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‘Do it with all your heart:’ Husband urges everyone to hold on to loved ones tightly this Mother’s Day

Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 11:28 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Although Mother’s Day marks a happy time for many families, it can be a very difficult period for those who’ve lost a mother or spouse.

Don Odom lost his wife, Sharon, last year and held her hand until she took her last breath.

He’s now encouraging families to hold on tight to their mothers and loved ones while they’re still here because you don’t know when life could change.

“She stole my heart,” Don said. “I always felt she was too good for me. But when God puts two people together he doesn’t make mistakes.”

Don and Sharon were teenagers when they first met in church. Both sang in the choir together.

“She had the most beautiful blue eyes, and long flowing hair down to her hips,” Don said. “And when she would sing, that hair would swing.”

Sharon Odom passed away on Oct 19, 2020.
Sharon Odom passed away on Oct 19, 2020.(Don Odom)

The pair married in 1978.

“A week after Valentine’s Day,” he said. “My wife was a vibrant, very bold type person. She had a hyena-type laugh that would bring the house down.”

The duo later became a trio, as Don and Sharon had a daughter named Bethany.

Don says Sharon was not only an excellent wife, but a phenomenal mother.

But later on in life, things changed.

Husband Don Odom honoring the memory of his wife Sharon.
Husband Don Odom honoring the memory of his wife Sharon.(Don Odom)

Don explained that Sharon had dementia from an early age.

She was placed in a nursing home after a bad fall, but Don was by her side through it all.

Last year, visitation restrictions prevented him from seeing her face-to-face. So, like so many families, he looked at his wife through a glass window.

Sharon died last October at the age of 69 - and Don was right there, holding her hand.

“Sharon was a wonderful mother,” Don said. “Then naturally when the illness struck her, things changed. But Sharon and Bethany stilled adored each other. Bethany adored her mother until the very end.”

Don says he’s sharing his story as a reminder to all families to love on their mother, father, sister and brother while they can.

“I would love to hug my wife one more time and tell her I love her,” Don said. “I know she sees me in heaven. I’m telling families-if you get a chance to hug your mom, or your wife or your children, do it with all your heart. Appreciate it.”

Don Odom honoring the memory of his late wife Sharon Odom.
Don Odom honoring the memory of his late wife Sharon Odom.(Don Odom)

Alfreda Small, a licensed counselor with Small Counseling and Wellness, wants to help families grieving the loss of a mother or loved one.

Small says there will be a lot of social media posts about Mother’s Day that could unexpectedly trigger memories.

For that reason, stepping away from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could help you get through the day a bit easier.

She also recommends reaching out to a family member or friend for support, as they can provide an immediate ear or shoulder for you to lean on.

“Always reach out if you need to, to family and friends,” Small said. “A lot of people may be going through the same thing you’re going through. That’s the really big thing to do.”

She adds it’s also extremely important for you to allow yourself time to grieve.

“Always having self-compassion,” Small said. " Just remembering that giving yourself grace and time is okay. Grief has no limit. Giving yourself that time to reflect on Mother’s Day.”

She also recommends contacting a licensed counselor for any additional help.

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