If you are looking for a post about MOOCs or techie stuff, come back another day. Today was… well I don’t have to say much beyond

Missing Mom

Motherless children have a hard time
When the mother is gone
Motherless children have a hard time
When the mother is gone

Motherless children have a hard time
There’s all that weeping and all that crying
Motherless children have a hard time
When the mother is gone

My Mom passed away in late August of last year, in the middle of my road trip odyssey, transforming it from a plan to visit her in November to having to see her lowered into the ground in September and then cleaning out her house. Today was Matzevah, being the date my sisters and I had picked to unveil the tombstone marker for her, adjacent to the ones for my Dad and my brother at the old Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery in Baltimore.

Symbols of Mom

There were butterflies in the air, and of course, left there on her gravestone as the symbol of something she has so personally enamored with, and shared so sweetly.

She can tell her own story

Mom and Butterflies

Yes, I have appreciated the amazing support I got through this process from friends all over the internet. But the accepting of this still eludes me; rationally I have accepted it, but down there in the deep bowels of my innards, it just baffles me, because everything was indicating she would be around for longer than she was.

It is comforting knowing she did not suffer, but I cannot but help feel cheated of missing those last bits of her; that morning I called her to say I was thinking of her on the 10th anniversary of my Dad’s passing, we spoke, laughed as usual but for 3 minutes. 3 minutes. I am thankful and remorseful for all 3.

My sister Judy pulled together two lovely poems that she read today ones that both saddens and helps the heart at the same time (I hope to add them here when she sends them to me), but one is about how to remember those who passed- and it is about not focusing on the loss, but by carrying on the spirit and sharing it with those around you. They way Mom did- and it was not really until we heard the stories of the people she touched in her community in Fort Myers– that I realized how much I underestimated what a selfless influence she had on so many people.

And it hits home, after all of this, how little of the grieving I’ve been able to get close to inside. And it makes sense with a more recurring feeling of being adrift in life right now, despite being surrounded by people who genuinely care, I cannot say I am always giving back even a fraction of what Mom did.


So I am looking inside, to find the ways to learn her lessons, and act more on them. “Butterflies are the symbolic representation of the eternity of life.”

I have audio, I have pictures, and I have stories.

While we gathered at my sister’s house, we asked my niece to get a photo of my sisters and I, and I was moved tonight to make an animated GIF out of a photo of 2012 and the old kids pose from (??) 1968? It strikes me that we are now older than our parents were at the time of this photo, something that seems implausible as a child.

An infinite repeated loop works for me. Judy, Harriet and I always laugh about the lecture Mom would say to us, “When I am going you kids better be there for each other” as if that really was anything but a certainty. Yes, we are all motherless children, but we don’t have to have a bad time now that mother is gone.

I await this step from mourning my Mom’s loss to celebrating her life. The former does not go away, but the latter? Well, I still have lots to learn, Mom. I love you forever.

Mom 81 & 17

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. For the record, Alan, I lost my Mom in 2004, and I still mourn her loss. But you continue to create a wonderful memorial to Alyce, and a big part of that is letting other people into your life and memories of her. Go ahead, mourn… scream! After all, she was your MOM!

    I’ve come to loathe the nice, neat, tidy ways we deal with death. I want to scream, beat on the coffin, and sob like a child, with all of the tears, snot, and coughing that goes with it. When I go, I want someone to miss me that much.

    You’re an amazing guy, Alan. You’re a friend. Go ahead, and miss your Mom. Loudly.

    For me, I’m making a batch of cookies.

  2. Beautiful.

    And don’t underestimate what *you* contribute to the world with your words, pictures and stories…

  3. “I cannot say I am always giving back even a fraction of what Mom did.”


    Haven’t your amazing stories taught you how very far your giving and sharing reaches? You teach us with each and every post – everything from how to tinker with animated gifs and such, to MUCH deeper ways of knowing and understanding and making meaning – like how to deeply honor love, and family, and roots, and friendships, and…well you get the picture. Never underestimate that.

    Lifting you up today, especially.

  4. So beautifully worded, Alan! Having the three of us there at mom’s final resting place meant so much. The hole in my heart from the loss of our beloved mother can not be filled. But we always have each other, our legacy to mom. She would have been proud of us. Don’t ever doubt how much you touch people with your beautiful pictures and stories. People all over the world love you, as does your big sister! Love ya!

  5. Alan … As one who strongly believes in the family, I thank you for your inspiring words and stories. Your dialogue paints pictures that resonate with every son or daughter who misses their parent(s). Thanks to our parents’ devotion and support of family, we go forward and share that goodness with others. Know that with your extensive online connections, you are blessed with an amazing and supportive extended family.

    Your Mom “the cookie lady”, together with all of your online brothers and sisters, are so proud of your accomplishments and we want to thank you so much for caring & sharing.

    Take care & keep smiling :-) Brian

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