She is wearing a white baseball cap, a green shirt, and that denim skirt she wore a lot when I was in high school. In her right hand is a tub of vanilla yogurt; in her left, a bowl, blue I think. She is smiling as she walks toward me. I smile back.

Then, I wake up to remember my mom will never walk toward me again. I am already crying.

I turn on my phone to get the time and a text from Hannah comes in. She says, “Going to the Relay for Life luminera ceremony to honor your mom. We’re thinking about you.”

I hear Mom’s cat crying in the hallway. Dad says, “She’s looking for Ruth.”

Maybe she was really here.


I fall asleep looking at the stars. Mom put a sun-shaped set of glow-in-the-dark star stickers in the corner (“The sun and the stars,” she once told me. “Now, I just have to figure out how to get the moon up there.”)

In the night when I wake up and don’t know where I am – which happens most nights at this point in my life – I eventually see those stars, straighten my body in the bed and drift off to sleep with Mom’s compass before me.

Maybe she’s the moon.

Mom at her birthday dinner

Despite the fact that her eyes are closed, I love this picture of Mom. It just seems to capture something essential about her.

This June, some of Mom’s best friends and I will be walking in the Relay for Life in her honor; Mom died last Thanksgiving of malignant melanoma skin cancer. If you’d like to join the team or donate, please visit this link to do so; help us give tribute to an amazing woman and find a cure for this horrible disease. Thank you.