How it would’ve been…maybe

She would’ve loved tonight. She would’ve screamed “Renegde” as he ran into the end zone. And again when he had a pick on defense. She would’ve whispered to me “once a card, always a card” as he played on the field and I would’ve rolled my eyes as I told her she got her way and he is in fact a card. And I would’ve loved watching her face as she took in her grandson’s first flag football game. And it could’ve went different but that’s the image I’m going to hold in my heart because it’s a magical memory that didn’t happen.

The reality I imagine is that she and Papa Joe sat on a cloud and peeked in on the field tonight. He pounded on the floor of heaven watching his great grandson like he would do rooting for his Steelers while she jumped up and down cheering for her Renegade like she would for any football team she ever liked.

I am so incredibly thankful for my 33 years with her and Julian’s 6. But on nights like tonight I just wish I could see her face and watch her react. Because no one could react to a football game quite like MB. 💜

The Surprise

In June 2017 the family embarked on the first family vacation post diagnosis. Mom was winding down on her chemo treatments and took advantage of the break in her schedule. Everyone went but Julian and I. As I sat at home thinking about everything she had endured, everything we had endured since her June 2016 diagnosis there was a voice inside of me telling me to get on a plane and go.

And so I did. I booked a flight, a rental car and packed a book bag so my hands would be free to stroll Julian through the airport (he was 3 at the time). I was so nervous to travel solo with him but the fear of it potentially being the last family vacation outweighed that. So on June 13, 2017 Julian and I surprised everyone (minus dad I need his assistant getting a parking pass and directions).

So here is your reminder, take the vacations, record the moments and enjoy every second with the ones you love because we sure did 💜

Our Songs

She has songs for the 3 of songs. So many songs. They span throughout our lives. Those songs are a gift. To listen to them and know how she felt about us. Songs about heartache and triumph. Songs that can bring us back to a moment in time. Which brings me to today.

Today is Julian’s opening day for baseball. Back in March I had a dream about mom. In that dream she asked when Julian’s baseball started. I told her April (that’s when practice started). She told me she was sorry she wouldn’t be there. And I told her it was okay. It would be hard but it would be okay.

Julian didn’t play baseball last year due to the pandemic so this is his first game since she passed.

So this morning I’m driving and mentally deciding if I’m going to write this blog post about experiencing new firsts without her as the world opens back up. And on the radio I hear Pink sing the word “Renegade” which was mom’s nickname for Julian. And as I continue to listen it’s this beautiful song about resilience and she sings the word “baby girl” referring to a daughter and it concludes with “I will be with you”. The song is “All I Know So Far”.

Even in the afterlife we are getting songs. Message received mom. You are with us. 💜

Both Can Be True

Something I learned from when I went to therapy years ago is that emotions can coexist even if they are conflicting emotions.

Today I was at CVS getting batteries and when I looked around I was surrounded by people with pink envelopes and flowers. A young girl coming in with her dad. An older lady checking out at the register. A young boy and his dad picking up pictures.

On my drive home I thought about the fact that I am beyond thankful to be a mother while I am also heartbroken to not be with my own mom on Mother’s Day.

There was an Instagram ad for a necklace for a grandmother with the birthstones of her grandkids. And my initial thought was what a beautiful gift and then my second thought was I have no one to gift this to. Normally B, Lex and I would be texting each other trying to figure out what to give mom because what do you give the woman that has everything. It would end up being Tito’s and flowers.

Last week Julian came up to me and hugged me and asked if I was going to be okay with Mother’s Day approaching and it touched my heart. And then he told me if I wanted I could buy him something since Mimi was in heaven and I laughed so hard.

So this Mother’s Day I am going to honor both the feelings of gratitude for my son while mourning the loss of my own mom because both can be true. 💜

Also…Julian wrote something for school and one of the lines was “My mom is as pretty as a dog”. So there’s that.


I wanted to write something for her today. Maybe something about what I’ve learned or felt this past year or what a year ago today felt like but nothing felt right. So I will just say this…

She was my Lorelai (and sometimes my Emily). She was stubborn and strong. She was spontaneous and funny. She had impeccable taste and family meant everything to her. Her life mission was that her children would love and support each other. She constantly gave us advice (whether we wanted it or not). She was one of my favorite people and I have missed her every single day this past year. See you in my dreams. I love you mom 💜

Our Miracle Trip

A year ago today we embarked on our final Disney trip with mom, our final family vacation with her. It was a trip that until the plane landed in Florida we weren’t sure if it was going to happen. Two trips to the ER, moms cancer/treatment issues and a snow storm all stood in our way.

We all agreed that if we made it there it was meant to be and if not we had taken enough trips to last a life time. But I think deep down all of us would have been heartbroken had it not happened because we knew it was our last opportunity.

And we made it! Mom didn’t have the energy to leave the resort (other than our traditional walk to the Polynesian). Luckily we have the perk at the Grand Floridian of witnessing the Magic Kingdom Happily Ever After firework show from Gasparillas.

In that moment I felt a combination of heartbreak and gratitude. With each song that played the ugly tears flowed. There is something so strange about experiencing something for the last time and knowing it’s the last time.

I am so unbelievably thankful for the photographs and the memories and the fact that we were given that last trip. I know this is not a gift that most get and we have been incredibly fortunate for the memories we have made as a family.


It was Thanksgiving Day 2001 and I was sitting on my grandma’s living room floor in McDonald, Ohio watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when I heard my mom tell my dad to call around and see if he could find a hotel.

Mom felt New York City looked nice and decided if we could get a room somewhere we should go for the weekend. Sure enough they were able to get a room so the next morning we hopped in the car and the 5 of us were on our way to New York City.

This is was my first clear memory of my mom’s spontaneous behavior when it came to booking trips. And over the next 19ish years she made quite a pattern of it especially during the last 3 years of her life.

After her surgery she was in an insane amount of pain and her dream was to just get 6 months to travel. Her first post diagnosis trip was a weekend trip to NYC with dad February 2017 and her last was a trip with all of us January 2020 to Disney. Almost 3 years of travel!

So today as I am missing her terribly I am thankful for the beautiful life she and my dad have given us and her spontaneous nature for creating memories to last a lifetime.

This Is Us

Next week is a week full of triggers. It’s not just the fact that Halloween is coming which if you knew mom she was the Queen of Halloween.

Tuesday is the season premiere of This Is Us which feels very triggering for me. Sure I’m going to miss watching the show with mom. We watched it every Tuesday together and if we didn’t watch it together we would text about it. But starting a show without her is nothing new. I have had to go through three housewife franchise seasons without her.

But This Is Us is different because I can remember vividly the night we watched the season finale together. It was March 24th and I know this because that was the last solo text exchange we ever had. That was the last night she was ever in the first floor of her beautiful home. That was the night that I knew it was the last time we would we would ever watch this show together. And with the exception of some New Amsterdam reruns while she laid in bed that was the last time we ever watched TV together.

And this may sound crazy to focus so much about watching TV with someone. But it was one of OUR things. Something that simply can’t be replaced. The bond we had of over analyzing fictional characters and housewives. It was our fun and way we would escape from our own reality and honestly I miss it a lot.

Six Months

It has been six months since mom died. I have cooked, I have arranged flowers, I have obsessively painted my nails and then anxiously peeled the polish off. I have laughed. I have felt numb. I have felt the unbearable weight of my grief.

I have reread text messages just to feel like we are having a conversation again. Moms go to phrase was “ok honey” and I have texts on my phone dating back to July 2018 so I simply type “ok honey” into the search bar and pick a date and go back in time.

I now listen to yoga nidra guided meditation every night to relax and fall asleep and thankfully it works even if I need to work through it twice.

I have recounted her death so many times to really anyone who listens (apologies to anyone who had to suffer through it) but I feel like it’s what my brain needs in the moment so thank you to anyone who has listened to me tell it.

I miss her everyday and the degree of which I miss her changes. Somedays I’m doing so well that in that moment I feel something might be wrong with me and then sure enough with time the major wave of grief crashes. I know everyone’s grief looks different but this is a snapshot of what mine has looked like these past 6 months. With cancer it was a rollercoaster but there was always opportunity for change so the permanence of all of this weighs heavy.

I am thankful for my sweet Julian who has helped me more than he will ever realize. And I am thankful for my dad, lex and B and all the people that have shown us so much love.

Finished the Project

I started the project of painting my house Labor Day weekend 2019. I bought the paint for the kitchen in October 2019. Mom asked me as she laid on the couch, “When are you going to paint the kitchen?” I told her when she was gone. We both agreed it would be a good project for me to have to distract myself from my grief. We were planners like that.

So this weekend I started it and I finished it. I knew by choosing to do it once she was gone it would both be a good distraction but also weigh heavy on my heart. Mom was the project queen. I am not. I’m more the wake up one day and decide to paint the house and then take a very long time to do it. So whenever I took on a project like this she was my biggest cheerleader. With the “That looks great honey.” and “Doesn’t it feel good to have that done”. Honestly, she thought I was going to paint one wall when I started this whole thing and that would be that.

So today I finished. All the walls have been painted. And as I looked at my final product I felt proud and I missed her so much. And this is just our reality now. Things are going to happen. Good things are going to happen and we are going to wish she was here in body to celebrate them with us. I mean I’m sure she was with me every step of the way cringing from the heavens at my technique wanting to take the roller out of my hand but I also knows she’s proud and I take comfort in that. 💜