The Mother
of All Holidays

Mother’s Day can be a real bitch for those of us without moms, and for moms without their children. But it doesn’t mean we have to suck it up in silence while the rest of the world goes to brunch.

This Mother’s Day, we’re sharing stories from across The Dinner Party community. We’re saying their names, rehashing our favorite memories, reflecting on what we learned, and being honest about what’s been helpful - and what’s been harmful - in #lifeafterloss.

Read on, and introduce us to your person by tagging us on social media. And remember. You’ve Got This.

 
 
Uzair | Naperville, IL    What is your mom's or child's name?  Talat Hussain   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  The aroma of her cooking that reached every inch of the house when I’d wake up or arrive home from school.   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  I miss her hugs and the way she secretly prayed for my happiness.

Uzair | Naperville, IL

What is your mom's or child's name? Talat Hussain

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? The aroma of her cooking that reached every inch of the house when I’d wake up or arrive home from school.

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? I miss her hugs and the way she secretly prayed for my happiness.

Sarah | Houston, TX    What is your mom's or child's name?  Rita   Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you?  As her days were coming to an end, I would hold her hand and listen to her advice about life. My mother said, ‘You have to travel the world, even if I am not here to experience it with you. My love will always find you.’ I took that advice to heart and have recently experienced study abroad trips to Italy and Jamaica.

Sarah | Houston, TX

What is your mom's or child's name? Rita

Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you? As her days were coming to an end, I would hold her hand and listen to her advice about life. My mother said, ‘You have to travel the world, even if I am not here to experience it with you. My love will always find you.’ I took that advice to heart and have recently experienced study abroad trips to Italy and Jamaica.

Amory | Potomac, MD    What is your mom’s name?  Yeama Tetteh   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  My favorite memory was when my mom would dance in the kitchen while my sister and I made a beat for her to dance to (we obviously had to record this Emmy nominated routine haha).   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  My mother actually passed away on Mother’s Day last year (I know she went out like a champ lol). This will be my first Mother’s Day without her. I haven’t had the strength to visit her grave since her funeral last year so my family and I are going to celebrate both the holiday and her one year anniversary.

Amory | Potomac, MD

What is your mom’s name? Yeama Tetteh

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? My favorite memory was when my mom would dance in the kitchen while my sister and I made a beat for her to dance to (we obviously had to record this Emmy nominated routine haha).

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?
My mother actually passed away on Mother’s Day last year (I know she went out like a champ lol). This will be my first Mother’s Day without her. I haven’t had the strength to visit her grave since her funeral last year so my family and I are going to celebrate both the holiday and her one year anniversary.

 
Amanda | Milwaukee WI    What is your mom's or child's name?  Greta   Is there anything else that you want to share?  I'm a mother to a child here on earth, a child in my heart, and a third child that we're about to bring into this world. I'm a mother with a broken heart that is so full. I'm a mother who misses her daughter with every breath. I'm a mother who has 17 days of memories with her daughter and a lifetime of "what ifs". I'm a mother who is sad on Mother's Day because I wish my daughter were here with my son drawing me awful pictures. I'm a mother who feels ignored and different because people are uncomfortable acknowledging my status as a bereaved mom and that my daughter lived.

Amanda | Milwaukee WI

What is your mom's or child's name? Greta

Is there anything else that you want to share? I'm a mother to a child here on earth, a child in my heart, and a third child that we're about to bring into this world. I'm a mother with a broken heart that is so full. I'm a mother who misses her daughter with every breath. I'm a mother who has 17 days of memories with her daughter and a lifetime of "what ifs". I'm a mother who is sad on Mother's Day because I wish my daughter were here with my son drawing me awful pictures. I'm a mother who feels ignored and different because people are uncomfortable acknowledging my status as a bereaved mom and that my daughter lived.

Michael | Los Angeles, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?   Ellen Eisenmass Barshop   What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child?  How much she lived for her family.

Michael | Los Angeles, CA

What is your mom's or child's name?
Ellen Eisenmass Barshop

What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child?
How much she lived for her family.

Amber | Milwaukee, WI    What’s your mom’s name?   Dianne Shanabruch   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?  My best friend flew in from Texas and didn't leave my apartment for a week after her funeral. She literally just worked from my apartment while I went to work. In the time that I felt the most alone, it was so nice to come home to her and not an empty apartment.

Amber | Milwaukee, WI

What’s your mom’s name?
Dianne Shanabruch

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?
My best friend flew in from Texas and didn't leave my apartment for a week after her funeral. She literally just worked from my apartment while I went to work. In the time that I felt the most alone, it was so nice to come home to her and not an empty apartment.

 
Gabriela | New York, NY    What is your mom's or child's name?  Patricia   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  As this mother’s day comes around, I’ve been thinking about my mom as someone who held so much loss in her life. Like me, she lost two of her immediate family members in a family of four by the time she was thirty. I’ve been wondering how she did it, how she held it all in balance — the vivaciousness, the aliveness, the energy, the loss.

Gabriela | New York, NY

What is your mom's or child's name? Patricia

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?
As this mother’s day comes around, I’ve been thinking about my mom as someone who held so much loss in her life. Like me, she lost two of her immediate family members in a family of four by the time she was thirty. I’ve been wondering how she did it, how she held it all in balance — the vivaciousness, the aliveness, the energy, the loss.

Caroline | Berlin, Germany    What is your mom's or child's name?  Kathaleen   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  When I was in the 10th grade, I asked my Mom to help me with one of my school projects. She got so into the project that she ended up convincing me that we should break into the old, abandoned (and supposedly haunted) girls’ private school nearby to where we lived so that she could help me take photos. Thanks to her, I ended up getting an A+ on that project.

Caroline | Berlin, Germany

What is your mom's or child's name? Kathaleen

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? When I was in the 10th grade, I asked my Mom to help me with one of my school projects. She got so into the project that she ended up convincing me that we should break into the old, abandoned (and supposedly haunted) girls’ private school nearby to where we lived so that she could help me take photos. Thanks to her, I ended up getting an A+ on that project.

Anne | South Pasadena, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Amy   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  I flew home to LA from NYC for vacation maybe 6 or 7 years ago. My parents picked me up, and on the drive home my mom was super excited to tell me that she and my dad had finally purchased a new couch! (It as many years in the making...)  Without skipping a beat, she whipped around in the passenger seat and looked behind her where I was sitting and said, "so no farting on the new couch, OKAY?!"   I can still see her grinning face, I can still hear her giggle...and as I'm typing this, I'm smiling because I'm reminded of just how silly and cheesy my mom was.

Anne | South Pasadena, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Amy

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? I flew home to LA from NYC for vacation maybe 6 or 7 years ago. My parents picked me up, and on the drive home my mom was super excited to tell me that she and my dad had finally purchased a new couch! (It as many years in the making...)

Without skipping a beat, she whipped around in the passenger seat and looked behind her where I was sitting and said, "so no farting on the new couch, OKAY?!"

I can still see her grinning face, I can still hear her giggle...and as I'm typing this, I'm smiling because I'm reminded of just how silly and cheesy my mom was.

 
Jasmine | Cambridge, MA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Alix   What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child?  I wish people would express openness to hear more about her life and career, instead of asking how she died. My mom was truly a renaissance woman: a double black belt, an entrepreneur, a computer programmer, and so many other things. I really treasure having space to share those things, and her name (Alix), when I can.

Jasmine | Cambridge, MA

What is your mom's or child's name? Alix

What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child? I wish people would express openness to hear more about her life and career, instead of asking how she died. My mom was truly a renaissance woman: a double black belt, an entrepreneur, a computer programmer, and so many other things. I really treasure having space to share those things, and her name (Alix), when I can.

Theo | Chicago, IL    What is your mom's or child's name?  Kimberly   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  When she was first diagnosed the second time, we had a dance party the next day to Lady Gaga. I think she knew that cancer would be it, but it centered me because she had so much life. It's a memory that holds makes me smile. I posted it on IG before taking it down because I felt too sacred.   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?  My best friends sent a care package during my first holiday without her. It was just wonderful to have it acknowledged.

Theo | Chicago, IL

What is your mom's or child's name? Kimberly

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? When she was first diagnosed the second time, we had a dance party the next day to Lady Gaga. I think she knew that cancer would be it, but it centered me because she had so much life. It's a memory that holds makes me smile. I posted it on IG before taking it down because I felt too sacred.

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child? My best friends sent a care package during my first holiday without her. It was just wonderful to have it acknowledged.

Nathalie | Charlotte, NC    What is your mom's or child's name?  Estella   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  I miss how fucking resilient she was. My mother *never* complained. Not of a headache, not of being tired, not even when her cerebellum was shrinking and her body was failing her. My sister and I often say she truly was a saint.   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?  My best friend came over while waiting for the coroner to come pick up my mom so I wouldn't be alone, and then took the day off after and made me two gallons of Cuban chicken soup. She knows I don't keep food down easily when I am anxious and she worked on that recipe the entire day.

Nathalie | Charlotte, NC

What is your mom's or child's name? Estella

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? I miss how fucking resilient she was. My mother *never* complained. Not of a headache, not of being tired, not even when her cerebellum was shrinking and her body was failing her. My sister and I often say she truly was a saint.

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child? My best friend came over while waiting for the coroner to come pick up my mom so I wouldn't be alone, and then took the day off after and made me two gallons of Cuban chicken soup. She knows I don't keep food down easily when I am anxious and she worked on that recipe the entire day.

 
Rachel | San Francisco, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Diane   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?   Someone who wasn't a particularly close friend had gone back through my Instagram account and read the captions I had included on photos with my mom. She then sent me a text being like wow I could really learn xyz about your mom based on how you talked about her and clearly she passed that on to you. That was so comforting to know that even people in my life who had never met her and never would could feel and find some kind of connection to her.

Rachel | San Francisco, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Diane

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?

Someone who wasn't a particularly close friend had gone back through my Instagram account and read the captions I had included on photos with my mom. She then sent me a text being like wow I could really learn xyz about your mom based on how you talked about her and clearly she passed that on to you. That was so comforting to know that even people in my life who had never met her and never would could feel and find some kind of connection to her.

Sandy | Calgary, Canada    What is your mom's or child's name?  Gayleen   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  Hard.


Sandy | Calgary, Canada

What is your mom's or child's name?
Gayleen

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?
Hard.

Robert | Saskatoon, Canada    What is your mom's or child's name?  Marjorie   What do you wish people would ask you about your mom?  I love it when people simply ask me to talk about her in whatever way I would like. When someone says "tell me about your mom."  I love telling people about how she was considered the "doughnut lady" by my friends in elementary school because she brought doughnuts to every school function, soccer game, community BBQ, every single event.   I love telling people about how committed she was to her profession as a Physical Therapist, and how she was always trying to expand her knowledge and abilities when it came to working with her clients.   I love to share how nurturing and caring she was, always taking a sick day whenever I was sick, or laying in bed with me if I had a bad dream or just needed some extra attention.  I remember mom dancing in front of me as I was grumpy, just trying to get me to crack a smile. It would take all of my best effort to hold back from smiling, but she would always eventually succeed.  I just love sharing stories about her. I love sharing my experience with her as a mother. I'm finally starting to be able to reflect on mom more as an imperfect, but perfectly flawed human, rather than as a flawless saint. It feels good to see her so fully, and to finally be able to talk about all of the stories without worrying about having to protect her or her memory anymore.

Robert | Saskatoon, Canada

What is your mom's or child's name? Marjorie

What do you wish people would ask you about your mom? I love it when people simply ask me to talk about her in whatever way I would like. When someone says "tell me about your mom."

I love telling people about how she was considered the "doughnut lady" by my friends in elementary school because she brought doughnuts to every school function, soccer game, community BBQ, every single event.

I love telling people about how committed she was to her profession as a Physical Therapist, and how she was always trying to expand her knowledge and abilities when it came to working with her clients.

I love to share how nurturing and caring she was, always taking a sick day whenever I was sick, or laying in bed with me if I had a bad dream or just needed some extra attention.

I remember mom dancing in front of me as I was grumpy, just trying to get me to crack a smile. It would take all of my best effort to hold back from smiling, but she would always eventually succeed.

I just love sharing stories about her. I love sharing my experience with her as a mother. I'm finally starting to be able to reflect on mom more as an imperfect, but perfectly flawed human, rather than as a flawless saint. It feels good to see her so fully, and to finally be able to talk about all of the stories without worrying about having to protect her or her memory anymore.

 
Claire | Washington D.C.    What is your mom's or child's name?  Kathryn   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  My mom was the only person in the world who fully understood me. She and I shared the same sense of humor, many of the same interests and passions, and a connection that no one else can match. She was my anchor. I adored her, and I know she adored me too. It's most difficult now to experience all these moments both large and small and not be able to get her perspective. My college graduation, my first job, my first heartbreak, my decision to change career paths - the fact that I'll never get to discuss these with her continues to sting. And the small things too - a new dress, a TV show she'd love, a tough day at work. In some ways, those hurt even more.

Claire | Washington D.C.

What is your mom's or child's name? Kathryn

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? My mom was the only person in the world who fully understood me. She and I shared the same sense of humor, many of the same interests and passions, and a connection that no one else can match. She was my anchor. I adored her, and I know she adored me too. It's most difficult now to experience all these moments both large and small and not be able to get her perspective. My college graduation, my first job, my first heartbreak, my decision to change career paths - the fact that I'll never get to discuss these with her continues to sting. And the small things too - a new dress, a TV show she'd love, a tough day at work. In some ways, those hurt even more.

Corinne | Portland, OR    What is your mom's or child's name?  Barbara   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  I was a teenager and, in typical guilt-ridden Catholic fashion, I confessed to her that I'd gotten drunk at a party and was so ashamed and was probably an alcoholic and would never drink again, and she just looked at me and started laughing hysterically.   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  This'll be my 9th motherless Mother's Day, and every year really is a little easier than the last. I usually spend it with my best friend, whose mom passed away a year after mine, far away from brunches and social media.

Corinne | Portland, OR

What is your mom's or child's name? Barbara

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? I was a teenager and, in typical guilt-ridden Catholic fashion, I confessed to her that I'd gotten drunk at a party and was so ashamed and was probably an alcoholic and would never drink again, and she just looked at me and started laughing hysterically.

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?
This'll be my 9th motherless Mother's Day, and every year really is a little easier than the last. I usually spend it with my best friend, whose mom passed away a year after mine, far away from brunches and social media.

Danielle | California    What is your mom's or child's name?  Carmen   What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child?  I wish people would ask about how she was as a parent, and how we interacted before her death. Our relationship was flawed, but I think it’s necessary to honor all of it, even the less than ideal aspects.

Danielle | California

What is your mom's or child's name? Carmen

What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child? I wish people would ask about how she was as a parent, and how we interacted before her death. Our relationship was flawed, but I think it’s necessary to honor all of it, even the less than ideal aspects.

 
Erinne | Foxborough, MA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Kathleen   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  I miss her being there and her ridiculous knowledge of everything biology. Any medical question she knew the answer to. And now that I'm a teacher and I teach Biology to middle school, I think of her every day while I teach.

Erinne | Foxborough, MA

What is your mom's or child's name? Kathleen

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? I miss her being there and her ridiculous knowledge of everything biology. Any medical question she knew the answer to. And now that I'm a teacher and I teach Biology to middle school, I think of her every day while I teach.

Deirdre | Richmond, VA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Erin McLoughlin   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child  Bought me a book called “Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mom Died.” I read it in a day on the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. It was exactly what I needed and didn’t know it!

Deirdre | Richmond, VA

What is your mom's or child's name? Erin McLoughlin

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child Bought me a book called “Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mom Died.” I read it in a day on the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. It was exactly what I needed and didn’t know it!

Emma | Brooklyn, NY    What is your mom's or child's name?  Lisa   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?   Being “unmothered” (a term coined by Megan O’Rourke I think, which I first encountered in a story by Ruth Margalit in @newyorkermag) is seeing her everywhere, it’s picking up the phone to call her, it’s waking up from a dream she visited me in and again, for a split moment upon waking, forgetting.   Every time I forget it’s followed by this moment of profound loss - not just that I’ve lost her but that I feel lost myself, like I made a wrong turn somewhere and oh, if only I could go back. I would do anything to return to even our worst moments together.   They tell me not to dwell on the negative - to remember the good things - her ability to make friends with anyone, her creativity, her jubilance. But truly it’s times like this in which it feels most appropriate to sit in the pain (or sometimes, numbness) of losing it all. Like any other holiday in which we temporarily remove ourselves from the routine of life, it’s this day that allows me to step away from the new normal. To honor her - honor that she’s gone, honor that it hurts worse than anything else.

Emma | Brooklyn, NY

What is your mom's or child's name? Lisa

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?

Being “unmothered” (a term coined by Megan O’Rourke I think, which I first encountered in a story by Ruth Margalit in @newyorkermag) is seeing her everywhere, it’s picking up the phone to call her, it’s waking up from a dream she visited me in and again, for a split moment upon waking, forgetting.

Every time I forget it’s followed by this moment of profound loss - not just that I’ve lost her but that I feel lost myself, like I made a wrong turn somewhere and oh, if only I could go back. I would do anything to return to even our worst moments together.

They tell me not to dwell on the negative - to remember the good things - her ability to make friends with anyone, her creativity, her jubilance. But truly it’s times like this in which it feels most appropriate to sit in the pain (or sometimes, numbness) of losing it all. Like any other holiday in which we temporarily remove ourselves from the routine of life, it’s this day that allows me to step away from the new normal. To honor her - honor that she’s gone, honor that it hurts worse than anything else.

 
Laura | Morton, IL    What is your mom's or child's name?  Sybil   Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you? I  I wrote this on my first Mother's Day without my mom . This year will be my 4th.  So while on most days, I have lost of words for anyone willing to read or listen, today I have very few. I am forever thankful for the woman who gave me life and filled it with love, support, encouragement, and laughter. She made me brave and strong and independent (and a little bit sassy). She was my best friend and closest confidant. When I get so sad about life without her and I feel like a piece of me is missing, I remember how truly blessed I was to have a mom whose absence is felt so strongly. Thank you and I love you.

Laura | Morton, IL

What is your mom's or child's name? Sybil

Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you?I I wrote this on my first Mother's Day without my mom. This year will be my 4th.

So while on most days, I have lost of words for anyone willing to read or listen, today I have very few. I am forever thankful for the woman who gave me life and filled it with love, support, encouragement, and laughter. She made me brave and strong and independent (and a little bit sassy). She was my best friend and closest confidant. When I get so sad about life without her and I feel like a piece of me is missing, I remember how truly blessed I was to have a mom whose absence is felt so strongly. Thank you and I love you.

Laura | San Francisco, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Nancy   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  My mom was an avid tennis player and got my sisters and I into tennis when we were young. Most of the fondest memories with my mom relate to tennis because it was such a huge part of my upbringing. My favorite memory was when we were at a tennis tournament and I lost to the #1 seed in a very close 10-point tiebreaker for the 3rd set. I was so devastated about losing that I started to cry once we got into the car. My mom hugged and consoled me for what felt like eternity. She told me that she never cared if I won or lost, she'd always be there for me and just wanted to make sure I was having fun out on the court. She always said the the wisest things when I needed it most, and this moment stands out as it made me feel the most connected to her and her love of the sport shining through to her kids.

Laura | San Francisco, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Nancy

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? My mom was an avid tennis player and got my sisters and I into tennis when we were young. Most of the fondest memories with my mom relate to tennis because it was such a huge part of my upbringing. My favorite memory was when we were at a tennis tournament and I lost to the #1 seed in a very close 10-point tiebreaker for the 3rd set. I was so devastated about losing that I started to cry once we got into the car. My mom hugged and consoled me for what felt like eternity. She told me that she never cared if I won or lost, she'd always be there for me and just wanted to make sure I was having fun out on the court. She always said the the wisest things when I needed it most, and this moment stands out as it made me feel the most connected to her and her love of the sport shining through to her kids.

Lela | Los Angeles, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Linda   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  The blanket of protection I felt knowing she was with me. Her laugh. The way she had creative solutions to every problem.   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  Challenging. I am a mom to my daughters and celebrate with them but also feel a deep sense of remorse that my own mother is not here to celebrate.

Lela | Los Angeles, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Linda

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? The blanket of protection I felt knowing she was with me. Her laugh. The way she had creative solutions to every problem.

What is Mother’s Day like for you now? Challenging. I am a mom to my daughters and celebrate with them but also feel a deep sense of remorse that my own mother is not here to celebrate.

 
Maggie | Chicago, IL    What is your mom's or child's name?  Joanne   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  It’s so hard to pick one. But, when my mom met my son, Henry. for the first time it was pure magic. She lit up in a way I’d never seen before.   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  It’s hard. I have two small kids and so my husband tries to make the day special for me, but it’s hard to be fully present. I always try to get to the cemetery and leave her flowers.

Maggie | Chicago, IL

What is your mom's or child's name? Joanne

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? It’s so hard to pick one. But, when my mom met my son, Henry. for the first time it was pure magic. She lit up in a way I’d never seen before.

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?
It’s hard. I have two small kids and so my husband tries to make the day special for me, but it’s hard to be fully present. I always try to get to the cemetery and leave her flowers.

Lisa | Fremont, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Dee   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  She always woke up with a wonderful sunny disposition in the best mood possible. My dad used to say "if you could bottle the energy your mom has in the morning, we would be millionaires!"   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  She could always ground me and remind me that I was doing a bang up job at this life thing, and that I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

Lisa | Fremont, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Dee

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? She always woke up with a wonderful sunny disposition in the best mood possible. My dad used to say "if you could bottle the energy your mom has in the morning, we would be millionaires!"

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? She could always ground me and remind me that I was doing a bang up job at this life thing, and that I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

Mackenzie | Philadelphia, PA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Melissa   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  I miss her voice. She was my sounding board when I was having emotional moments. She let me get things out and didn’t ever make me feel wrong for feeling them. She listened and let me vent. I don’t have that person now and it’s extremely hard.

Mackenzie | Philadelphia, PA

What is your mom's or child's name? Melissa

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? I miss her voice. She was my sounding board when I was having emotional moments. She let me get things out and didn’t ever make me feel wrong for feeling them. She listened and let me vent. I don’t have that person now and it’s extremely hard.

 
Marielle | Raleigh, NC    What is your mom's or child's name?  Elizabeth Madden-Zibman   What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child?  Nothing - I just want people to be comfortable asking or talking about my Mom. I love talking about her because she was and is my beating heart. I want people to know that just because I become sad or cry when talking about my Mom does not mean we avoid the topic. It means we need to talk about her more because that is how she continues to live within me and all of us.

Marielle | Raleigh, NC

What is your mom's or child's name? Elizabeth Madden-Zibman

What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child? Nothing - I just want people to be comfortable asking or talking about my Mom. I love talking about her because she was and is my beating heart. I want people to know that just because I become sad or cry when talking about my Mom does not mean we avoid the topic. It means we need to talk about her more because that is how she continues to live within me and all of us.

Meghan | Philadelphia, PA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Teresa   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  My mom, Teresa McCue Blickman, moved to Doylestown, PA for the last month of President Obama's 2012 campaign. I had been working there as a field organizer since August and was completely overwhelmed. She joined my volunteer team, knocked hundreds of voters' doors, made thousands of Get Out The Vote phone calls, and reassured me that I was good at my job, as only a mom can. Late one night, another volunteer, Scott, called me and said "I have to share with you, your mom won't stop making calls even though it's after 9pm. She just told me 'you're making calls for President Obama, but I'm making calls for my kid'." Mom died from glioblastoma in July 2015 and the way she was able to show her love for me changed a lot over the duration of her disease. On the day where she lost her speech, the day where we started hospice, and the days since she died, I think back to 2012. I think back to her telling Scott that everything she did that month was for me, and I remember exactly what it felt like to be loved by her.

Meghan | Philadelphia, PA

What is your mom's or child's name? Teresa

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? My mom, Teresa McCue Blickman, moved to Doylestown, PA for the last month of President Obama's 2012 campaign. I had been working there as a field organizer since August and was completely overwhelmed. She joined my volunteer team, knocked hundreds of voters' doors, made thousands of Get Out The Vote phone calls, and reassured me that I was good at my job, as only a mom can. Late one night, another volunteer, Scott, called me and said "I have to share with you, your mom won't stop making calls even though it's after 9pm. She just told me 'you're making calls for President Obama, but I'm making calls for my kid'." Mom died from glioblastoma in July 2015 and the way she was able to show her love for me changed a lot over the duration of her disease. On the day where she lost her speech, the day where we started hospice, and the days since she died, I think back to 2012. I think back to her telling Scott that everything she did that month was for me, and I remember exactly what it felt like to be loved by her.

Meghan | Carson, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Terri   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  My mom was the queen of epic road trips! We've toured most of the Western United States together, and it was a family tradition to see as many national parks as possible. I credit my love for nature and the American West to her. We've been to Utah, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, up and down California, Baja California, and Arizona. She always packed a cooler full of snacks and beverages because she didn't want to spend so much money eating out at restaurants. She would often stuff a whole pizza or a bucket of fried chicken in the cooler, and we'd snack off of that for days.

Meghan | Carson, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Terri

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? My mom was the queen of epic road trips! We've toured most of the Western United States together, and it was a family tradition to see as many national parks as possible. I credit my love for nature and the American West to her. We've been to Utah, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, up and down California, Baja California, and Arizona. She always packed a cooler full of snacks and beverages because she didn't want to spend so much money eating out at restaurants. She would often stuff a whole pizza or a bucket of fried chicken in the cooler, and we'd snack off of that for days.

 
Meredith | San Marcos, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Pam   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?  The entire community around us pitched in to simply be there. I think we were all in shock, but since she had touched so many lives through teaching and parenting and volunteering, people came out of the woodwork to provide meals, help plan her memorial, and share their memories. But one of the most helpful things--to this day--are those who knew her and remember her to us on her birthday or on mothers' day to let us know that they haven't forgotten her either... that the pain is still present for them too.

Meredith | San Marcos, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Pam

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child? The entire community around us pitched in to simply be there. I think we were all in shock, but since she had touched so many lives through teaching and parenting and volunteering, people came out of the woodwork to provide meals, help plan her memorial, and share their memories. But one of the most helpful things--to this day--are those who knew her and remember her to us on her birthday or on mothers' day to let us know that they haven't forgotten her either... that the pain is still present for them too.

Siobhan | Sunderland, MA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Kathie   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  She was an artist, and I used to find little half-sketches everywhere. She'd do them on any paper, and I honestly think she didn't even notice she was doing it half the time. The last one I found was in a notebook that I thought was empty- I got halfway through it, turned a page and there was a sketch of me watching tv.   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?  I hate to be a downer, but not much. I was 17 and the people around me were either seriously grieving themselves, or couldn't comprehend how to help a teen in the midst of that. I got a lot of "I'll stand in for your mom/ I'm your mom now" from people who meant well, but it actually was more hurtful. I already HAD a mom, she just wasn't around anymore.

Siobhan | Sunderland, MA

What is your mom's or child's name? Kathie

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? She was an artist, and I used to find little half-sketches everywhere. She'd do them on any paper, and I honestly think she didn't even notice she was doing it half the time. The last one I found was in a notebook that I thought was empty- I got halfway through it, turned a page and there was a sketch of me watching tv.

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child? I hate to be a downer, but not much. I was 17 and the people around me were either seriously grieving themselves, or couldn't comprehend how to help a teen in the midst of that. I got a lot of "I'll stand in for your mom/ I'm your mom now" from people who meant well, but it actually was more hurtful. I already HAD a mom, she just wasn't around anymore.

Becky | Medford, MA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Julie   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  I have so many favorite memories - family vacations, shopping trips, weekends spent at our summer house in Maine. Birthday celebrations were always a favorite as my brother and I were both born on the 4th of July (9 years apart!) and my mom absolutely loved everything about the holiday and everything patriotic.

Becky | Medford, MA

What is your mom's or child's name? Julie

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? I have so many favorite memories - family vacations, shopping trips, weekends spent at our summer house in Maine. Birthday celebrations were always a favorite as my brother and I were both born on the 4th of July (9 years apart!) and my mom absolutely loved everything about the holiday and everything patriotic.

 
Anette | New York, NY    What is your mom's or child's name?  Mary   What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child?  “What’s one memory you have with her that you’ve thought of recently?”

Anette | New York, NY

What is your mom's or child's name? Mary

What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child? “What’s one memory you have with her that you’ve thought of recently?”

Brenna | Atlanta, GA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Marcia   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  I remember her waking me up around 10pm one time so that I could lick the spoon after she made brownies.   What is Mother’s Day like for you now  Conflicting. I have a step mom so I feel the need to celebrate but also want space to grieve.

Brenna | Atlanta, GA

What is your mom's or child's name? Marcia

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? I remember her waking me up around 10pm one time so that I could lick the spoon after she made brownies.

What is Mother’s Day like for you now Conflicting. I have a step mom so I feel the need to celebrate but also want space to grieve.

Laura | Denver, CO    What’s your mom’s name?  Carol McCommons   What is Mother’s Day like for you now? I’ll send cards or messages to all the amazing mothers in my life when I’m up for it. I try to do something she would have enjoyed - but some years are difficult and I hibernate for the day and allow myself the grace to embrace whatever emotions I’m feeling.   Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you? I just want to say thank you for creating this organization and making a “home” for those of us who never wanted to be in this club. For so many years, I felt isolated and misunderstood because of this incomprehensible loss. It’s comforting to hear “me too” and know I’m not alone.

Laura | Denver, CO

What’s your mom’s name? Carol McCommons

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?I’ll send cards or messages to all the amazing mothers in my life when I’m up for it. I try to do something she would have enjoyed - but some years are difficult and I hibernate for the day and allow myself the grace to embrace whatever emotions I’m feeling.

Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you?I just want to say thank you for creating this organization and making a “home” for those of us who never wanted to be in this club. For so many years, I felt isolated and misunderstood because of this incomprehensible loss. It’s comforting to hear “me too” and know I’m not alone.

 
Brianna | Milwaukee, WI    What’s your mom’s name?  Sylvia   What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child?  After my mom died, my aunt and my mom's best friend individually told me that I 'was a good daughter' for all that I did to take care of my mom during her illness. It hurt to hear it in the past tense, but it was validating to know that other people recognized all that I did and tried to do to show her that I loved her. My mother herself said she knew "I would do anything for her," and it helped to know that other people saw it was true even when she wasn't around to tell me.

Brianna | Milwaukee, WI

What’s your mom’s name? Sylvia

What's something helpful that someone did for you after you lost your mom or child? After my mom died, my aunt and my mom's best friend individually told me that I 'was a good daughter' for all that I did to take care of my mom during her illness. It hurt to hear it in the past tense, but it was validating to know that other people recognized all that I did and tried to do to show her that I loved her. My mother herself said she knew "I would do anything for her," and it helped to know that other people saw it was true even when she wasn't around to tell me.

Jessie | Charlotte, NC    What is your mom's or child's name?  Jan   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  Her smile and laugh.   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  Mother’s Day. It was the last holiday we had together before my mom passed. So it’s a different level of emotion and longing with that added degree. I find balance in the day with honoring my honorary moms who step up and show up for me, I let the feels come and own them now (that took time) and I now have decided to honor mom that day in someway. I’m glad I told my mom I loved her every night and not just on a holiday- she deserved that every day. May you find the space you need to balance some joy, sorrow, longing and remembrance on this day.

Jessie | Charlotte, NC

What is your mom's or child's name? Jan

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? Her smile and laugh.

What is Mother’s Day like for you now? Mother’s Day. It was the last holiday we had together before my mom passed. So it’s a different level of emotion and longing with that added degree. I find balance in the day with honoring my honorary moms who step up and show up for me, I let the feels come and own them now (that took time) and I now have decided to honor mom that day in someway. I’m glad I told my mom I loved her every night and not just on a holiday- she deserved that every day. May you find the space you need to balance some joy, sorrow, longing and remembrance on this day.

Paula | Ann Arbor, MI    What is your mom's or child's name?  Myrna   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  It's a tough one, while I am a motherless mom, I am also a bereaved mom too. Multifaceted feelings about this day as a whole. I enjoy spending time with my husband, and my other children, but there is definitely a palpable missing of spirit...his smile...his cute antics!

Paula | Ann Arbor, MI

What is your mom's or child's name? Myrna

What is Mother’s Day like for you now?
It's a tough one, while I am a motherless mom, I am also a bereaved mom too. Multifaceted feelings about this day as a whole. I enjoy spending time with my husband, and my other children, but there is definitely a palpable missing of spirit...his smile...his cute antics!

 
Michelle | Roseville, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Yolanda   What is your favorite memory of your mom or child?  The Mexican yell she would get out after she took a shot of tequila. Also, all the mornings we sat together talking over coffee.   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  This is the first mother’s day with my mom not mentally present. She has a rare, terminal illness, CJD, that is like a very rapidly progressing dementia. She is on hospice. She hasn’t spoken in 3 months and cannot move. Seeing her suffer like this is awful. I don’t know for sure if she will make until Mother’s Day or what we will do this year or following years. I can’t bear to think of it.

Michelle | Roseville, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Yolanda

What is your favorite memory of your mom or child? The Mexican yell she would get out after she took a shot of tequila.
Also, all the mornings we sat together talking over coffee.

What is Mother’s Day like for you now? This is the first mother’s day with my mom not mentally present. She has a rare, terminal illness, CJD, that is like a very rapidly progressing dementia. She is on hospice. She hasn’t spoken in 3 months and cannot move. Seeing her suffer like this is awful. I don’t know for sure if she will make until Mother’s Day or what we will do this year or following years. I can’t bear to think of it.

Erin | Ottawa, Canada    What is your mom's or child's name?  Kathie   What is your favorite memory of your mom?  When I was in elementary school she picked me up under the cover story that I had an orthodontist appointment and we played hookey for the afternoon. Just us two.   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  It always lands around my birthday, so it’s a double hit - this will be my 10th since she died. It always makes me miss her more than usual and feel a sense of how unfair it is that she’s not here.

Erin | Ottawa, Canada

What is your mom's or child's name? Kathie

What is your favorite memory of your mom? When I was in elementary school she picked me up under the cover story that I had an orthodontist appointment and we played hookey for the afternoon. Just us two.

What is Mother’s Day like for you now? It always lands around my birthday, so it’s a double hit - this will be my 10th since she died. It always makes me miss her more than usual and feel a sense of how unfair it is that she’s not here.

Julie | Toronto, Canada    What is your mom's or child's name?  Anne   What is your favorite memory of your mom?  Besides almost everything, I love to think about our almost daily phone conversations and how we’d chat about everything. She was such a good friend to me. Also, her laugh, she had the most infectious, loud, beautiful laugh.   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  How she was the glue for our family, and we didn’t realize it until she was gone. She cared for everyone so wholeheartedly, she made us all feel so loved and special.

Julie | Toronto, Canada

What is your mom's or child's name? Anne

What is your favorite memory of your mom? Besides almost everything, I love to think about our almost daily phone conversations and how we’d chat about everything. She was such a good friend to me. Also, her laugh, she had the most infectious, loud, beautiful laugh.

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? How she was the glue for our family, and we didn’t realize it until she was gone. She cared for everyone so wholeheartedly, she made us all feel so loved and special.

 
Bryna | Plano, TX    What is your mom's or child's name?  Debbi   What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child?  I wish they would ask anything about her. Many people that I know now did not know her or if they had met her, they didn't know her well. I wish they would just ask something about her, anything, so that the thoughts and memories I have could get out of my head and be spoken out loud, even if just for a minute. I think people can sometimes be afraid to ask us about our loved ones because they do not want to upset those of us who are grieving, but I think what people don't realize is that we like to have thoughts of our loved ones shared.


Bryna | Plano, TX

What is your mom's or child's name? Debbi

What do you wish people would ask you about your mom or child? I wish they would ask anything about her. Many people that I know now did not know her or if they had met her, they didn't know her well. I wish they would just ask something about her, anything, so that the thoughts and memories I have could get out of my head and be spoken out loud, even if just for a minute. I think people can sometimes be afraid to ask us about our loved ones because they do not want to upset those of us who are grieving, but I think what people don't realize is that we like to have thoughts of our loved ones shared.

Jessica | Philadelphia, PA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Sarajane   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?   Some days it’s her laugh. Some days it’s knowing exactly how she would respond to something. Some days it’s the way she used to shimmy her shoulder as she danced while driving. Some days it’s the smell of the BVLGARI perfume she’d wear for special occasions. Some days it’s missing her for events that have yet to happen. But today, in this moment, I miss our mutual, undying passion and joint-absorption of Bravo! TV shows and celebrity news.   I’m learning in my grief that chronic pain is a given. There is the inevitable, perpetual dull aching pain every single day because she’s not here. There will be heightened, flare ups and outbursts of pain from her absence during big life moments. But it’s these silly, *nothing* thoughts, moments, and situations that yield the greatest stinging, pangs of pain.

Jessica | Philadelphia, PA

What is your mom's or child's name? Sarajane

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?

Some days it’s her laugh. Some days it’s knowing exactly how she would respond to something. Some days it’s the way she used to shimmy her shoulder as she danced while driving. Some days it’s the smell of the BVLGARI perfume she’d wear for special occasions. Some days it’s missing her for events that have yet to happen. But today, in this moment, I miss our mutual, undying passion and joint-absorption of Bravo! TV shows and celebrity news.

I’m learning in my grief that chronic pain is a given. There is the inevitable, perpetual dull aching pain every single day because she’s not here. There will be heightened, flare ups and outbursts of pain from her absence during big life moments. But it’s these silly, *nothing* thoughts, moments, and situations that yield the greatest stinging, pangs of pain.

Robert | Dallas, TX    What is your mom's or child's name?  Cindy   What is your favorite memory of your mom?  One of my mother's main passions in life was cooking. We had so many cook books it filled rows and rows of shelves. I loved spending time in the kitchen with her and cooking. That passion for cooking still drives me, and whenever I cook I try to put that passion in every meal. I hope to have as many cook books as she had one day.

Robert | Dallas, TX

What is your mom's or child's name? Cindy

What is your favorite memory of your mom? One of my mother's main passions in life was cooking. We had so many cook books it filled rows and rows of shelves. I loved spending time in the kitchen with her and cooking. That passion for cooking still drives me, and whenever I cook I try to put that passion in every meal. I hope to have as many cook books as she had one day.

 
Keri | Indianapolis, IN    What is your mom's or child's name?  Cinda   What is Mother’s Day like for you now?  Complicated; I’m an adoptive parent, so it feels like I’m a mother at the expense of another, and my mom is gone.

Keri | Indianapolis, IN

What is your mom's or child's name? Cinda

What is Mother’s Day like for you now? Complicated; I’m an adoptive parent, so it feels like I’m a mother at the expense of another, and my mom is gone.

Sundae | San Diego, CA    What is your mom's or child's name?  Judith   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  My mom's cooking -- the aroma filling the house -- and eating her favorite foods with her. Lounging on the couch and watching Filipino dramas on television together. Her hanging out with me while I'm doing my homework at the dinner table. All of her corny jokes and sayings. Seeing my mom and my dad make fun of each other.

Sundae | San Diego, CA

What is your mom's or child's name? Judith

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? My mom's cooking -- the aroma filling the house -- and eating her favorite foods with her. Lounging on the couch and watching Filipino dramas on television together. Her hanging out with me while I'm doing my homework at the dinner table. All of her corny jokes and sayings. Seeing my mom and my dad make fun of each other.

Marietta | Columbus, OH    What is your mom's or child's name?  Mary   What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child?  I miss the way she made me feel so special and loved. I miss her quick wit and dark sense of humor. I miss making fun of Lifetime movies with her. She was my best friend and I miss everything about her.

Marietta | Columbus, OH

What is your mom's or child's name? Mary

What do you miss (or not miss) about your mom or child? I miss the way she made me feel so special and loved. I miss her quick wit and dark sense of humor. I miss making fun of Lifetime movies with her. She was my best friend and I miss everything about her.

 
Corine | Eugene, OR    What is your mom's or child's name?  Julie   Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you?  In the first two years following my mom's death, I would write letters to her to help me name and process my grief. I wanted to share part of one of those letters in honor of her: "I miss you so much more than I let myself admit these days. It is in times like these that I long, with such a depth it hurts my bones, that you were here to remind me of what resilience is, to model the unwavering strength you moored from your unflappable faith in the goodness life has to offer, to tell me 'you got this.' I feel lost, not that fun wander-lusty lost, the fear generating, anxiety provoking kind of lost. Questioning my career, relationships, likes and dislikes, passion, value, purpose, identity, and as I do so, I seem to continuously deny the connection between your death and this endless anxious uncertainty. Until now. In a recent session with my therapist I came in feeling jumbled. Unable to untangle it all, my therapist continued to listen and prompt with questions for deeper and deeper reflection. And as I unraveled in her office, it became untangled. 'I feel like I owe it to her to finally practice the self-love she only just began to know in the end of her life. I am so sick of being dissatisfied with my life.'  I owe it to you to live my life finally content with who I am, energized by the endless process of becoming. Satisfied with what I give each day, fearlessly following my curiosities and finding joy. You spent so much of your life giving of yourself to others and bending to expectations and images that others held for you. It wasn’t until after your diagnosis you started to embrace the art and discipline of self-love. I want nothing more than to honor your life and love by loving and living my life well. I wish you were still here to show me how, to encourage me to be brave, but I guess that will be my work alone from here on out."

Corine | Eugene, OR

What is your mom's or child's name? Julie

Is there anything else that you want to share or that you wish we had asked you? In the first two years following my mom's death, I would write letters to her to help me name and process my grief. I wanted to share part of one of those letters in honor of her: "I miss you so much more than I let myself admit these days. It is in times like these that I long, with such a depth it hurts my bones, that you were here to remind me of what resilience is, to model the unwavering strength you moored from your unflappable faith in the goodness life has to offer, to tell me 'you got this.' I feel lost, not that fun wander-lusty lost, the fear generating, anxiety provoking kind of lost. Questioning my career, relationships, likes and dislikes, passion, value, purpose, identity, and as I do so, I seem to continuously deny the connection between your death and this endless anxious uncertainty. Until now. In a recent session with my therapist I came in feeling jumbled. Unable to untangle it all, my therapist continued to listen and prompt with questions for deeper and deeper reflection. And as I unraveled in her office, it became untangled. 'I feel like I owe it to her to finally practice the self-love she only just began to know in the end of her life. I am so sick of being dissatisfied with my life.'
I owe it to you to live my life finally content with who I am, energized by the endless process of becoming. Satisfied with what I give each day, fearlessly following my curiosities and finding joy. You spent so much of your life giving of yourself to others and bending to expectations and images that others held for you. It wasn’t until after your diagnosis you started to embrace the art and discipline of self-love. I want nothing more than to honor your life and love by loving and living my life well. I wish you were still here to show me how, to encourage me to be brave, but I guess that will be my work alone from here on out."