I miss my Mom.

She’s still here. But not the way she used to be. I can visit her. I can look into her eyes, hold her hand, give her a hug. She’s still here. But… not the way she used to be.

I miss the talks we used to have.

No. Wait. We didn’t have talks. We had these soul-connecting, emotion-bursting, joy-sustaining conversations about life and love and death and every f*cking thing in-between. And she would hate that I used that word, but she would love that I left out the u.

The truth is, I could say absolutely anything to my Mom.  And I did. I could filet myself open, let all the darkness spill out…and she wouldn’t flinch. Not a bit.

One Summer, while walking back to the beach house, to get sandwiches during our annual shore trip, I spotted her walking to church. She looked flawless. Who looks flawless at the beach? Her hair was perfect. Her make-up luminous. She smelled divine. And she was dressed like a Summer wildflower – the kind that never wilts. She hugged me – even though I was all beachy and asked me to join her. She said, “Honey, it’s so beautiful. The music and the hymns give you the chills. The sunlight streams in through the stained-glass. It’s so cool with the air-conditioning, and it feels like you’re in Heaven.”

She sold me. I quickly showered, dressed, threw together lunch, delivered it to my hungry, sea-side people, and went to mass with my Mom.

One of my best decisions. One of my best memories.

When we arrived, we discovered the air-conditioning was broken. They partitioned off a small, darkened section for the service. There was no streaming, stained-glass sunlight. There was no music. There was no singing. There was no cool air, and we were close to fainting by the time the service ended.

After mass, my Mom led me to the special intention candles – the ones you light by placing a dollar in the slot. The dollar apparently has weight, and it shoots your prayer straight up to Heaven, ahead of all the non-paying prayers.

My Mom went first. Her dollar went through. Her candle was lit. Her prayer was said – and no doubt answered.

My turn. I put my dollar in. It came back out. I tried it again. It came back out. I got another dollar. I tried another candle. Same thing. I repeated this numerous times. I couldn’t get a dollar to stay in. I couldn’t get a candle to light. This couldn’t be happening. Was there a hidden camera around recording me?

I turned to my Mom and blurted out, “I’m a sinner.” And she said, with a smile, “That’s ok, honey.” At that point, we burst out laughing. We couldn’t stop. All of the other near-fainting church goers were staring at us as we ran out of that hot, dark church giggling like school girls.

My beautiful, sweet, intelligent, giving, faith-filled Mom may not have her memories. But they are not lost. They are being held inside the hearts of everyone that loves her. And she continues to inspire and teach us all. That day she taught me that the most perfect, brilliant, enormous love can be found even in the least perfect, darkened, and smallest of spaces.

So much love…to remember.

Love & Peace,

Carole Rose



Author of Petals and Thorns - Life Lessons from the Rose Garden and Wishes and Weeds - Gifts from the Wildflower Meadow


  1. Rosann Hanson

    One night when I was tucking my mom in bed; I kissed her pulled up the covers and said “good night mom I love you”!. She responded… “good night Carole I love you too”! Rosie

    • caroledowhan

      Awww. Thank you for sharing that, Ro. I’ve been called Rosie many times.
      In fact, I’m not sure any 7 of us were ever called the right name?

      • Michael DeCenzo

        Rosann, Carole… it’s good to know I’m not alone in that respect.
        I had as many misses as I had hits in remembering the names of all the cousins as we celebrated the life and spirit of Aunt Rose. Maybe if you all weren’t all so d*mn lovely it would be easier. (leaving out the ‘a’ Aunt Rose) with much love and deepest sympathy to everyone,

        cousin Michael

        • caroledowhan

          Thank you for your words and thank you for being there to lift us up. It doesn’t matter that we sometimes mix up the names. We recognize each others hearts always. Thank you so much, my cousin. love you.

  2. Laurie Slinger

    Carole! this made me laugh, cry, laugh again and then cry again. I felt like I was with you trying to light those candles that wouldn’t light!! You have no idea how much you light up my life with your stories but most of all with your friendship. I love your mom so much, you always give me the gift of knowing your mom. She is so lucky to have you in her life! (me too!).

    • caroledowhan

      Hi Laur! Thank you for this! Thank you for listening to my stories.
      I love your mom too, and you! We lucked out. We both got beautiful Roses.
      I’m grateful for your friendship.

  3. Machi ll

    Carol, I just love your way with words. They are always true and heartfelt. Your words continue to make me take a minute or two out of the craziness life can be so I stop and think…about how your words pertain to my life. Thank you. ???

    • caroledowhan

      Oh Marchiell.
      I love how you express yourself with words too! Your depth and your
      level of caring are obvious and beautiful. Thank you for your support always.. my sweet friend. <3

  4. James Donofrio

    Mom has given you so many kind, loving memories……..that as you pointed out are from her mind into our hearts. And God has given you the talent to share all this with us.
    Thank you. God bless you. Love you.

    • caroledowhan

      Hi Jimmy.
      Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for your beautiful,
      heart-felt comment. God bless you. Love you.

  5. You are amazing Carole! I love your style and your words. Did I ever tell you how very rarely I ever have conversations like the first one I had with you when we met… and even more rare to exchange contact info. The few people I have made that connection with have been keepers! I’m so happy to have met you!

    • caroledowhan

      Hi Torrie! Thank you, my friend! I’ll always remember meeting you, and how fun it was talking
      about photography and everything! I love hearing your stories, and love reading about them as well.
      Can’t wait to go out on a photo shoot. Would love to explore the abandoned side of things!
      So happy to have met you too!

  6. Johan Moran


    I love this so much.

    My mom is early stage dementia…it is so hard, but I am grateful for everything.

    I love your writing so much, you express feelings so beautifully. I could listen to you all day.



    • caroledowhan

      Hi Johan!

      I’m so very sorry to hear that. Yes, it is hard to watch a loved one lose their memories, and it is
      brutal for the family and for those that love them. You have a grateful heart, and you’re a beautiful
      soul. Continue to trust God. I’ll be praying for your dear mom…and you. Love, Carole

  7. Kathy McDole

    Oh Carole…this made me cry!! Only you can write something that makes me feel like you are reading my thoughts that I can’t express them like you!! I think of you everyday and am so blessed you were sent to me for a little while, but remain in my life forever!!

    • caroledowhan

      Hi Kath! Thank you for reading this. I remember your beautiful mom (and dad)
      and I remember seeing the love you all had for each other. We may lose them,
      but we get to keep the love.
      I miss you always. You helped me when I was beyond homesick. You’ll remain my friend for life!!

  8. I read this story again today. It made me want to scoop my mom out of the dementia unit and take her to mass. XO