One moment I’m a young girl shopping for Mother’s Day to get my Mom something special. Now I celebrate Mother’s day with my own babies, but my own mother is not here anymore.

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I could call my mom anytime. She loved my baby as much as she loved me. She made her own dresses, always making a fashion statement with pink polka dots or cheetah print. She was quite the chef at the local bistro she owned & operated. My mom wore a fashionable hand-made apron everyday- so as to not get her dress dirty. She made me a few that still hang in my kitchen. She threw the best parties & was obsessed with dinnerware. She birthed four babies while unmedicated & successfully breastfed us all to at least 1. She never missed my choir concerts or soccer games. She helped me get dressed on my wedding day & then held my hand before the nurses rolled me down the hallway to my c-section.

All of a sudden she wasn’t wearing her apron very often. She was dying of a cancer that affects 1 in 350 women & she unknowingly had 3 months to live.

I often wonder why my siblings & I were the kids ones to be dealt this card. The moment she passed away, I felt the four of us were looked at differently. If you’ve lost a parent- you know the look. The look that says, “I’m really sorry this has happened to you, I don’t know what to say, you just lost your parent and I still have mine- this is awkward”. We had become a part of the Dead Moms Club.

As of February 2020, we were left without our mother due to her untimely death.

When Mother’s Day rolled around I no longer had a mom to shower with gifts, love, & phone calls. But I still had someone who called me mom.

That was my little girl, Zelda. She was nearly one and a half when my mom died.

The first Mother’s Day without my mom was my second with Zelda. I spent the day drowning in emotion. We went to Lady Bird Lake and explored the Austin outdoors. We took pictures and made memories. It was a happy day for the most part, but I was also mourning.

I mourned that she wasn’t here anymore. I couldn’t call her or send her a corsage to wear to Sunday service. I mourned for my baby & future children- that they would never know my mother. The woman spent her entire life preparing me for motherhood- only to see me as a mother for a year & miss the birth of my sisters babies.

My mom had hung up her apron and I was just putting mine on. Hers had stains from lessons she’d learned and I just took the tags off mine.

So how do you celebrate Mother’s Day being a new mom without your mother?

You celebrate a little bit everyday.

You celebrate her through the way you raise your children. You celebrate her by putting up photos of old memories and sharing stories with the kids. You buy her favorite birthday cake and continue to celebrate her birthday. You strive to emulate the love & compassion she had for her children. You wake up everyday and put on your apron. You make your own stains & learn how to get them out. Because at the end of the day, you know she’d be proud of you.

To those grieving on Mother’s Day: I see you. You’re striving to be the best mother you can be everyday. She would be proud of who you’ve become.

Tori Chaffin
Tori is a wife, mother of 2 girls, a Birthfit coach, & personal trainer. Tori works in the home to raise her babies while also running her online personal training business helping moms during pregnancy & postpartum. When she's not "momming" or working to grow her business you can find her checking out a new coffee shop, beer garden, or working out. Her favorite foods include coffee, donuts, beer, & beef. She loves a good podcast or book she can learn from and believes that finding the simple joys in life are what make it so special. Catch Tori on Instagram @coach_tori_ or attend the pregnancy & postpartum support group she hosts the last Friday of every month at Truly Chiropractic.


  1. It’s wonderful to say Happy Mother’s Day but for some It isn’t a happy day. There are mothers who’ve lost children, those who’ve lost mothers, single mothers who find children a burden, there are mothers separated from their children due incarceration Or unhappy circumstances, there are those who are struggling to become mothers, there are those whose mothers are suffering from substance abuse or who are dying, there are those who’ve never known a mother’s love, there are those who’ve had abusive mothers or been abandoned by their mothers. Let’s honor these women too.


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