get to where I am today. So many emotions through the years… It is hard to put that loss into words because her death has changed every aspect of who I am. What was once the gut-wrenching pain has settled into a quiet longing that will always be there. Life is good again, but I still have my moments, especially, when one of my children does something that I did as a child, and I have such a strong urge to pick up the phone and call her…even now, 6 years later.

The American Heart Association is such a wonderful organization. My sister and I formed Team Kathy in her memory to raise funds for the AHA for America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk. My goal is to spare at least one person from the same fate that my mother suffered or us (her children) for that matter. I have completely changed my lifestyle since her passing and hope to make her proud!

Amanda Kernahan on

It was beautiful to read your blog, as well as heartbreaking because I can relate so deeply to everything you said. My mom also died suddenly from a heart attack, she was 47 and I had just turned 26. That was a year and a half ago and the grief mixed with love and memories stay with me everyday.

I also have a daughter who was 2 when I lost my mom and she has given me the strength I have needed to survive the pain of longing for my best friend. I have taken my grief and strived to use it as motivation and inspiration to other women by educating them of heart disease and its risks. Thank you for sharing your story.

Italy on

Thank you Elisabeth for your beautiful blog. What an inspiration your mother sounds like. I lost my mother 7 years ago to pancreatic/liver cancer and I was not fortunate enough to have many around who knew what to do or to say, so I felt more alone than ever. While I never believed I was the only one to go through it alone, it is nice to hear of how others have processed their grief. I know that there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about my mother and she will never see if I get married or if I have a child, but I would like to think that every time I see a bright star in the sky, it is her smile smiling down on me reminding me that she is still with me as long as I remember her.

Erin on

Elisabeth, thank you for your honest and beautiful post. I am also a motherless daughter and my mother also died suddenly. It has been almost 15 years for me and I still ache and long for my mother, especially now that I have two small children that she never had an opportunity to love, know, and hold. The sadness and the mourning truly never go away, it just aches slightly less as time moves forward. That said I totally sobbed reading every one’s posts–I am never far from tearing up.

Pouring your love into your beautiful daughter Easton (really love her name!) is such a kind way to pay tribute to your own mother.

Loosing a mother is a sad and lonely club–but as many of the posts reveal, there are so many of us out there as well that feel the same way you do. Thank you for sharing!!!

BTW–if you have not read Motherless Daughters and/or Motherless Mothers yet by Hope Edelman, do get it. You will likely sob through the book, but you can connect to it so deeply, it is such a worth while journey.

Arin on

Ms. Rohm, I too lost my mother suddenly a few years ago and I think daily about how she would advise me, comfort me and support me in the choices I have made since then. You are so right that having strong women around is important. My sisters, sisters-in-law, girlfriends, Aunts, Grandmother, etc… have been an unbelievable source of strength. When your beautiful daughter is old enough, I am sure you will teach her these valuable lessons. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

PS: LOVE Serena :)

Dana on

My mother died suddenly three years ago–while I was pregnant with my first child. I will never get over it-in fact, I started a blog about it–and I love what your co-worker said about those who know, know. So true.

caterina on

It was so calming and peaceful to read this. Thank You. You put many of the thoughts in my head to paper. I lost my Mum, Eleanor to Pancreatic Cancer last March 14th and I for quite a while after I felt completely lost, I still do. She was my best friend, the keeper of my secrets, my teacher, my heart. While her passing might have been expected for DRS it came very quickly after diagnosis, 60 days in fact. She was the most wonderful, beautiful person I knew and I know my heart will never be the same without here with me. I live with my Father, her husband of 38 years and have watched him grieve and I find it hard to grieve myself. I want to be there for him, be chipper and happy. I find my alone time is when I have solace with my thoughts, memories. Thank You for your article. You are definitely not alone. Caterina

sillyme on

This post came to me at the right time. I just lost my mom recently, too. She died from myeloma, a blood cancer, in December. And, I’ve been wanting to do something to honor her memory. We collected donations for a cancer foundation that had helped her, and that felt good. But, I do want to do something more lasting.

But, also, I’m overweight and inactive, and taking meds for blood pressure and cholesterol. After reading this and some of the comments, I feel like I really need to get in shape. And, I just read on another blog that being at least 50 pounds overweight can shorten your life by 15 years. If that’s true…wow. I hope it’s not too late for me. But, thanks, Elisabeth, for sharing your story.

Michelle on

This is a beautiful blog. I lost my mother seven years ago suddenly to a brain aneurysm. I was 23 years old and completely unprepared for that kind of loss. I was graduating from college and just finding myself, and she was my best friend. We never went a day without talking. I was with her when the aneurysm happened and I still have nighmares about the horrific events that played out.

The longing for your mother in your life never goes away, but it makes you stronger to know that she is with you. You are so blessed that she met your beautiful daughter. I am now married and struggling with infertility, and there is not a minute that goes by that I don’t wish she was by my side.

Just know that you are not alone. There are a lot of mother-less daughters out there to give you the support you need.

Jaelyn Whorton on

What a wonderful tribute to your mom. I lost my Mom on Dec.16 from a stroke. She also had heart disease. My Mom and I were best friends and everyday I find myself wanting to pick up the phone to call her. How lucky you were that your mom was able to meet your daughter. I only wish that my Mom was going to be around to meet her grandchildren.

I too have joined the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. If there is anyway that I can help keep someone else from losing their mother, daughter or friend. It’s so important that we do everything we can to empower ourselves and others.

Jaelyn

Josie on

Beautifully written…

Erin on

Thank you. Your words touched me deeply. I lost my mother 5 years ago and just when it started to get a little easier to deal with…I became a mother myself.

Now more than ever I miss my Mom and wish she were here to meet my daughter and see her grow. It is amazing how one day can be easy and the next day it feels like it was just yesterday that she passed away.

It is always comforting to know that others have the same feelings that I do. Thanks again.

Cheryl Carlson on

Elisabeth, your story has brought back so many memories of my mom and how much I still miss her after 34 years. She was 58 and I was 26 when she died suddenly of a heart attack. There is so much I have wanted to say to her over the years and have not been able to. She was so secretive about her health and in 1977 I don’t think there was much research going on for women with heart disease. Hopefully that has changed. I know there are still so many people that don’t realize that heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in America.

Thank you for your story and I really do know how you feel.

Cheryl

Nancy Clifford on

Dear Elisabeth,
I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Mom to heart disease 2 years ago,and like you she was my best friend. I turned to my faith in God to help me, but I still find life hard without her. She was a hip-hop Mom also. She was always up on the new songs, videos, and movies out. She suffered many years with heart disease. I felt I could honor her by joining Go Red for Women.Just keep on enjoying your daughter Easton. Take time to cry because it helps. Memories of the times you spent with your Mom will help also. Take care of yourself and Thank you for sharing with us.

Nancy

Annette McClellan on

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to your mother. My own mom had a silent heart attack last summer, and it was 3 months before she learned what had transpired. I too support Go Red for Women, and am so glad that you are helping to bring attention to a very worthy cause. Your mother lives on through you and your devotion to your daughter. May every blessing be yours.

Olga Punu-Poblete on

Dear Elisabeth,

I know how it feels to lose a family member. In a span of 5 years, I lost my mother-in-law, father, husband, mother, father-in-law and a sister from heart attack and stroke. They were not only family but they were my friends and confident and I missed them so much. It may be hard to believe but I also missed my in-laws as they were really like my parents too.

My youngest daughter was only 14 when my husband passed away. I have 2 older boys and I’m so thankful to God because without my children and my faith in God, I will not be strong enough to handle all this death in my family. So, I’m sure your daughter will give you strength as my children did to me.

God bless,
Olga

Janeen on

What a lovely tribute and how moving to read about your amazing relationship with your mother. I’m 36 years old and when I was 21, my mother had a massive heart attack. She survived, thanks in part to our location to Boston and amazing hospitals and doctors, and God. The heart attack killed more than 50% of her heart muscle and this has limited her life and she has had many “episodes” since then – more blocked arteries, balloon angioplasties etc.

I, too, have taken it upon myself to tell everyone I know about the dangers of heart disease. Not only is it the #1 killer of women, but it takes more lives then the top 5 cancer killers COMBINED!! Everyone out there – know your numbers! Cholesterol, C-Reactive Protein, blood pressure, you weight and measurements. And know you’re AC-1 number, which is your fasting blood glucose over a 90-day period. Diabetes leads to heart disease and you want to avoid it at all costs.

My mother was diagnosed with diabetes in her 40s and was never told (there wasn’t much info out there at the time) that diabetes can lead to heart disease because of the damage the sugar does to your arteries. Get your bloodwork done and learn everything you can. HEART DISEASE IS PREVENTABLE!!

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