It’s been a year, dear Mom…

Dear Mom,  I was near your old house this week,
a whole year since the last time I got to squeeze your tiny hand
and kiss your sunken cheek
still remarkably soft like the young one that used to nuzzle mine.
I was so tired,  Mom,  and I felt overcome with missing you,
such a longing to drop by your house with the open windows and fresh linens,
and say,  “Mom I need a nap,”  and you’d have welcomed me in with care in your voice
and maybe even stroked my hair for a minute
as breeze slipped soft through your crisp white curtains
while I sunk into sleep for just awhile.
After my nap we’d have shared a cup of tea
and I’d have felt less lonely with each sip.

But as much as I miss you,  I’m glad you didn’t have to navigate this year.
People have been so cruel to each other,  Mom;  it’s harsh enough to blister a heart
but Lord knows you’d have loved the sparring.
And you know I’d have quietly withered a bit over each of your fb posts:)
Oh sweet mercy that your political soap box was retired
before this year of hard shaking.

Yeah this year has been a non-stop rumble,  Mom,
– such a catalyst for change.
Kind of like an asteroid slammed into everyone’s backyard.
I’m feeling much charred but also grateful for how it came shaving off places I didn’t know
needed impact until I noticed some shift
in my entitled,  self-righteous places.  Oye.
I hope I’m becoming a better peace-builder.
And even with our wildly differing perspectives,
I always heard the affection in your voice every time you greeted me
and I miss it much.
I know your love was real.

I’ve still got my big feelings
and kind of sense that you don’t find them so daunting now,
like we’re closer somehow
from where you’ve landed,
as if my “too much” doesn’t feel as much so
in the great spacious wide you now enjoy.
I imagine you in those brilliantly lit fields of beyond
and think somehow that we could picnic there for hours,
together without a single sticky fear to flare up between us.
When I climb to the parkway,  to the rocky winds where we released your bones,
I let the jagged light kiss the spaces we kept between us
and it feels like healing
and home.

Last week in your city,  hungry for rest and feeling homesick and alone,
I remembered how you used to crawl into the warm car you parked in the sunny spot
of our old driveway just to take a nap.  Sanctuary:)
The memory felt a little like an invitation,
like I could hear you say,
“just lay back the seat,  dear,  and catch a few winks.”
And you know what,  Mom,  I did  – right there on the street where I was working.
I shimmied down,  closed my eyes,  and imagined you there beside me.
I woke up revived and thinking I’d heard you sigh.

I made you a garden this year.
Out of your favorite things – words and beauty.
On your favorite platform (Lord help us) – facebook.
I tried to show up daily – didn’t make all the days but gave it my all.
I leaned in to cobble together words and images that would lift,
and encourage from a mama-heart.
To honor your fierce like-a-lion love.
I used your pet word “dear” so much I can hardly punch it into the keys now
and I think your garden is full.
Am needing some rest from the digging –  want to go build other things
so I’m calling time.  It’s enough,  and I believe I feel your smile on that, too.
So weird how I made this for you but I grew way richer
in my own heart than anything I could’ve given.
Your generosity still kisses my life with gold.

I honor you,  Mom,
will continue to honor you by living my life – the one that you helped carry –
from the bottom of my being
until I’ve squeezed free every last drop.
I love you forever.

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”
– Rumi

Thanks for letting me grieve and process out loud,  dear ones.
Your reads and comments are precious to me.
And congrats to Maureen – I drew your name to receive the giveaway bundle
I’ll make for you this week.
With joy:)
More giveaways coming soon.


  1. Elephants Child on September 13, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Tears here.
    And awe at just the sort of loving letter than every mother should hear. And confidence that they do – whatever side of the veil they are on.
    As always, heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring are flowing your way.

    • jennifer on September 14, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Yes, I believe they do also. That the veil is thinner than we imagine.
      And that love crosses that line without effort.
      Love is the always.
      Thanks for your kind words, Sue,

  2. Julia on September 14, 2020 at 6:51 am

    I feel the same way about my beloved daughter Nicole. Although I miss her so much, I’m glad that she doesn’t have to navigate the travel ban and the Covid-19 menace everywhere and all the unrest. As soon as she was finished her terms of teaching anthropology to her PhD students she was off to some adventure in foreign countries until the next term was almost ready to begin.
    Moms are the glue that keeps the family together and once they are gone nothing is the same.
    Big hugs to you dear Jennifer.

    • jennifer on September 14, 2020 at 8:45 am

      I remember Nicole and her passing – how much your heart must ache, dear Julia.
      Holding you close to my heart as you navigate the grief. Learning to grieve well
      is such a huge part of living this life, isn’t it. So much loss.
      It’s the risk of loving well and you loved your girl well.
      Blessing you as you keep the candles lit in your heart so beautifully.
      Big hugs,

  3. jeanie on September 14, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    This is so touching and beautiful, Jennifer. A love letter beyond compare. And yes, you are ready to build other things. But just because you aren’t digging still, doesn’t mean the garden won’t continue to bloom and grow. As you know, gardens are funny that way. I wonder how my parents would do with this? My dad, I think — not well at all. He needed connection in a different way than some of us do. I’ll remember this post for many moons.

    • jennifer on September 14, 2020 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks, Jeanie; trusting that garden will take off and grow:)
      It’s a lot to navigate, these days. I appreciate the read
      and your thoughtful share,

  4. Susan on September 15, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    beautiful – beautiful – beautiful just like you and your sweet mom, so happy to see that ending picture of the two of you and so happy that you shared her with us here and on ! fb ! It was a joy how you honored her, dear girl.

    • jennifer on October 13, 2020 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks sweet friend – oh it’s been a long while I’ve been overdue reply.
      I’m back in the saddle, me thinks – been slogging through the production part
      of this book on the way. Like hard labor! Ready to get my hands back into things
      i know. Tonight they’re covered in paint again and it feels wonderful.
      Big love and thanks,

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