My Mother Passed Away The Day Before Yesterday

My mother passed away the day before yesterday. I knew I would eventually experience this day, and well, as I think about it, I am glad I have. If I had not, her son would have went before her and that is a pain no parent should ever have to bear. My surviving dad, in whose living room I now sit and write these words, is repeating the mantra through anguish and tears, “I always wanted to go first, dammit.” He now has to bear the pain of losing a spouse of nearly 60 years. I don’t think he means those words as then it would have been his spouse, lover and life partner now bearing this unparalleled pain. Yet guttural pain is not known for its reasoning skills, nor should it.

My mother passed away the day before yesterday. My dad does not want to be left alone -for even one second- therefore I am now performing my role in the rotating schedule of figure person of strength, courage, support and above all, love. He wants to simultaneously cry, reflect, cry, take care of business, cry, sleep, cry and cry some more. The thought has crossed his children’s minds that he may now want to take his own life to go be with her. He will not be left alone at this time –for even one second.

My mother passed away the day before yesterday. How am I you ask? I was already fearful of my mental and emotional health when one, or both, of my parents passed. Just a few years ago when my mother had a terrible health scare I was paralyzed with anxiety for days. However, I feel very little anxiety at this time. Death is such a powerful force–there is no arguing with it, compromising with it, negotiating with it…death wins. I believe the peace I am currently feeling is due to the absolute fact that death is the ultimate, there-is-nothing-you-can-do-about-so-what’s-the-point? feeling. The strongest emotion is “missing”….meaning dealing with the reality that I now will always miss her.

My mother passed away the day before yesterday. The most beautiful, and quite unexpected, reality of this situation is the powerful presence of love: The love that is holding us all together at this time. The intense love of my life partner, whose inner beauty is only matched by one other person, and she passed away the day before yesterday. The love I see in my children’s eyes for their grandparents, parents, cousins and family members. The love that has been hibernating now for decades has now awoken…the love I have for my siblings. And the love for the man who, along with the woman who passed away the day before yesterday, brought me into this world.

My mother passed away the day before yesterday, so what is next? In many ways, I have no idea. No clue. No hint. And don’t care. Yet I do know I am going to love on my father in a way I have never loved before. I do know love is going to get us through. I do know this rogue, independent man of reason, is not so rogue, independent, or even reasonable. I need the love of family. I need to emotionally vent. I need my children as much as they currently need their father.

My mother passed away the day before yesterday, and I am seeing the love, support and encouragement of both close friends and acquaintances, colleagues and gym buddies and my beloved and precious students both past and present. All of these groups, in particular my students, have no idea of the depth and extreme importance of what their support, love and encouragement means to me. Thank you. Really. Thank you.

My mother passed away the day before yesterday and I now sit on her couch, in her room, in her house. I look at her things, embrace her unique touch and style and steep in the thankfulness of the many precious treasures that woman has brought into my life. One of my fondest memories is a letter she wrote me when I was 14 years-old, at the height of my teen “shit show” powers. The woman who passed away the day before yesterday was not a terribly expressive or tactile person when I was growing up. This letter was I all I needed and went it something like this:

“Dear Jim, I know I do not tell you I love you a lot or give you a lot of hugs, but you must know that every day that I make your breakfast, lunch and dinner; do your laundry or drive you to practice; clean your room or make your bed, is me telling you how much I love you. Please never forget that. I love you.”

 That is all this 14 year-old needed to hear.

My mother passed away the day before yesterday.




  1. Aaaaaand crying. One of my worst fears is losing someone I love. You are now living my worst fear. I can’t say that I know how you feel, but I can say that your students are here for you and will try to make this time easier for you. Stay strong and let the positive memories carry you and your family through.

    • We will all lose someone we love eventually, that is damn near fact. We survive because death is the natural order of things. See you next week Heather. And thank you so much.

  2. Sorry for your loss Jimmy. The way you composed this post made me tear up, but also feel at peace at the same time. Wishing you the best through this rough time. Thanks for doing what you do so well.

  3. I’m texting this message: making several corrections.

    Death is probably the major mistery of our existence, and the beginning of an array of questions. The love, and peace you are experiencing is exactly what you’re mom wants you to feel at this moment, it is in tough times when you know you’re family is the most important aspect of you’re life, it is in tough times when you know who you’re true friends are. Death should be our wake up call, being aware of our own death is the igniting force to ask ourselves, what is my calling in this lifetime, I’m I aligning to it, or deviating from it. Being aware of our own death should make us more understanding of each other, more tolerant of each other, and more accepting of each other.

    With deep sympathy.

    Stephanie Imeri-Grover

    • Thank you Stephanie. Though I am sorry I had to cancel class on Thursday, I know I could not even come close to teaching it. Next week will be interesting….

  4. Professor Jimmy,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one is also one of my worst fears. The way you put this into words was astonishing . I agree with you in the sense that death is inevitable. The way you’re feeling love and peace inspires me to not be afraid of death and I know your mother is proud of you for being who you are. My deepest condolences, remember all the positive and wonderful memories you’ve shared.

    • This whole thing has inspired me to live life to the very fullest. Every moment spent worrying about death is a wasted one. I really and truly appreciate your sentiments Lex.

  5. So, so, so sorry for your loss. It is a difficult, difficult situation to face and it sucks. May you and your loved ones have strength to face this challenge and loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May she continue to guide you and accompany you through her memories and the wisdom she passed on to you.

  6. Hey, this is Albert.
    You might remember me from a study abroad semester to London a couple of years ago.
    Just wanted to pass along my condolences and to praise your prose on this particular post. I’m glad to see you’re coping with the loss and I hope that despite this, everything else in your life will be fine.
    Inspiring post, Jimmy.

    • Thank you Mr. Ha. Of course I remember you and that unforgettable semester in London. I hope you are well and want you to know that your words mean so much to me. Thank you so much.

  7. Sorry Jimmy…….moms are something special. Glad you’re able to be there for your dad. Hugs

  8. You words are beautiful, Jimmy. My mom died in 1991 at only 59 years old and I still miss her every day. You are right when you say that love will get you through. At then end of the day love is everything. Bless you all. Your SBCCD comrade.

  9. Catching up with your mom at a basketball game, or a family event was an unexpected treat when I visited Burbank. I will miss our easy conversations.
    Beautiful post.

  10. Jimmy,

    My thoughts are with you in this difficult time.
    She sounds wonderful. My best wishes to you and your family right now.

  11. Wow Jimmy. Although I know you do not believe in God, I will pray for you + your family. I hope the best for you always!!!! Just know you will ALWAYS be my fav professor, you have truly taught me things that I know I will utilize through out my life time.

    • Thank you so much Taylor, you are very sweet. Though you can read some of my blogs and know I do believe in “god,” just probably not the version many have been sold. If I am not mistaken, we did have a conversation or two about the “everything happens for a reason” philosophy…a philosophy I absolutely despise. Yet, this does not mean I do not believe in a type of force/energy. I appreciate your prayers!! Hope you are well and staying away from Arizona State. 🙂

      • Sorry phrasing it like that. Yes we have had a couple conversations like that. My thoughts have definitely changed on that with recent events that have happened in my life.
        I’m staying clear from ASU! Which you also influenced that decision 😌

  12. I am so sorry Jimmy. I hope you, your family, and especially your father are doing better. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman who will continue to leave her mark on the world through her love and your family’s love for her. You are also a wonderful professor; and the one who inspired me to become a communications major which I always be grateful for. I am sending you all my love and support. Hopefully I can visit you at Crafton soon!

    • Thank you so much Jasmine. I so appreciate your words and sentiments as they mean so much to me. I would love to a visit! Perhaps we can get the old gang together and bowl for a buck on some Tuesday night. Though you are a terrible bowler you are terrific and kind person. 😉 I look forward to staying in touch…

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