You Remind Me: People who remind us of our loved ones

Last night I watched ABC’s special “The Untold Story of ‘The Sound of Music.’” I stopped on the special because I thought it would be a harmless and happy break from the murder and deception of HBO’s, The Jinx, which I had just finished watching.

I was wrong.

Remember when we told you that grief triggers tend to pop up when you least expect them? Well, thats exactly what happened when last night my delightful romp through Salzburg, Austria with Diane Sawyer and Julie Andrews turned into an hour long sob-fest.

I think I underestimated just how much my mind has confused Maria von Trapp, as played by Julie Andrews circa 1965, with my own mother.  Her short hair, her love of children, her guitar, her singing, her values and idealism – which ‘her’ am I talking about?  Doesn’t matter, they’re the same person!  I’m only slightly exaggerating.

It’s remarkable how much I’ve allowed my mind to project my mother onto a woman I don’t even know.  I guess maybe that’s part of the reason why it works, Julie Andrews von Trapp is kind of a blank slate to me.  I don’t know how it was in the days when she was front-and-center, but if she was a part of rumors or gossip or scandal it was way before my time. I don’t have the usual tabloid fodder to prove she’s anything but what I idealize my mother to have been.

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I can tell some of you are starting to think I’m weird, but I’m not.  In fact at one point in the interview Diane Sawyer actually said to Julie Andrews something to the effect of, “You know, there are people on the internet who say they wish you were their mother.”  For a second this made me think that Julie-Andrews-Mother-Envy was really a thing.

This morning I looked around the Internet to see if I could find anything about seeing your loved one in other people after they die.  Nothing turned up. Don’t others have this experience?  Maybe I am weird.  It just seems to make sense that people would look for those they love and miss in the appearance, personality traits, values, abilities, roles and tendencies of others.

Of course, I’m familiar with the concept of yearning, which is a very common grief reaction.  After a death, we long for our loved ones and we wish it were possible to be reunited with them.  Although we intellectually know the person cannot return, we still search for them.  Yearning is typically most intense around 5 or 6 months following a loss and afterward it should lessen, but I suppose less is not the same thing as gone.

Even years after my mother’s death I guess it makes sense to feel a small sense of yearning for her.  I have a cognitive understanding that she is gone, yet I still pine for the things were her.  I still know these things when I see them, although I rarely do (except when I see her identical twin….her identical twin and Julie Andrews).

It all reminds me of a sweet children’s book by P.D. Eastman called ‘Are You My Mother?’  Here is Wikipedia’s synopsis

“Are You My Mother?” is the story about a hatchling bird. His mother, thinking her egg will stay in her nest where she left it, leaves her egg alone and flies off to find food. The baby bird hatches. He does not understand where his mother is so he goes to look for her. As he cannot fly, he walks, and in his search, he asks a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a cow if they are his mother. They each say “No”.

Refusing to give up, he sees an old car, which cannot be his mother for sure. In desperation, the hatchling calls out to a boat and a plane (they both do not respond), and at last, convinced he has found his mother, he climbs onto the teeth of an enormous power shovel. A loud “SNORT” belches from its exhaust stack, prompting the bird to utter the immortal line, “You are not my mother! You are a SNORT!” But as it shudders and grinds into motion he cannot escape. “I want my mother!” he shouts.”

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This isn’t how the story ends, but it’s the end for me.  Even though I know my mother is gone, on some level I always look for her.  I quietly think,“Are you my mother?”; but the answer is never yes.  I know I’ll never find her, yet I still look in hopes that someone will come close enough to fool me for a little while.

I think it kind of makes sense to enjoy our loved one’s qualities where ever we can find them.  It’s even okay to enjoy them when they’re embodied in someone else, so long as we always remember that the someone else is not and will never be our loved one.  I know most of us get this reality, but sometimes we subconsciously forget.

Have you ever heard of transference? Honestly it’s a larger topic for another day, but I bring it up because one of the ways transference occurs is when we meet someone who reminds us of a person from the past and we unconsciously assume the new person has traits and characteristics similar to the person from the past.  Making assumptions about people based on perceived similarities sets everyone up for confusion and disappointment; especially when we know no one can live up to the memory of our loved one.

I guess this is all I have to offer at this point – sometimes we see people who remind us of our loved ones and it makes us sad.  I know that’s not very helpful, but honestly I’ve only begun to think about this. I guess if you’ve had this experience, at least you know you’re not alone.  That being said, I’d love to know if anyone else has any input on the topic. Please leave a comment below.

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March 28, 2017

50 responses on "You Remind Me: People who remind us of our loved ones"

  1. Oh my.. I see lots of ladies like at grocery stores and some look at me like they know me. My mother has passed away when I was 8 and I’m now about to be 28y/o.. sometimes I want to tell them they look or just remind me of my mom. But not sure if that’s a great idea.. honestly I didn’t grieve long. Because I was so young so I learned to accept that my mother was gone. So the days I’m at the store, I did not have my mother on my mind or have thought about her that week . So can it be my mom trying to contact me or something. I love my mom but I learned to live without her. I do think of her, so my last couple sentences seemed kinda mean. Didn’t mean to sound that way. But please explain and help me figure this out. Or if I sound tell the ladies. lol I have tattoos and I’m afraid they won’t talk to me cause lots of people ignore me and I’m thinking it’s cause the tats. I’m very nice tho.

  2. I totally related to this, My dad died when I was eight.
    This year it’s the tenth anniversary and I found that one of my teachers reminds me of him. He has the same interests and kind of looks like him, I always feel like I’m weird to feel that way towards that person.

    I really enjoy talking to him as it feels as if I have my dad back but I’m scared of now losing that figure in my life. I just actually want to get over it but some reason I can’t, I even wish I had never met him as it’s that difficult for me!

  3. Dear Love, you are not alone. Shortly after my dad died several years ago, I was in the car stopped at a red light. I looked in the rear view mirror at the driver in the car behind me. I saw my father’s face. It is shocking when it happens, but I saw the look on his face and felt comforted knowing he was okay and letting me know that. Yesterday, the same thing happened out of the blue, but it was my mother’s face. My mom died many years ago and while I know she was around, I never felt her presence as strongly maybe because I was in such deep grief. Grief counseling has helped me tremendously so I’m more open to messages from her. But, the difference with seeing my mom’s face is that I was so shocked and unprepared, that I didn’t take comfort and wondered if she appeared for a specific reason.

  4. I lost my father a year ago. I was in a crowded subway this morning and a man was walking toward me very briskly – i glanced at him quickly from afar and saw my fathers face. I had not been thinking about My dad at all today – it just happened out of the blue. I looked down in disbelief and as the stranger drew near, he did not resemble my father at all. I kneeled down to tie my shoe and was overwhelmed by sadness. How could my mind play tricks on me or was it really my father giving me a sign? This milli second of a scenario left me with an unrelenting sense of grief all day.

  5. I am a sibling, who lost her sister, now faced with being the person her husband and his family are saying “holding you is holding her,” and “You’re all I’ve got left of her,” and “You’re the closest thing I have to her,” and “When I look into your eyes I’m looking into hers.” She has a son. He looks identical to her.

    If you cannot tell, I am angered by this. I am overwhelmed by this, I have my own grief, so much grief, as this was a shock to everyone. I have my parents to think of, I have her son, I swear I want to go out, dye my hair a strange color and change the color of my eyes because to me, it’s like they’re not focusing on her. It’s to me, as if they’re just doing something that feels wrong to me. To me.

    I get it grief is an animal. It changes, there are nights where I want to rip my clothes scream punch and kick like a child throwing a hissy fit over something I really want but can’t have. Then there are days i feel like a zen master, filled with peace, surrounded by glory and beauty.

    Then there is a constant pounding and squeezing sensation in my chest that does not yet permit me to be a functioning part of society. I swear my patience is all but evaporated.

    I have no clue what to say when they do this. I almost feel like I shouldn’t be around them because for me, I have to accept she is gone. And the idea I could replace her is angering to me. I want NO ONE to do that.
    I hope this makes sense. The wound is very fresh of her loss. It just happened last week.

    I love this forum, podcast and blog. It’s a blessing for me.

    • First off, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my brother for an a half years ago. I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I felt like my family (my dad in particular) was trying to replace my brother with me. The morning phone calls, the wishes to do the things that they used to do, everything. My parents are divorced and my dad and I never had a great relationship. My brother was the one that kind of held us all together. It was a very hard thing to go through… Wanting to be my own person and finding a way to grieve the loss of my brother. There wasn’t anyone I could talk to that truly understood how I felt, and still do feel. I can appreciate your description of how grief affects you because I feel that way, too. It is definitely a choreographed dance, that doesn’t always come together the way I’d like.

      If you are ever looking for another resource, I am a moderator of an online sibling loss support group. We also have a Facebook page. We are called Mourning Our Brothers and Sisters (MOBS for short).

      Much love to you.

  6. I also have been searching the Internet about grief and continually seeing people who resemble a deceased loved one – Except for this article, I’ve found little to explain or describe this phenomena.

    My story is a little different- about 3 years ago I started a decline into the world of addiction and poor mental health. Along my side, was a great friend. Apart from the addiction and deepening depression, Joseph had excellent qualities – he was charming, had an acute sense of humor, musically gifted, very genorous and kind; but most of all, I remember this twinkle in his eyes, that always gave me hope.

    While we were using buddies as well, and codependent, which was an unhealthy component of our relationship, once every character defect and harm done to us in childhood was discussed, we would discuss getting sober. Sobriety was the only way we would truly heal.
    At some point in time, I set aside the fear, the ego, the pain, and the addicted voice in me that says “you can’t live without this substance”, and took the leap of faith into the journey of recovery.
    Sadly, for whatever reason, Joseph did not leap with me. At first, I tried tenaciously to get him to join my journey. There was always an excuse. Then, I had to cut out the personal visits. It was too dangerous for me to be around an active user. Our friendship was existed only through texts and his phone calls of desperation and pleads for help. Unfortunately, he couldn’t take my suggestions or do what I did to get sober.
    About a year and a half into my journey, I realized I hadn’t heard from him for a while. I instantly had this feeling that there was a small vacuum in my life – a microscopic black hole that only I could feel. My intuition was right – he had died from an overdose two weeks prior.
    It was sudden – I felt like I was in an emotional elevator that stopped unexpectedly. I was now greiving many radical changes in my life – the loss of my drug of choice, the death of a previous life, and the death of a friend.
    While I will never know why Joseph couldn’t take that leap of faith, why the disease of addiction and depression was particularly strong in him, and why bad things take ahold of good people, I do know this – we all have darkness and light in us. Chia light shined through his music, his smile, his humor, and that bright twinkle in his eyes. He couldn’t see it – but I could.
    I ocassionally still see and hear Joseph in the most unexpected places and times: guy walking around the corner of the grocery store isle wearing his glasses and twinkly eyes, a guy smoking a cigarette waiting to cross an intersection, or hear his unique laughter across the room in a loud coffee shop.
    While it might be projection, or whatever, I feel it is his way of saying, “Keeping doing the deal” and “I don’t know how you stay sober, but it looks like it’s worth it”.

  7. Thanks for sharing this with your readers! I am sure most can relate. My experience has been that it’s not just people that bring up memories but places, cars, tv shows, music. Death is never easy to deal with and everyday there is usually something that triggers a strong memory. I have also found that it’s extremely helpful to read a blog or talk with someone who has gone through something similar; it makes you feel less alone. I want to recommend the book “Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased” by Dr. Jamie Turndorf(http://askdrlove.com/). This book is a phenomenal resource for anyone struggling with the grief of losing someone. Dr. Turndorf truly understands the feeling of loss and it is conveyed through each lovingly written page. She lost her husband to a bee sting while on vacation and has used this book to help heal and to help others. What I love most is that the book guides the bereaved to say hello not good-bye, THIS is the key to transforming grief to joy. I hope you and your readers will give it a read

  8. Yes, Mom had a story of a guy on the T shouting “Julie Andrews! Julie Andrews!” I avoided watching the special — I think partly because the Julie Andrews/Mom connection is a little too bittersweet. It doesn’t help that she plays the guitar! I know we have an original of the photo. I think it was one John came across on an old slide that was at Flo’s. I’m on the site now because I just watched Wild with Reese Witherspoon, who totally reminds me of you! Also, it’s all about grief, if you haven’t seen it yet. Do people ever tell you that? For Beth, it’s always Julia Stiles.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Sarah, yes I do get that once in a while! She made a movie when she was like 13 and thats when I used to hear that the most. I have seen Wild. Actually we did a podcast specifically dedicated to talking about it we liked it so much. 🙂

  9. 🙁 🙁 The guy I love died some weeks ago, and everytime I hear our favorite song, it makes me cry again and again.

    http://giftofquills.blogspot.com/2015/03/of-promise-kept-do-souls-go-back.html

  10. I was quite taken with the resemblance between your mother & Julie Andrews as Maria…. I lost my mother when I was 38- she was 64… when I hear someone sing in the country style she sang, I cry. When I sing alto range at church, I hear her voice & I cry …. Sometimes I hear my daughter singing, too, in her sweet, light voice & I cry …. I lost her when she was 11 & I was 34 – sometimes I would see a slim young girl with long blonde hair & think it was her …. I lost my dad when he was 80 & I was 54… even then, he seemed too young to go ….. I took care of my maternal grandma with Alzheimer’s in her last years & she died in my arms, 2 yrs after my daughter…. I look forward to seeing them again, one day in Heaven, but for now, I miss them…. very much …. Your article & all these posts have touched my heart. Thank you for this post.

    • It’s not so much people, but music that reminds me of my special man. I grew up in the 60s and lately there have been so many commercials that use the music from that era. I can be having a good day but suddenly hear a song that takes me back in time. Those songs send me into a tailspin and I end up in a very bad place.

  11. This is my first time on your blog. I follow An Inch of Gray and saw the link. I lost my son, my daughter-in-law and my 2 year old grandson seven months ago today.

    I have not seen a particular person that looks like my son but I see strangers occasionally from a distance that give me a start. But in my son’s teen years he used to draw and leave me funny drawings and messages on my refrigerator for me to find when I got up and one of my favorites was “Are you my mother?” I did not even know it was a book until today! He drew the very cartoon of the bird standing on the dog’s head and left it for me on my refrigerator when he was about 14 years old. I almost passed out when I saw it on this post. Thank you!

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Oh my gosh, really? That’s such a sweet memory and how funny and coincidental that he used to draw illustrations from this book. I’m glad Anna brought you to us, even if for that reason only 🙂

  12. I enjoy seeing the picture of your mom and Julie Andrews:) Thank you for sharing this experience of pining for our mother. I see this built into my nervous system and I have found comfort with seeing many people around me “being” a motherly presence. I too have sobbed uncontrollably in movies and at times when something “triggers” this emotional desire to connect with Mom.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Patrick,

      I can relate to you saying that you find comfort with seeing many people “being” a motherly presence. I have really gravitated towards the concept of “mother” and being “motherly” even though my specific mother is gone, what she embodied is still here.

      Eleanor

  13. My daughter was stillborn at 37 weeks due to medical negligence. There are some times I see little girls that would be about her age and look like I’m pretty sure she would and I have to leave. When I see these girls I am not reminded of what was, but what will never be.

    • Beth, I just wanted to steer you toward a resource I found on Facebook: CarlyMarie. She has an extremely supportive and understanding community and she creates beautiful art which you may like to use to memorialize your daughter. I am sorry for your loss, and I hope the future brings brighter days for you.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Beth,

      That makes a lot of sense, how could you not think that way?? I’m so sorry about your sweet baby girl.

      Eleanor

  14. Mary Kate CranstonMarch 21, 2015 at 6:24 amReply

    Hi Eleanor. Your post is amazing! From the idea that it’s possible to be doing something routine that unexpectedly turns into a grief trigger to all of the feelings about your Mom, you are right on the money. You have thankfully confirmed for us that when yearning for deceased loved ones and grief triggers happen that it is normal. You’re right about the fact that when it happens it doesn’t feel normal. No, it doesn’t feel normal at all. After my husband died, it really felt as though I was losing it when these things would happen to me. I appreciate you opening up about you wonderful Mom and sharing what happened to you. It helps a lot to read about the grief experiences that make us feel so vulnerable. Thank you!

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Thanks Mary Kate!!

      It is really reassuring to me to know that this is something so many other people have experienced. Grief is so funny, isn’t it? Sometimes I worry maybe I’m just being dramatic, but I don’t think so. People don’t just disappear from our lives. If they were important, they follow us around. It makes sense these things would happen even years later.

      Eleanor

  15. Hi Eleanor, me again. If my memory serves me right someone saying that actually chased your Mom off the T as she got off to walk towards Wheelock. Now that was scary. I think anyone would have said that is who she looked like at the time. Ask your Dad. You would think I would have more pictures of Evelyn, but most I have are of the two of us together. I don’t remember seeing this picture and it really is special. I would like a copy if possible. Thanks, your mom’s other look alike. I don’t like to wear hats because they cover up my long hair and lack of bangs. Our hair was the way Evelyn and I made sure we looked different. If I am wearing a hat and I look in a mirror I see my twin and it makes me really sad. I was never told I looked like Julie Andrews. Sometimes I wonder if seeing me, or hearing my voice, which is so much like Evelyn’s, hurts your family a little bit. By the way, Is this the proper forum for me to post a personal message like this? Perhaps I should have e-mailed you instead.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Oh my gosh, I can just imagine her getting chased off the T. I think I will ask Dad…I’m sure he will say oh absolutely. In fact, I seem to remember one of my siblings saying something to that effect in the not so distant past. I will look into who has a copy of the picture. Not that a copy matters, I can send you an electronic copy I’m jut not totally sure of the quality.

      That must be such a strange/tough feeling to look in the mirror and see Mom. I started putting together information to write something about twin grief, I understand this is such a unique yet common experience for twins. I can only imagine. I totally understand your worries about being a reminder of Mom, but honestly we could all use a few more reminders of her. The acute hurt, for me at least, is gone and I wish I could hear her voice or see her face. And if you’re okay posting here, then it’s the proper forum!!! I feel like people here already know way more than they’d like about me 🙂

      I do hope we get to see you all again soon. I’m sure there will be an excuse this summer.

  16. I have this happen all the time! I lost Todd, the man of my dreams in 2013 to cancer after only having 16 months with him. The look alikes appeared almost immediately. I would see them in cars, trucks on the street every where! And it’s not like he could be mistaken easily. Todd had a specific look – he always wore a baseball cap and had a white gotee. I never realized that there were so many men out there with that look until after he died.
    There was one time in particular that I saw a look alike that I will never forget. When Todd was alive we would go shopping on Fridays at Food Lion for his elderly grandfather. I found myself in Food Lion on a Friday one year almost to the day of his death. I was walking around the store when I spotted him – the look alike. I stopped dead in my tracks. The baseball cap, the white gotee, jeans and he was pushing a grocerey cart. He was even the same build and height! I couldn’t help myself, I followed him around for a few minutes. I pulled out my cell and looked through the pictures till I found one of Todd. That’s when I found myself going up to this look alike. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if I could show him something. He smiled and said sure. I showed him the picture of Todd. For a moment he was silent and then he smiled looking a little surprised and confused. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. “I lost him a year ago” I choked out. He touched my arm and said, “I’m sorry”. I just nodded and continued on my way as fast as I could get out of there till I reached my car. There I had a good cry and secretly waited till the look alike came out and loaded his groceries in his truck.
    So no you are def not the only one who sees “them”.
    I try to think of “them” as somehow a way our loved ones lets us know that they too are thinking of us. Because to me it seems like they show up just when I am thinking about Todd. It’s does seem odd and weird, I know. But with grief, death and the live after death there is a lot we still don’t understand. But I do believe our loved ones communicate with us if we take the time to listen and see. I think the look alikes are one of those ways. So don’t be sad when you seem them be happy, it could be your loved one letting you know they miss you too.

  17. Love it when some of my favourite blogging worlds collide!

  18. Eleanor, In 1965 when your mother Evelyn was a junior in High School and for quite a few years after people would see her and always tell her how she looked like Julie Andrews, especially on the T when she was at Wheelock college. I myself can NEVER see Julie Andrews without thinking the same thing. That you had such an emotional, gut reaction doesn’t seem at all weird to me. Sigh, I wish I had a copy of that picture of Evelyn you posted.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Did they really?? Wow I never knew that. It’s weird because I didn’t know my mom at 28 (the age Julie Andrews was in the movie), but there just something so similar. I can probably print you copy of the picture if you don’t have one?!? I think someone in the Davies family has the original.

  19. Yes! My friends grandson, whom I just recently met, looks so much like my son, he passed away in 2013. When I first saw him my heart melted. All my friends agree that he looks so similar

  20. My mother loved Julie Andrews and seeing her on the show made me think about a time when life was so much better. I miss those days so much.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Linda,

      I completely agree. I felt the same way.

      Eleanor

      • I believe this might qualify as a secondary loss! When I miss certain people, I am flung back to a time where, ironically, people seemed so much nicer, more approachable, that if I lost that person not only would there be support there would be a substantial number of people to replace them. I do not mean this in a callous, “call Central Casting and get me a _____type”. way! Men were more decent; they groomed themselves better and dressed more formally. People didn’t meet you at a Laundromat or diner and want to discuss intimate details of your love life– or share theirs! The people I grew up around were straightforward; if someone didn’t like you, you knew it. They did not wait, and schmooze, for months or years to put a “knife in your back”. I get… furious, frantic and MISERABLY lonely because not only do I miss critical people, but I can’t hop into a Time Machine and go back to an era.

        • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

          Snowygirl,

          I know what you mean. My mom represents a certain mindset that I don’t encounter that often every day and, frankly, sometimes I feel I need a little more of in my life.

          Eleanor

  21. I can totally relate. I saw my dad’s cousin who lives in another state. He was unaware of my dad’s passing until he dropped by that day. (double whammy ) Seeing someone who has many of the same features as your loved one -PLUS having to ruin their day with unexpected bad news, which in turn, ruins your day too. I was completely focused on his hands. They looked so much like my dad’s. I just kept staring at them…..I’m pretty sure I made him uncomfortable.

  22. So, I just saw Anna Whiston-Donaldson’s comment; minutes after reading her post http://ow.ly/KySi9 ! Amazing- great minds definitely think alike. You ladies are such phenomenal writers. Keep up the inspiring work!

  23. Anna Whiston-DonaldsonMarch 19, 2015 at 7:32 pmReply

    Oh my goodness yes! I wrote a blog post today saying how Justin Bieber reminds me of my son (in looks, only) and how Lady Diana’s death hit me so hard b/c she reminded me of my own golden Mom. 🙂

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Anna,

      Okay first, the upside down sweatshirt and Malfoy hair made me laugh out loud!! Second, what a crazy coincidence that we both wrote blog posts about this at the exact same time. Although after reading your post though I think you put it into words better than I could – I just want to hug women who remind me of my mother and be hugged by them…but not really though because they are strangers 🙂

      Eleanor

  24. I recently had someone pass who, on so many occasions, reminded me of my deceased mother. But all those little, old, Italian women who cook good seem alike. It’s like a second loss, 20 yrs after the first, and that has made me take stock of my life. You are ABSOLUTELY not weird!

  25. As I was reading you post..it also triggered memories for me. So many I can hardly quite them anymore. Some are very painful still after all these years…but many are wonderful and those are some of the ones you helped me remember. Wonderful post and it has given me some wonderful things to use in my own writing and artwork. Thank you so much. JJ Webster

  26. No, you’re not weird. Unless, of course, we all are. I see little blond girls now and then who remind me so much of my daughter, Annalee, that I have to turn away to escape the tears. And yes, “Are You My Mother” was one of her favorite books.

  27. This is absolutely true. My brother had a core group of friends and they were all very similar. Which is why they all got along so well. And I’m very close to them still. And it’s nice to have the opportunities to hang out with them because it makes me feel closer to my brother. And also, my nephew. He’s only 5 now, but SO many things make me feel like he’s following the exact footsteps of his dad! From his laugh to his personality. It’s crazy!

  28. I actually couldn’t finish this article because how much I relate. About a month after my own mother passed I went with family to visit a homeless woman in the hospital. She looked so much like my mom and has many medical conditions like my mom did also. It was very hard for me.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Whoops, I originally posted the wrong response in reply to your comment. I’m sorry you had this experience. You know it makes sense that we would see the things that make us happy and comfort us, as well as the things that make us sad. I personally find this to be one of the hardest experiences, to see someone who reminds me of my mother. It just makes me sad.

  29. This is so true! There is a lady in our church-she really isn’t that much older than me (in my mind I’m still only 28!)-but she reminds me so much of my mom. She is a nurse like my mom, she’s small and petite like my mom, and she wears her hair much like my mom’s. I had an opportunity to be with her last Saturday morning for a volunteer project and at one point I was thinking, “I wonder if this is what it would have been like if Mom and I could have done this together.” And of course I had to keep myself from bursting into tears. There’s something sweetly, or maybe bittersweetly, familiar about this woman. She’s not Mom and she certainly isn’t in her 70’s, but it’s still a mixture of comforting and oh, how much I wish she were still here.

    • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

      Yes! You’ve described the feeling perfectly. And you know, I’m sure there are people we can have relationships with who we obviously know are not the same as our loved ones, but still fondly remind us of them.

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