Final Letter To My Mother


This post is for you, my mama. You would always encourage me to write. I’d have the most vivid, complex dreams when I was little that I would tell you about over breakfast and you would say “you need to be writing these down, Jennifer.”

You gave me a journal when I danced in France at 16, another when I spent the summer abroad. I would start writing every time with this fascination that I would fill the pages with extraordinary tales. I had the stories I just could never commit to taking the time to write them down. I even started “a year in the life of a bride” journal I was going to give you on my wedding day of my thoughts and stories of the year I got married. After a few entries, I never picked it up again. Too frustrated with myself to ever even tell you about it. That’s why I love this blog. It doesn’t have to be some epic novel or filled journal pages. It’s just one thought, one day to focus on.

It’s been a month since you traveled home and left mine. I miss seeing you every day, but know that you are where you need to be now. I’ve watched you climb a mountain these last two years, and I’ve climbed right along with you; each of us knowing you would never reach the top. I have finally learned the lesson you have shown me my entire life. There was no false hope here. We knew forever was not an option, just some hope for more time and that’s all that mattered. You’ve been climbing the mountain before you were born, though.

Whenever you’ve been faced with the choice to rest or climb, you’ve always chosen to climb. You fought like a warrior throughout your entire life, struggled against adversity, sacrificed for those you love, found refuge in your many talents and artistry; until this retched disease won out. Turn around and see the view from where you are, you’ve climbed so high it must be a beautiful sight. Now rest my mama, there is no more choice. I hope you have peace knowing that.

Yesterday I cleaned the house, preparing for this trip. I could feel you in everything I did. Wanting the laundry done, the house pristine for Christian (my husband) who always has a hard time while we are gone, folding sheets for a houseguest who will arrive while I’m away. Wanting him to feel comfortable and not wonder where the towels were without me there to show him. It’s something I would have never thought of before. Maybe I was selfish or had too much going on. Maybe it took becoming a mother for me realize the value in that, or maybe it was losing my homing beacon, the one person who probably would have annoyed me pre sickness with reminding me of something I clearly wouldn’t have thought of. In any case, there you were.

I made banana bread for you, not knowing if you would be able to eat it, would recognize it, or me for that matter. I am so thankful we took the time to teach me your secrets before the tumor stole it from us. It has taken me almost two years to perfect it. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it tastes like home, like you. And for the rest of my life I will feel you every time I make it and will taste home with every bite. The love in how you layer the ingredients, it does make a difference! Veronica at a friends house, and Frankie with his buddy playing so well together and jumping in to help stir in the ingredients. Did I ever help make it? Was I too busy? Not interested? Do I not remember being there in the kitchen with you?

My memory is of the morning waking up to fresh banana bread and fighting over the end piece with my sister. You coming in and turning the loaf around and cutting the other end off. So simple yet beyond our thoughts. I can remember nothing of the process. After they’ve cooled, I wrap them first in plastic and then foil. Bringing the two ends over the loaf and folding down neatly just like you. I wonder why you do it that way. I can guess it keeps it fresher, but how did you know that? Is it something you learned in your grandfathers bakery? Trial and error? Or just for presentation sake?

I tried to prepare myself for the possibility of you being asleep for my visit, you sleep so much now, or not knowing who I am. Thankfully, you woke for moments. You saw me and I saw you. Your nails needed some tlc so I pampered you a little with a mani/pedi. Growing up you would never spend money on such a luxury for yourself. That never stopped you from having pretty toes. Week after week, I would watch you pamper yourself and make your hands and feet beautiful.

As the years went on, you found some value in spending money on such a luxury service and some of my favorite times with you were at a nail salon. At first only for special occasions, and then later as girls trips bonding with your daughters and granddaughters. I’m glad to have helped keep your toes and fingers beautiful these last two years. This one, probably being your last. I’m struggling with knowing this and still moving forward. When life is literally changing in this moment and I am helpless to stop it.

You tried to say I love you today, such a struggle now but our test over the past two years. Every morning I’d wait for you to say I love you first. If you could say it, I knew you were having a good day. Some days I needed to say it first and you’d repeat it and others even that was a struggle.

Today, I told you not to say it. “I know how you feel, I know you love me.” You looked relieved I let you off the hook. And sad. I’m sad too mama. Sad this disease has stolen so much, has been relentless and so cruel. Sad there is no more time. Scared to be motherless. I feel you, I do. And I will for as long as I am given. I will teach Frankie, Veronica, Sydney, and our baby boy how to make Mimi’s Bread and if I am lucky it will bring me close to them when I am far away, as it brings you instantly flooding in.

I hope there is a moment dad can read this to you where some may penetrate. I know you would cry if you could. We are both such emotional wrecks, cry babies, you and me. I’ve spent most of my life fighting for my dreams just like you. What I finally see, is that it’s most definitely not about reaching the top but how you climb the mountain. That my mama, is your legacy and the greatest lesson I have learned from you. You know you are loved. I only hope you also know how very special you are.

About the writer

Jennifer is a mother of twins +1, +1 on the way! She is also the bookkeeper for her husband’s new restaurant (River Dog Café in Rocky River, Ohio.  She started her blog Hey Mama, Guess What?( first to reflect on the twinning lifestyle, but it quickly became a tool to reflect on the changes motherhood has brought and a chance to capture the moments that fly by when we forget to stop moving.


Debbie 1 year ago

This was beautiful. I lost my mom back in January 2013. I also lost my father when I was just 11. It’s a little odd to think of yourself as an orphan when your parent passes while you’re in your 30s, but that’s exactly what I am, I guess. Losing my mom has left such a huge void in my heart. I struggle with her death the most, especially when reflecting on the lost moments my mom could’ve had with her grandchildren (one who was just born this year and never got to meet her). With time, it gets more bearable I suppose, but never easier. I still feel lost, particular when it comes to mothering my own kids. There’s so much I never got to ask my mom, and I feel like I’m learning as I go without the guidance I desperately wish I could’ve had from her. Thank you for writing this. It very well may inspire me to do something similar. Blessings to you and your family.

Sue Fry-Billingsley 1 year ago

Beautiful❤️ miss my mama

Sally Adams 1 year ago

I lost my mom to a heart attack 6 months ago this week. I was 31 weeks pregnant. She was pregnant with me when she lost her mom. Unexplainable.

Sherri Alexander 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing. I lost my mom in 2005. Every day I think of her and wish that she had had the chance to know my daughter.

Amy Gardner-Beckwith 1 year ago

lost both my parents 18 months apart. It doesnt get any easier and you always want to hear their voices just 1 more time because I cant remember the pitch quite right…

Kelly 1 year ago

I’m sat on the train to work trying toehold back the tears. This post was so beautifully written. I have no more words.

Veronica Elliott 1 year ago

I shared this with my mum who less than a month ago has lost her mother, My Nana. I am the oldest of her 2 daughters and was looking for support for her as she is an only child, it’s hard for me to relate seeing I have my sister. I try and be there as much for my mum as I can. It’s the hardest thing she’s ever had to go through, my Nana was her only relative, we really thought my Nana would live forever.

Nicke Kendall 1 year ago

Wiping many tears away

Catherine Chattom 1 year ago

In 2 days it will be 4 months since my mom passed away at 53 from a stroke that turned into a brain bleed. Also the same day 40 minutes before she passed I had my second daughter (April 30th) I am 29 and I always thought my Mommy would live forever !! I live 1300 miles away from my family in Texas I live in Michigan so I didn’t get to see her like my sisters and I also was unable to travel for her funeral service so needless to say it has been an extremely bittersweet few months of my life. I cry daily and miss her every second so I
Can definitely relate

Stephanie Hageman 1 year ago

Lost my mom to pancreatic cancer 14 years and 6 days ago. I
Was 13, and it just seems to get harder every year. I see her in my daughter and it literally hurts sometimes. :( she made awesome banana bread too and I use her recipe all the time! Wish she
Could have taught me to bake and cook like her.

Renee’ Benavides 1 year ago

I lost my mother to cancer when I was 18 years old. I am now 30 with a 9 year old son and after all this time I still haven’t fully healed. I wish more than ever she could have met my son and been here to spoil my little boy like I know she would have. Mothers Day is always a little hard, holidays, birthdays. You’re just never too old to miss mom.

Kylee Archibald 1 year ago

I have lost my mom and with the day I had I can’t even read this for the damn of tears just might brake

Christy Scott Schwager 1 year ago


Allison Billett 1 year ago

What a beautiful way to honor your mom…. I lost my mom about 18 months ago to metastatic colon cancer. I think of her all the time, and miss her dearly

Kristy Edwards 1 year ago

Four years ago, I lost my mom to complications from lung cancer. I was 34. So many things in this letter sound like my mom… My dad left when I and my brother were in our early teens, leaving her to sometimes work three jobs, while going to college to be a nurse. She did everything she could for us. She worked almost up to the end, having to stop working as an infectious diseases nurse, they had found lesions on her brain, so along with the chemo, she had radiation. I still feel lost, and like I know nothing. I’m so very glad she got to know her grandchildren, my son and daughter, and I hope she is as proud of them as I am.

Ali Richards 1 year ago

Just beautiful! Every mother hopes their child loves them like this, and hopes to express it to the mother that loved them so well…just beautiful

Sue Herzberg 1 year ago

Even though the story of losing my mom is different, the emotions and grief are the same. I miss her and think of her EVERY SINGLE DAY for the nearly 4 years since she passed. As many others have shared through their comments, I also read this through tears. Thank you for sharing your story.

Teresa O’Leary Schneider 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this.

Attie Lordan 1 year ago

Beautiful. My dad four yrs ago to kidney cancer. With my sisters,we took care of him until the end.

Joanna Ortbals Cleary 1 year ago

Wonderful and poignant. Makes me long for my

Chelsea Chauncey 1 year ago

14 years this year. She’ll have been gone for exactly the same amount of time she was in my life. It’s still hard. 10 years for my dad coming up. Even parents need their parents, sometimes!

Natalie 1 year ago

Beautiful! Different mountain climbed here, but very similar feelings since I lost my mom. Thank you for sharing a piece if your heart.

Jessica Millikin-Newcomb 1 year ago

I just lost my mom to cancer this June. I miss her every second.. Thanks for sharing.

Kirsten Olofson Illian 1 year ago


Amanda Marotz Roemer 1 year ago

*wiping tear away *

Amanda Sheren 1 year ago

I’m not even going to read it because I know I will sob. It will be 5 years this December 11th that my Mom has been gone for. She passed away right after I turned 25 and words don’t even begin to describe the grief. She passed away to a sudden heart attack brought on by unidentified (at the time) H1N1. Her younger brother died a week before she did. I can’t even imagine being my Grandmother, losing two children in 1 week and being left with only my Aunt who also happens to be the oldest of the three. Just can’t imagine.

Bonnie Andersen Powers 1 year ago

Excellent and thank you! Lost mom 3 years ago to Alzheimer’s. She never got to meet my daughter – her granddaughter and it tears me up still
Thank you for sharing this!

Jessica Collins 1 year ago

I can relate. I still have my mom, but I lost my dad four years ago. I haven’t written to him in a long time, but I wrote to him a lot that first year. His first grandbaby was born this year, the day before the four-year anniversary of his death. Every day my heart breaks that they’ll never know each other.

Michelle Eden-Duval 1 year ago

lost my mom & dad. i treasure our last moments

Mary Kate Keenan-Calcagni 1 year ago

Beautifully written but I never should’ve read it. We’re three weeks away from the 2-year anniversary of my father’s passing. He and I were very close and I miss him every day. Now my mom is in bad shape too. :'(

Crystal Lawmaster 1 year ago

It will be one year Saturday 8/30 that I lost my Mom unexpectedly, I am having an Angelversary get together dinner and balloon release on that evening, I honestly don’t know how I’ve made it through the last year, I am an only child and we were as close as a Mother and daughter could be, I loved reading this because it reminds me that it’s tje lil memories that keep us going just as much as the lil ones, I also think I will start a journal as well, thanks so much for sharing, be blessed!

Pamela Waling 1 year ago

It’s been 2 years since my mother passed away from a sudden heart attack and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her

skm 1 year ago

So many hugs … this was beautiful.

Amy Lum-Francis 1 year ago

2 1/2 years since I lost my mom to breast cancer. Living life without your mother is so hard. My life is a little bit grayer without her. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and miss her. Moms are irreplaceable.
This was a beautiful tribute and I can definitely relate after caring for my mother during her last weeks.
Hugs to all who’ve lost their moms

Amy Beers 1 year ago

In three days, my mom will have been gone for five months. I identify with this letter so much, from recipes to the difficulty of speech. At 40, being motherless is horrifying. My only solace is that she no longer suffers. My sister, Kelly Hartley and I miss mom so much.

    Desiree K. Smith 1 year ago

    Hugs from one mother’s daughter to another.

Betsy Argentieri 1 year ago

My mother was taken suddenly from me 19 years ago, this seriously made me bawl my eyes out. I miss her so much, I wish she would have been here to meet her grandsons. :(

Gwendolyn Marina Ruiz 1 year ago

My mom is about to start her fight. I couldn’t finish this, but it was beautiful from the little I could read before I started crying.

Maura Dwyer 1 year ago


Carrie Weaver 1 year ago

Just lost my Mom a month ago… Couldn’t finish reading. I’ll try again another time. :(

emma 1 year ago

A story very close to my heart. My own mother passed in march at 45 years old. I was near the end of my first trimester. My first child is due in about five weeks. There are no words to make someone feel better about losing their mommy. All I can say is this; time shared is precious, memories are priceless (even the not so great ones) and that one coffee mug she used everyday is worth its weight in gold. You are loved beautiful and far from alone. Be at peace.

Maria Koutroulis 1 year ago

Two days until the 8th anniversary of my moms passing, which was just five days after my wedding. Miss her so much.

Megan Mc Dermott Gwilliam 1 year ago

Toughest thing in the world is losing your mom:( Miss mine every day, but know she is always with me.

Kathy Whitford 1 year ago

Beautiful tribute!!!

Andrea Nicole Fineday 1 year ago

This hit my heart as it’s 21 yrs almost to the day that my mom has been gone. I miss her everyday. :(

Shannon Fleming 1 year ago

I can’t finish it. Completly sucks to loss our moms.

Lynne Hudnall Gentry 1 year ago

So very well written. Thank you for sharing. This hit so close to home for me.

Laura D 1 year ago

You are never old enough to become an orphan. I lost my Mom 17months ago to two antibiotic resistant infections she got in the course of cancer treatment, and my Dad in 2007. I would give anything to have them back, even just for a few minutes. Anything just for the simple thing like a hug or a handclasp. It’s hard living without their presence in my life. The safety net is gone. The knowledge that there is someone who loves you unconditionally is gone. It’s especially

Angela Tobergte 1 year ago

Made me cry. Miss my mother so much!

Mary 1 year ago

Beautiful article

Jen Traeger 1 year ago

Tough, but true. Blessings on all who love and have to slowly lose.

Sessa Daily 1 year ago

So sorry for your loss. Beautiful post x


Enjoying this? Then like us on Facebook

Introducing Discover & SAVE: --
NEW Scary Mommy Holiday Program.
Tap to learn more Click to learn more