A Letter to Motherless Daughters

I lost my mom when I was 12 years old, and I can say with absolute certainty it is the hardest experience I have ever had to go through. Looking back across my life over the last 10 years, there is a lot I have learned—about myself and about loss. But there are so many things I wish I could have heard when I was younger, so many things I didn’t know that I would miss. So this is me telling them to myself now, and to the other motherless daughters who need to hear them.


Your mom is never going to walk through the front door after work, smelling of her beautiful mix of perfume to greet you with a smile and a hug. The smell of her latest Rachel Ray recipe won’t come wafting down the hall—say goodbye to her famous Chicken Spinach Fettuccine, at least for a little while. No more Food Network marathons or Judge Judy afternoons.


Your mom will never again smuggle in Poptarts and hide them from your dad, or binge eat Cap’n Crunch when she thinks no one is looking. She won’t belt Mamma Mia on repeat on long car rides, or curl up on the couch for hours on end with her latest James Patterson novel. Never again will you hear her ridiculously loud hiccups, and the sweet giggle that always followed. Or her loud laugh and gentle voice. You won’t see her wide smile beaming at you when you make her proud, or feel her bear hugs squeezing you just a little too tight.

Your mom won’t be able to hear about your first middle school crush, won’t be able to tell you that middle school boys are dumb and oblivious. She won’t be there for your first day of high school, to give you the pep talk that you really could have used. She’s not going to teach you to drive, won’t grip the armrest too tight or gasp when you get way too close to the curb like you know she would have. She won’t be sitting in the stands at your high school graduation, and definitely won’t be able to gossip with you about the kids who stumbled across the stage, clearly hungover.


There are so many little moments in your life that you didn’t think would matter, that you didn’t expect to hurt so much when she wasn’t there. But you’ll constantly be thinking about all the milestone moments that she’ll miss out on in your future. Your mom will never meet your boyfriend, and you’ll never be able to call her up to tell her about your latest fight. She won’t be there to see you get your first degree. She won’t get an invitation to your wedding, won’t be able to commandeer the wedding planning like she would have loved to do. She won’t ever become a grandparent, won’t be there to offer you advice and support when you need it most.

Even though your mom is no longer here, she would be so proud and blown away with how much you’ve accomplished over these last ten years. She would tell you to keep doing what you’re doing, to push yourself, to go after what you always wanted. She would want you to do things that scare you, to be unpredictable, to squeeze every drop out of your life. She would tell you that it’s okay to be sad, but that she’d prefer instead if you’d tell stories about her and share her memory with the people around you. And she’d remind you to eat her favorite ice cream, mint chip, on her birthday every year, because you made her that promise.


To all the motherless daughters, your mom is rooting for you. You’ve grown so much from losing her, and your depth and maturity from that experience has made you into the person you are today. Don’t run from what happened, don’t try to erase the memories from your mind. Those tears you cry every birthday and Mother’s Day will eventually stop, and will become smiles and laughs as you look back on all the memories you were lucky enough to make with her. Because you really were so, so lucky to know her.