A Good Day

She’ll be part of every good day. No matter what.  — “The Book of Polly”


I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do on the anniversary of your child’s death. It’s not just another day, and it’s impossible to ignore.

It’s like a great, looming cloud. It feels unsettled sometimes, and you wait for the storm. There should be a massive storm, you think — something that breaks things open and shakes the earth.  Something vital was ripped from the deepest part of me, and it needs to be acknowledged.

But there is no Zeus, and I am not God. I don’t control the weather, and I couldn’t cure her disease: acknowledge that, and everything changes.

Sometimes, the answer doesn’t come in words. We lack the language, I think, of a higher truth. So we listen, and we wait. We plan, but we do not control. It’s maddening sometimes, but it’s the best we can do.

Last year, I beat back the awfulness by writing something big (if you haven’t seen my CNN piece on hospice, please check it out. It’s so dear to my heart) and by taking a big trip.  

On Julianna’s second heaven day, I tried not to overplan. My goal was to see something beautiful and to honor her.

This was my something beautiful:


Even on a cloudy day, the Columbia Gorge is breathtaking. Julianna saw this river almost every day. (There are mermaids in there, you know. Her mermaid friend told her.)


I honored her by making something sparkly,


When yarn unravels, it’s easy to become a tangled mess. I spent a lot of time working out the tangles to make this piece. Metaphors abound.

and by going to her favorite place



Harper’s Playground, of course!



Along the way, there were a few surprises.


A lovely ice cream shop with fresh strawberry ice cream and a patio adorned by purple flowers.




A free postcard in an art store one block down from the lovely ice cream shop.




My family remembered her…how she would have loved all those babies!



Julianna’s dogwood tree turned even pinker. 



Alex’s piano teacher picked these flowers out of her garden for us.



J would have liked this…


A friend (J’s best friend, in fact) shared a memory — this is one of Julianna’s “secrets”

J — My legs can come off.

J’s BFF — Really? What do they do?

J — They’re wild!

And her eyes just sparkled…


And another shared a picture that I forgot existed.  Pure treasure.



There were tears —  believe me, many of them. But it was a good day.

…And someday, there is going to be a good day that we are all part of. I’m not sure where that is, or what it looks like, but I believe in that day. — “The Book of Polly”

12 thoughts on “A Good Day

  1. Every time you share Julianna with us, I smile. Every time you share your pain with us, I get tears in my eyes. Much love and gentle hugs to your family.


  2. Such a Sweet post…she touched all our hearts and I have never looked at Life the same since she touched my Life….pink, unicorns, elephants, tea parties…they are all very special symbols of a little girl with a Big 💜
    of a


  3. Huge smile and bittersweet tears. We love these pictures!! I agree, to see new pictures again as if for the first time. 💗💖💞 So much love 🙏🙏🙏


  4. I wanted to thank you Michelle from the bottom of my heart for sharing Julianna’s life with us. I always look forward to reading your blogs. I have been going through some very personal problems of my own for the last 3 years and enough is enough! I read your article “ hospice and Julianna” and I knew I made the right choice. I have a sense of calmness when I read your articles or blogs. Somehow I feel very deeply connected to Julianna. I wished I would of met Julianna, it would of been my honor to meet such a sweet, loving princess. Again thank you for giving me clarity about life and making me put things into prospective. 💜💜💜💜💜❤️❤️❤️💜💜💜💜💜


  5. still here. still reading. still crying. still touched by JYS’s story, your mama love for your sweet girl, that boundless love. thank you for letting that story continue through this blog.
    with love and best wishes, megan (mama to an almost-2, half-korean child in brooklyn ny)


  6. I often stop by to see if you’ve posted anything. I didn’t know your sweet Julianna, but I know I would have liked her very much! Her wisdom and love for life continues to make me smile. Thank you for sharing her with all of us. With love from Nashville, TN


  7. This year I lost my mother. She loved her great grandchildren so much that I find comfort picturing Julianna welcoming my mom to heaven. I know Julianna is making my mom smile, and the two of them are whole and healthy again. They’ll be together until we join them one day.
    My love to you and your family.


  8. Thank you for sharing. I often come back to your blog to read older stories and to see how things are going for you. Even though we have never met, I feel as if your love for Julianna and your family’s love has touched my heart as well. I pray for nothing but happiness and the strength to move forward with Julianna cheering you on from up above. Xoxo


  9. Checking in to say i care bout you n ur family! Hope things are going reasonably okay. Try to stop the wars in your mind … i kno, its bad how the wars start. Like when you regret this, or that, or wish this, or that. Like when you feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Things like that.
    What happened happened, and you were there to help J and that is what matters. If the spirit lives on, you will be with J again. You must endure what can not be changed. The best way to honor a lost loved one is to try to be brave and find joy in each day. Of course J wants you to find joy, of course she does!
    Stay Strong.


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