WithMother's Dayhaving just passed, I ended up thinking about people who don't have mothers, or maybe don't have parents in general.

One of my friends from college lost his mother last week to a very aggressive cancer. Nobody had any idea she was seriously ill, and she died after just about a week in the intensive care unit.

So it was a pretty shocking death, and she was only in her mid-60s.

My friend ended up spending Mother's Day without his mother, and had to call off celebrating his 30th birthday, so I can't really imagine everything he was thinking or feeling.


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At the funeral, I sat next to another college friend who lost her mother several years ago, after a much longer battle with cancer.

She was crying because she knew what he was going through a lot better than most.

At least both of these friends recently became parents themselves, so in a way they can still feel part of Mother's Day andFather's Day, even though I realize that in no way makes up for the loss of their parents.

One good thing that comes out of funerals, in my experience - not that there's anything actually good about funerals - is they can bring people together.

At the end of the funeral service, my friend who lost his mom filed out of the church with his relatives, his wife and their two young children.

My other friends and I hung back a little awkwardly in the sanctuary before we walked out into the bright, sunny day, and in that moment, I really felt closer and more connected to all of them.

I think we all weren't totally sure what we should do, how we should help or whether we were somehow in the way.

I think we hoped our friend appreciated that we tried to be there for him and make the best of a bad situation.

The whole thing made me realize that these are the people I'm closest to, for better or worse, and we will basically be there for each other even when it's awkward or hard.

The next day, I went out with my mom for Mother's Day. We went to Great Falls Park outsideWashington, D.C., (which, by the way, if you haven't been to for the waterfalls overlook, you really need to do) and then went out to dinner.

My mom said it was the best Mother's Day she ever had, which she tends to say every year, but it really was an extremely nice day this time.

It made me again appreciate the people I'm closest to, even more than I usually try to appreciate them.

I hope those of us who have parents can keep in mind those of us who don't, and everyone can stop to appreciate the people they may tend to take for granted.

No one knows how much time they have left with each other, and life is a lot shorter than it feels on Monday mornings.