My mom would have been my rock, my support system, my encourager…
…If I had more time with her…
When I needed her the most, she was dying.

Losing your mother

A 25-year-old needs her mother. I still need my mom.

Why did I get jipped and left motherless?

Mothering myself and finding the feeling of “mom” seemed to be my lifelong quest.

I am neither a mother nor a daughter. Saying that makes me feel a vacancy within me. A vacancy that will never be filled. Yet, through the years, I have been fulfilled. Fulfilled with the knowing and feeling that I am cared for. I am loved. Even if not by my own blood. Yet, there is still a void within me.

Fending for myself

Being a motherless daughter at the age of 25 left me to fend for myself. Left me to seek out motherly advice and guidance from women who didn’t share my DNA.

Throughout my life, I sought out family, connection, and womanly advice. It seemed that everyone I knew had a mom. I’d long for my mom when I’d see girls—or women—my age spending time with their moms. Laughing together in the dressing rooms at Marshall Field’s.

While I’d overhear them bonding or even bickering, I’d think, “I wish mom was here with me in this cramped, smelly dressing room.”

And…“Would mom think this looks good on me?”

I would laugh to myself hearing my mom’s laugh in response to my question, “Mom, does this look funny on me?” Would that mother and daughter duo be heading to lunch to celebrate their purchases and their time together?…

Sometimes I’d chime into their conversations for a brief moment just to get a hint of a feeling of that mother-daughter connectedness, “That outfit looks so cute on you.” Or I’d say, “There’s a two for one deal on those blouses.”

Anything. Anything to feel like I had a mom for a moment.

I would imagine my mom nearby and long for her presence, her advice, her silliness. She was quick witted, funny, and intelligent.

Throughout my life I’ve longed for her to hold me when I needed consoling or encouragement. So many times I’d wish I could call her and hear her voice—not just in my head. Better yet, I wish I could be with her and talk and laugh with her.

I miss you, mom.

I have to think she would be proud of me and what I have accomplished. Would she be happy of the person and woman I have become?

The gift

I had the gift of a last letter from her.

My aunt, who was by my mom’s bedside when the rest of the family couldn’t be there, agreed to transcribe the letter from my mom.

My mom said to my aunt, “But, I’ll have to write a letter to all six kids.”

My fair and kind hearted aunt responded to my mom,…“OK, Diane. But, you have to write to Julie first because she asked you for a letter.”

Being the youngest of six kids, it seems I always got the last of everything. I am grateful I was the first in line for a letter from mom. Mom wouldn’t be around long enough to write five more letters.

Words from my mom’s final letter stay with me…

“Julie, you were always stubborn and would stand your ground…and for good reason. If you stay true to who you are, I know I would be proud to see the woman you will become.”
Sometimes I see, feel, and hear reminders of her…a cardinal outside my kitchen window (the cardinal was her favorite bird.) Whenever I see a cardinal, I smile and think of her. Perhaps she is saying, “Hello.”

Sometimes I surprise myself when I say a “mom’ism” or if a funny story of hers pops into my head.
Sometimes I feel like she tries extra hard to get my attention. I have felt taps on my shoulder. I turn and look, but no one is there. At that very moment I think of her. Perhaps that is a spiritual instant message from her letting me know she is watching me…and watching out for me.

I miss my mom. And I KNOW she is around and has been around. When I feel her presence, she is there. When I think of something funny that she did, she is there. When I share something funny or poignant that my mom would say, I feel her presence.

As I continue through this life, I shall feel gratitude for what she taught me and how she was there for me during her short time here on this earth.

I will always be her friend.

She will always be my guide and guardian angel.

About the author: Julie Ostrow is the First-Ever American Laughing Champion and Humor, Laughter, and Improv Coach. She coaches groups and corporations how to use humor, laughter, and improv techniques to improve communication, connection, and creativity


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