Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: The Heart Truth

02/17/2012 at 08:00 PM ET
National Wear Red Day – Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her roles as Serena on Law & Order and Kate on Angel, is marking a year blogging for PEOPLE.com.

The actress recently appeared on CSI: Miami. She also has a role on The Client List and upcoming films Transit and Officer Down out later this year. She can be found on Facebook, Google + and @ElisabethRohm.

In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — remembers her mom as the inspiration for getting involved in women’s heart health, and shares her experience at New York Fashion Week.

Have you lost your mom? Has heart disease affected your family or friends? Let Elisabeth know in the comments.

It’s that time of year again — where we are reminded of The Heart Truth.

The truth of the matter is that as women, our hearts are so very vulnerable. It is the leading killer of our sex. As you may or may not recall, heart disease has touched my life in a profound way. Last year I confided in you, my readers, about my mother’s recent death from heart failure. She passed away at age 60, when I myself was just 36.

It was then that I faced the fact that I was no longer anyone’s baby girl. I had lost my best friend. I called Mom almost every day and told her everything. I must have had her feeling anxious most of the time, for I never censored myself when it came to talking to my mother. How was I going to live without my guide and consul? Who would be there to tell me what to do?

My faith was tested. Everything my mother had raised me to be became the very life raft that kept me afloat. That inner strength still keeps me going, even on those days that I miss her terribly and dread the fact that my darling Easton will not have the benefit of knowing my incredible mom.

Losing a parent is a bitter experience. Yet it is then, during the toughest times, that we see the spirit of their parenting rise in us. It’s how we deal with love and pain (usually a bit of both) that shows us the work of our parents.

It’s true that I am still nursing a broken heart and not a day goes by where I don’t ache for my mommy. That’s the truth of the matter. But it’s because of her that I have been able to hold my head high, feel grace in my heart and even joy in knowing that she would be proud of my survival. Most importantly, she would be proud of my parenting.

Me and my mother Lisa – Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

When Mom was in a coma — which can often be the case after a major heart attack — I remember sitting next to her hospital bed, knowing that she was gone. Yet I could feel her holding on to life to be with Easton and I, if not for one day more. At one point, I asked to be alone with my mother, as there were many relatives milling in and out of her hospital room while I sat there vigilantly for days.

When the door had closed behind that last loved one, I pulled myself up onto Mom’s bed and told her that I was going to be fine and that it was okay to let go. I thanked her for her parenting, her consistent loving, tender hand and honest wisdom. She had prepared me for motherhood as well as the loss of my own childhood with true courage. And even though my own heart was being torn apart, I knew my foundation was strong because I’d had an incredible parent.

That is the gift of parenting, I guess. Knowing that your children will be okay without you; that they will be kind, brave and effortless in their attempt to live a fulfilled life. That their hearts will be open and that when they stumble, they will not hesitate to try again, because their mom or dad told them that they could do anything!

One of the many things my mother insisted on with me was that I defend the rights of others and find a good cause to fight for in my life. Now, there’s none better than heart awareness. It’s become my own call to action. My mother wouldn’t have had it any other way.

That being said, I want to share with you the wonderful experience I had during New York Fashion Week. I was honored to walk in my first runway show (yikes!) for The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection. For the last 10 years, The Heart Truth campaign has brought awareness to heart disease through the Red Dress Fashion Show.

On the catwalk! – Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

Needless to say, it was a very personal experience to have shared with all the other participants. Especially after my last blog, it was just really fun to throw off the mom clothes and be on the catwalk.

I loved my Nicole Miller dress and loved walking to the song that they chose for me, which was a dance remix of the Law & Order theme! It was unforgettable!

The joy of sharing in a powerful, life-affirming moment with a group of empowered women — from Christie Brinkley to Michael Phelps‘s mom Debbie — was memorable and I am so grateful to The Heart Truth for bringing attention to such an important cause and defending the health of all women.

Jeannette Torres-Alvarez, Jenna Elfman, me, Giselle Blondet, Rose McGowan, Rebecca Romijn, Minka Kelly, Aisha Tyler, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Nettles, Cindi Leive, Gloria Estefan, Christie Brinkley, La La Anthony, Debbie Phelps and Patti Stanger – Jennifer Greylock/INF

That said, it was so fantastic being out and about for fashion week in my hometown of New York City. Off went my ratty grey sweater, jeans and comfortable shoes as I got into the spirit of the moment with some other super glamorous, super costume-y and somewhat unattainable looks in various other fashion shows. Of course, most of those fantastic pieces don’t make any sense in my own closet these days.

That is, until I came across the lovely Leila Shams and her comfortable flow-y silks, drape-y jersey and cotton blends. The true glamour came in the prints: gems, animals, broken mirrors. I was covered from head to toe and still felt sexy. Not to mention those prints of hers could hide a multitude of mom stains if need be. Not yet a mom, Leila knew just what our closets needed and I was so excited to have stumbled upon her!

At the Leila Shams show – Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty

It was a wonderful week of female expression and empowerment. I know if my mother were alive today, she would have enjoyed the whole experience/fiasco of fashion week. She would have cheered for those women who strutted their stuff down the runway in their red gowns for The Heart Truth with the bold message of living long, healthy lives!

We are women, hear us roar!

— Elisabeth Röhm

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Showing 63 comments

Meryl Neiman on

What a beautifully written tribute. I’m sure your mom would be proud.

Indi on

OMG that is such a sad story, while reading i missed my mum and she is still here!. I could not imagine my life without my mum and i had tears in my eyes reading this XX

Sarah on

Beautiful post. Elisabeth, you seem like such a beautiful person, inside and out, and the fact that you are involved in such a great cause just proves it even more.

I lost my mom at 17, and now that I’m 22, not a day goes by where I don’t think of her. It breaks my heart that I will never be able to have my future children meet the incredible woman who raised me. Cherish your mothers (and fathers).

Marky on

My mother passed away 5 years ago after having massive stroke because she had Atrial Fibrillation. I had just walked into her home to visit, and within 3 minutes, noticed she was somewhat agitated and was moving her left hand in an unusual way. I immediately asked her to raise her arms, and look at me (she was talking clearly), and she had no control over her left arm. She also had closed her eyes because she had gone blind from the stroke.

I can still feel the abject grief of that moment because I felt in my gut she wouldn’t survive. She was in a coma 9 hours later, and died 4 nights after that when she had another stroke. I miss her every day.

I was grateful for the fact that each day we said we loved each other. I spent time with her every day the last few months she was alive because she had moved to the same town I lived in, so we cooked together, visited about what she wanted to, and there were no negative feelings between us. I am so glad I could give her that, because it wasn’t easy for her to leave her home of many years.

I am grateful for those who cared for her so kindly in those days, and I hope the words I said were ones she was glad to hear. Everyone does the best they can in that situation, I think. I’m glad she could talk to all her grandchildren in those few hours she could talk, as well as her children. I’m glad she knew I loved her.

Heart disease of any kind is difficult for both the patient and the family. I appreciate your post, Elisabeth, and I’m sorry about your mom. Thanks for doing what you can to make people aware of heart disease and what it does. The best tribute you can give your mom is to live your life the best way you can.

KL on

My grandmother and mother both died five years ago. Never thought I would be 39 yrs old, 7 months pregnant, and an orphan.

I too spoke to my mom daily, told her everything and anything…not a day goes by that I don’t think of either of them. My grandmother was 92 yr old so not a complete surprised but still unexpected. My mother and I were mourning her death together but at the same time celebrating my first pregnancy and her first time as a grandmother. This was a role she had been waiting for her whole life!!

My mother was 63 yr old and her death was completely sudden and totally unexpected. Normally a busy woman she started to slow down a couple weeks before her death. A flu bug we thought. She passed out in the hallway one evening (something that she has never done before). I rushed her to the ER and a week later she died in the hospital.

The diagnosis was AML Leukemia. What?! It was too aggressive and her organs started to shut down before we could even begin to fight the leukemia.

I’ve never written about her death before. It’s hard to think about that time but your words come close to what I would say. I too sat talking to her, thanking her and thinking how grateful I was that she was my mom. I knew somehow she could hear me. The sadness seemed unbearable but I did survive. I wonder how I survived then I remember who raised me.

Thank you for sharing.

April on

I did not lose my mother, but as a mother myself, I always think of the fact that i am teaching my children how to live in this world and preparing them to be ok without me someday.

Your post was beautiful, I enjoyed reading it.

SLM on

I’m more of a lurker than likely to comment, but Elisabeth, I lost my mother to heart-related complications nearly 2 1/2 years ago. My daughter was born 14 months later. It’s so strange becoming a mother without your mother. But like you say above, she established a strong foundation and when I have fears and doubts [am I doing this right?], I have to remind myself of that.

Thank you for your work on this campaign. Heart disease definitely runs in the women in my family and it is startling, even with today’s medical advancements, how fragile the heart is and little we can do if it heads toward failure.

Shari Stein on

Thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts about your mom and your relationship with her. While I lost my mom 18 years ago, I feel blessed to have had incredible parents–like you so aptly wrote.

I really relate to how you explain that losing your parent makes you give up your childhood. That’s so true–even as an adult, I could be a child with my mom. Because I used to talk to my mom every day and, after she died, thought about her often every day, I started a blog, http://www.iwishmymom.com

I’d love for you to read one of my posts. Here’s a link to the latest, http://iwishmymom.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/how-kim-kardashian-inspired-this-post/ .

annachestnut on

Elisabeth is so beautiful

Kelli on

I too lost my mom young. She was 46 and I was 24. The hardest thing is knowing my daughter will never meet her. I say meet,and not know, because I constantly bring her up in stories and memories to my daughter. And I honored her by naming my daughter after her. I hope she is somewhere above, watching me raise her granddaughter, and feeling proud.

JulieA on

Ooooooh, my goodness….pass the Kleenex! I’m sitting here sobbing. WHAT a brilliant, poignant, and beautiful tribute to your mom, Elisabeth! I lost my mom last year after she spent 12 years in a nursing home unable to speak or move because of a series of strokes. I, too, gave her my permission to go…and now she is “home” with Jesus. Indeed, we must move on, and in all things, remember the parent who gave so much of herself to us.

Rachel on

I lost my mom just a few weeks ago, it was sudden and I did not get a chance to say the things I wanted to say to her. The pain from this loss is unbearable and at times I don’t feel like the pain will ever go away. I also don’t know how I am supposed to go on without her, but knowing that you were able to get through it is helpful. I am not a mom, but mourn the fact that when I do have children they won’t get to know their amazing grandmother (and she would have been an amazing grandmother).

jenna on

my mother was in a coma, and the nurses told me to tell her it was okay to let go. It was without a doubt the hardest thing i’ve ever done. she passed away shortly after.

Susan on

My mother passed away 8 years ago from a sudden cardiac event. We knew she had CHF, and in her last few days, she just didn’t feel “right.” We thought she had a bug, and then she just didn’t wake up. Although my dad is still here, my sister and I had always been closer to our mom. In a way, I feel like an orphan, but my mom’s death has brought me so much closer to my dad. I can honestly say that I had probably only talked to my dad on the phone a handful of times before my mom’s death, and I’m 38!

My sister has since had two children, and it is sad to know that they won’t know how awesome their grandmother was. We call her “the grandma who watches over the kitties in heaven”, as they have had two cats die recently. My sister gave her first child our mother’s name as her middle name. She was debating it, and when she told me in the hospital, I just cried! Anyway, I’m rambling. 🙂

We also support go red for women! I am a nurse, and always have my pin on my badge.

What a beautiful tribute to your mother! Your blog is wonderful!

Patti on

What a beautiful post. I lost my Mom in 1978 when she was 47 yrs, and I was 12 yrs just beginning the 7th grade. I was her 8th child out of 10 kids. She had to be a drill sergeant with so many children. We had no material things, but we knew we were loved. Everyone handled her death differently, some stood tall & some fell apart. I missed out on much advice, etc. but I’ll hear a long commentary in Heaven someday…

Deb on

I, to, lost my mom too soon. It was 8 years ago, she was just 54 and I was only 24. My first child was 5 weeks, 6 days old. Those are the things you never forget.

First, I would like to say I am so sorry for your loss (and all the other women commenting on here). Losing a mother is unbelievably devastating and I appreciate you writing about it because it is so easy to feel alone in my grief.

Thank you for all you do for women’s health. While my mom died from complications due to cancer, I appreciate the effort to help women in general.

Best of luck to you and your family.

maryilyn22 on

My sister died at 40 of a heart attack. No warning, no notice. She was a teacher and died in the restroom at her school. No one noticed she was out of her classroom for 3hrs. They found her unresponsive and she was pronounced DOA. My life was turned upside down forever. I had just lost my mother 16month before my sister’s death.

Right on for your work with this organization. My heart goes out to you. Losing someone we love is the hardest thing we will ever have to endure in this life. I’m glad you have a little one who can share his joy and remind you that Life is Good!

lol on

What a beautiful tribute. My mom passed almost three years ago from pancreatic cancer and it seems as if it were yesterday. She was 80 years old but psychologically she seemed 65. She was sprightly, very aware and just a joy to know. Five weeks prior to her death she was riding ATVs in Phoenix! We talked every day at least 10 times a day. I miss her so much and thank God for her beautiful life and all the beautiful memories.

SandyM on

I, too lost my mom to heart disease 10 years ago this February 2nd. I felt like I was an orphan when I lost her. She was my main confidante, my best friend and also my biggest fan. She always encouraged me and told me I could do anything I put my mind to. She fought a hard fight against high cholesterol levels which resulted in plaque buildup in her arteries. In order to combat this she took medication, exercised and ate healthily but to no avail.

I miss her everyday and still catch myself reaching for the phone to call her. Heart disease is not just a man’s disease!

julie on

I’m sorry you lost your mom, Elisabeth. I lost my dad in April and am in the process of losing my mom, both to smoking related lung diseases. I don’t know what’s worse, the shock of a sudden death or having to watch your loved one slowly suffocate to death. I guess I at least had the opportunity to tell my dad what he meant to me, but I still haven’t even fully realized what that is.

Another layer unfolds every once in awhile and I’m left breathless by its profundity. I find the experience both beautiful and heartbreaking. Everything about my dad was a gift. Sounds like the same was true of your mom. I’m so glad you got to have her.

Amy on

I lost my mom four years ago. She was 70, I was 40. She, too,had a heart attack and slipped into a coma. She had also fought with diabetes for years. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. She was my best friend.

Stefannie on

Today is my mom’s 61st birthday and she passed away 1 month ago. Today is a very very hard day but I am missing the daily things. Like talking to her 5 times a day about my daughter (4), work, gossip just anything. People say it gets better. I don’t know if it will ever get better just manageable I think. I will always feel incomplete and empty but I will make it.

Carrie on

I lost my dad, it has been 16 years this year and I still am not over it!

Diane on

Lovely post Elisabeth, sorry to your mum had to leave you, im sure she is very proud of you!!

My mum passed away two yrs ago, she was young only 52 yrs, she died very suddenly of pneumonia. its very hard without her, i dont have her to give me advice and to let me know im doing a good job raising her Grand kids, but i feel her in my heart!

You are so right though it is like losing your best friend!!

Cheri on

I cried as I read your story. Your story has a lot of similarities with mine. My sweet mom had CHF too. She collapsed right after Church service. She survived, but she had severe brain injury and died 14 months later.

My 6-year-old daughter was very close to her and she still sleeps with a baby toy that my mom picked out for her before she was born. She talks about her all the time, draws pictures of her, and prays for her every night. In kindergarten, her teacher asked them to write their favorite word and draw a picture of it. She chose the word, love, and drew a picture of herself and my mom.

Thank you for sharing your story. Your mom sounded like an amazing person.

Joseibi on

Always enjoyed your post, Elisabeth. You are beautiful inside and out.

Stephanie on

I loved watching you on Law & Order, and I have read your blog from time to time. I have never commented on a stranger’s post before, but my heart was deeply touched by your story.

I, too, lost my mother unexpectedly at a young age…she was 60, I was 25. We did not know she had a heart condition called myocarditis, and she passed away in her sleep nearly 9 years ago. I am very thankful for the peace of her passing, but was overwhelmed by the sadness of not getting to say goodbye. And now, being a mother of two little ones with special needs, I ache for her love and support and long to have seen her play with her grandchildren. But, God has gifted me with an amazing husband and beautiful women in my life who are willing to walk alongside me in my journey.

Since her death, I raise money and walk every year in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in my community. It may not be a lot, but it is a tangible way that I can remember her, honor her, and help such a great cause.

I am deeply sorry for your loss, Elisabeth. I applaud your efforts and the use of your celebrity influence to bring awareness to such an important subject for women. May you always know how much God loves you and how blessed you are to have had a mother who cared for you so well. Best wishes on raising your precious little girl…you are clearly doing a fabulous job thus far.

Jackie on

Thank you for this post, as always I relate to your topics!

I’m 27, my mom is still alive and she and I are very close, we are best friends. I too tell her everything and she never judges me, she is the nicest most selfless loving person. To me, she is the absolute perfect example of a “mom”. I sometimes call her late at night and cry and cry telling her not to ever die and we have an inside joke that we are going to “go” together. 🙂 It will be horrible when a day comes when I cant pick up the phone and have her pick up on the other end!

frannie on

Losing your mom leaves a void that can never be filled. I too lost my mom one year ago. She was 65 and I was 44. She died from cancer. She was able to see her grandchildren grow up to be teenagers. That I am grateful for.

My mom was my confidant, my go to person when my kids were sick and my personal shopper when I needed help finding something! I miss her every single day. The ache in your heart never goes away but the sadness does. I am jealous when out in a store and I see a mom and her daughter together.

What I would do for one more day with my mom. One more hug, one more kiss on the cheek. She closed her eyes and slipped into a coma before I was able to reach the hospital. I will forever regret not being able to look into her eyes one final time and thank her for being a fantastic mother.

Sonya on

My mom’s my best friend and I talk to her every day too. I can’t imagine what my life will be like one day when she is gone. I’m so sorry for your loss Elisabeth. You are making her proud – you are a great mom to Easton (love her name!).

Cindy on

My mom died at 61, when I was 39 and in the third trimester of my first pregnancy. My beautiful little daughter was robbed of someone whose greatest goal at that stage of her life was to be a grandmother. It still stings.

Gbear on

I too lost my mom about six years ago to a stroke, as did others who posted here….I also miss my mother every minute of every day, so I understand how hard it is…I just wanted to say as time passes by, keep the memories alive because those you can pass on to your child…

Abby on

WOW! Thank you, Elisabeth for your story. I am terrified to lose my Mother as she is my best friend. I was blessed to have a MOTHER growing up & now a close confidant… she is an incredible example of selflessness, joy, hard work, loyalty & determination.

It broke my heart to read of the last days you had with yours, but also gave me a little bit of relief in my anxiousness at losing my own. Thank you!

Melissa on

There’s this TV ad campaign running right now in Canada for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It’s called Make Death Wait. Very dramatic and sad. In it, Death who is the narrator is saying how much he loves women, all kinds of women. The part that always gets me is when he says “you’re so worried that I’ll come after your husband, you have no idea I’m coming after you”…

I wish this campaign was around in 2004 when I lost my 58 year old mom to sudden cardiac death. Maybe it would have encouraged my mom to get her yearly physicals and to be more active. Or something.

We were all totally blindsided by her death. She had a massive heart attack in the middle of the night. She hadn’t been feeling well for a few days. She’d gone up to lie down early that night and my dad thought to leave her the bed and slept on the sofa. Normally an early riser, my dad let her ‘sleep in’ the next morning and only went up to check up on her around 11 and found her dead.

It was only after her death that my sister and I did research on Heart Disease and realized our mom was a ticking time bomb. Like in the Make Death Wait ad, she WAS always worried about our dad’s health. Come to think of it, she was worried about everyone else’s health, except her own. She suffered from what we now call “chronic suck-it-up-ism”. Something I’m sure a lot of people recognize in their own mom’s or in themselves where everyone else comes first.

My mom’s ‘malaises’ were last on her list of priorities. She had no idea that she would have been a prime candidate for quadruple bi-pass surgery, that her arteries were 70% to 90% blocked, that the severe heartburn she’s been popping Rolaids for, like they were candy for a week before her death, was in reality her body telling her her heart was in difficulty and was about to fail.

Today, I’m a week away from becoming a mom for the first time and not a day went by during my pregnancy where I didn’t think about : 1. My mom and the fact she won’t be around to meet her first grand child or won’t be able to impart her advice that I’m desperate for and 2. My own health and how I am committed to ensuring I don’t and never put myself last, especially when it comes to my health (I’m 37). My family needs me healthy and I want to be around to play with my own grand kids some day.

Thank you for your post Elisabeth.

Lydia on

I lost my Mom on Mother’s Day last year. She was 49 and I was 27 and 8 months pregnant. I miss her everyday. She was my bestfriend. I miss talking to her so much. I so wish she could have held my sweet baby. She would have been a fantasic Nana. I don’t think the pain every goes away.

Amanda on

I too lost my mom, a little over a year ago. While my experience with my mother was VASTLY different from hers, I do still understand exactly everything she is trying to convey here. The first year with death, as with marriage is the hardest. Sometimes, I wish my mom was still here, that I could still seek her advice, and that she would be able to listen to whatever silly quandary I’ve gotten myself into… but, she is not. And, I am glad for she isn’t suffering anymore. Yes, letting go is the hardest part, however it is life.

Debora on

I lost my mom 6 years ago June, she was just 63 and I was only 38. My mother was my best friend who I talked to at least 4 times a day.

Her death was sudden (vascular disease) within 2 weeks. I wasn’t able to speak to her when she was hospitalized because she was in an induced coma for the pain. I too told her it was alright to go and finally find some peace but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my mother and yearn to pick up the phone and talk to her. I never felt so much loss then I felt when I lost my mom.

I’m truly sorry for your loss because I know the pain. My boys will not be able to know what a truly remarkable woman she was.

BethCent4 on

What a wonderful way for Elisabeth to honor her mother. My mother was also 60 when she died from a heart disease. That was 21 years ago. I was 25 at the time – she never met my husband and I have missed having her be a part of my childrens’ lives.

I admire her for bringing attention to this disease. Thank you Elisabeth!

Anne on

Like others, I tend to read much and comment never. Your touching words and tribute to your Mother inspire me to be a non “lurker” just this once. My dear Mom passed 6 months ago of CHF. She had fought it for years and had an aeortic valve replacement in 2000. They tell you the valve is usually good for 10 years and she outlived hers by 16 months.

Even though we knew the time would come when she couldn’t be helped, nothing prepared me for losing my best friend and confidant. The woman who was always there for me, who always was honest (even if I didn’t want to hear it), who loved me and worried about me, no matter what.

A common thread that seems to tie each of us together is that we were blessed to have had such wonderful mothers to nurture and guide us all the days of their lives with us. That is a rare and beautiful gift indeed. Still mourning my sweet mom, I hope that in time, good memories will be a comfort and replace the sorrow. I will miss her all the days of my life.

Thank you for sharing and inspiring with the gift of your mother. I like to think that all our Mom’s are now our Angels in heaven and still watching over us.

Sarah on

What a beautiful post. I lost my mother to cancer when I was twenty–you are lucky to have had her for as long as you did.

Kesha on

As I am reading this, tears are flowing down my face. My mother passed away 18 months ago and we talked several times a day on top of seeing each other everyday. She passed away from a heart attack due to complications from pneumonia that came by way of her chemotherapy.

She was and still is the female love of my life. Not a day doesnt go by that I dont ache to hug her and tell her that I love her. She was an amazing woman that taught me to go to God in prayer and allow him to lead the way. I faltered after she died, I closed myself off from my friends and some family. My rock was gone and each day is better than the last but the pain never goes away.

I try to honor my mother everywhere and I speak to everyone about the risks associated with chemotherapy. You seem to have had a very close relationship with your mother and what you are doing is honorable.

Just know that your mother is playing with your child everyday and her presence and love will always be with you. Remember M.A.B.E.L.= Mothers Always Bring Extra Love!!

Tifany on

Thanks for the beautiful article Elisabeth. I lost my mom on Sept 16 this past year. She was only 63, I am 39. She had a massive stroke in 2005 and was severely disabled and in a nursing home. I feel like I’m really grieving from all the way back when she had the stroke, as I could no longer even talk to her really since her speech was so impaired.

I had major issues with my mom, as she left my sister and me and my dad for another man when I was 4, but, I still loved her deeply and don’t think I will ever get over losing her so young. My sister and I were with her when she passed and I told her I loved her and at that moment I forgave her for everything, and I really believe she knows that.

JC on

Beautifully written. I so identified with you and things that you did.

I just lost my wonderful mom on Feb. 10. She was 89 1/2. I sat vigil with her 10 hours a day for the last three weeks of her life, from the time she was first hospitalized and then moved to hospice care. While she had a healthy heart, she suffered from Alzheimer’s dementia. Thankfully, she knew who we all were.

I thought she would always be there but now she’s gone. I miss her every day but she will always and forever remain in my heart.

Kayla on

What a beautiful tribute to your mom! Thank you for sharing!

I lost my mom a year ago today to stage 4 lung cancer. She was 47 and I was only 21. She was in a car accident, was diagnosed through scans for injuries from the accident, then 3 weeks later she passed.

It’s so hard knowing she won’t be there when I walk at graduation in June, or when I meet my future husband and get married, or when I have kids, or when my brother graduates from college and my sister from high school. My faith was tested; it’s still be tested a year later.

It was so nice to read your post and all the comments from people who have lost their mom. It gives me hope that life will eventually get easier and good things will happen again.

Ven on

I was 17 when I lost my mother to breast cancer 4 yrs. ago. Til this day there is a void that is never filled. I can only be grateful that I got to say goodbye (without really knowing she was going to pass away the next day). I ask that if you have not lost your mother please do not take her for granted. Spend time with your loved ones and be with them every way you can.

kromito on

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and just lost my dad a few weeks ago. I’m having my first child and obviously feel very nervous, unsure, scared and excited about the experience.

I always thought my dad would be physically present for the ups and downs of my parenting adventure. But your poignant words give me reassurance that he will always be with me, not only in spirit but in how I raise my child.

Holly on

Reading that was like reading my own story. I lost my mom 1 1/2 years ago to sudden disease and I feel the exact same way. My heart is broken but I am so lucky to have had her.

I had a moment just like the one you described at your mother’s bedside…she died a few hours later.

I too apply everything she taught me to raising my son and that is how I keep her alive. She died the day after his 4th birthday and he was the center of her world, being a grandma was all she ever wanted. He is 5 1/2 now and still remembers her which is great and heart wrenching at the same time.

My heart is with you.

Sharon on

Thank so much for your post. I so appreciate your feelings as my father just passed away last November of heart disease. I am an only child for all intents and purposes. These last few years (20+) it has been just him and me. I was soooo not prepared for all the decisions I would have to make. I mean, how can you get ready to receive a call at 2 in the morning from the on-call doctor and be asked if you wanted them to stop CPR? So it was such a learning curve.

I was by myself (other than the nurses) and just was there. He was in a coma most of the time so I did the same thing. I said it was Ok to go. I would be OK. I am glad I was there at the end and have gone through all this I feel more empowered. I am so grateful for all the technology that we have today. There wouldn’t be an hour go by that at least 3 people would have texted me. I am so grateful.

It is interesting that I feel more adult today than I did before. It is just a maturing process but I didn’t understand until now. I used to have dinner with my Dad every Sunday. So now I make a point of going out on Sunday to someplace else. But treat it as a treat for me.

Cathy on

I’ve never written, usually happy to read without comment. This one touched me too deeply. I, too, cried as I read this post (as well as Shari Stein’s shared post!).

My mother has been gone 12+ years. It doesn’t get easier, just a bit more bearable. I still miss her everyday & I still think, “I’ll have to call Mom” before realizing, once again, that I can’t. She never met my children, but they believe they met her in heaven before they came to us. Her greatest joy in life was being “Memom” to my sisters children & I don’t know if it’s harder for my kids having never met her or their cousins who miss her as much as their mom & I do.

If I can be half as good a mother to my children as my mother was to me, I will have been an awesome mom! Keep that in mind, Elisabeth. With such a great role model, you have a great start on motherhood – you’re doing great so far! God Bless you for helping to raise awareness.

cheryl on

Elisabeth, i’m truly sorry for your loss and can relate to your story. I lost my mom who also was my best friend 8 years ago to brain cancer. She was 56 and I was 35. Not a day goes by that I don’t “talk” to her. She was the one I turned to for everything. She was an example of courage and strength my whole life.

My mom spent her last year living with my husband and I. I was truly blessed to be the one she chose to be with to walk her through such a difficult time but would not change it for anything. We were able to discuss and share with each other how we felt, all the daily I LOVE YOU’s, and reflect on our lives as mother and daughter. The good and the bad! I miss her everyday. She passed away at home in her own bed with my twin sister and I singing to her.

Elisabeth, you are honoring the memory of your mother in such a wonderful way. The process of losing a loved one is never easy. However, dealing with the loss is better than not dealing with your feelings. My twin sister never did heal from our mothers death and took her own life 3 1/2 years later at the age of 38.

I am so blessed to say now that my daughter is my best friend. By the example that my mom set for me, my daughter and I have the same closeness that I had with her. My daughter and I text or talk several times a day sharing everything.

On valentines day this year, I got a call at 11pm from her. We had already talked several times that day and when I saw it was her, my first thought was something was wrong because she knows I’m usually asleep at that hour. She wanted me to be the first to know, other than her husband, that she just took a pregnancy test and that I am going to be a grandma. We are “over the moon” and secretly hoping its a little girl to carry on the mom-daughter relationship.

Elisabeth, continue to honor your mother as well as touching other women like me.

mary on

My mom died of miocardial infarction in her sleep. I have a heart problem and take a statin for high cholesterol. I exercise and eat mostly vegetables, and have had cancer of the ovary and breast. I am doing everything to live longer than her. I quit smoking and am bloated with alot of water retention even though I cut salt just about all the way out. I really hope more people are made aware of what we the ill go through and also support the heart association ,cancer research and diabetes research. Thanks to everyone who does help these 3 very important organizations out.

ErinH on

This last September, at the age of 30 I had 3 surgeries back to back to fix my heart. A dual lead pacemaker implant, followed by an ablation,(my fourth) then an EP study to see the results of the previous 2 procedures.

I am the mother of 2 amazing, beautiful children, my daughter is 11 and my son turned 8 two weeks after the surgeries. I had been fighting SVT since I was 19 and the addition of bradycardia and afib made the pacemaker a necessity. At my first appointment at the pacemaker clinic I was told that my heart functions the way its supposed to between 4 and 15% of the time on its own. So, I’d like to send out a huge thank you to everyone that supports research and education for heart disease.

To Elisabeth,
I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. The way you remember and honor her memory is truly beautiful.


So powerful. I lost my mom in 2008 and just this past week I noticed how bothered I was/am, my children will never know the most amazing woman. I struggle on how to teach them. It hurts my heart.

Shannon on

Your blog brought tears to my eyes as I read the experience you had with your mother during her coma. I, too, went through a similar ordeal while my mom was on life support.

In a few short days, I will mark 10 years since I lost her. I can’t believe I’ve made it this long without her love, guidance, support, and almost daily phone calls. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and wish she were here to cheer me through my victories and defeats. For those of us who have lost our moms, we must do our best to carry on the legacy they have left us, embody the essence of what they were, and hold their love in our hearts.

God bless you, Elisabeth! I know that you will forever miss her, but I have no doubt that you are making your mom unbelievably proud of you!

Susan on

What a beautiful tribute to your mother. She is looking down from Heaven and applauding!

I lost my mother to lung cancer in 2010, she was 82. I lost my father to heart disease in 1990…he was 56 ~ I was 29. He was the one person I could always count on. The one that loved me unconditionally. My mother & I never had a close relationship due to some trust issues that I don’t want to get into.

My father wasn’t perfect but he loved me and I knew that. He died just after I found out I was pregnant for my son. I never had a chance to tell him (we lived in different states and I was only a few weeks along). He loved kids but never had the opportunity to meet 5 of his 6 grandchildren. Now he has 2 great-grandsons and a new great-grandchild due in September. I just know he is watching over us from Heaven. I dream of my parents and they are always alive in my dreams and it is always in the present. When I awaken, I feel as though we just had a great visit. It is so comforting.

Please know that your work on behalf of women and heart disease is admirable. You are such an inspiration. Thank you.

cindy on

As I read your blog, I kept thinking the same sentiment: you loved with your whole heart. I also know you STILL love who you are because of who she was in your life. I too had a mom that I miss more each day. You have put into words the gift that a mom can be….

debbie wilson on

I am losing my mother as i read your story….from heart failure too..my heart is breaking….may god bless you for your story, it has lifted my spirit and makes me realize im not alone…i have the same thoughts and feelings, and i have wondered if i will ever be happy again..or find laughter along the way….thank you so much for your uplifting story….and to all the others who have shared there opinions on this subject……..deb

boston on

My mom lost her dad at 15 and her mom at 25. As sad as it was to grow up without grandparents, now that I am a parent myself, it breaks my heart to think my mom lost her parents so young. I am so thankful for my mom’s guidance and support with my own children and cherish having her. Your letter was heart-wrenching, but it was also a beautiful tribute to your amazing mom!

Caryn Roy on

I two lost my mom. she passed away a year ago. she had heart failure, kidney trouble. she passed away after my 34th birthday. i lost my best freind in the hole world. me and my mom did everything together. people say we were sisters instead of mother,daughter.i am sad all the time i want to cry all the time. it takes a lost of courage to get out of bed in the morning. i also lost my brother 19 years ago. not from heart trouble but from something else. but there is not a day that does not go bye that i do not miss my mom.

Anonymous on

Beautiful Tribute!!!!

Andrea on

I love this, it is a beautiful way to think of parenting your children and living your own life. “Knowing that your children will be okay without you; that they will be kind, brave and effortless in their attempt to live a fulfilled life.”

Amo on

Wow what a stunning dress and I also love that outfit at Leila Shams show. I think I know which L+O dance remix you mean (awesome stuff!). But I’m sorry to hear about your mother passing away. She’d definitely be so proud of you. Heart disease is also the biggest killer in my country too and it helped me strive even harder to become a Personal Trainer. It’s a dream of mine to try and lower the fatality rate, if it is possible. Unfortunately Heart Disease is present in my family and no matter how fit and healthy I become it is still the most likely disease that could kill me. It really puts life in perspective and hopefully it will make us appreciate the short time we have here. It would certainly be a waste if we didn’t make the most of it.

Thanks for the lovely blog. You were an absolute pro on the runway! 🙂

Gloria Query on

Reading your blog reached me and touched me. I want to say more but cannot as it would not come across the way I want it to Elisabeth. My mother was hard often cold when I was young but she set the stage for the strong woman I am today and I am coming out with my powerful story on you tube soon and anytime you want to reach me please do so as your blog has me. Love GLO