Disconnect

When I was thirteen, my mother’s mother, my very own Grammy, told me (while she was making lemon meringue pie) that if anything ever happened to her, I should remember to make my mum two lemon meringue pies every year on her birthday.  Reflecting back, I think one of the most charming things about this story so far was that my Grammy said this to me exactly like the risk that she was mortal was remote and unlikely.  My mum loved lemon meringue pie, and Grammy had always made her one for her birthday, and after I was born, she had always made her two.

My mother’s birthday was June the 13th, and because mine is June the 14th, in 1968 she was in labour with me. She didn’t get her pie, and so my Grammy brought it to the hospital right after I was born.  My grandmother held me, and my mum ate the entire thing.  The whole pie. Not another single person got a slice, or asked for one.  From then on, it was tradition… two pies on my mother’s birthday always… one for her, and one for everyone else.

When I was fourteen, my Grammy died very suddenly.  I look back now with so much sympathy for my mum.  I wish I’d had some way to relate to the pain she must have been in.  My Gram was only 59, and as gutted as I am to lose my own mother, she was 74. It was a tiny bit more likely to happen, and I was robbed of less.

When I was fifteen, I made my mother two lemon meringue pies, and have continued to do so every single year, with very few exceptions, for the last 34 years. I’d make my mum’s pies, she’d make my cake, and with our birthdays separated by just a day, it was almost like we had the same birthday, they were so linked to me.

Today my mother would have been 75. I didn’t call her at midnight, and she won’t call me tonight at 12:01 – both of us trying to be the first people to wish each other a happy birthday. I didn’t make two lemon meringue pies.  Nobody wore the meringue noses, and nobody will.

You know, I’ve never liked pie, and I don’t think I’ll make them again.

Happy Birthday Mum.

I miss you.

155 thoughts on “Disconnect

  1. I love lemon meringue pies. My mom used to make them for me. Sadly mom can’t bake a pie anymore, so I learned to make my own.

  2. I’m that way with pineapple sherbet. And my mum’s 105 birthday is in a couple of weeks. She left me 19 years ago. It hurts. And I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  3. Lovely story; thank you for sharing.
    My mom made lemon meringue pies for my husband. She is still alive, but no longer able to carry on a meaningful conversation, let alone make a pie.
    He misses them. I do not bake them.
    Some things should be good and happy memories only.

  4. Thanks for sharing with us as you always do. At least you had your Grandma’s recipe for those pies… I do wish I had my Grandma’s recipe for her tomato sauce – I would give anything to taste her pasta again.

    • Depending on how old your grandmother was, try the Fannie Farmer Cookbook recipe for tomato sauce; my mother used that cookbook almost exclusively.

      Steph, that is the most beautiful photo of you and your mother! Mine loved pecan pie and now that she’s gone, I miss them but somehow I don’t make them myself. Maybe next year on her birthday I will.

  5. What a beautiful photo. That’s sad that your grandma died so young. It’s wonderful that you have such a close knit family. Birthdays are very hard after losing your mom. It’s natural to feel grief, especially when your birthdays are only a day apart. It gets less painful with time. Happy Birthday, and Happy Knitting. It will always be there for you.

  6. So sorry. My own Mom is in hospice right now. I flew out to Oregon to say goodbye last week. All my siblings are heading out over the next few weeks to have some one on one time with her. I’m not sure how I will manage.

    Your Mum and you seemed to have a sweet relationship. Sending you wishes for peace and comfort to ease the pain.

    L.

  7. It’s OK that you didn’t make lemon meringue pies this year. It may be too soon, especially if you don’t like pie. But hang onto the recipe, just in case Elliott loves lemon meringue!

    P.S.: Hope you have Call Waiting. You might need it at 12:01.

  8. For me it is The Christmas Fruit Cake. It is a killer of a recipe and wonderful with coffee or tea at Christmas time. It is also a big expense when done right and not at all similar to a store bought fruit cake. Some day I may make it again, when it is not so hard.

    Peace and Love!

    4 centuries over 5/6 days? Not easy at all!

  9. As usual, your writing brings me to tears. I can only imagine how proud your mother was of you. Tomorrow will be hard. Hold your family close.

  10. I’m struggling to find the right words here. Thank you for sharing, that’s one thing I want to say, sure and certain.

    But I also wish I knew something to say to ease your pain. Does it help to know that your words help others? That what you write is meaningful? And that we all send you love right back.

    You’re wonderful, Stephanie, and I’m sending wishes for peace and joy to come.

  11. I love the picture. And I think I see a bit of the hair you have today (which is lovely, by the way) at the back of your baby head. I had to touch the clock. I thought of how time passes for everyone, and all the changes it brings to our lives, mostly good, but some sad and hard as well. I lost my own mom, after a long illness, three years ago last week. I made pie for my parents quite a few times. What I miss most is my long phone conversations with mom.

  12. My Mother’s birthday was 2 days after mine, and my Grandmother’s was 5 days. We celebrated all of our birthdays on Thanksgiving. It was special. Both of them have been gone now for over a decade, and in that time, friends who are now family visit that weekend and there are new traditions in place of the old. I grieved my Mom for many years and still miss my Grandmother’s patience and wisdom.

    Do something completely different tomorrow. Begin a new tradition. I hope you can have as good a birthday as possible. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Wishing you comfort with a $75 donation to PWA in honor of your mum. She made a difference in this world, and so do you. Thank you from a grateful blog and book reader whose life you have touched. (and one of the majority of Americans who love our Canadian neighbors and who voted against our current horror of an illegally elected administration)

  14. The first time through these important dates after losing a parent is excruciating. Next year, hopefully, it will be merely awful. This November will be 10 years since my dad passed. I try to ignore all the hoopla about father’s day rather than be annoyed. When I’m in their house (my mom still lives there at 89) I let the memories of his presence come and just accept them. It does, eventually, get manageable and even better…

  15. Everything about this post is beautiful. What a wonderful tribute for your mother. She would have been proud of you. Would you consider sharing her recipe. That way on June 13th many of us would make that pie in her honor.

    • Oh please do share the recipe! My husband was the pie baker in our family, he passed away unexpectedly a year and a half ago. I think I could do a pie now while thinking of im and your dear mum.

  16. I read this and thought about mothers and daughters and grandmothers and how very charming and lovely this story is. I have no words for you that will ease the pain you are feeling so I won’t try. Instead, I will just say thank you for sharing this to remind me of my own stories and Happy Birthday to your Mum ❤️

  17. Steph, happy almost (2.5 hours away) 50th, from your Exact Birthday Twin. My own mother’s birthday was 6/27, and I was only 22 when she died, but even though I have had 28 years to “get used to it,” one doesn’t. But what a lovely photo of your achingly young mum, recognizably herself, holding you, and what a lovely remembrance to accompany it. May today and tomorrow be more sweet than bitter, and may both of us keep happy and healthy as we embark on our second half century.

  18. Wow, that picture — I’ve loved the recent pictures of her, but in this young one … she has such an elfin look about her, with that tilt of her eyes and her overbite and pixie cut — and the echo between you two is SO STRONG. Do you see it? May she come back to you again and again in wonderful and surprising ways, always.

  19. My brother and I are two years and a day apart (I’m the 12 of December, he’s the 13). While we usually celebrated our birthday on mine, there were ALWAYS two cakes. Mom insisted that we each get our own. Especially as our birthday were close to Christmas and we had the “It’s your birthday AND Christmas gift” curse from so many family members. Moms are the best.

  20. Someday, these memories will not hurt so much but not today. Your Mom made it through her sorrow and you will to. Happy Birthday!

  21. Family traditions are hard when so many have passed on. I think it is too soon for lemon meringue pie (couldn’t she have liked something that is easier to spell?).

    However, are you going to deprive Elliot of such a great story and taste of his ancestors? I bake some of the recipes I remembered to get from my Mom. But I forgot to get the recipe for Mother’s Best Choclolate Fudge Cake (my birthday cake of choice) and for her cranberry Jello salad with a cream cheese topping (I have been able to recreate the Jello part, but the topping eludes me).

    Or, could it just be that tastes change? I tried to introduce my son to Vienna sausages, which I had loved when I was young. And that first one is always demolished as it comes out of the can. We each ate one…and agreed they were nasty! I told him that the recipe must have changed since I was a kid!

  22. It’s a very good thing we don’t have your phone number, or you would be awake all night as we called you from our different time zones. I wish for you a peaceful day, and hopefully some Elliott squeezing.

  23. I am so envious of the relationship you had with your mum. It sounds so loving and wonderful and connected and simpatico. It may be unbearably painful now but there was 50 years of the other.

    • My thoughts to. My Mum and I weren’t close due to her mental Illness, unrecognized at the time, so I envied my friends close relationships with their moms. Hold the memories close – as someone told me, they will become “friends”. Wishing you comfort and peace

  24. Pie could be great again with the right company, but for now pie can be not great.

    “Firsts” really take it out of you.

  25. Anniversaries of sad events are hard. Memories, on the other hand, are often helpful and healing. My mom is still alive, but her dementia has robbed us of her essence. She no longer recognizes me or her only grandson, whom she so loved. We both have several of her favourite recipes and think of her when we make them. Instead of the very real sadness of how she is, we can remember how she was.

  26. My mother’s 25th birthday was the day after she had me in 1965, and I cannot even imagine how I will get through a birthday when she is gone. I’m so, so sorry for your loss and I wish you all the strength and love you need and deserve.

  27. My mom’s birthday was also the 13th of June. She died three years ago and it’s still hard, though not as difficult as the first year was.

  28. I’m sorry for the pain you are feeling. We can’t (and shouldn’t) wish it away for you. Just remember, it’s not the pie’s fault she’s gone and you may find more joy in those memories and the pies you made for her down the road.

  29. I’m so sorry. I hope there’s a whole box of photos representing happy memories to pore over (thank you for the one you shared, it is wonderful), and that someone has taken up the cake-baking mantle. ❤️

  30. Wishing you a Happy half century Birthday. May you memories be long and strong. I am sure that your family will be making many more memories with you on these special days. Your a good soul and the universe and we all know it and the world is a nicer place because of all the people like you in it. Hugs and tears – embrace them all, always. xx

  31. It is already the 14th here, so I am wishing you a happy birthday.
    It will be another difficult day, I know.
    Next year will be slightly easier and you will be able to remember that you got through the hardest mom’s birthday and own birthday and that will make it easier too.
    (wisdom brought to you by somebody who is a few months out of the difficult first year after dad’s death. I rather fear that while it WILL become easier, those days will always hurt to some extent)

  32. In the Netherlands a 50th birthday is the day you “See Sarah” (or See Abraham, for men). It means you’ve lived long enough to have gained wisdom. A sign of respect that I like much more than the American “over the hill” jokes I grew up with.

    When I read your blog and Instagram notes, I see a woman who is not only wise but is living as a matriarch role model in the best sense of the word. I so appreciate you sharing the struggles and frustrations along with the knitting and joys.

    I lost my mom when I was 42 yet deeply missed her on my 50th birthday. But more often I celebrate and am grateful for all that she gave me by sharing in the way you do. Thank you and I hope your birthday this year brings lots of joy too.

  33. In lieu of lemon meringue, I sent a donation to the Bike Rally in your mum’s memory. Thank you for sharing her with us. She must have been a remarkable woman (the apple didn’t fall far from that tree!)
    Have a happy birthday

  34. It’s my birthday tomorrow and my goddaughter will be making me a cake.
    Years ago when my husband remarked that he like lemon meringue pie I decided to make him one completely from scratch – fresh lemons and all that. When I asked him if he liked it he told me that it wasn’t as good as the one his sister made so, with an eye to the future, I asked how she made it. “Oh, out of a packet” was the response. I was so deflated!

  35. Some traditions are so special, and so connected to special people, they simply cannot go on forever. Because neither can any of us, at least not here on this blue marble (your belief may vary, I’m cool with that).

    Grief does abate, as you are probably already seeing. And yet, my mum’s been gone over 30 years, I’m barreling toward senior-citizen land, and sometimes I still just want my mummy.

    Happy Birthday Stephanie. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

  36. I LOVE your story and you are right ,it’s difficult to feel another’s pain as they do. Such a wonderful memory. Mine is when I hear “it’s a wonderful world ,” it makes me think of my mom every time and stirs such emotions. So now you will establish traditions with your sweet ones and on down the line. I wish I had asked more questions about family and also my granny use to make a apricot- peach -prune preserve that was wonderful on toast or a cheese and cracker.
    I stumbled across the closest thing to it by SARA BETH apricot-peach preserves recently and I feel like I’m having toast with my Granny every time I eat it. I wish I had her recipe<3

  37. My mother-in-law always made me a 3 layer German Chocolate cake (made from scratch) for my birthday. Nobody has made me one since she died in 1998.

  38. Your writings about your mum are heartbreaking and beautiful. They’ve reminded me to cherish all the time I have with mine. Happy Birthday.

  39. I’ll bet you a dollar Elliot loves lemon meringue pie. I’ve found that things tend to work out like that.
    (My granddaughters LOVE ‘jamonit’, which was my grandmother’s thing.)

  40. Losing your Mum is the hardest. 16 years on and I still can’t believe she isn’t here. My mum’s thing was Christmas. It took 4 years after her passing before I decorated, baked and made her traditional Christmas dinner. I simply didn’t have it in me. Now I celebrate her every Christmas. She is here in every decoration she made. I like that.

  41. This was so beautifully written and made me teary. Sounds like you come from a line of strong, caring women, which you have carried on – that’s quite a legacy. So sorry for your loss.

  42. Sending so much love. I also grew up with the lemon meringue pie tradition. It was a thing in the 1950s & 60s, I think. And thank you for sharing that beautiful photo. You favor her so, so much and not just in looks. xo.

  43. I am still praying for your comfort. My own mother is 89, and if she lives until October, will be 90. She seems to be in good health and even while she is driving me crazy, I realize that I am so blessed to have her. My heart hurts for those of you who have lost a loving relationship with your mother and for those who did not (do not) have that relationship.

  44. THAT PICTURE! OMG as grownups I didn’t see the resemblance but holy crap, Stephanie!

    (My heart aches for you, and now for her.)

  45. Such a lovely, loving, and personal story! Thank you so much for sharing. Virtual hugs and cups of tea for you. And, Happy birthday to you.

  46. Happy birthday!

    My grandmother made beautifully decorated cakes every year for each grandchild. After she was gone we thought someone should keep up that tradition, but we couldn’t muster the strength, and that’s ok.

  47. My dad lost his mom at 15. It still bother him, at 83, that he never got to the stage where he knew his mother as a person outside of being his mother. I feel like you really knew your mother as a person and that’s a gift to hang on to. I hope you are surrounded by family on this day and you can recount stories of your mother to make you smile.

  48. Oh, darling. I’m so sorry. That’s so hard. That’s just so, so hard.

    You heart is so beautiful, and it’s hurting. You can express that so well, so that I’m sitting here crying for you, and hoping you will be…as okay as possible under the circumstances. I hope you know it’s okay to not be okay. I hope you know it’s okay to cry, and cry hard, or to not cry, or just cry a little, or to feel sad, or numb, or whatever you feel.

    I wish I could make you lentil soup and fresh bread. And just keep you company while you are hurting.

    Your mama looks like a supermodel in that picture. Just so beautiful. And I think this is the first time I see the resemblance between you and your mum.

    She would be so proud of you, for Rally, for your amazingness as a mom, as a person, your kindness, your curiousity, your feistiness, your concern for others, for justice. I’m so glad she had you to make her pies. I’m so glad you had her to make your cake.

    Big, big hugs. I love you.

  49. Oh my, I love that photo of your mum. I’ve thought of this in relation to my mother & grandmother many times. My grandma was only 57 and my mom 28 — with five kids ranging from not-quite-8 (me) to a little over a year. How in the world did she do it? Raise us all without her own mother to give advice, when needed, or just to listen sometimes? It boggles my mind. My mum died 4 years ago next Saturday at age 76 and I am so grateful for all those years. And I still miss her more than anything. Happy Birthday, Stephanie.

  50. My dad’s birthday was the day before my grandmother’s. She used to call him “my best birthday gift.”

    One year, when I was quite little, my grandparents were visiting over the birthday. My mom made my dad’s favorite angel’s food cake for his birthday, and just to make something completely different, devil’s food for my grandmother’s.

    It was about halfway through dessert on Mimi’s birthday that my grandfather started shrieking with laughter about my mom’s inadvertent hilarity. They never let her forget about it – in the funniest, most loving terms.

    Both my dad and my Mimi have been gone for a while. Thank you for your story, which reminded me of mine, so I can carry them in the front of my heart with me today. I still miss them every minute.

  51. Happy Birthday to you and your Mum.

    No pie this year, that makes sense. But it’s not forever. Some year you will need the pie. And the cake. And they will be made with joy and there will be nothing but smiles.

  52. I know this is a bit off-the-wall, but my heavens, your mom looks like a beautiful, fairy creature right out of a Brian Froud painting.

    The pies can wait for a bit.

  53. When my mother died, I stopped doing counted cross-stitch. I still have charts and kits, and a couple of partially-done projects…but the impulse died with her. Knitting, though – that I still do.

  54. First, Happy Birthday!

    Second – wow! Your mom looks about 15 in that photo. I can now see the family resemblance, too!

    I did not realize your birthdays were back to back. I’m sure that makes it much harder for you. Take care and enjoy some Elliott time for your birthday.

  55. Every time I read your posts about your Mum it brings back so many memories of that first year without my mother. She was the same age as your mom when you lost her. I was 44 when she passed away. It was the hardest year of my life. Hang in there. It does get less painful. I can’t tell you that you won’t still miss her. That seems to never go away.

  56. Happy Birthday, Stephanie! Lovely photo, lovely memories. If she labored as long as I did (or my daughter! My stars–*three days*!!!) then she worked hard for every bite of that pie. I love that you baked her more and kept her mum’s love going.

    Every mother of a girl should have a daughter like you.

  57. I am walking this path along with you—my parents passed away in December. I was lucky to have them for 84 and 88 years. During these last years I saw them almost every day. As I go through this first year of grief I am struck by how I must continuously figure out a way to adjust to this change. I thought I would feel it all at once; instead it hits me in small ways doing every day things—going to the market and seeing a treat they would enjoy, or buying tickets for a performance they would have loved to go to, or seeing on my phone a medical appointment I would have taken them to (I left those appointments on my phone on purpose). Your post about your birthdays touched me deeply.

  58. I love this story about the two pies and your nearly-the-same birthdays. Happy Birthday to you. And to your mom. That photo is wonderful – what a great beauty she was.

  59. I can so relate to your mom! I always request lemon meringue pie (with graham cracker crust) for my birthday. Not cake. These days I make my own but my mother used to make them for me.

  60. It’s my birthday today, and I love that I’m “twinned” with you. I pretend it makes me a better knitter. 🙂 But our birthday is shared with President Trump, and I don’t like that. But I had it before he did, so there. Happy birthday, have good memories of your mum. Do you ever look like her!

  61. Sad that you decided to turn away from the happiness that the pies brought. My Mom was Lithuainian and dad Polish, my Mom loved Easter and always cooked Polish dishes, Now my siblings and my children cook those dishes and we have a great time remembering my Mom and Dad.

  62. My most heartfelt condolences, which are nice words but change nothing, really, sadly. I read your post with trepidation because my older daughter and I share a birthday, which sometimes falls on Mother’s Day. Years ago, after much thought, I brought up the topic of ‘when I am gone.’ My older daughter will struggle, I know, and I want to do all I can to help her. I told her that after I’m gone, I want her to do something every birthday that’s new, something she was really interested in trying, whether it’s something big like surfing in Hawaii, or relatively minor like dinner at a new restaurant, and think of how proud I always will be of her, how much she has always been loved, and to spread that around.
    I lost my own mother 30 years ago and all those special, unique-to-us traditions are gone. The loss can still cripple me some days. I understand your lemon meringue pie story.
    Sometimes being the mom to my own daughters helps, sometimes not. Thank goodness for them, though. They make me keep going. I hope you get strength from your girls, too.

  63. Very touched by your story, but its cake all the way for me baby! My mother is 89 and still counting, lives by herself and has her warped sense of humor. I know I am so lucky to have her. We are separated by a week (except for leap years!). She get home made English toffee from me.

  64. Happy Birthday, Stephanie. I hope you have a better year. Thanks so for all the joy you’ve brought me for a long time.

  65. My mom died two years ago at 92 years old.. we were at her birthday in CA 2 weeks prior.. she wanted lemon meringue pie for her birthday .. 🙂 my sis and I delivered..

  66. All of the firsts without your mum are hard.Thank you for sharing with us and what a beautiful picture of you and your mum.

  67. Ah, lemon meringue pies. My mother used to make them, because her MIL made the best pies around. Mom used Grandma’s recipe. It was her thing. We only had them on special days-Thanksgiving, Unbirthdays. I don’t make them. My mother died in 2009. 4 years ago, 2 of my sons approached me for help in recreating this recipe. It took us about 20 trials to perfect the recipe. Now, my adult kids make it for Thanksgiving. And Unbirthdays. I remember my mom every time they bake one. Peace be with you….

  68. Gosh you look like your mom. That’s wonderful.

    Earlier this year, I became reacquainted with a cousin and we found ourselves delighted with our friendship. We’ve collected a bunch of our grandmother’s recipes and plan make them all, and have a Grandma’s Food party for everyone that we can get together. We’ve already started perfecting our performance of her Boston Cream Pie.

  69. Wishing you a birthday that shows you how much you are loved, not only despite the pain but because you feel it and others love you for it.

    And if you don’t ever want to make lemon meringue pies again, sned me your recipe. It’s one of my favorite things and I always ask for it for my birthday because I like it more than cakes.

  70. Happy Birthday Stephanie. You don’t need pie or cake to celebrate. You have family to hang on to, Elliot to snuggle, the bike to break your arse & US to cheer you on.

  71. I’m a little way ahead of you on this path, I’m tarting to see the odd patch of sunlight in the gloom. The first of everything is hard, I’m not saying that the second time is easy but it’s not as bad as the first and when you’ve survived that you know you can survive the rest.

    My first birthday without my husband was last week, it was pretty crap to be honest so I hope yours we better.

  72. I keep doing the math, and it keeps looking like your mom should’ve been 25 when she had you. But she looks like a teenager in that photo, barely looks old enough to hold a baby! Incredible genes you have there. And can you possible be 50?!! Well, I’m making another donation to your bike ride for that. Half a century. Congrats, pie or no pie.

  73. I also lost my mom when she was only 59. I was had just turned 21. I’m now 53, and every day brings me closer to her age when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 56. I love her. I miss her. I worry about following her.
    The pain and grief of losing your mother does not really go away. It changes, it retreats, it becomes part of “normal”. You change, you become resilient, you find a new “normal”. The days which are not-so-okay become less frequent until they are outnumbered by the days that are very much okay, then better than okay. You will get there Stephanie. You will.

    • You and I have similar stories. My mom was 53 and I was 23. It’s been 21 years now and I feel much the same as you do about the not good days. I am so sorry for your loss and that shadow that breast cancer that looms for all of us in this horrible club. Take care.

  74. May I suggest the book, “What to Do When I’m Gone: A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter” by Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman? I’m a little late but I think you’ll like it. Day 231 is Celebtate Your Birthday. It’s a good read. It sparks all the sorrow and joy, fond memories and sighs that you need to work through as you learn how to live without your mother.

  75. My mom died when I was 7 yrs. Therefore, I was very close to my grandmothers. They died within 11 months of each other. The last one died December 23. My sis was afraid for Christmas the next year—the grieving and loss. Thankfully we each had a new baby by then—mine only 4 days old. It was time for new traditions. That’s why you have Elliott. Someone new for new traditions and pass on some of the old ones.

  76. My Mom’s favorite treat was hot fudge sundaes. Her birthday was October 10th. Every year I proclaim Hot Fudge Sundae Day. I invite everyone to join me

  77. I miss my mom too. My mom passed away suddenly last June 5th while she was house sitting my home. My mom loved strawberry shortcake. In honor of my beautiful mother I made strawberry shortcake this year and will continue this tradition as long as there are field fresh strawberries on June 5th. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to meeting you at Knit City. My friends and I signed up for your class Knit Smart. See you soon.
    Laura Mapes

  78. I feel your loss and your sadness. My heart goes out to you.
    My Mom lives with me and my husband, and has for 8 years. She is 90, and not in great shape… she is no longer happy to be walking on this planet. I will miss her so much when she is gone….

  79. What a beautiful photo of your mum. The hollyhocks, the fantastically chic dress, and teeny tiny you! Truly, you were blessed to have such a wonderful mother.

    I hope that the days weren’t too bad, and that there was still lots of love and laughter.

  80. Story told on my father: During WWII he and a co-worker got to talking about how much they both liked lemon meringue pie. We had a pathetic lemon tree in our yard in Southern California that produced a few lemons every year. My father agreed he would provide the lemons if the co-worker could persuade his wife to make a lemon meringue pie. Neither one of the klutzes realized that during war-time rationing having enough sugar was the hard part. But they did get their pie.

  81. June 14 is my Daddy’s birthday. He died March 22, 2017 and I miss him every day. I picked up my Mother and we took flags to his grave (it’s Flag Day in the US on the 14th) and then had his favorite meal. My siblings were out of town, so we shared our own favorite sayings of his and laughed and cried together. I know it will always hurt, but it does get better….

  82. Your beautiful story touched my heart. My mom was also taken suddenly and unexpectedly. I still grieve everyday. Hugs my knitting friend

  83. My mom was 53 when she died. It took me 20 years after that to make myself the chocolate meringue torte she made for most of my teen birthdays. I have no idea why I felt like I shouldn’t make it; It’s $&@“-ing delicious. Do whatever you need to do. Your mom would understand.

  84. I lost my mom when she was only 59 too-she would have been 77 this year. Her birthdays are painful reminders for the days leading up to her birthday and beautiful memories for the days after-I always light a candle and remember how she made our birthdays special with a homemade cake and dinner-birthday kid’s choice. I still miss her so much and it has been 18 years.

  85. I just finished a short book, Comfort by Ann Hood — shelost her daughter at age 5 from a sudden strep infection. She’s coincidentally a knitter as well as a writer. If you can find it on audiobook it might be a good one to add to the list. My mum died in 2009 and I’m still turning it over.

  86. My mother, aged 93 (and 94 on August 10) passed away on May 4. My feelings are still (ya think??) very raw. I think about her every day, catch myself thinking I should tell her something, or just call, and then I remember…. Or I’ll run into someone and they will offer their sympathies and I’ll tear up. My mother also loved lemon meringue pie. There was a mass for my mother after she passed and the wonderful church ladies organized a wonderful luncheon after it. Our only request was that there be at least one lemon meringue pie for dessert…there must have been 20! There wasn’t a lemon meringue pie to be had in her town for 25 miles!

    We’re all in this together. I will hold you and yours in my heart and ask, if you have room, to hold me and mine in yours.

    • Cynthia, my mother also passed when she was 93 (three years ago). Weren’t we the lucky ones to have had them with us so long!

  87. OMG you look so much like your mother in the most beautiful way possible…amazing.
    I’m sure she left you great strenght to keep going.
    If I were you I’d set something up with Jenn or your daughters to create a new tradition for your birthday.

  88. My mother was 84 when she died of cancer in 2008. There’s still rarely a day when I don’t wish I could ask or tell her something. It’s more wistful than painful now. The first couple years it was like being stabbed, it hurt so much. Now it conjures up an image of her and the feeling of loss, of an empty place that she filled. Love your mother as much as you can while she’s alive and know that the pain of her death will give way to good memories.

  89. Your Mom was so beautiful! Inside and out! She radiated in every picture you posted of her.

    What a fitting way to celebrate your birthdays… two pies to keep that beautiful memory of your birth and her alive! Lemon meringue is my favourite pie… my birthday cake of choice though is strawberry shortcake because it screams July… it screams summer and my birth date is July 29, 1968. Summer birthdays were the bomb when I was a kid… except, it was hard to reach my friends because school was out.

    Happy belated birthday Stephanie! xo

  90. Wait, that’s your mother holding you? I would have sworn it was you as a teen holding…a much younger sibling? a random baby? Gosh, y’all look alike!
    A lovely post.

  91. Like Betty T’s post, I thought that was a teen-aged you holding a baby. You and your Mom look amazingly alike!

    My mother died in 1989, just a few days before my 40th birthday. A couple summers ago I was sitting in the living room thinking about her and the wonderful banana cream pies she used to make. I think I even said something out loud about it. I swear I heard her voice tell me to get off my ass and make one. The recipe was in her old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

    I made the pie and it was delicious. Although Mother’s love is a secret ingredient, I did feel there was just a dash or two of it in there from across the great divide.

  92. How lovely she was!

    Birthdays and lost loved ones are a birch until we can figure out how to maneuver that path. My much loved only sibling, my brother, died on my grandson’s birthday. I promised myself it would always be his birthday FIRST because he deserved that.

    But I can’t drink a glass of cabernet without tearing up.

    I’m betting that if Elliot loves pie, you’ll start making them again. Hugs to you, Stephanie, and hopes for a fine year ahead.

  93. What a profound sentiment. Thank you for sharing these difficult sentiments… ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  94. Grief is just love with no place to go. I hope that some day you make the happy discovery that one of your grandchildren dearly loves pie..maybe lemon pie..and you rediscover the joy in that simple act of pie making. I hope that you discover the scar over your heart is softened by the application of a “lemon egg plaster” and that that time comes sooner rather than later. Peace Out.

  95. Your mother looks like she gave birth to you at age 12!! Both my mother in law & stepfather have died this year (lost my father when I was a teen) & my father in law is in the hospital. Reading your reflections on your mother are a combo of helpful & painful. But I guess that’s what grieving is like…..

  96. My first birthday following my mother’s death I went to the drawer where I throw all the cards anyone sends me and pulled out all the birthday cards she had sent over the years. I read every one. It helped.

  97. I had been reading your blog since I’ve learned to knit back in 2009. I had been a fan both of your writing and knitting. And despite the cultural differences and distance ( I am from the Philippines ) I feel close as a dear friend who’ve been with you every happy and equally sad occasions.
    I cried when I’ve learned, read that your mom died, I cried again today reading this post. Hugs to you, Stephanie.

  98. Sometimes, things are good because they are gone. Things are precious because they are rare and unobtainable. Equally, some things are special because they bring back memories and keep them with us. It’s up to you to decide which is which. Which traditions you want to keep in her memory, and which to keep as your memories. You don’t have to decide now, or to keep them each and every year. Be kind to yourself. You have to carve out a way forward, but you can change course.

  99. Love the photo. My favorite with my Mom is her trying to help me walk on grass. She said I hated grass. I was screaming. Miss her.

  100. My granddaughter turned one on June 13, 2018. My own grandmother would have been 91. June 13 is a sweet day to be born. I’ll think of your mum on my granddaughter’s day, each year. <3

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