The Loss of a Mother – Part 3

This post is part of a 3 fold series we have written on remembering the loss of our mother and how that has affected our own mothering. You can read Shiree’s post HERE and Raquel’s post HERE

My story is a bit different. I have no endearing or heart-warming story of remembered words or moments. I, unfortunately, have no story, either good or bad, that I can exactly recall about my mother.

In daydreams, I can pretend I remember everything – the sound of her voice or the smell of her skin. I can imagine the warmth of her hug and the feeling of being loved unconditionally. I can almost imagine the way her voice would sound if she would say to me “you are beautiful and I love you!” I can read her old journals and with the curve of every letter, I can imagine her writing words to me. I can imagine her smile when she sees me and what it would feel like to call her and say the words, “Hi Mom!”

It’s a strange sensation to feel like you know someone so well and yet you can’t remember anything about them.

mom and daughter loss of a mother losing a mother
Caylen & Sara

My heart aches for a life with a loving mother. But I am filled with hope to know that because of God’s love and grace, one day I will see her again.

The Loss of  a Mother

I was approaching 5 years old when she passed away and the only memories I can tangibly remember are of her death. I can remember visiting her in the hospital as well as the car ride the night that she died and the feeling of being in a numbing haze of loss and confusion. I can remember feeling troubled seeing her at the viewing and wishing she was smiling. Her mouth was such a grim line that did not suit her and it was strange not seeing her smile. I can vividly recall the iciness of her cheek as I touched it and said goodbye.

Thank you, Jesus! For this is not how she remained. I now know that she is whole, healthy, happy and complete. And surely she is always smiling, for how could she not be when forever with God?

As I hear stories, look at pictures and read her old journals, I can feel every part of who she was etched into my very bones. For not having her around for very long, I feel I am very much like her. And I strive to be MORE like her in many ways.the loss of a mother losing a mother bath time memories

My father tells me stories of her laughter and fiery temper. Friends tell me of her eagerness to serve and love others. Strangers tell me about her beauty, her big heart and her love for the Lord.

I am encouraged and filled with joy – for what I love most when I learn of my mother is that she was not perfect. That even though she would sometimes lose her temper, even when she was self-conscious about her body, wishing she could lose more weight, even when she was overwhelmed and anxious – she truly believed the Lord loved her and had great plans for her life – and she LIVED her life with this knowledge at the forefront.

She is remembered as loving, kind, and with a heart for Jesus. Even in the chaos of her busy life, she took the time to love her family with purpose and to minister to those around her.

This is the kind of mother I want to be.

My mother’s memory weaves its way in and out of every facet of my life. And as I grow in motherhood myself, I look at Lillian and I can imagine what my own mother’s heart felt when she looked at us.

With the loss of my mom and the memory of her – I know how I want to raise my own children. Not necessarily in perfection but in perfect love with the hand of God before me, behind me and on me.

I know how I want to raise my own children. Not necessarily in perfection but in perfect love with the hand of God before me, behind me and on me.

I want to love Lillian and mother her the way I always wanted to be mothered. Everything I was not able to experience with my own mom, the way I dream of what life with her would have been like – that is how I wish to raise Lillian – With love, with purpose, and with intention.

A Life of Intention

Raquel spoke in her post of being intentional in her mothering. She totally stole my thunder :p but she spoke of being intentional so well.

the loss of a mother losing a mom
Caylen & Sara

I want to mother with enthusiasm. I want to paint my daughter’s toes, throw a ball with my son, hold my children and encourage them with God’s word. I want to go shopping with Lillian and play with her. I want to love fiercely, to say I’m sorry and to forgive easily. I don’t want to be perfect. I want my children to see that perfection can only be glimpsed through the hand of God in your life.

I do not know what God has in our future. I do not know how long I will be on this earth. I do not know how much time I will have with my kids.

But I do know that with whatever time I have been given – I will hold my babies a little longer, I will write them letters, and I will tell them how much I love them. I will wake up each day and pray for God to fill our day to the brim with his joy and blessings. I will always strive to be a mom of intention that uses each moment, each word, and each action with purpose. I will put down whatever I’m doing and listen to their concerns. I will sit and give them undivided attention.

Will I fail? YES – constantly and far more often than I would like to admit.

But by the grace of God – my children will know that they are loved BEYOND BELIEF by an imperfect mother and a completely PERFECT God.


I would like to pay tribute to a few women in my life who have played a huge roll in filling the void of Mother with their own love and devotion.

Angie Steffen – there are hardly words to express the love I have for you and the special place you hold in my heart. You have been like a mother to me for practically my whole life. Whether it was curling my hair, having sleepovers, or spoiling me with amazing yummies and shopping trips – you filled my heart with a touch that only a mother could. You loved me through my weird and annoying stages and STILL love me to this day! You showed me how a mother should love her children – in faith and love. I love you

Aunt Juanita – there is no one like you. You have loved and protected me my whole life with a fierce and open heart. You have always been willing to support and help and encourage – even though we live miles apart. Hugging you gives me an idea of what hugging my mom would be like. Warm, loving and without pause. And when you play with my hair, my heart is full, for your very fingers are filled with the same love that flowed through my mother. I love you

Grandma Mollie – there is no doubt that so much of what made mom beautiful was a little bit of you. Being a mother myself I can imagine what your heart endured losing your little girl. And yet you went on without fail, loving and caring for us. I will always remember your voice singing “Little Indian Maid.” I will always remember waking up on Saturday mornings to peek outside and see you watering your flowers in your wonderful hats. I will always remember your love for kit-kat bars and how easily you laughed. Praise the Lord, for you and Mom are now together again in the very presence of God. I love you

Terry Ervin – perhaps you don’t know what an impact you made in my life personally. I remember well how you always loved on me. I warmly remember you doing my hair and filling out small empty spaces in my baby book that mom couldn’t fill out herself. You hold a special place in this little girls heart and I am so grateful that you took the time to love me. Thank you

Tammy Pauley – you have given and continue to give me the example of what a beautiful mother is. You give me a taste of what it must be like to be loved so freely by a mom. You spoil and love me without cause or hesitation. I take note of your love and heart for Christ and the way you allow the Lord to use you to love others. I wish to be a mother like you. Quick to love, quick to forgive and an all-encompassing fierce love. Thank you. I love you

Marla Mast – I am so grateful that the Lord placed you in my life. You love and love without hesitation or hope for something in return. You pray and love with all your heart and I am so happy to know that my mother-in-law is willing and able to love me wherever needed. Thank you

*There are many many women who have played huge roles in my life – whether big or small. Thank you for loving a wildly strange and wild-spirited girl who desperately wanted to be loved.

loss of a mother losing a mom
Keziah & Sara
the loss of a mother losing a mother
Sara, Caylen & Keziah


7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. What a wonderful goal. Intentional and intimate memories with your children . Lillian is blessed with you and you are blessed with Lillian.

  2. I have great memories of your Mother. She invited me over for her homemade chicken soup. It was one of her diet recipes. Sure was good. Had to have a second bowl. Wherever she was her children were with her. She so enjoyed being a Mother.

    1. I’m told she was always inviting people over! Wish I could have that chicken soup diet recipe! Haha! Thank you for sharing Pat and for reading

  3. Caylen, I am truly honored that you mentioned me. I love you and your entire family.
    It is a privilege to be a part of your lives. I hope that you know that I’m only a phone call away.

  4. Oh Caylen…I am just now getting a chance to read you and your sisters’ beautiful tributes to your mom, and wow, you were not kidding, I needed tissues! The tears that I shed are not just for the loss of Sara Hill, but they are tears that I shed for her amazing kids that did not get to grow up with her. I also shed tears because your mom missed out on so much here on Earth. The graduations, the weddings, and now, the babies. The biggest legacy that she is leaving, but also missing here on Earth, is witnessing her six amazing babies grow up to be exceptionally, phenomenal, God-loving, adults. I know that God never wastes a hurt; my battle with cancer has proven that to me, but your mom’s early calling to heaven is something that I still shake my head at even to this day. Why? …..but I cannot dwell on the “why”, I just have to trust in God and praise Him because of the “even so” . Every one of you kids have been through so much loss and so much hurt, but “even so”….you all have grown up with the saving knowledge of Christ; you all know Him personally, you love Him passionately, and you aim to live your life for an audience of One! “Even so”….you guys go, you all go on, lean in to Christ, and grow into thriving, joyous, lovely Christian people; people that I am very proud of! Caylen, you are one of the most beautiful ladies that I know, inside and out. Your smile lights up a room, your laugh is contagious, and your sense of humor is a divine gift! Spending time with you and all of your family fills my heart with such joy. Meeting your precious Lillian this Christmas was such a blessing to me! She is absolutely adorable, and her ornery smile reminds me so much of you! Caylen, you are an amazing wife and mother, and I know that your mom is so incredibly proud of you, and all of your siblings. Keep loving Christ, keep putting Him first, and ALL of your plans will succeed! We love you so very much, and we are so blessed to call the Hills, family. Thank you for loving us and teaching us how to love better! Thank you Herman, Sara, Josh, Mandi, Tyler, Trent, Raquel, Todd, Gideon, Vivienne, Titus, Shiree, Josh, Isaiah, Luke, Caylen, Kyle, Lillian, Keziah, and Caleb for allowing us Steffens to be a part of your lives, and for loving us unconditionally! Oh, what a party we will all have in heaven one day with your mom! 😉 Love you ALWAYS, Angie 🙂

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