On Saying Goodbye to my Mom…The Last Love Letter

Mom and I in happier days!


To say that 2018 was a difficult year would be an understatement. When your New Year begins with being abruptly displaced from your home without warning and ends with the loss of a loved one, well words are sorta hard to find.

I spent most of 2018 helping my Mom stay alive. I cannot write much beyond that now- it’s still too new and unreal. I’m still settling into the reality of her being gone and this new year starting without her. I’m still struggling to figure out who I am without her in my life, and what’s next. Most of all I am missing the woman I called Mom. 


Continue reading…

I want to honor the memory of my Mom here and I hope by sharing this poem I wrote a few days before she died – I did read it to her…and I read it at her Memorial Service on January 3rd.  My mom passed December 22nd. The cancer she fought in 2016 returned, in April, and she also had been struggling with another condition called Gastroparesis which actually caused her to have to go back on a feeding tube. It also brought her to the brink of severe malnutrition and closer than many realize to death. Perhaps two weeks at the time.

But mom was no quitter and fought, even while moving at least five times while renovations were completed for her to return home. Even while her health continued to be challenged and her hips gave her trouble enough to be hospitalized. Even while she spent her 75th birthday on January 15th in a hotel room – something that still breaks my heart- we were all in such a state of shock and had to go back into the house (which was flooded with sewer back up) to get clothes and necessities.

Though there was much we could and did thank God for, the difficulties and challenges did cause great pain and uncertainty. It was certainly a longer haul for my mom as her health during this time roller coaster-ed while she tried to maneuver in various living settings outside her norm and awaited insurance company approval on details. IT was stressful to say the least. And it took its toll. My mom finally returned home by June.

Returning home to an unfurnished, albeit new apartment might seem exciting, but my mom’s health was still compromised. She adjusted well and we tried to settle in and move on, but the return her Esophageal cancer, along with her dietary condition and the toll of multiple hospital and nursing home rehab stays encountered along the 2018 journey left her depleted. I watched her fight but getting weary.

In Fall she continued to direct us to things she wanted done – like hanging pictures, and we finally got new furniture for the living room. We were still going through clothes and sometimes daily care took precedence of the other things, but I made the decision to stop working and focus on caring for mom at home. I wish I had done it sooner.

In October my mom was put on Hospice. Her long journey home was coming to a close. I can still see her fighting spirit- in a failing body, and her great frustration at the idea of losing her ability to do the smallest things.

She had a great nurse named Joe, who was just the right match for her. In the final weeks of her life I leaned ever more on the showing up of each member of the Hospice team. I hung on mom’s every breath and hoped for the impossible as we all do when facing endings we know are inevitable. The hardest part is saying goodbye, and who wants to do it? We hate to linger but we hate to move on. It’s the place that is the hardest place to go…but to walk through it, we must become comfortable with the discomfort of our own mortality…and the mortality of those we love.

I’m still processing all the lessons of 2018.The only thing I will say is despite it all, I stand firmly on the ground of my Keeper. Jesus has kept me through it all. My faith was seriously challenged, but in the end, I still stand and say with confidence. I know my Redeemer lives. I will save the deeper lessons for another day.


I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.

– Job 19:25


I said goodbye to mom on the morning of December 22, 2018. Mom wished to be cremated so were able to wait until after the holidays to hold a memorial service in her honor on January 3rd. At that Memorial Service I read the poem I wrote for her during the last week of her life here on earth.

This poem is dedicated to my Mom but I trust it will be an encouragement to all who read it as it was given to me by the Lord, to whom all Praise and Honor and Glory is due.

If you wish to see a glimpse of my Mom’s life her obituary and a tribute video is available HERE: Phyllis DiMarcellis  January 15-1943-December 22, 2018


The Last Love Letter

by Dawn Paoletta 


How do we say good-bye

when so much remains left unsaid?


As night falls upon another day

I stand by your hospital bed


tears dampen my cheeks,

and words fill my head.


One thing I know for sure-

Heaven is your cure,

a destination, not a tour

the healing balm for all that ails you…


where Jesus is your Doctor, Healer and Nurse-

Un-doer of The Curse,

and its power


where Christ Himself is King,

of Him alone all Heaven sings

and you too, will join in this choir


I pray you’re not afraid

though in death your beauty fade

for all will be restored by His Glory.


At last a faithful love,

descending from above

will carry you on wings

as white and pure as a dove’s


And He will dry your tears,

put away your fears

and lead you to

your very own mansion…


So though you’ve lingered here,

trust us also to His care-

we’ll be OK, no need to fear-


And though we might have more to say

our words and thoughts yet unconveyed

I’ll write you at your new address

Don’t you worry, no need to stress


for by His sacrifice we are blessed

trusting in His holiness.


Thank you for taking the time to read and honor my mom’s memory with me. I pray that my sharing this story is an encouragement despite the sadness inter-dispersed throughout. I will be sharing some of my grief journey in the days ahead and how journaling and prayer are keeping me afloat as I navigate this strange new land.

I hope you’ll stick around and journey with me!

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

17 thoughts on “On Saying Goodbye to my Mom…The Last Love Letter

  1. Dawn, beautiful words to match a beautiful heart and soul. Your mom is whole once again and watching from Above. You know we are here for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my sweet dear friend Dawn, I understand so much how you are feeling right now. I remember watching my own mother pass from this life to eternity, and although her passing was due to age and complications thereof, it was still traumatic to realize that I no longer had a living mother on this earth. I woke up saying that I am now a motherless child. But God, in His mercy, gives us the strength we need to keep moving forward one step at a time. We never ever forget our mothers. There will always be a longing to have another conversation with her…to pick up the phone and just say Hi,. to feel her hugs and see her smile…but we who know the Lord can rest assured that we WILL see our dear ones again someday, and that it will be even more wonderful than we can even begin to imagine right now. So we live with that eternal hope in our breasts, and we live one day at a time, giving thanks to the Lord that we had such a blessing of a precious mother…and God gives us strength to keep going. Sending many hugs to you today dear Dawn, and lifting you up to the throne of Grace, where you will find peace and comfort for these days of sorrow. Just know that you are NEVER alone. God bless you my friend. Thank you for sharing, and yes, please do write about it as much as you can. It helps. I know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Dawn, this is beautiful. It is tough to put this season into words, even for one who is so talented with word pictures and wordsmithing. But you have given us a glimpse into your hurting heart and we will continue to surround you with prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dawn,

    I am so very sorry for your loss – I have been wondering about your mom’s health and haven’t wanted to ask for fear that I may have missed a ‘post’ somewhere on social media.

    Your mom’s tribute video is beautiful! I can imagine the tears that must have flowed while creating it, but I hope that it also brought some joy as you re-visited the wonderful memories of your mom’s life.

    You will find your way…eventually. I know you will process this all in your own way, as we all must, but I would just like to offer that I have been where you are. It took me a while. It takes as long as it takes. I will be praying for you and your family.

    Please reach out if you ever feel the urge.

    love, your RI social media friend,

    Madlyn Waskiewicz

    On Sat, Jan 12, 2019 at 5:30 PM Enthusiastically, Dawn wrote:

    > enthusiasticallydawn posted: ” To say that 2018 was a difficult year > would be an understatement. When your New Year begins with being abruptly > displaced from your home without warning and ends with the loss of a loved > one, well words are sorta hard to find. I spent most of 2″ >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, dear Dawn, what an ordeal! I had no idea all this was happening this past year! Wish I had known and had been praying about those recent disasters. Will be praying for you now, anyway. Thank you for sharing the gift of your poem. God give you comfort, peace, and guidance in the journey forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful and perfect tribute to your mom. I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Please accept my sympathies and know that prayers are being said for you and your family.


  7. Moms are so hard to lose; at least the good ones are. I am so sorry you had to say goodbye to yours but glad that you were steadfast and brave, leaning on the Lord for strength to care for your mom in her last days.


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