Hello dearest Bryan--may I please call you Bryan? Although my expressions of sympathy are late, they are just as sincere nonetheless. Nothing prepares you for death; and it's especially difficult when it happens around the holiday seasons of the year.
Your Mom sounded like an outstanding Lady. To bring up eight children on her own takes a great deal of love, courage, patience, and strength. And from the way you write--and are always assisting numerous members on this forum with their problems--I'd say she can be very proud of raising a very loyal and dedicated son.
During the coming days, there will be many little reminders along life's way that will bring back the happy thoughts, as well as some sad ones. I find this to be such a wonderful blessing and a comfort that we can recall so vividly the special moments and occasions we once shared with our loved ones. It's those spur-of-the moment thoughts that keep our loved ones alive in our hearts forever. After all. . ."they are not gone; they are just away"; and we will be meeting them again in the future.
I lost my wonderful and adoring late husband, John-Charles, on August 23, 2001. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him; and he is so often with me in whatever endeavour I might be trying to accomplish. He was the love of my life, my husband, lover, best friend, and my soul mate. Sadly, we only had eight very short and precious years together; but we lived each moment of each day as if they would be our last. We were inseparable from the moment we met. In spite of this tremendous loss in my life, I feel so blessed that my darling John-Charles touched my life---even though briefly. There is such a thing as a broken heart; and I suffer with it 24/7. If it be God's will, I hope I will be joining him sooner---rather than later. He gave me a purpose in life; and without him, I am so completely lost.
If you ever feel the need to talk, shout, or scream, please don't hesitate to write me. I'm a good listener; and I've been down this traumatic moment in life on several occasions recently. Love does hurt, but with each passing day, you will find the stength and courage to move forward and still honor your Mother in very special ways.
May God bless and keep you in the Palm of His hands always. Sending special prayers and thoughts of you and your family across the pond.