Life Update: About my Mother’s Passing…

It’s been 200 days since my mother’s passing. My therapist once remarked, “I notice you still haven’t posted about your Mom’s death on social media…” that was 100 days ago. I must admit that denial, one of the five stages of grief, seems to have its hold on me the most, as I grapple with the reality of her absence. I’m still not ready to talk about my grief journey publicly, but as I slowly come back from a three month social media sabbatical, authenticity is more important to me than ever. I do feel like you dolls need to know what has happened. 

Setting Boundaries…

Before I continue, let’s chat about something important: setting boundaries. I’ll start by sharing a little storytime with you. You know I call you my dolls because to me, a doll embodies warmth, kindness, and a genuine spirit—qualities I see in each of you when you stop me on the street, in restaurants, at the airport, etc. During my recent social media sabbatical, I even had the pleasure of spending some one-on-one time with a few of you dolls, and it was truly special.

Now, onto the story. Last summer, while strolling through Harlem with my dear friend David Quarles IV, we stumbled upon a bustling street market. As we meandered through the vibrant scene, one of you dolls stopped me with a familiar greeting, “Are you CeCe Olisa?” I couldn’t help but smile and confirm. But then came an unexpected request: “Take off your sunglasses, I want to see your eyes.”

At first, I complied, eager to connect with a member of my beloved community. But as the encounter unfolded, I realized that the request had left me feeling unsettled. Later, when David asked if I was okay, I felt validated that something about the situation was not cool.

Dolls, you are an integral part of my world, and I value each and every one of you. But I also ask for your understanding and respect when it comes to my boundaries. Sometimes, I may not have the capacity to fulfill special requests, like removing my sunglasses or engaging in certain interactions. And that doesn’t mean the relationship we share via social media is any less real or loving.

I’m actively working on being more assertive in setting boundaries, and I hope you’ll offer me grace and support along the way. Your understanding means the world to me, and together, we can create a community built on mutual respect and kindness.

Remember, dolls, standing strong in your boundaries is an act of self-care and self-respect. You deserve to feel comfortable and respected in every interaction.

Steps to Take When Someone Dies…

Have you ever wondered what it truly means to take the time you need to grieve? Losing a loved one can feel like navigating through a foggy maze of emotions, responsibilities, and expectations. When my grandmother passed away, I found myself facing the daunting task of balancing my grief with the demands of my corporate job. The HR portal determined my allotted time off based on the relationship, leaving me to question if two days were enough to process my loss.

But here’s the thing: grief doesn’t follow a schedule or fit neatly into a predetermined timeframe. It’s a complex journey that often lingers in the background of our lives, affecting our ability to focus, sleep, and function as we normally would. And when my mother unexpectedly passed away, I realized that I needed to prioritize self-care above all else.

As an influencer and entrepreneur, I’ve learned to navigate life on my own terms. So when my mom’s sudden and unexpected passing plunged me into a whirlwind of emotions, I made the conscious decision to heed the advice I often give others: take all the time you need. I reached out to my Cocoa by CeCe team and my brand partners like, Ford Motor Company and was met with nothing but understanding and support.

Between taking a month off last fall and a three month social media sabbatical from December to March, I have taken four months off in total to grieve, reflect, and prioritize my well-being. And let me tell you, it isn’t easy and it’s not over. There have been tears shed on planes, heartfelt conversations with loved ones, and moments of quiet introspection. But through it all, I remain committed to honoring my emotions and giving myself the space and time to heal.

Now, you might be wondering why I’m sharing all of this with you. Well, it’s because I want you to know that it’s okay to take the time you need to grieve and prioritize self-care. Whether it’s four days or four months, your grief journey is valid, and your well-being matters. So the next time someone tells you to take all the time you need, listen to them. And remember, if I can do it, so can you.

My God Did Not Fail, That’s the Story I’ll Tell…

Remember last year when I went to the Kirk Franklin x Maverick City Music concert at the Barclays Center? I had no idea that their song “The Story I’ll Tell” would become my anthem for this season of my life. I understand the lyrics so well. Lyrics like:

The hour is dark,

And it’s hard to see,

What you are doin’,

Here in the ruins

And where this will lead…

Am I Mad at God?

Are God and I still wrestling with His plan regarding my Mother?

Absolutely.

Do I trust God?

Absolutely.

…and that’s all I can say for now.  I’ll let Naomi Raine and Maverick City say the rest, take a listen:

How Long Does Grief Last?

Walking into my childhood home, I discovered my mother’s thoughtful gems left for such a time as this—books like “When Someone Dies,” accompanied by her handwritten note on the inside flap dated before I was born. Desperate for a playbook, I tore through the pages, learning that the impact of sudden and unexpected death is overwhelming, requiring a delicate navigation through bereavement, grief, and mourning. It’s a process that may take up to two years, and I plan to navigate my next two years at my own pace, without shame or embarrassment.

What’s Next for Me?

In my tender state, I’ve become selective about every detail of my life.

I’ve become selective about where I live– This life-altering event became a catalyst for downsizing and moving back to my family’s apartment in Manhattan.

I’ve become selective about  the company I keep– when my Mother passed away, people around the world dropped everything, hopped on planes, trains and automobiles to be by my side immediately. It was an overwhelming feeling of love and support. I have amazing people in my life and I’m forever grateful for my inner circle.

I’m super selective about, the projects I undertake (officially ending my time with theCURVYcon), and the places I frequent.

A three-month social media sabbatical, not posting on my instagram from December-March has been crucial for the first phase of my healing. Thank you to all of you dolls who slid in my DM’s to see if I was okay. I wanted to respond, I just couldn’t.

If you’re in a grief season I encourage you to take all the time you can, when you can. My homegirl, Rachel Cargle is doing some beautiful work around grief right now, be sure to check out her offerings.

As a full time influencer and entrepreneur, the ability to take a months long break from the internet has been a blessing and a privilege that I don’t take for granted. Thank you to my valued brand partners like Ford Motor Company who said “take all the time you need” and let me come back when I was ready. 

Massive thanks to my Cocoa by CeCe care team who stepped up in countless ways and demonstrated unwavering support.

The Path to Reinvention…

As I navigate this season of loss and reinvention, I find solace in cherished rituals and new beginnings. While I may not be on social media as much as I used to be, I do enjoy supporting you on your journey by keeping a lineup of articles and topics awaiting you this Spring on CeCeOlisa.com like:

Wellness: Dive into self-love with inspiring quotes and discover the tiny treadmill that keeps me moving and motivated.

Beauty: Join me on a journey of self-discovery as I share how I learned to love my lips, and don’t miss our tips for achieving soft, kissable lips every day.

Fashion: Elevate your style with cute and comfy shoes, explore the timeless elegance of plus-size trench coats, and discover must-have items for your NYC apartment.

New York City: Embark on a journey of exploration with my curated NYCeCe guide to the best things to do in New York City this Spring.

The Creative Art of Confidence: Learn how to reinvent yourself with 10 easy steps and gain valuable insights into navigating life’s transitions with confidence and resilience.

Travel: Escape to the idyllic shores of Aruba with my insider’s guide to the island’s hidden gems.

REINVENTION is more than just a theme—it’s a mindset, a call to action, and a celebration of the endless possibilities that await us when we embrace change, no matter how hard. So join me as we embark on this journey of self-discovery and reinvention together.

With a Tender Heart,

p.s. Please pray for my father who has lost his wife of 46 years and for my siblings as we reinvent our lives without my mother.

51 thoughts on “Life Update: About my Mother’s Passing…”

  1. May God send healing to you and your family. I send prayers. My mom transitioned 16 years ago my view and belief is that the love, energy and guidance they gave us in their earthly forms are with us forever.
    You’ll see something or remember something she said/did. Over time you find the elements you internalized from her and you “become” her on certain situations.
    Continue to heal and know you are loved, and in my mind you have another angel.

    On another note: If I run into in Harlem or Manhattan I’ll try not to fan girl too much!
    Stay golden!

    1. I lost my mother in November last year. I understand. I’m in the depths of my grief, too afraid to feel the pain, too tired to do the work to get through it. I find comfort in knowing I will see her again, just as Jesus raised Lazarus. John 5:28,29 and Revelations 21:3 & 4 are my favorite scriptures that I reflect on that keep my hope alive, while I’m swimming in the depths of my grief.

      I am so sorry for your loss. may the God of comfort keep you and your family close to his heart. 2 Corinthians 1:3 and 4.

      All my love to you and your family

      Ottie Mae

  2. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family… As they say Grief is love that has no where to go… I lost the 4 most valuable people in my life all within months of each other between 2019-2021. And my biggest regret is that i didnt take the time I needed to heal; I thought by pushing myself into my work it would make the pain go away… It only prolong it.. I will say Therapy has help but to cope with the pain… so don’t put any time stamp on your journey and give yourself some grace; this walk isn’t easy…

      1. Sending lots of hugs. so sorry about Mum. “Take all the time you need!”
        I cannot find where to comment.

  3. Cece, I have been a follower and certified doll of yours for the best part of a decade. I know how big the impact of this change is on your life and community. Your Mum is an inspiration and has left such a legacy in who you are. I pray for the comforting of the Holy Spirit for your Dad and sisters at this time.

  4. Dearest Cece,
    Sending you love and light at this most difficult season. The God of the mountains is still the God of the valleys. You are navigating this devastating loss in a most stoic and dignified way. As always, you are an example to us all. May our dear Lord continue to strengthen you and your entire family. Vxxx

  5. Hi Cece,
    Thank you for being so transparent during this trying time. I would be so lost if I lost my Mom, so I can only imagine the pain that you’re going through. Take all the time you need grief is a process that’s not always straightforward or fluid, it ebbs and flows in different ways and on different days. Have patience with yourself and give yourself grace.

    Thank you for caring enough about us to bring us into your processing moments. I will keep you and your family lifted in my prayers.

    Much Love,
    Takyra
    1 Peter 5:7

  6. My dear sister Cece,

    Much peace, comfort, and love to you and yours on the passing of your mother. Losing a parent is a journey covering many paths. I’ve been there. Grief has many stages. Just remember, step by step. Breathe! Joy amidst your sorrow and tears. You will be well.

  7. CeCe,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It doesn’t matter how are you are, a girl always needs her Mama! Sending you support and virtual love during this time.

    Sonia

  8. Cece,

    My prayers are with you and your family during this time.. Even through the clips and pictures your mom had a beautiful spirit and I know I will miss her appearance on your platform from time to time. I was not expecting this news, but completely understand why you were gone. Didn’t want to pry. So I sent silent prayers and thoughts that all was well. May God keep and comfort you all and may He keep you in perfect peace.

    1. My prayers to you and your family. Thank you for taking the time out and sharing about your loss and your thoughts about boundaries and your future plans. Take care of yourself and your Dolls will be here ❤️
      Regards and prayers
      Lynne

  9. Dear Ms. CeCe,
    Sending my deepest condolences to you on the passing of your beloved mother.
    I have followed your social media content for many years. You are a beautiful trailblazer!
    I rarely reach out to someone i follow on social media but reading your journey touched my heart and prompted me to respond. We have something in common, we both are grieving.
    It is very important to set boundaries especially when you share so much of yourself with your followers.
    I personally would never had intruded on your personal space like that. That’s just rude to me but i can see folks doing things out of excitement to meet someone they admire or follow.
    Grief is a heavy burden to carry. It represents a love that continues to give but no longer returned. I share your grief as well. Losing my parents made me feel like I was in an emotional war with me as a casualty and only a shell of me now exists.
    I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Grief has no timetable but it will gradually change you.
    It’s ok to sigh, to cry, and sometimes a little sunshine will start to poke through and you will find a smile appear. It’s ok.
    Thank you for sharing your personal journey.

  10. So sorry to hear about the loss of your mother CeCe. I’ve been there too. Keeping you and your family in prayer. Sending you only positive energy and healing vibes. Take care of yourself and thanks for being so transparent with something so personal. ❤️🙏🏾

  11. Cece, so sorry to hear about your loss. Wishing you and your family strength as you continue to navigate your grief.

  12. Praying for you and your family. May God provide everything you all need during this most difficult time. Love you, Lt. CeCe!

  13. CeCe, I want to first say that I an sorry for your loss. I want to also say that I thank you for sharing your grief as it is helping me in my grief. My father is in his last stages of life right now and it has been very hard for us to let him go – especially my mom – but we know that we don’t want him to suffer. So I thank you for sharing you journey as it is a help to me as I go through my grief journey. My parents have been married 59 years. I understand that pain your father is going through. Blessings to you. God is in control. Sharon

  14. Oh Cece! I am so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing… sending love, thoughts & prayers your way 🙏🏽🫶🏽🕊️ I lost my mama in 2007, she was my best friend 😢
    “Keep Looking to the Hills…” Psa 121
    On the days when you think you cannot make it, He will carry you 🙏🏽

  15. CeCe,
    Your raw honesty about dealing with the loss of your mom really struck a chord with me, as we have also been navigating our own journey through grief.

    It’s incredibly important to acknowledge and honor our emotions, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Your authenticity in sharing your experience is not only brave but also incredibly helpful for others who may be going through similar situations, like me, for example.

    I applaud you for taking the time you need away from the hustle and business part of social media and focusing on what truly matters. It’s a reminder that self-care and healing should always take precedence, even in a world that often tells us otherwise.

    Keep being unapologetically you, CeCe. Your honesty is a beacon of light for so many, myself included.

    Sending you lots of love and support during this time.

    xo,
    Shannon

  16. Oh CeCe. My heart if hurting for you. I know what a special bond you have with your mom. I’m sending you all my love and I’ll send extra love for your Daddy who is grieving the love of his life. ❤️🙏

  17. I’m sorry Cece about your mother’s transition. My mom transitioned 3 years ago yesterday and although she was 97 I miss her everyday. I believe our loved ones are all around us watching, loving and guiding us. I will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing. 🌸

  18. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. You’re wise to take time off to grieve and begin healing. You’ll be in my prayers. ❤️

  19. Cece,
    I unexpectedly lost my mom 36 days now and I’m a complete mess. I am trying to navigate what healing and what this grief journey looks like. Hugs to you and your family. 💕

    Toyia

  20. Sending love and prayers for you, your siblings and your Father. Thank you for continuing to be a light even as you navigate your own darkness. Peace, love, and blessings.

  21. I have followed you for a long time Queen. Thank you for your transparency. I wish you peace and condolences on your mother’s passing. She looks like a ray of sunshine in this picture. Blessings on Blessings to you.

  22. Hi Cece..it’s your friend from long ago, Corinth! I almost worked with you a few years back and then freaked out and didn’t follow through, haha!

    But anywho, this post really touched me. My grammy recently passed and she was truly my mother, in most of the ways that count. It’s so hard.

    Thinking of you. My heart truly goes out to you and your family. Xoxo
    -Corinth

  23. Cece I’m so taken by your elegance and grace during such a difficult loss. Your candor and care for yourself really connected because I loss my mom in October 2023 so I can relate on the vacuum it leaves behind. I will certainly commit to praying because the Lord will carry you through. Sending my sincere condolences and prayers 🩷

  24. very sorry to hear of your mom’s transition 😢 🙏🏾 I have been there too, so I understand how you are feeling, i lost so many family members in 2023 some days it was just hard to raise my head, but keep God first, pray often and just know he will see you thru this, one day at a time. Peace and Blessings

  25. Cece, thank you for reminding us to keep our boundaries intact and that grief can be a life long process. My deepest condolences on the loss of your dear mom. I will pray for you and your family as you navigate moving forward.

  26. Hi CeCe! First I am sending my utmost sympathy and condolences to you and your family. I too recently my mom/best friend in December. My dad lost his soulmate of 60 years. Everything you described about emotions I face everyday. We’re all at a loss but I know the Good Master has my mom wrapped around his arms. Thank you for Rachel. I happened upon post on Option B and have been following her ever since. I will be praying for you.

  27. Cece:
    I lost my beloved mom 6 years ago and am still taking my time. Literally, there are days when I still want to pick up the phone on Tuesdays for our weekly chat. Gods blessings to you sister!
    Love your doll from Michigan

  28. Cece, I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. My mother transitioned on 11/4/23, unexpectedly. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog post of your grief journey this far. This has been so helpful to me. Taking the time to heal is critical. Blessings to you and your family.

  29. My deepest condolences. My mom passed 31 days ago. We had accepted her decision and helped her transition, but it’s hard. Easter was the 1st holiday without her. Their 64th wedding anniversary was 3 days before she passed. We are living our new normal.

  30. I am so very sorry about your loss. I have been a reader and such from the beginning and curvycom and all and it hurts my heart to hear this. my significant other lost both of their parents and they need to read this. Its a process and it’s something to do at a pace. I will always pray for you and now i will include your coping and process through it all. Much love.

  31. Dearest Cece,
    There is not time limit when it comes to grief. Take your time. I pray God continues to give you the strength and comfort that you need.

  32. Cece,
    You are in my prayers. Grieving is a very personal thing. In the USA, we are expected to toughen up and get back to work.
    It’s not that easy. But most of us don’t have the option to take a lot of time to grieve. It’s been decades of loss for me when death rocked my world. I still miss my grandmother, who protected me, my father, who unconditionally loved me, and my best friend who died way too soon from cancer. Not a day goes by without feeling that loss. Does it ever go away? I don’t have answers. All I know is this — we have to be kind to each other and accept each other for who we are, what we believe, how we behave and what we do. That’s unconditional love. I love you no matter what. Take your time. You will find your way in your new world.

  33. Cece,

    I’m so sorry for your tremendous loss. I’m sorry for your family as well. I lost my mom last year in Feb and it’s been the worse time of my life. I’ve been following you on and off for years and when I met you in person, you were the kindest and most fashionable person at church (we were wearing similar outfits):)

    As I go through my grief journey, I realize that what never thought I would have to worry about is other people. But that is in fact exactly what I’ve had to deal with the most. I empathize deeply with your boundary setting as you’re a public figure. Please protect yourself and your integrity. No one has the right to tell you what to do with you.

    And at the same time, no one cares about the internal battles we are all facing.

    So take care of yourself and stay encouraged.

    I’m so very sorry for the loss of your mommy.
    I’m so very sorry for the loss of my mommy too.

    In Love and Solidarity,
    Shae

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