My beloved mother passed away a few days ago. It all happened so fast, in less than six weeks.
She was definitely the strongest person I’ve ever met. She willed herself out of the Philippines and into the US to attend college and get an MBA, and lived with a host family in the Bronx to attend Fordham University, though she had to teach herself English.
Her singular main purpose in life was to provide and make a better life for us, and she gave my sister, my dad and I absolutely everything. She was my passage into the world, she was the one that I knew that no matter what, would always take care of me.
She was fine at Christmas, walking down to the beach with us in the days leading up to Christmas. Getting last minute cards and wrapping gifts. Giving Lil Bub a bath with me each evening. Having a festive Christmas Eve and morning.
The day after my birthday, on February 7th, my dad told me my mom was feeling really tired and they were running some tests. It felt something ominous, and I flew back to the East Coast the next day. On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, her biopsy came back positive for colon and liver cancer. Her doctor there said the hard mass in her middle can grown much bigger from the week before, when she last saw her.
By February 18th, we flew back to LA. I had contacts to get her straight into UCLA with great oncologists, and I needed them to be with me. I knew it was advanced, but I still believed she could get chemo and I would make all her food in the way I had for other clients with cancer back in NY, and she would heal from it.
When we got into UCLA the doctor said she needed to be checked into the hospital immediately. She was in pain. She got a round of chemo right away and recovered…but then got weaker again. She got a second round of chemo three weeks later but this time it was a really rough recovery, with her heart rate getting really high.
She couldn’t eat as she was nauseous and the mass pressing against her stomach made it painful to eat. I spoon fed her protein smoothies and lots of spirulina and soaked chia seeds, tiny bit by tiny bit.
My dad slept at the hospital with her every night. During those weeks, which seem to be a blur now, I went in the morning and stayed all day, then went home at 5:30 to get the baby down for bed and then went right back to the hospital afterwards. I cancelled and delayed pretty much everything else in my life. It was super intense in every way.
I had to pull down into the depths of my being to function and drive without crying too hard. I was trying to not cry in front of either my mom and my dad, to be the strong one and reason confidently out loud that she would get better…then go in the bathroom and cry into a paper towel. I’m not sure how I got through those weeks.
Since she could eat so very little, she started getting IV nutrition, or TPN as they call it. It was so frustrating, because we know she needed food, but she simply couldn’t eat. But the fluid in her body started building up in a major way. Her limbs swelled because her cells couldn’t keep the fluids in anymore. The doctors were worried she might drown, if the extra fluid got into her lungs. So they had to turn off the IV nutrition.
Somewhere along the way, my hopes of her living into her 90’s, the way her mother has (who is still alive by the way, at 94 years old), became crushed. One of the attending doctors gently told us that someone with her advanced kind of cancer lives on average 1-2 years, and it could be much less. I was started to process that, but was still thinking she was so strong that she could beat the odds. But then a few days later, the doctors came back to say she would only probably only live 1-2 weeks.
It was a surreal experience when I heard that news. I felt like I was out of my body and it wasn’t really happening. I could see the mouth of the doctor, named Dr. Goldman, moving, but I felt like it was an echo or I was watching a movie from far away. I was up all night crying and I had such small amounts of sleep that I felt like I was really hallucinating. I was out in the hallway outside of mom’s room, and I just felt the overwhelming need to be with her, so I blurted something out to the doctors and ran into her room, closed the door crawled into the hospital bed with my mom. I tried to tune it all out, everything they said.
On March 28th, around 5:30 pm her blood pressure started dropping. They gave her some salt water solution to see if it would help, and she did not respond. After the weeks of talking to every doctor out there, exploring every possible solution, natural and Western, having my mom talk to some healers even to do “clearing”, alkalizing her body in the best ways I knew with food and drinks… we had to face that there was nothing else to do. Except make sure she was comfortable and completely peaceful.
My dad and I didn’t leave her side. All night we sat in chairs at her bedside. We talked to her and talked to her and told her everything from our hearts. At around 3:00 in the morning, something amazing happened. Her eyes opened and she gazed deeply into my dad’s and my eyes. I told her to squeeze my hand if she could hear me, and she was able to squeeze. For two hours we told her everything and I knew she hear us. I thanked her for being an amazing mother and person. I told her she would soon know how perfect she already was, and that she was pure light and love. I told her I would love her always and for eternity, because love is never ending, and I knew we would always be together spiritually.
And finally my dad and I had to coach her it was okay to let go and rest. I promised her I would always take care of my dad. That it was okay for her to go to the light. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, to let go of my mother- and to tell her to let go as well. But I knew that it was the most important thing for her to pass peacefully. Her breathing got slower and slower, and 9:55 Wednesday night she took her last breath. I knew she was going because she couldn’t squeeze my hand anymore. I was right in the bed with her.
After her breathing stopped I felt an energy around the top left side of the bed and the bottom. It was beautiful because I knew that she wasn’t really “dead”, that her spirit was just freed from her body. But still. Knowing she was really gone from her body and in a form I could see was shocking and I wailed and I cried inconsolably for a long time.
So, how does life go on? My dad is going to live with us now. I’m so thrilled we can all be together and he will see Bubby every day . There’s no way he could go back and live in the house they lived in. They were married for over 40 years. We are selling that house, the childhood house I grew up in. I’m diving back into work, and of course my main priority in Lil Bub. I let myself cry when I want to. I encourage my dad to do the same. I talk to my dad and my sister and my partner and my best friends a lot about it, but when I don’t feel like talking I don’t. I don’t work when I can’t.
There isn’t an easy way to get over grief. I think about the loss of her not being able to watch Lil Bub grow, to not be able to meet my future children, at least from her physical body. It makes me so sad that I ache.
But what has really carried me through is my spiritual practice and beliefs. I do strongly believe she is in a better place now, with God. She is so amazing and nothing can ever fill her place in my life, but I believe it is part of a bigger plan and there was a completeness to this life for her and it was her time. I do believe that she can still feel her love, and that I can feel hers and she will always watch over us and will still see Bubby grow, just on a different plane.
Though I let myself cry as much as I need to, I remind myself that I am crying for myself, and my loss- and that she is in a better place. That she is in bliss. And that even though we are on different planes, our love is still as strong and even stronger than it ever was.
I am so happy that Mama can rest now, and know the truth of the pure light and love that she is.
I feel very changed by this experience as well. I feel more awake, more real. I can feel people more, and I think that even more so than every before, little things won’t bother me as much. It’s easier for me to let go, I can already see. My heart has grown. I’m so happy I am able to be closer to my dad and loved ones more than ever before. I know that God or the Great Mother or whatever you want to call it, is ever with me, always. And I know that love truly is the most important thing.
If you are going through grief also, remember to be extra gentle with yourself. Let yourself take time and be quiet or cry or do whatever feels authentic. I’m getting a massage tonight in fact, because I realize that my body feels as knotted and stiff as if I ran three marathons in a week. Get massages, talk to loved ones that make you feel good, and if you have a spiritual practice, lean on it. Hard. If you are interested in learning to meditate, I’ll share that I practice the Kriya yoga method by Paramahansa Yogananda. We also have free meditations you can download. Give yourself lots and lots of space.
We are a community that is here to help support each other and love each other, and I wanted to share this part of healing and life, instead of tucking it away. I’m taking it one day at a time. Life does go on, and love is never-ending.
Dedicated with great love to my mother, Salvacion Snyder, the most strong, beautiful and amazing woman I’ve ever known.
Dearest Kimberly, you are so brave to share your grief with us. I pray that it will help you heal. My heartfelt condolences and blessings to you and your family. You have made your mama very proud and will continue to do so, I’m sure of that.
So much love and gratitude to you and your family. Your sharing only unites us all more and your bravery helps open us to such an important part of ourselves and others. Thank you for continuing to be our guide and light. Know that you don’t hold your grief alone Xoxo
Sending the deepest heartfelt love to you and your family <3
Thank you Shauna! 😉
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I hope you find comfort in all the lovely memories you have shared together. Lots of love and light.
Lots of love to you too Sarah! 😉
I am so sorry to hear about your mother and cried while reading your blog.
I know the feeling you describe of the energy when she passed, I felt an extra heart beat on me when my father passed.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.
Thank you for your kindness, strength and love, we cherish you!
May the beautiful soul of your mother rest in eternal peace. No doubt you have truly honored your mother with the life you lead today. You have inspired, motivated, and changed life for the better for so many of us. You’ve most certainly got one proud Mama in heaven!
Thank you for so beautifully sharing this experience with us.
With love and prayers for comfort,
Thank you Elizabeth Vagianos…lots of love to you! 😉
Kimberly, this is truly beautiful. It’s also eery because I just lost my mom suddenly to cancer 3 weeks ago and you and I are the same age. Your words articulate clearly so much of how I’ve felt. It has truly been an experience that broke and stretched and refueled my heart in every direction.
Thank you for having the courage to share this blog post and the challenging life moments that aren’t “wrapped in bows” or glowing pics with a great instagram filter. The truth is: life can be so hard, messy, confusing, painful and unsteady. Thank you for being REAL. I love how your spirituality, community and self-care practices are giving you strength. That is exactly what I’ve been leaning into for support, as well.
God bless anyone else who has lost a loved one. As my friend Abby says: remember, grief doesn’t have a timeline.
Be easy and gentle with yourself. And know that you are loved by so many, including those who are no longer on this earth plane. <3
So much love and grace from my heart to yours and your family. ❤ we all love you ?
Thank you for all your support Meghan, and lots of love back to you! 😉
Dear Kimberly, thank you for sharing the story of your kind, strong, and beautiful mother. She will always be with you in spirit. I’m sending you comforting thoughts.
Thank you Anne…lots of love! 😉
Thank you so much for your thoughts. It was a great blessing to be able to share those last days with her. My mother passed away March 14th. Although I left immediately when they called I was unable to get there before she passed. I have not been right since. Everything that is my “normal”!i can’t even bear to do. Reading your words are an encouragement and blessing. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Sending back much love to you Kelly! 😉
I’m so sorry for your loss, sending hugs from Austin. Thank you for sharing your story and exemplifying such bravery and strength. xoxo
Thank you Brittany Palmer…lots of love! 😉
I’m so very sorry. Sending you all much love and light in the coming weeks and months.
Your words were a beautiful tribute. It is obvious that she gave you so much and you are a beautiful soul because of it.
We will hold you all in our hearts for great comfort and rest.
Thank you Dani, for your kind words. So much love to you!
Dear Kym and family,
very sorry to hear about your loss. I really know what you are feeling my dad passed away 21 years ago of estaphogas we try to do everything for him to be around longer but it was so progressive that from 5 years that he could of lasted he passed away with 2 years.
Your story is so touching.
God bless you and your family
Thank you Diana…I know we all have a personal experience in one way or another, and it helps to receive the love and support from our community. Sending you love!
Thank you Kimberly, for sharing your story and grief. I recently had my second miscarriage this year at the same time you were losing your mother. Everything you said is exactly how I felt and still feel. Thank you for connecting us all. We all need support. Sending you lots of love! ❤
Thank you Erin for sharing your personal story and so sorry to hear about your loss. Try to keep your spirits up and not get discouraged. Sending you lots of love and support!
You are so brave to share your story. So sorry. She was a beautiful woman and you tried so hard to keep her with you physically.
My mom suffers from Alzheimers/dementia and we were able to keep her in her own home until March 20th. We provided almost 24/7 care. We made the decision that a nursing home would be the better place for her but it has been hard. You wish things could stay the same but life happens.
I think it so special that your dad will be coming to live with you! How wonderful for Bub to have his grandpa so close. Maybe sometime you could share how your parents met.
I always wondered where you got your gorgeous looks and now I know.
Wishing you much strength in the days to come.
My dearest condolences. Your Mom was such a beauty! From your lovely story you were definitely blessed with an amazing Mom. Unfortunately, I know similar feelings all too well. Strangely my story is somewhat close to yours. My 34th birthday was on Feb. 9th and it was not shortly after my Mom passed on Feb. 17th of pancreatic, stomach and liver cancer. She had learned she had cancer in October and knew her time was limited. She took a more holistic approach and lived her last days to the fullest. It is inspiring to see ones light in what can seem to be the darkest days, as we know in reality this life on earth is a vapor and our next life is eternal bliss. My love and prayers are with you and your family. ((hugs))
Such kind words Desiree’ Lynch, and thank you for sharing your very personal story as well. Lots of love and prayers to you as well!
I’m truly sorry for you and your family’s loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Thank you so much for sharing this special post and for allowing us to know just how special your mom was and will always be. Love and light.
Thank you Char Vanderweel…lots of love to you! 😉
Hi Kimberly, sending lots of love and light your way. Your mom is so beautiful. What a gift you were to her and how proud and blessed she must have felt having you by her side, trying everything you knew, and then finally surrendering with her in those final days. Praying for you and Dad continued healing and the blessing of one another’s company as he settles into this next phase of his life with you. Peace and love,
Thank you Colleen, and sending lots of love back your way!
Your mom must have been “oh so beautiful” to have a daughter like you! Sympathy and blessings
Thank you dianne downey – appreciate your kind words! 😉
Sending you light and love, as always, Kimberly. It’s wonderful that you were able to spend those last moments with her in her body. Her love clearly lives through you and everyone whose lives she touched. Even though the experience of this level of loss is a new one for you, I’m sure that all of the practices you have in place will make this a much smoother one for you, plus all of the new ones you will learn. Thank you for all you bring to this world. Take good care.
Thank you Kim, for taking the time to share such powerful words of encouragement. Sending you back lots of love! 😉
I’m so sorry for your loss Kimberly. It’s so hard losing our mommies.
Thank you Amanda…lots of love!
I too lost a parent at a young age, and I know that I also felt like it put everything in perspective-I love more and without hesitation because I realize how quickly people can be gone. Blessings on you during your time of healing 🙂
Thank you Jenny. Lots of love to you! 😉
I am so sorry for your losss. This is the second time I read it and am still very much moved by your strength. You give so much love to all of us. I hope that in your times of need you feel all of our love and energy radiate towards you.
What a beautiful story, The love you have for your Mom…was so pure, the pain you feel was so touching I know that feeling so well the hurt in our hearts. Sending you big Hugs-God Bless you and your family. Keep us updated on how your father is doing…XOXO
Thank you so much and lots of love to you Donna C! 😉
I’m so sorry for your loss. My your mother Rest In Peace. I felt your sadness through this blog and cried while reading. I pray for you and your family. Losing a love one is never ever easy. Lots of love hugs and kisses
Love back to you too Julianna Cespedes! 😉
I know I am late; I just saw this, and I am so moved at this personal piece that you have shared. I am so sorry for your great loss. I know her spirit lives on through you, and I’m sure your mother is very proud of you. You have made such an impact in my life and others around you. You’re an inspiration to me, and I love seeing you as a mommy to Emerson. I’m so glad I got to chat with you briefly back in January when you came to Austin. I was four months pregnant at that time. That experience made my month! You are a beaming energy. Hugs and blessings to you. Thank you for sharing your light! Much Love,
Thank you so much Carmen and so nice connecting with you. Hoping your pregnancy is moving along smoothly. Sending you lots of love and support! 😉
I was sobbing as I read this and wished I could give you a big great hug. I can’t even imagine how horrible it is to lose a mother,but I am sure with time you will be ok,and she will always be watching you! I think your healing is slowly starting because you got strength to write and honor your Mom through this post and that is a big step! You are so wonderful,inspiring and brave,and know that we all love you and think of you each day!
Thoughts and prayers to you and your family! Miss seeing your little Bubby in posts,he will keep your spirits up I’m sure! 🙂
Love your beautiful healing words. Letting go is never an easy job for the body and mind. Your mother has transformed into spirit. She will always be proud of your work in the community. She will always be accessible to you in a different form.
What a beautiful post, I had no idea till just now that you were grieving the loss of your mom. I pray that you continue to find peace and understanding during this hard time. My condolences to you and your family.
Thank you so much Jennifer Montoya Parra! Xx
I am crying as I read this as my sadness from the loss of my beautiful mother many years ago still feels so fesh at times. You will always have part of her in yourself and your children. Much love to you kimberly.
Thank you for sharing Kimberly as the love for your incredible mother was evident and touching and I am so sorry for your loss. I wish you much strength in this difficult time and sending lots of light and love!
Hi Kimberley – I only recently discovered your podcast (which I really enjoy) decided to check out your website and so I have only just seen this. My father passed with the same illness last year in February and a very similar story, I slept at the hospital with him and mum the night before he died so I can relate to what you are saying. I also, as a student Naturopathic Nutrititionist, tried to help him by researching all the best super foods, natural treatments etc and became desperate when he was unable to eat anything at all. I beat myself up for ages that i couldnt save him. What a beautiful woman your mother is and you are too. Big love to you and your family and thank you for sharing this, brought tears to my eye but also comfort knowing dad is well too now and still with me in spirit xxx
Thank you so much Michelle, for sharing your story with me and the rest of the Beauty Detox community. We all need the support and it’s most helpful to hear how others are coping. I wish you and your family well and continue to move forward in your growth in the Naturopathic field – you won’t be disappointed. Lots of love to you!
I’m sorry to read about your loss. The loss of a mother is unique one, and one that I also experienced as a child. I hope you continue to find peace! Know that she is always with you, and watching over you and your loved ones.
Thank you so much Amy – lots of love back to you! 😉
Hi Kimberly, I was searching on your Blog when I noticed
a post about grief and loss,
to read about the loss of Your Precious Mother. She
must have been a Marvelous Mom, to have raised You.
Just taking into account all
the wonderful things You,
Your Dad, all the Medical
People did to try to help her
was incredible. She was
and is so Blessed to have
You, Your Dad, Family to
have Loved on her like that.
I know what it’s like to say
goodbye to Mom, and I
really admire You, because
it took me many years to
get over it. Thank You for
sharing the story about how
Your Mom was, and her
journey to the other side.
Thanks so much for your kind words Greta. I too, am sorry for your loss. It’s a great comfort knowing there are others who can relate during difficulties. Thanks for being here and much love to you! xo
I’ve just recently started following the Beauty Detox diet and love it. I have had a bad day, just unmotivated and very dad, and know it’s because I’m losing my 58 year old mom. She’s been through chemo twice, radiation, etc. None of it has worked, her ovarian cancer is here to stay and her time is coming to an end. I cried reading this, it hits so close to home, but also made me feel better. Thank you for sharing this ????
My thoughts are with you Stacey. It’s a difficult experience to go through but I’m happy to hear that you reading my personal experience has helped you feel better (even if for a moment). Much love to you and your family!
I am so very sorry, Kimberly. I cried so hard with you as I read this post. You are right, she will always be with you and you will be with her again someday. I love what the LDS missionaries teach about this, it feels so amazing and true. I grieve with you and am sending my love to you.
Also, something that has really helped me is to do family history. There is something so spiritual about learning more about the stories of my ancestors. I really feel the love and strength coming through the generations. I use familysearch.org (free) and ancestry.com.
There is something really incredible about the feelings you get when you connect with those people you are forever a part of. I believe their spirits are “on a different plane” like you said, and that they try to guide, help and comfort us. We will be with them again someday. Love you Kimberly!
Thank you so much Sacha for sharing your personal story and for reading about mine. Sending you lots of love and continued support! 😉
Hi Kim, Thinking of your mom so much today. She is still one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Always felt she was an angel walking on this earth. She has been an inspiration to me beyond what I can explain here. Her love goes on and on and lives through you and the amazing life you have also created. Love and blissings to you and your family.
so beautiful and relatable
Thank you so much for reading, Beauty! Sending you lots of love. xx
I had the great pleasure of meeting your mother on a flight from LA to NY in November 2012. She sat next to me and we began talking. As the conversation went on, we got to know each other better and just really seemed to click. I was going though a very difficult transition phase/time in my life and your mother’s words of advice and empathy were so comforting to me. She was truly a godsent and an angel to me in that moment. She was so kind and even gave me a copy of your book, The Beauty Detox Solution! We exchanged email addresses and stayed in contact. She would check in on me from time to time to see how I was doing.
The short time we spent together made a big impact on my life. I’ll never forget her of her kindness. It’s amazing how you can sometimes connect so deeply with someone in such a short period of time. We lost touch over the years and I was so sad when I found out that she passed away.
I know how proud she was of you because of the way she spoke about you. I’m sure wherever she is that she is even prouder of you now, seeing all of the wonderful things that you are accomplishing. You must feel so lucky to have had such a wonderful person as your mother. Peace, love and blessings to you and your family.
Priscila, thank you so much for sharing this. Your kind words mean so much! Sending you lots of love.
It’s my pleasure, Kimberly! <3 Thank you for the opportunity to share.
Hi Kimberly, I just sprung across your story of your lovely mother and I am going through the exact same thing with my mum aged 57. She has stage 4 colon cancer which has metastasized to her liver 🙁 currently having chemo and has been fighting for the last 6 months and doing well….oh my how my life has changed since her diagnoses. the amount of tears and heart ache, I live every single day in fear of whats to come. She is so close to my 3 year old daughter… her only grandchild and my heart aches at the prospect of them not being in each others lives and losing my one and only mum. I am struggling but I look towards people like you who inspire me to keep fighting and live my life healthily and to look after myself for my daughter. Sending lots of lovely vibes for the birth of your wee one <3 you are truly an inspiration.
Querida, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family as you navigate through these difficult times. So happy to hear that you are staying on track with taking care of yourself first and foremost so that you can be there for others. How we feed our bodies and our minds plays such a huge role in how the rest of each day will go, so keep up the great work. Stay connected to the community for support and inspiration and please keep us posted on how your mother is doing. Sending you all so much love! xo