A Year Without Mom

Dear Mom,

Today, the tulips in Wisconsin are in full bloom, and it’s been a year since you passed away. The beauty of spring is tempered, like so many things, by your absence.

I never understood what ‘profound’ meant until faced with the grief of losing you. It looms large, larger than I comprehend, and sometimes it seems like the vast, empty plain of loss will stretch out forever.

There are so many things I wish you were here for – so many things you’ve already missed. New friends, a new house, new hobbies, hundreds of joyful moments. Babies and weddings and engagements. You’ve missed other moments of sorrow, too, of course, as sorrow comes knocking on everyone’s door, a shared experience among us all.

That’s one of the strange things: I really miss processing this grief with you. I remember talking with you a year or two after grandma died, and you said that it seemed like she wasn’t really gone, that it just seemed like you hadn’t talked to her in awhile.

That’s how it feels – it feels impossible that I will never see you again. It feels impossible that the million unique things that made you, you, are gone forever. It feels impossible that you aren’t in this world anymore.

One of the things you missed is your funeral. I know you would have been incredibly touched by the gestures of support and love that were shown to us, and all of the wonderful things that people said about you. It was a beautiful celebration (that photo of you flipping the bird got a lot of laughs, by the way.)

And that love has continued throughout this past year, in ways large and small, and it has reminded me how lucky I am.

I still don’t understand how I will live life without you, but all I can do is move forward, knowing how much you loved me. Sometimes the memories don’t seem like enough, and I want to be so angry at a world that you are no longer part of. I want to be angry that you died at 55 and that you are going to miss so much.

But I know that living in anger is not what you’d want for me, that’d you want me to continue to live fully, to continue to be myself, without bitterness (bearing that ‘continuing to be myself’ thing in mind, I did get another tattoo, but I think you’d like it).

Dad says that all you wanted in life was to be a good wife and mother: I hope you know that your mission was accomplished, Mutti.

There is a Dona-sized hole in my heart, and I miss you everyday. I will miss you forever.


I love this photo of you, Dad, and I

I love this photo of you, Dad, and I

Happy to take any comments!
  1. Niki says:

    This is so beautiful Ashley! It has been almost two years since my Grandmother died and I wish I had thought to create a letter and how we miss her. You are such a special person.