Tag Archive | mother’s

Never Say These 2 Things to a Grieving Mom


A few months after my son Bobby died, I had lunch with a few friends. I still wasn’t up to socializing, but I agreed to go anyway. One of the women said something that made me want to jump across the table and grab her by the throat. I know she meant her words as comfort, but at that time it was like rubbing salt in an already gaping wound. It’s now been five years and I can remember my visceral reaction that day.

Here are two things NEVER to say to a grieving mother:

He/she is in a better place. No he’s not! He should be here with his family. With me. How could any place be better?

If you just do X, you’ll find closure. Really? What does closure mean, exactly? Do you think one simple act will help relieve the unrelenting aching of my empty arms?

As any mom will tell you, after 5 years, 10 years, or even longer, there is no such thing as closure. Writing my book, BECAUSE OF GRACE, didn’t bring closure. Putting a brass plaque with Bobby’s name on the Children’s Memorial Tree in South Lake Tahoe didn’t bring me closure. Closure is like trying to grab smoke.

Has anyone ever said anything to you like this? How did you respond?




Because of Grace available on Amazon:



Where Are The Girls


The kidnapping of Nigerian school girls is chilling. What kind of society punishes education and the thirst for knowledge because of your sex?

As I read the news articles, I couldn’t help empathize with the mothers of those young women. What cruelties are being wreaked upon their daughters? Will they die in captivity, starved, beaten, raped? Will they ever see their girls again?

My son’s death wasn’t violent. It wasn’t a sudden ripping apart from the family. He didn’t die alone. My grief is for his life cut short, and I miss him every day. But I don’t agonize over the unimaginable misery as those Nigerian mothers. Let’s do what we can to stop this terrible social travesty.


Somebody’s Son

Too many people have lost their lives in the past few months due to violence. This isn’t a blog post about the Second Amendment. Rather, it’s a reminder that for every young man or woman who used a gun or knife to kill others, there’s a mother who mourns.

A mother remembers her perfect newborn, chubby toddler, hopeful kindergartener. She looks back and wonders what she could have done differently so the outcome of her son’s life would be different.

They call him a monster, a murderer, a demon-possessed pawn of Satan. He called her mommy. They search for someone to blame. Was he bullied? Abused? Eventually the fingers point to her. If she’d been a better parent, he wouldn’t have bought a gun and hunted his perceived enemies like prey.

So she grieves his life and death by his own hand. She mourns what could have been. She’ll regret the choices she’s made. And she’ll miss him every day of her life.

My Mother’s Hands

My mother gave me her ring. She can’t wear it anymore because arthritis has swollen her knuckles. The ring contains four almost perfectly matched diamonds in a row. I always thought it was her wedding ring because she’s worn it for as long as I can remember. She told me she and my dad bought it when I was four years old. They were too broke when they got married in 1943 to afford a proper diamond wedding ring. They bought the ring when they sold some property.

I wear the ring on my ring finger. I can’t wear my plain gold wedding band because my fingers are also knobby with arthritis. Every time I glance down, I see my mother’s hand, so similar to mine, and I smile.

When I was a child, she’d wake me up on Sunday mornings by softly stroking my face. She gently whispered, “Janie, time to get up for ‘kunny kool.’” That’s what I called Sunday School. She’d tickle my face until I opened my eyes.

Her hand dished out a spanking when I deliberately disobeyed her order not to climb on the roof. Why was it okay for my brothers, but not for me?

My mind’s eye sees her hand clasped with my dad’s as they square danced. I see her holding bridge cards, ruthlessly playing to win the $5 pot.

During World War II, she worked as a key punch operator. Her fingers flew over the keys, faster than any of the other women. Even though she’s almost blind from macular degeneration, her hand still accurately finds the keys on the adding machine to punch out the numbers to balance her checkbook.

She and my dad built a motel and managed it themselves. At seventy years old, her hands scrubbed toilets when the maid didn’t show up. Her hands did a thousand loads of laundry and made hundreds of beds.

Today her hands grip her walker as she shuffles into the kitchen to bake cookies or muffins to take to the nurses at the doctor’s office.

When I look down at my mother’s ring, I see eighty-nine years of history in her hands. I see a rich legacy of work, play, hardship and reward. I’m proud to wear my mother’s ring on my hand.