April 24, 2024

U - Use + YOU


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

I have two entries for U.

First up, Use.

Not only did I use my mom's perfume, but I used other items, too.


The first thing I did was put my mom's high school graduation ring and the ring she left me in her will (a golden ring with a garnet stone in it that belonged to my paternal grandmother, which was gifted to my mom) on a necklace so I could have them with me day and night, everywhere I went, over my heart.


While going through my mom's things, I came across a pair of earrings I had bought her in November 2022. They were a cheap pair from Claire's online. She had wanted cute, small earrings she could start wearing. Before all of the PET scans, MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans, she wore earrings daily, but countless scans forced her to take them out and forget about putting them back in.

She wanted to reacquaint her ears to earrings, so I bought her Leo horoscope earrings. She wore them once before misplacing them. We thought they were in her room somewhere and couldn't find them. We even thought they had fallen on the floor somehow.

Turns out, she had put them in her bathroom...in a macaron-shaped jewelry box where she'd stored all of her earrings. *forehead smack*

April 23, 2024

T - Tauren Wells "Joy in the Morning"


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

I've listened to the Christian Music Radio Station Z88.3 FM for many years now. I like the uplifting music they play, and I know people who don't even identify as Christian who use this station as a primary source for listening when they're in their car. That's how awesome the music is.

Anyway, at a Grief Share meeting, the hosts like to play a song to start each session. They've played songs I knew, and songs that were newer, such as the one below. I had heard it maybe once or twice before, but I hadn't paid attention to the lyrics. I did this time, also thanks to captions. And damn! Tauren Wells is an amazing singer. So incredibly talented, and his song "Joy in the Morning," is full of hope and joy and power. It's impossible not to sing it.

After I heard it at the meeting, I shared it on Facebook. Then, days later, when I had to drive past the hospital where my mom passed away, I was holding back tears. A minute or two after I drove past the hospital, this song came on, and I truly felt like it was a sign, a gift. I thanked my mom for sending it to me right in the exact moment I needed it.

April 22, 2024

S - Sammy the Teddy Bear


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

Sammy the Teddy Bear is the physical manifestation of Sammy the Teddy Bear in my mom's children's books A Gregory Green Adventure Series. I bought him for my mom in 2017 to have fun with my mom and to promote her children's books.

My mom and I had a ton of fun with Sammy. He’s badass. See for yourself:

Sammy went to book events.

He has his own Wookie backpack.

April 20, 2024

R - Removing and Redecorating


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

One thing you'll hear is to take your time. Don't rush. Don't change things too soon.

And there is wisdom in that. Taking your time ensures that you're ready for the next steps and don't do something or get rid of something that you'll later regret.

However, not everyone grieves the same way. And for some, waiting might be the painful part.


The day my mom passed away, I started to get rid of all her medical supplies. Yes, I was sobbing while removing the blood pressure cuff, forehead thermometer, pulse oximeter, bathroom scale, and bedside commode from her bedroom, but there was a sense of urgency inside me. I HAD to get rid of the damn medical supplies that filled up her room the least year of her life. Over the next few days, I removed the labels from her medications and brought them to a prescription drop-off at CVS and took out the equipment from her bathroom. Doing those things wasn't easy, but it was necessary.


April 19, 2024

Q - Quiet (Reading) Time

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom’s Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder

A month and a half after my mom passed away, I read a book called Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom’s Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder. Some people would say I shouldn’t have read it so soon, but it helped me in a few ways.

1) In the beginning, while the author remembered her mom before the diagnosis, I remembered some things about my mom and wrote them down in a new journal that I’ll be using specifically for that purpose, to preserve memories.

Side Note: If you're keeping track, I was writing in a family keepsake journal, memory journal about my mom, grief journal, and even had a prayer prompt journal. That's four different journals.

2) I became fortunate that, while my mom had declined, she still looked like herself (aside from a few extra accessories like a nasal cannula, port under her skin, a pleurx catheter, and bruises on her arms) and that she’d still had her mind. She was still clever and funny and creative. I’m also grateful that the cancer hadn’t had a chance to progress, which would’ve changed all of that.

3) It made me feel less alone. There was so much I could relate to.

April 18, 2024

P - Playlist + Photo Collages


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

I had introduced my mom to the YouTube and Spotify apps on her TV in 2020. She spent a lot of time saving songs and playlists she had found and enjoyed to her Spotify account, as well as videos to her YouTube account.

On her YouTube, she’d discovered cute digital Christmas towns and adorable snowy settings with animals created by Tim Janis, that are paired with popular Christmas carols. She loved to play these in the evening when she read. I would always go into her room for a while before bed and had a lot of fun watching those cute videos, too. Sadly, the ones she had saved (that were the best) were marked as private by the creator.

Here’s one, though, to give you an idea:

April 17, 2024

O - Our Story (Keepsake Journal)

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


April 8th, one month and three days after my mom passed away, I found a journal my mom was using to write down her life's memories. I had been looking for a keepsake journal that I knew she had, but I never found it. She must've gotten rid of it because she didn't care for the prompts but rather wanted to write whatever came to her mind instead.

The journal is almost half full of memories.

On the inside of the journal, she'd written:

"I am writing this journal to record any memory of my life when I remember some event.

"I hope this journal will be good reading someday."