Grief, love and Little Piney–A Daughter’s Grief and Healing in the Lost Pines

Tammy Brown

When we lose someone we love, we grieve.   The grief and healing process helps us gradually let go of the cherished relationship as we knew it and find a way to hold the loved one inside forever.  I lost my mother  October 7, 2014.  I had been losing her to Alzheimer’s disease for the past few years feeling a slow deep loss of her, and of our family as I knew it.   My role as a daughter changed.  She needed me as much as I had needed her when I had my babies, and when I was emotionally hurting and turned to her.  I missed the way she celebrated the good things with me like only a mother could.  I missed sharing the things we both loved–Mom, my daffodils are blooming; the baby took first steps; what’s missing in my dressing?  Her death was the shocking slam of a slowly closing door.  I felt unanchored.  I didn’t know exactly what it meant to be in the world without my mother.

One month later, I first saw the land that we now own and call Little Piney.  I fell in love with this place.  As we walked the property, the pines seemed to hold me.  I felt comfort and wonder.  I wanted to be here.  A pileated woodpecker landed briefly above our heads.  Cardinals were everywhere, my mom’s favorite bird.  It felt like home with the carpet of pine needles underfoot, smelled like home with the scent of pine in the air.  There were many challenges to buying this property, but we persisted, and it happened in January.  I feel abundantly blessed to live here.  I have the deep sense that it was meant to be.  I will mother this place, and it will mother me.

Her obituary reads “Joyce Fuller Bridges, the heart and soul of our large family, passed away October 7, 2014, leaving a treasured legacy of warmth and love. She taught us that love is generous and powerful, and heals all hurts. She created a culture of joy and support that made home both a refuge and a fun place to be. She will be with us always in our hearts, a voice telling us each that we are special and can do anything.”

Thank you, Mom.  I love you.







  1. Your blog is a treasure Tammy. I am looking forward to keeping up w/life at Little Piney this way. Can’t wait to hear about the
    nests and your new life out there!